Sunday, March 31, 2013

where it's at

I'm so sad that vacation is almost over :( Of course, I don't get to go home - I'm flying to Vegas for work tomorrow, so my liver doesn't get a break. But today was lovely...we woke up and power, which was v satisfying. Even more satisfying was that I had earplugs, so I was able to sleep through the five hundred roosters crowing outside that woke everyone else up. Heh.

We tried to get dressed up and have brunch at the W, but it turns out they don't do brunch. Heathens. So Bill and I got six dollar lattes and we adjourned to Esperanza,via a road lined with trees that seemed to be wearing human skin. We had lunch at Bili's in Esperanza, where I had two pina coladas and we discussed politics (heh).

The rest of the group wanted to go to the beach, but I wanted to read/write and didn't want to sit in the rain like I did yesterday, so instead I had three drinks and read for a couple of hours while they went to the beach. Then we went home, changed, and went back into Esperanza to meet the tour guide for our nighttime kayaking festivity.

The kayaking was in a "bio bay", which could only be accessed via a narrow one lane dirt road that had been turned into a series of small lakes by all the rain. Surprisingly the twenty person van made it there and back again, without even an assist from Gandalf or some eagles (I'm such a dork). The bio bay was amazing - it's filled with bioluminescent microorganisms that glow when touched by a paddle or your fingers. The Spanish apparently called it the devil's bay, since the effect is so eerie. Paddling around was awesome and the glowing water was so cool. After that finished, we had supper in Esperanza, then came home and played cards until now. And now it's Ritu's birthday!! Sadly we're leaving on her birthday, before the sun ever reemerges from the clouds - stupid. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

perish the thought

I'm more than a little exhausted because the assholes in the apartment above us last night partied until four am - but today was awesome. Or at least it was awesome if you love ridiculous disasters. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to make our tiny tiny plane to Vieques. Vieques is an island off the east coast of Puerto Rico, and the flight was 25min in a Cessna so small they had to weigh us and all our luggage, and there were only eight ppl plus our pilot. It was a little freaky, but we made it!

And then our troubles began. We got picked up by the guy we're renting our apartment from, a barefoot islander with Rastafarian leanings, who helped us get our rental jeep. Then we messed around, grabbed a prolonged lunch on the water, and then made it to the beach just as it started pouring. I'm pretty sure we immediately became the most ridiculous people on the beach when we made ourselves a shelter of a blanket and a towel and huddled under it for ten minutes. Then we ran back to the he car, sat there for half an hour playing Chinese poker, and then tried another beach. It rained there, too, but we just sat in the ocean to pretend we were enjoying being wet.

The rest of the day was equally ridic- the entire island lost power for a couple of hours, and I was glad I brought a flashlight like a good little prepped. But we eventually had an awesome dinner in Esperanza, where o had shrimp and lobster mufungo (I don't know what that means either). And now I must sleep...if I have to sit in the rain again tomorrow, I want to be well rested first. Goodnight!

Friday, March 29, 2013

before you came into my life i missed you so bad

I can't blog for long - I'm on my phone, I had too much rum, and I need to get up in less than seven hours to catch a tiny plane to Vieques. But today was totally awesome, even if it's ill advised to go on vacation in a Catholic state during Easter week. Not surprisingly, a lot of stuff was closed - mostly restaurants, which made for an annoying search for brunch. But we found sustenance, then found Steph, and then wandered around Old San Juan all afternoon. We wanted to go to Bacardi, but it was closed as well, so we ended up touring two forts instead.

Did I mention that it rained all morning and was incredibly windy all afternoon? No? Well, it was. But it was still totally lovely and I would rather wander around in warm rain than overly hot, burning sun, so that was fun. We eventually came home, napped/showered, drank lost of a bottle of rum (mistake), then had an awesome seafood dinner. Steph went to bed after that, but Ritu/Bill/I tried to go to a casino, only to find it was closed. Ha. Happy birthday, Ritu!!

Now it's bedtime - goodnight!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

kreuzberg sonata

I'm in San Juan! And I'm quite tired, although I suspect sleeping will be difficult since I will probably be jetlagged. However, I'm having an awesome time so far, even if the day just involved sitting around. My flights were all on schedule, which meant I landed in Charlotte at what felt like 3am for me and had to kill almost four hours there in a haze of exhaustion. But that airport is a v. nice place to be dazed; there was a cool atrium with rocking chairs, where I spent forty-five minutes people watching, and I took a nap somewhere else, and I had breakfast, so it all worked out. Then, my flight from Charlotte to San Juan was uneventful, getting a taxi was uneventful, and arriving at the house was uneventful.

The house, though, is totally awesome - Ritu found a vacation rental that is totally lovely, with a cool indoor/outdoor living room and a couple of cute bedrooms/bathrooms. It's in a great location in Old San Juan, with a door that looks straight out to the ocean, and is right next to a fort and near lots of cafes and bars. Ritu and Bill were off doing a rainforest tour thing, so I showered, changed into something more respectable, avoided the temptation of the bed, and went down the street to find something to eat and drink while I waited for them...

...and I ended up at Cafe Berlin, which proved to be almost the only thing I saw in San Juan today. I stayed there from 3:30 to 5:30, eating ceviche and caprese salad and drinking a mojito and a diet coke while waiting for my friends. I also did some journaling in a v. desultory way. When Ritu and Bill finally arrived, we ended up ordering another drink...and then another...and then some dinner...and we ultimately ended up staying there for another four hours on top of the two I'd already been there. Yes, that's totally ridiculous. But there was a cute outdoor patio overlooking a plaza, and the food was good, and the drinks were tasty although they were clearly weak given how sober I am in relation to how many drinks we had. Finally, we moved on and wandered around Old San Juan for a bit; there were clearly preparations for Good Friday going on in the streets, and the night was bustling, so that was cool. The city is super charming, with narrow cobblestone streets and cool houses built around inner courtyards, so I'm looking forward to exploring it more tomorrow.

But now, I really must try to sleep - yes, sleep is for the weak, but I don't want to get bronchitis again, and I have many more days of drinking and carousing to pace myself through. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

i want to be the one who walks in the sun

This will be brief - I'm sitting at San Francisco airport, waiting to take a red eye to Charlotte, where I will have a fairly miserable layover before flying to Puerto Rico. I'm super psyched to get there, but it's a miracle that I made it to the airport - I was cutting it v v close. I had meetings this morning that I took from home, but I sped down to mountain view for a couple of meetings that I needed to attend in person. Then I sped back (or rather, crawled) to SF, where I worked for an hour before getting my bangs trimmed and my brows waxed.

By the time I got home, it was 6:20, and since I hadn't even started packing yet, it was a mad dash to pack for both Puerto Rico and Vegas. I succeeded, though! And I'm hoping to spend a few glorious days relaxing and not thinking about any of my work before the grind begins in earnest. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

you don't know you're beautiful

I'm so screwed. I mean, not really; it's not like I'm going to Ukraine for a year circa 1993, which would necessitate packing sea crates full of peanut butter and other necessitates in an effort to survive a post-Communist lack of any basic necessities. I'm going to Puerto Rico (part of the United States, despite my deceased grandmother's senility-fueled $5 donations to some shady group called 'Stop Puerto Rican Statehood') and then to Vegas, where I'm sure that I can buy anything and everything that I forget. However, my flight leaves in less than twenty-four hours, I haven't packed, and I have about twenty hours of work that it would be nice to get done before I leave...but I doubt that will happen.

Anyway, today was productive but hectic. I went to work, worked on the shuttle on the way there, and then slogged all day (do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars), with a brief but lovely break to sit in the sun and have lunch with Alaska Matt. I slogged until 4:30, caught a shuttle that took almost two hours to get home, and napped on the first half of it before working on the second half. Then I had fifteen minutes at home to fold my laundry and take care of tings before it was time for me and Terry to go over to Lauren's house for dinner.

We had a v. lovely time, even if things got real serious real quick when we started talking about life goals -- I mean, I can talk about life goals until the cows come home anyway, but I am even more apt to talk about goals when I'm fueled by a couple of glasses of wine. So, that was fun, even if I'm now fired up to go off the grid and write the Great American Novel (tm) instead of getting up for this 7:30am conference call I have tomorrow morning. Luckily I can take it from home, so I'm going to go to sleep, get up, call into my meetings, pack, drive to MTV for some meetings I need to attend in person, and then hope I make it home in time to catch a cab to the airport. YAY. Goodnight!

Monday, March 25, 2013

this girl is on fire

I have nothing to report of any interest at all - I got up at seven, caught a 7:45 shuttle, was at work by nine, slogged until 5:30, caught a shuttle home, napped/read a book/took deep breaths on the shuttle to pretend it was a break, and then worked from seven to ten while watching 'The Voice' with Terry. The work tonight was a mix of writing stuff (sending out giveaways) and the-man stuff (email/etc).

And that's all super boring for you, although I was feeling the need to be productive since I'm leaving Wednesday night for Puerto Rico and I have a million things to do before then. So, that's all you get for a blog post - maybe tomorrow I'll be more interesting, but I make no promises. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

break the crack

Today was lovely - I did very little, and saw more people than I usually do (four! six if you count the waitresses at the cafe I usually go to for breakfast!), so it was a total win.

Well, it was also a loss; the Iowa State game didn't turn out as I would have wished. I got up around 8:30, messed around online, and eventually went to have brunch, where I sat at the bar and watched the end of the first half while catching up with the waitresses and exchanging texts with Adit about our mutually beloved Fred Hoiberg. Then, I came home and watched the second half, which made me sad (and also made me wonder whether I shouldn't watch, since they lose when I watch, even though clearly that level of coincidence is too stupid to make any decisions off of).

By the time I'd recovered from the game, I was running late for my main plan of the day - so I hastily showered, attempted to make myself look cute (or rather, put together an outfit that let me keep wearing my awesome new yellow loafers), and rushed out to meet up with Lauren (aka Subz) for an excursion to Clement Street. I know, no one ever goes to Clement Street (except for, like, the other half of the city that lives in the Richmond). But Lauren had asked me where I'd gotten the blue Mason-jar soap dispenser for my bathroom, and the answer was from a woman at a Fort Mason craft fair who has a small store at 6th and Clement (Foggy Notion). So, we went together and did as much damage as is possible to do in a small store in ten minutes. Then we spent a glorious hour in the sun, catching up and chatting about life and work and leadership and other fun Sunday afternoon topics.

We had to hustle back to the car when we realized I was about to get a parking ticket (I've still never gotten a parking ticket in all my years in SF...knock on wood), and then I came home, watched the Kansas game, painted my toenails, and talked to my parents (they're theoretically good, although in practice Iowa State had just lost and it was snowing, so I don't think they were having a great anniversary weekend). Then I had a chat with some romance writers for this workshop we're giving at RT. Then Terry came home from LA, so I caught up with her. Rather than ordering in supper, which I was tempted to do, I threw together whatever I could make from the dregs of my fridge/pantry, which resulted in a weird chili-like substance with hamburger, white cannellini beans, diced tomatoes, and green chiles. It was aight, but it won't win any awards.

But what *does* win an award is Family Time (tm). Adit got one step closer in his everlasting war with Vidya to beat her in my labeling scheme, since he's perpetually about 15 posts behind her in terms of number of appearances on zee blog. She's in India for the month, so he really should have capitalized, but he hasn't and I'm about to go out of town, so he may be doomed to stay the underdog. He and Priyanka came over at 8:30 for some family time, and the four of us watched the end of the Duke/Creighton game (and the final destruction of my bracket, since I had Creighton winning). We also had a v. family-time style moment when Adit found my old Xanga blog (remember that thing? it shut down in 2003) and read some passages and grilled me on whatever silly/strange angst/drama was going on ten years ago.

And then we all watched '60 Minutes', which was particularly good tonight - it featured the Pussy Riot case (yay for Russia being totally crazy - their official government spokesman basically said 'we know the world hates us for Pussy Riot and it's hurt our economy, but it would be more dangerous for us to look weak, so we have to imprison them'), the awful story of some guy whose life was derailed in high school when he ended up in prison for a rape he didn't commit and is now trying to make it onto a pro football team, and some ridiculous fluff piece that could have ended in us watching Anderson Cooper getting eaten by an alligator. There are apparently people who go out in Botswana and swim with Nile crocodiles, which are incredibly dangerous and not particularly friendly, and Priyanka summed it up when she said that this is stuff only white people would do. Ha.

Family time ended at ten, and then I messed around on zee internet for a bit before realizing I needed to go to bed immediately. And immediately has arrived...wish me luck with this 'job' thing I have to go to tomorrow. Goodnight!

to prove it i put it in a song

Hello. I realized today that perhaps my blog is not upbeat enough, since two different people asked me if I'm okay and if everything is all right because my blog is making me sound v. stressed and not particularly happy. Ha. And the answer is...I think I'm happy? But I launched my book too fast in an effort to take advantage of that Nook promo, which threw off my whole month, and trying to launch a book that I wasn't prepared to launch + get trained up in a job that I had not planned on having three months ago was a bit wearing, to say the least.

So, I think where I'm at is that I'm happy with how the book turned out and I'm happy with how my writing career has gone so far. Simultaneously, I am finding my new job interesting, and it may be something that I could be passionate about for a v. long time. These are all v. good things. But the lurking worry under all of that is that a) if I'm passionate about my job, it's easy for me to relapse into my old bad workaholic habits, and I need to find a way to stay centered and balanced, etc., since it took me a long time to get to even a baseline level of comfort with not being a workaholic. And b) I'm still v. passionate about my writing, which means that the temptation is to spend every non-dayjob moment working on the next book, which would be all well and good except c) I'm worried that I'm becoming a not-so-great friend (since I have emails stretching back months that I haven't answered) and am going to wake up in twenty years with fifty published novels attempting to fill the hole in my heart where meaningful relationships should have been.

What I'm trying to say is that if my blog sounds vaguely weird and not so enthused, fear not. I'm happy with the moment...perhaps I'm just borrowing trouble by thinking about how all of this plays into the future. But I'm sure I'll figure it out. And perhaps I'll figure it out before I give myself another ulcer, but we shall see.

When I wasn't shredding my stomach lining, however, today was lovely! I slept in, which was awesome, and then cleaned my room and showered before heading over to Morning Due for some quality time with my notebook. I am brainstorming new series ideas, and I came up with a bunch of ideas, some more valid than others - hopefully I can spend some more time on that task in the next couple of weeks. Then I met up with Katrina, whom I hadn't seen in decades; we grabbed coffee and sat in Alamo Square, which was gorgeous for an hour and then turned ridiculously foggy and cold. So I abandoned her and drove home, where it was still sunny, and so I wandered down Union Street for awhile. I got a new sim card for my new Nexus 4 phone, since my old phone was on its last legs (and accidentally called my parents in the middle of the night last night - oops), and then hit up Sephora for some makeup therapy.

I was going to have dinner at the bar at Nettie's Crab Shack on my way home, but they are closed for the week for vacation (I swear that place is a front for something - the food is probably my favorite on Union Street, but they never seem to be full, and who can afford to close a restaurant for vacation for a week?). So, I had a burger and a glass of wine at Roam, then came home and talked to [censored]. Then, I was going to do some marketing-type tasks, but I was feeling too tired to concentrate, so I started reading this book Lauren had recommended to me ("How Remarkable Women Lead"). So far so good, although I didn't love the rambling intro - we'll see what I think when I am a few more chapters in. But now, I really should sleep; I'd planned to go to sleep two hours ago, but I suppose going to bed at midnight is respectable. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

make me come alive

Happy anniversary to my parents! I assume they are still happy to be married to each other. Also, while they had to go to a visitation tonight (boo), the Cyclones won (yay), so I assume they had a good anniversary.

I celebrated by wearing my new Iowa pendant, which I utterly adore - it's lucite, in the shape of Iowa, and makes me look like a total hipster. Granted, most people don't seem to know that it's Iowa; they just think it's a chunk of glass. How can you not know what shape Iowa is? I think I know every state shape, although I'll grant that Wyoming and Colorado would be impossible to tell apart in lucite shape format. And Iowa is just so lovely, with its two straight borders and its two river borders.

sssanyway, I'm rambling, because I decided to try to avoid starting my blog post with any reference of how tired or overworked I am. Ha. Today was good, though; I worked from home, which meant I could sleep until 8:30 and still start working at nine. I had a couple of calls, did some massive spreadsheet work, sent some emails, and took a break around 11:30 to run to the grocery store and get some food and coffee, since working from home is hard when there's no food in the house. I threw in the towel around five, though, and took a quick shower before walking down to Chestnut Street for dinner at Mezes (a Mediterranean place I'd been to once before).

The dinner plan was to meet up with several people from my team at work, since one of the girls suggested that those of us who live in the city go to an improv show together and we decided to grab dinner beforehand. So, four of us met up and discussed life over Greek food and a couple of bottles of wine, which was a lovely pre-improv interlude. Then, we went to Fort Mason and enjoyed a couple of hours of improv. It wasn't as good as the long-form improv I saw last year with Lauren/Terry/Nathan, but it was still really funny, and I should think to go more often since it's so close to me. Afterward, people wanted dessert, so we walked back to Union Street (conveniently only a couple of blocks from my apartment) and had dessert at American Cupcake, which I've walked by many times before and always ignored. My ice cream was good, and I heard good reports about the cupcakes, but the place still felt like too much of a scene to me. Clearly I am old.

Now, though, I must sleep; I have a million things to do, but I want to spend some quality time writing and socializing and not looking at screens this weekend, so we'll see how that goes. Goodnight!

Friday, March 22, 2013

just say yes

Another day, another endless reacquaintance with the Microsoft office suite. Yes, I should be using the Google online office products instead. However, when my skills at PowerPoint are rusty and my skills at Google Presentations are even rustier, and I have to get something out immediately, I'll take the enemy over the friend. Yes, I make bad life decisions based solely on current expediency - don't we all?

Anyway, I slept until seven, which was blissful (how sad is it that seven is blissful now? the 'me' from three months ago is sobbing hysterically in the darkest reaches of my heart right now), and actually had time to dry my hair and put on makeup and a dress and everything before catching the shuttle. I slogged on a spreadsheet all the way to work, then slogged some more, then spent what should have been my lunch break having a quick call with my agent (nothing to report, although we were discussing plans for the next year - it all went well, but I have a lot of writing to do...). Since I didn't actually have lunch, I suddenly realized at two p.m. that I was about to die if I didn't put away the spreadsheet and eat, so I grabbed a v. belated lunch in one of the cafes while continuing to work on powerpoint. I sent the first draft to my manager, had a quick chat with Heather (aka dear respected madam), and then got feedback back...but there wasn't time to incorporate it before I left, since I had dinner plans with the friendship renewal crew.

It was a bigger group than usual; it's rare that it's more than four, but Lizzie is in town for the week, and Sarah was able to make it for the first time in awhile, so Joann, Jane, Tolu and I had two more people than usual. We went to Fiesta (my fave) and had a v. lovely time catching up. Then, I drove Sarah back to the evil city with me (lovely, since a) I adore her and b) it kept me from falling asleep), dropped her off, and came home, where I stared at my laptop and tried to remember how to do the things I needed to do to finish this blasted deck (that part of me that is sobbing hysterically in the darkest reaches of my heart is also sad that when I say 'deck' now, it's more likely to reference a powerpoint presentation than a pirate ship).

But I'm all done, and the thing has been sent to the appropriate parties, and I'm going to go to bed before the wailing and gnashing of teeth begins. Actually, I'm predicting no wailing and gnashing other than my own, since I have no doubt they'll just ask me to dig up more info and make more slides, and I can do that in the morning. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

turn and run when all i needed was the truth

I spent too many hours staring at a screen today. I made it to my nine a.m. meeting without incident, and since that meeting was a two-hour training-type thing where laptops weren't allowed, I at least got a break then (although I not-so-surreptitiously checked my phone too many times). But after that, the fun began - two different meetings with my boss, and the rest of the day spent slogging over spreadsheets until my eyes bled. I caught a shuttle around 6:30, made it home by 7:40, and ate some beef dish that I'd ordered from Munchery on Monday - and it was totally delish (Cuban beef with black beans), so I think I'm going to have to do this again next week.

After supper, I was theoretically going to take a break and not look at screens...but instead, I made a mug of chai, put some Craig on in the background, and slogged on personal stuff for the last three hours. This included starting a Kobo account and putting my books up there, which was surprisingly straightforward - they should be live in the next three days. I'm still beyond woefully behind on email, and my to-do list is still cringe-inducing (or stroke-inducing), but I'm slowly, slowly starting to feel like the end of this particular tunnel is in sight. I'm sure I will feel differently after I take a week off, since I'll be out of town for a week for Puerto Rico/Vegas...but I can keep pretending for now.

And now, I must sleep - I'm predicting more spreadsheets in my future tomorrow, so resting my eyes is imperative. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

guaranteed to blow your mind

If yesterday was all work and no play, today was mostly the opposite. Granted, I got to work early - not early enough, as it turns out, since my boss made the bold move of emailing me at 7:30 to ask if I could stand in for him at a 9am meeting. Luckily, I was leaving my apartment then, but since it took an hour and twenty minutes to get to work, I didn't have time to grab breakfast before the meeting. First world problems, I know. So I sat through the meeting, ate some string cheese and a granola bar, sped to another meeting, came back and slogged for forty-five minutes, and then had lunch with the recruiter who got me in the door, which was lovely. Then I worked for another hour before packing it in and going bowling with our team as an offsite. It wasn't really an offsite, since there's a bowling alley on campus, but it was still fun even if I'm not a very good bowler.

Post bowling, I caught a shuttle home and walked in the door at six p.m., which was exactly the time I promised Terry I would be home. I took care of some stuff around the house, including opening a package of jewelry I'd ordered from fab.com (point a: having a job is dangerous; point b: I'm a hipster, if my jewelry tastes are any indication). My taste is impeccable, if I do say so myself. Or at least it's impeccable if you like lucite pendants in the shape of the state of Iowa, or earrings made out of typewriter strikers (mine have the letter 's' on them so I can wear them as both my real self and my romance alter ego), or an awesome silver cuff bracelet engraved with a map of the London Underground. Hot.

Eventually, though, Terry and I went to Des Amis for steak and wine to celebrate (belatedly) my third book coming out. It was so very anticlimactic when it came out, since it sort of released three weeks before I had intended for it to, and so I never really had time to celebrate it or appreciate that I was done. Sadness. But it is kind of shocking to me that I've written three books, and it was nice to acknowledge it. So we drank wine and talked about work and recounted our favorite romance novels ever, etc., and it was all v. nice. And now I really should go to bed; I expect traffic will suck tomorrow since it looks like it will be raining, and since I have another nine a.m. meeting I really need to get out the door sooner. Goodnight!

Monday, March 18, 2013

i want your love and i want your revenge

My work day was totally brutal - I managed to get on a shuttle at 7:30, was in the office by 8:30, grabbed some breakfast, and then slogged until 4:30 with only a lunch break to talk to an aspiring writer about how I accomplished what I've accomplished so far. And when I say I slogged, I actually mean I slogged - eyes glazed over, barely able to hear anything around me slogging, without even really stopping to check my email or do anything else. I ran out the door to catch the 4:45 shuttle, and then I continued slogging all the way to the city. I know, so industrious.

But when I got home, I vowed not to open my laptop until it was time to blog. I didn't quite succeed in not checking my addictive little phone screens (even more dangerous now that I have a work phone and a personal phone), but I didn't open my laptop or do anything else screen-related. Instead, I tidied up the kitchen, read the copy of Romance Writers Report (the RWA monthly magazine) that showed up today (which I never read - I have a whole pile of them that I've been meaning to get through), and ate supper. I tried this new delivery startup, Munchery, which coordinates across a bunch of chefs to deliver tasty/local/organic meals, and it worked perfectly - food showed up as scheduled and was way better (and more meaty/gluten-free) than I can get with standard takeout. I thought the sauce on the dish I had tonight was a bit too salty, but I may think that because I have a feeling the Goog is trying to cut our salt intake and I'm probably less salt-acclimated than I was two months ago. But if I had cooked tonight, it would have been tuna salad instead of beef/potatoes/broccolini, and the meal only cost $13 (an abomination in Iowa, but cheap in SF), so I'm definitely going to use them again (maybe all the time).

Post munching, I spent a couple of quality hours nursing a cup of tea and thinking some more about Alex and Prudence - I made several pages of notes, and came up with some ridiculous theories and ideas that I'm sure will end up getting cut. I also considered my serialization idea that I came up with last night and am still debating whether anyone would read a serial and whether I can write it fast enough/good enough/funny enough to sustain it. Decisions, decisions. But spending some quiet time writing tonight rather than continuing to hunch over my keyboard was definitely a good idea, even if I'm still stressing over the story. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

mama said knock you out

After what was, in most respects, a fairly shitty weekend, I am suddenly in an excellent mood (perhaps even clothed in immense power, to quote my favorite movie trailer line from 'Lincoln', a film I never bothered to see). Not that there was any good reason why my weekend was shitty; I'm sure my red-wine hangover yesterday morning didn't help matters, since it destroyed my Saturday. But I was in a pretty foul mood for the past two days, and tried to avoid people so that I wouldn't get all snappish with them (a plan that mostly worked, unless you have to live with me). I think I was in a foul mood because I'm trying to plot out my writing goals and work goals and ALL THE GOALS for the next year and I can't quite do it because I don't quite know what my day job is and I also don't quite know whether my writing goals should continue as is (write a novel every nine months), or attempt to speed up (write a novel every six months), or go into overdrive (write a novel every six to nine months, plus some serialized stuff in between). And I can't decide the writing goals until I know the day job goals. And then I worry about becoming my old workaholic self, which only differed from my new workaholic self in that my new self was working for me and no one was paying for the health insurance necessary to deal with my workaholic-induced ulcers. Ha.

sssanyway, with all that uncertainty around goals, and with all my brooding over feeling trapped and settled and old, I was overdue for a couple of days of surly hermitville. However, I attempted to drag myself out of my surly mood today, and I walked down to Fort Mason to write for a couple of hours. I didn't write any fiction, but I did write several pages of notes about Prudence, and I felt like I made some real progress. Unfortunately, that progress led me straight to the realization that I need to do a lot of research for this story, so perhaps I need to spend the next month reading about the antiquities collecting world in Britain 1800-1820 (if any of you know of any resources on this, which I'm sure you don't, let me know). But writing made me feel better, and walking in the sun helped as well, so yay to that.

When I got home, I messed around with Photoshop some more (Prudence's cover is almost done!), then talked to the parents. Then I grabbed a burger down the street before coming home and talking to Terry for awhile, since I was in just enough of a better mood that I wouldn't inadvertently stab her in the face with my surliness. Then I came upstairs, messed around a bit more, and was struck with a sudden and blinding flash of insight about the whole Muses series...and so I spent an hour and a half brainstorming it. Let's just say that it involves serialization and Ferguson/Ellie's twin sisters...but I'm not going to say anything more than that because there's a good chance it won't happen because I may not be able to write the serial plan + Prudence's book in the next nine months (although I would love to try). Right now, though, I should probably sleep so that my subconscious can finally come out and scream at me that I need to focus on what I can do now, not add to my ridiculously Puritanical sense of guilt by piling more tasks on my to-do list that I can never accomplish. We all know the Puritan is going to win, but I can at least let my subconscious try to talk me into being a little more realistic. Goodnight!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

try to stay away but you can't forget

My Friday took a strange left turn, which I should have expected, but it somehow blindsided me. I worked from home today, which was glorious; saving three hours of bus time is always welcome, and since I had no meetings that required my physical presence, it was a good day to work from home. Of course, the bad part of this was that my complex shut of water for ~4hrs in the middle of the day, but it was still better to live sans water than it was to take the bus.

I was quite productive from home, if I do say so myself, but I cut out at five to meet Terry at a bar full of old people and watch the ISU/Kansas game. It did not end as I had hoped, and because it didn't end as I had hoped, I had a steak and three glasses of wine. Properly inebriated, I berated Terry over her bedding choices, then went over to John and Jess's, where they were having some people over for dinner and game-playing. I didn't partake of any of the dinner, since I was beyond full of steak, but I did partake of wine (of course). The game was 'The Resistance', which is like mafia, and it was quite fun even if people mostly weren't paying attention. Anthony and Dormain were there, as were Barbara and her boyfriend (I hadn't seen Barbara in years, but it was good to see her again), and Adit and Priyanka (and Priyanka's sister) showed up at some point. This was bad for me, since Adit knew I was a spy (aka mafia) both times, but luckily he left and I was able to pursue my nefarious schemes. I stayed over there until one, and when it became clear that I wasn't going to convince anyone to go to a bar (probably a good call), I came home.

And now I must sleep; I want to write tomorrow, since I'm itching to work on Alex and Prudence, but I don't know whether it will be some desultory brainstorming or an all-day write-fest at Stanford library. We shall see, we shall see. Goodnight!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

fallen empires

I'm kind of annoyed with myself that I'm not more interesting. That's of course not the real issue. The real issue is, perhaps, that I'm chafing against having commitments, even though I like having paychecks. And I'm feeling antsy about Alex and Prudence, even though it's unlikely that I would have started writing their story yet even if I didn't have a job. And I'm feeling antsy about my job, and wanting to accomplish all the millions of things I want to accomplish there, even though I know that ambition at work is inversely correlated to the amount of time I'll have to do my own thing.

I suppose that I'm feeling that vague sense of unease that I always feel when I suddenly feel like I've walked myself into a trap. Not that I'm trapped - and, if I'm trapped, I'm trapped in the most gilded of cages. But I'm committed to this job, and I'm committed to writing the next x books in this series, and I'm committed to my apartment because SF has gotten too expensive to move elsewhere. And all this commitment makes me want to blow everything up, chop off my hair, and go off the grid. But I won't, which I guess means that I'm growing up...which is another weight to add to the list of reasons why I want to blow everything up.

sssanyway. I worked all day, although it wasn't that brutal because I took my 8:30 meeting from home and then caught a 9:30 shuttle. I spent the day slogging, caught a 6:30pm shuttle, was home by 7:30, and had a burger and a glass of wine with Terry. Then I came home and was going to write in my journal, but instead redid the blue cover for the paperback version of MARQUESS, since I decided that using pink on the spine was too hard to read and I wanted to make it white (but had failed to save the correct version of Photoshop with editable text layers, so I had to recreate the whole thing). And now, I should sleep; I have to slog tomorrow, and I want to write this weekend, and I need to do all these things without going off the grid. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

i can't go for that, no, no can do

If I want to avoid having to run to catch the shuttle, as I did this morning, I need to go to bed immediately. This morning didn't really matter; I was trying to catch the 7:25, but could have just as easily waited for the 7:35 with no harm done. But I have a meeting tomorrow morning that I would like to make it to, and that requires catching one earlier than either of those...which, given how much I like to sleep and how much I hate to wake up, could be a challenge.

Anyway, I slogged all day today in a v. serious and dedicated fashion, although I took a break to have lunch with Can (and the walk to and from helped to clear my head, even if my moccasins aren't made for a lot of trudging after running to catch the shuttle in them). I caught an early-ish shuttle, but I worked all the way back and then had a conference call from eight to nine - it's almost like I'm up to my old tricks! But the rest of the week looks a little more forgiving, which is good since I have grand plans to write this weekend.

Now, though, I must sleep, and dream up a way to be wildly successful at both my day jobs while still having time to socialize and sleep and occasionally do some laundry. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

films about ghosts

I'm quite tired, but I can't tell whether it's a) daylight saving, b) residual post-bronchitis lethargy, c) stress from returning to the man, d) stress from publishing a book, e) the shuttle lifestyle, f) eating mostly low-carb, g) some combination of the above, which would actually be rather understandable, now that I've quantified it. I got ready with a lot of haste this morning, and managed to catch a shuttle thirty-five minutes after I got out of bed, which is a feat I don't want to repeat tomorrow. I got to work before nine, so I spent half an hour in a cafe eating breakfast and brainstorming Alex and Prudence - perhaps getting up early and writing before work (or at work, but before work hours) is the way to go. Of course, we've all heard me say I plan to get up early before and it never happens, but we shall see.

The rest of the day was a pretty brutal slog, with a break to have lunch with John. I left the office at 5:25 with plans to work on the shuttle, but the traffic was too stop-and-go to work without getting sick, and the guy in the seat beside me was annoying me, so I dozed off instead. When I got home, I had dinner with Terry; a steak and a glass of wine went a long way to cure what ails me. Then I came home, did the two work-related things that I really needed to get done tonight, and am going to pack it in right now so that I can get up at a decent hour tomorrow and get cracking again. Yes, I realize this post sounds like all the posts I used to write when I worked for the man. No, I don't want to hear it. Goodnight!

Monday, March 11, 2013

i dream i never know anyone at the party and i'm always the host

I had intended to go to bed an hour ago (yes, I realize that's the opposite of what usually happens during the transition to daylight saving time), but I ended up brainstorming Alex and Prudence for an hour, so I'll take it. I'm so far away from knowing how that book is going to turn out; Ellie was almost fully developed in my head before I started writing, and so it in some ways felt easy (even though it was not an easy book to write for a whole host of reasons). Then again, I just remembered that I had absolutely no clue at all about Nick's character, since he'd never been in any of the other books - at least Alex and Prudence have both been around for the last three books, so I have some vague slivers of character to go on. I'm trying not to freak out about this book and spend some time doing my due diligence on the plot, but as we all know, I'm not always good at being kind to myself and giving myself time to relax, so this plan is not going very well right now.

However, today was good; I made it into the office before nine, grabbed breakfast in an attempt to wake myself up, and slogged for several hours (with a break to have lunch with the team, yay). Then, I got an ergonomic evaluation, which seems like a silly thing to spend time on, but given that I'm so short, nothing ever fits the way it should. So, they're setting me up with a new desk chair, and the facilities people are going to lower my desk and install a keyboard tray, and it's all going to be smashing (and less strain-inducing for my shoulders). Since the ergonomics lab is in the same building where I catch my shuttle, I went straight home after that (carrying the keyboard and mouse they gave me, so it probably looked like I was making off with company property, but I'm taking it back in the morning). When I got here, it was still light out (lovely!), and I spent some quality time cleaning the kitchen before making eggs with peppers and chorizo for supper. Terry got home around then, so we hung out for a bit before I ran out to take care of an errand before bedtime.

And now that you're all caught up on the useless minutiae of my day, I should sleep. I made a list of everything I have to do tomorrow/this week, and it is daunting - but there's a lot more on the work list, which is actually a good thing since it means I'm getting ramped up and more engaged (or something). Goodnight!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

bittersweet symphony

This weekend has involved more hanging out than my last several weeks put together (unless you count Tahoe, I suppose, but since I got bronchitis directly after that I've sort of forgotten that lovely interlude). Today was almost entirely hanging out, which I didn't exactly anticipate, but I think I'm glad for my sanity that I just leaned in and seized the day (do you think Sheryl wants us to lean in to our social lives too?).

The day started with sleeping until almost eleven, which was v. necessary. Then, I did some desultory grooming, etc., and Terry and I went over to the general Dolores Park area to grab lunch at one of my favorite cafes before going to a birthday party. The cafe was great, and I definitely had a pang of missing my previously carefree cafe lifestyle (even if these cafes are ones I have to pay for, where the cafes I eat in now are all free and mostly excellent). Post-cafe, we went to the park for Dan's birthday party. It was, quite ridiculously, set up in the midst of Bear Fest (or some such named event). If you're not in the know (because you haven't lived in SF or you didn't spend six months getting paid to review porn ads), you can read more about bears on wikipedia - suffice it to say they have nothing to do with ursine mammals and everything to do with large, hairy gay men, many of whom seem to enjoy being shirtless and growing beards and occasionally wearing leather. Dan had apparently gotten there and staked out an area in the park well before the bears showed up, but they set up all around us in an effort to seize the territory, and we refused to leave, so there was a cautious, if frosty, standoff for the rest of the afternoon.

But the party was delightful, even if I did see some dude (not a bear) lying on the ground and peeing into the grass (luckily for him, he was peeing downhill, but I didn't appreciate the visual, particularly since I saw it right as I was calling my mother to tell her that I wasn't dead even though I hadn't called at my usual hour). We hung out for several hours drinking wine and scotch, and I made some new friends (shocking, I know), and it was a perfect day to be in the park. Terry left at some point, as did John and Jess, but I went back to Dan's house (two blocks away) and played Cards Against Humanity for a little bit.

Sadly, I had to bounce, and I made it over to Adit and Priyanka's in time to have dinner with them at Nopalito. Dinner was tasty, and the company was delightful, even if it did remind me that I had dream last night that I had gone to work at Facebook and was trying to find a sweatshirt in the FB onsite store so that I could fit in there. Heh. They were v. kind and drove me home, which was lovely since I would have had to take a cab instead, so my day ended on a v. lovely note. And now, properly rejuvenated by a weekend of extroversion, I'm going to return to my introversion and try to get massive amounts of stuff done this week - wish me luck. Goodnight!

it's all been a pack of lies

I'm too tired to blog coherently, and I wish I could have gone to bed hours ago, so bear with me. I spent most of today being moderately relaxed; I say 'moderately' because even though I sat on the couch to be relaxed, I spent most of that time looking up research books for Alex and Prudence's story, and writing a newsletter to my fans announcing that the first two books in the series are only sale for only $0.99 for a limited time. Yay!

Eventually, though, I had to stop pretending to be relaxing and get ready for a dinner party. So, I took a bubble bath (lovely - why don't I take them more than once every six months), dried my hair, put on some makeup, and drove to the hated east by to have a birthday dinner for Heather (aka dear respected madam). One of her friends through it, and it was totally lovely - the decorations were great, the decor was amazing, and the food was delicious. But it's also clear to me that I'm becoming more of an introvert as I age - I had a great time, but I'm definitely glad to be home. Goodnight!

Friday, March 08, 2013

your words are empty air

I'm super sleepy; while I was able to sleep later than I might have since I worked from home today, I still got up at eight, and that was about two hours earlier than I wanted to get up considering that I read two books last night. It also may not help that I had two drinks with Terry, but let's pretend that has nothing to do with it. I spent the day slogging, with a lunch break to grab some sustenance down the street since I no longer keep any food in the house. Sometime in mid/late afternoon, I ran out to get my brows waxed and my bangs trimmed, and then I came home and worked until fiveish. Then, I hung out with Terry; she got back from Austin/SXSW yesterday, so we had much to catch up on. We did so over dinner at the fish place down the street, which was as tasty and wonderful as always. And then, I came home, procrastinated for two hours, and am now going to go to sleep.

As for tomorrow, I should have made plans to get up early and go to my romance meeting, but I have decided firmly that the proper course of action is to sleep in, wallow in my freshly remade bed, ignore all other pretensions towards work, and either read a book or walk down to the water and brainstorm Alex and Prudence. I know, Alex and Prudence sound like work. But at this point, after a month of not really writing anything, it sounds rather glorious to struggle with a story again rather than spending ten hours messing around with Photoshop or taking care of marketing activities. Goodnight!

lose sight of the ground and you throw her out

I'm thoroughly wrecked...which I suppose it to be expected, since I worked a full eight-hour day and also read two full-length romance novels to finish judging this contest. Ha. The first one was terrible, and I got through in it approximately three hours (one hour on the shuttle and two hours at dinner, not caring who saw me reading a paranormal romance with a not-very-subtle cover). Post-dinner, I drove home, took about ten minutes off, and then read the second one straight through in approximately four hours. That one, I must say, was excellent - I definitely saved the best of my batch for last, which was good since I needed a superhuman effort to get through this without just throwing in the towel and going to sleep. But it's done and my scores are submitted, so I can go to bed with a clear conscience.

And now, to sleep. I have plans this weekend, one of which is my monthly romance writer meeting - but I find myself very loath to go, since it would require getting up at 7:30 a.m. (my enemy), and then either staying in Berkeley all day or driving home and then turning around to drive back for a birthday dinner Saturday night. I want to see my romance buddies, but then again, it would be nice to curl up with a book that I'm not required to judge, or do some scribbling on the gargoyles or Alex and Prudence, or hit up Sephora for some palliative cosmetics, or really anything that isn't officially on either my out-of-control work to-do list or my out-of-control personal to-do list. Decisions, decisions. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

it's the song that burns

Today was quite busy; I had to be at work by nine for a meeting (the horror), and then I slogged hard and fast so that I could skip out at 11:45 to see my CPA. Sadly, I thought I had to leave at 11:45, when really I was supposed to be there at 11:45 - but I realized it on the way out the door and called ahead, so she ordered my entree for me so that we wouldn't have to wait during the lunch rush. Also luckily, I'm only ten minutes away, so I wasn't that late, but it was still embarrassing. Then I went back to the office and totally overloaded on sugar; I haven't been eating much sugary stuff recently, but I made the ill-advised choice of getting an earl grey milk tea from Verde since I hadn't had one in forever, and then someone on the team was celebrating something and there were amazing cupcakes from Kara's Cupcakes - and the girl who picked them up got me a gluten-free one, which was impossible to resist even though I think all that sugar gave me a smashing headache afterward.

So, I slogged the rest of the afternoon, grabbed an early shuttle, and made it home in under an hour - it's a new record. Once home, I took out the trash, did some delicate-cycle laundry, took care of tings, made myself an open-faced sandwich (which sounds so much more classy than just saying I had tuna salad with Miracle Whip on toast), and read a romance novel for the contest I'm judging. I'm supposed to be done tomorrow and I still have two books left, so I'm not sure how that will happen - but at least one of the two is definitely a stinker, given the first two chapters that I've already read, so I plan to skim it on the way to work tomorrow and see whether it manages to suck me in or whether my initial assessment is correct. If I manage to stick to that plan, I can read the other tomorrow night and be done with it. I'm slowly reaching the tail end of this crazy book-launch period, so I'm hoping that with some quality mix of work and relaxation this weekend I can emerge on the other side slightly saner and more ready to focus on the next phase of all my projects. Yay, I guess. Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

like the future was supposed to be

I need to go to bed right away if I'm going to make it to work as early as I'd like to tomorrow. Today was good, though, even if I did spend every non-work/non-social moment reconciling receipts. I went to work (and did receipts all the way in), slogged quickly and efficiently all day so that I could take a break and have a nice old-school lunch with people who were at the Goog ten years ago (!), and left a little before six to have dinner with Heather (aka dear respected madam). Then, I came home, thought about going to bed immediately, and instead virtuously finished processing all my receipts. I really need to start doing a better job with receipts than just dumping them in a file (or labeling them 'taxes' in one of my five email accounts). But that's a task for another day - right now, I need to sleep. Goodnight!

Monday, March 04, 2013

i was born under a wandering star

Sorry (not sorry) for not blogging last night - I hit the wall really hard, and I couldn't bear the idea of opening my laptop. Yesterday was lovely, up to a point; I woke up after only six hours of sleep to have brunch with Lauren (aka Subz) and Terry at a place near Lauren's house. The food was delish (I had an open omelette with pulled pork and salsa), and the company even moreso, but the wait was quite long (although we were able to fortify ourselves with lattes from down the street). After brunch, I came home, did a couple of hours of work, took Terry to the airport, came home and called my parents, and then hit the wall. I'm so sick of staring at screens and troubleshooting technical issues and slogging through an endless to-do list, and it doesn't help that those descriptions apply to both my writing and zee day job right now. So, I took last night off. And that means I stared at the wall, took a nap, watched an hour and a half of nothing and more nothing on YouTube (on my phone - I was too lazy to find my laptop or one of my other five devices), and then went to be.

But I also spent an hour or so daydreaming of gargoyles - I got all my old gargoyle notebooks out and read through some notes, since that book is purely fun and entertainment right now, not something I must do. I spent some more time brainstorming today, and on the way home from work I read part of 'Plague: A Very Short Introduction' (yes, this is my idea of a break). Work itself was good; I got a lot of sleep last night, worked from home for a couple of hours, and then drove down in time for lunch so that I could have my car down there this week, which is a system that seems to work well for me. I left the office around six, got home around seven, made some tuna salad (so glamorous), tried to procrastinate for a bit, and then sorted three months' worth of mail and started organizing my receipts for my taxes. Boo. At least I watched some "Project Runway" while working on that inglorious task. Now, though, I'm going to go to bed rather than slog - I'm trying to be a bit more even-keeled this week so that I don't reach the weekend reeling in a state of utter exhaustion. Goodnight!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

how many times can i break til i shatter

I stayed up way, way too late, but I suppose that was to be expected given how much I wanted to get done today. I woke up sometime after nine, showered, dressed up in something relatively cute (in an effort to remember that I had work to do), and ate some leftover steak from last night's dinner. Then, I slogged for eight hours to create the print version of Marquess. Needless to say, this task was mindnumbingly tedious. I took a break sometime to run to the store and grab some gluten free bread so that I could make peanut butter toast, and cream so that I could make coffee (and I seemed to have perfected the French press, after reading a couple of articles that strongly recommended weighing the beans and going for a precise bean:water ratio - this was the best coffee I've made at home, even if I don't have an expensive burr grinder like they say I need). But the day was divided between creating the interior of the book in InDesign (which is not as simple as just copying and pasting from word, if you want everything to look great and you don't want to have page numbers on pages with chapter headings, etc.), and creating the cover image in Photoshop (my cover designer gave me a significant discount because I said I would do the fonts myself, but this meant I also had to figure out how to do the spine).

In some ways, my strong self-confidence in my ability to figure out anything is a curse; it makes me too likely to sign up for stuff, such as saying that I could do the back cover design when I barely know Photoshop. But I think it turned out okay - we'll find out when I get the proof in a couple of days. Then, I created another stupid cover for the book, based on the original red cover that my first cover artist did, so that a few staunch supporters of the original cover can get a covert copy of that book to match the first two, even though they're going to have to break the habit at some point since there will not be a matching cover for Prudence and Alex. But even though that other cover was designed already, the back cover copy changed significantly enough that I had to do a hacking type fix on the jpg (where hacking implies usage of an ax, not l33t programming skillz).

Needless to say, by 6:30 I was just as bored with myself as you are now. But I got all the files uploaded to CreateSpace, so that was a major task off my plate. Next up is redoing the print covers for Heiress and Scotsmen so everything matches and no one buys the old covers in the future...but that's a task that can wait until I see the proof for Marquess and know whether I created a gem or a travesty.

At 6:30, though, I threw in the towel, and Terry and I walked down to Chestnut Street (home of the biggest scene in this neighborhood) to grab dinner. I suggested Delarosa, so we put our names in there, were told it would be forty-five minutes, and decided to grab wine down the street while we waited. But we were only halfway through our first glasses (including an awesome zinfandel for me, since zin continues to have a moment with me) when Delarosa called and said our table was ready. Crazy. So we went back, had inferior second glasses of wine, but had excellent food - we split the eggplant burrata, the polenta, the meatballs, and an awesome pork dish. We'd also ordered a salad, but that was clearly too much, and they boxed it for us without either of us ever touching it. I also broke down and had some bread, which was amazingly good - not sure whether it was good because it was truly good or because I can't remember the last time I had real bread, but either way, it was worth the punishment I have surely earned. When we got home, I immediately abandoned Terry and read another book for the contest I'm judging - it was better than any I've read so far, by one of the authors I used to read pretty regularly, but I always thought her plots were kind of slow and this one was way slow for the number of pages she used. Still, at least I enjoyed it. And now I must go to bed - with the print book out of the way, I can devote all of tomorrow to another fun topic (organizing a year's worth of receipts for my taxes). Goodnight!

Friday, March 01, 2013

roll a new love over

Today was long, but lovely. I was definitely dragging this morning; I had intended to catch the 7:15 shuttle, but ended up on the 7:35 shuttle, sans caffeine because I forgot to set up my teamaker last night. But traffic was great, and I looked respectable since I wore a v. Frenchish nautical-like skirt and top, and I blow-dried my hair, which has been increasingly rare. So, I rolled into the office at 8:45, grabbed breakfast, and slogged all day, with a nice break to have lunch with Heather (aka dear respected madam), Alaska Matt, his wife Alaska Kia, and their baby (Cali Ollie? not sure if he qualifies as Alaskan, despite his birthright). I also paused to have a v. long argument with someone about ebook discovery - not an important argument, since we were discussing hypotheticals, but one that riled me up nonetheless, since I like to get riled up about nonsense. Sadly, while my passion and industry expertise are high, my patience and new-hire credibility are low, so I'm going to have to keep engaging in this delicate balancing act between stating my opinions and biting my tongue until I've earned some respect and can unleash the beast (may God have mercy on their souls).

sssanyway, I left work shortly after five and made my slow, treacherous journey across the surface streets of the peninsula to meet up for dinner with Terry and her family in Palo Alto. Her parents are in town to see a student production of 'Othello' that her youngest brother is directing at Stanford, and since she and her other brother were going with them to see the play, they invited me to join them. I firmly and unwaveringly declined to see the play, but I joined them for dinner, which was lovely (both for the company and for the ribeye). Then, I drove home, checked my email, ignored my email as per usual, and read one of the books that I needed to judge this weekend. Verdict: decent characters and kept me engaged, but the writing was fairly poor and the conflict was underdeveloped to the point of being nonsensical. But I finished it and half-enjoyed it, so it wasn't a bad way to spend a few hours.

Now, though, I must sleep - I must do all the things this weekend, but I think ten hours of sleep is necessary first. Goodnight!