Tag: reading

Definitely sick

I was on the verge of fever dreams last night, and have not felt great since I woke up this morning. I took some Advil and that has helped some, but it’s my throat that is bugging me most of all. Scratchy, and not quite sore, unless I sneeze–in which case it really hurts. I don’t know what it could be–perhaps a subclinical case of the flu, perhaps just a cold of some kind.

It’s kept me at a pretty low energy level so far today. I’ve spent most of the morning on the couch reading Foundation’s Triumph. I’m going to try and get some writing done today, more work on “The Graveyard Shift”.

The weather is unusually warm today, with the high reaching up into the 60s, although rain is expected a little later this afternoon.

Zeke threw up this morning for the first time in months, but it seemed as though it didn’t phase him at all. Within minutes of throwing up, he was back at his food dish, eating away–a far cry from where he was this time last year.

Foundation’s Triumph

I am in the middle of reading Foundation’s Triumph by David Brin. It is the last of the Second Foundation Trilogy and the last of the FOUNDATION series of books to be written. I have re-read all of the other books in the last month or so and now I am into this one.

What’s unusual about this is that I remember almost nothing about this book, except the very end. The very end of the book was so remarkable that it stayed with me in complete detail. But it seems to have done so at the expense of every other detail of the book. This is very unusual for me–at the very least, I usually remember the plot, but in this case–nothing.

I last read the book at the end of April 1999 which is nearly 7 years ago. So I went back to my diary entries of that time and looked to see if I said anything about the book specifically. With the exception of noting how much I enjoyed the ending of the book, the only other comment I made was back on April 28, 1999:

About 150 pages through Foundation’s Triumph. It’s very philosophical and got me thinking quite a bit.

Well, I have no idea why I wrote that. What did it have me thinking about? How was it philosophical? Currently, I’m only about 85 pages through the book so perhaps I have a way to go before I find out answers to these questions. But I think it’s very strange that I can’t remember even the slightest detail. I don’t know why this bothers me, but it does. It’s a very eerie feeling to read a book that you know you’ve read before, but for which you have just about no memory whatsoever, save for the last two pages of the story.

Sick day

I stayed home from work today because I got almost no sleep last night. It was one of those nights where I just tossed and turned and no matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t sleep. The harder I tried, the less it seemed I would sleep. I finally dozed off somewhere around 5:00 AM and my alarm was set to go off an hour later. I woke up, bleary-eyed at about 5:45 and decided to stay home from work in order to catch up on sleep. I would have been no good in the office anyway. I ended up sleeping in pretty late for me–until almost 10 AM.

Got the February SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today and that made me feel guilty–as I am now ever further behind than I was before. I also got my gas bill, a record for the month–peaking at just over $240. But, my house is warm and comfortable so I really can’t complain.

I finished Foundation and Chaos early this afternoon and it was super. I forgot nearly everything about that book and it was a great read. I’m just about to start on the last of the FOUNDATION books, Foundation’s Triumph, by David Brin. The ending of that book makes reading the entire series–the 7 original books and the three later books–all worth while.

Latest issue of F&SF

I got the March 2006 issue of F&SF today. I’m so far behind it’s not funny. I’m six months behind on SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, let alone any of the science fiction magazines I get. I always do a quick browse of the contents to see if there are any stories that look immediately interested, or any authors whom I particularly enjoy, In this issue, there is a David Gerrold story, “Thirteen O’Clock,” which looks interesting. I’ll try and get to it sooner rather than later.

Speaking of magazines, do publishers send out renewals at the beginning of the year, even if your subscription is not up yet? Do they do this because it’s a new year? I’ve gotten renewal notices for four magazines recently. And most of my subscriptions are not close to ending. Well, I’ll worry about re-upping next week.

One of those non-stop days…

I realized that it was one of those non-stop days today when it glanced at the time and it was 2 PM and I hadn’t even thought about eating lunch yet. I spent the morning hip-deep in code, trying to make something work with SQL triggers that has no business working, and yet I managed to convince it otherwise. Then I sat through a great 10 minute meeting. Problem is the meeting went on for another twenty minutes.

By the time I got back to my office, I had heard back form a vendor I am working with to schedule some training, and so I then spent several hours trying to obtain conference rooms for 4 days of training at the end of the month. Meetings are out of control. I had to beg and borrow in order to convince people to shift meetings around so that I could get conference rooms for four consecutive days. And not even the same rooms! Do all companies have these problems when it comes to conference rooms? Do we really need all these meetings? I’m reminded of something I once heard on KNX radio in L.A.:

A meeting is a place where minutes are taken and hours are lost.

It just seems as thought there is something wrong with the world when the time it takes to schedule a meeting exceeds the time of the meeting itself.

Somehow, I was then bombarded by email and it seemed like every message demanded an immediate response. I counted (come on, let’s face it, you know me by now) and in a two and a half hour span, I sent or replied to something like forty email messages. Productive work slipped away. I wrote one line of code, answered two email messages, wrote another line of code, answered three more email messages.

But I finally made it out the door. Switching trains on Mount Vernon Square, the Green Line that game by had an “isolated” car (that means that the car was closed, you had to use other). What this really means is that it was a crowded train by Washington Metro standards. In the 3-1/2 years I’ve been taking the metro, I’ve ridden on trains with isolated cars three times; two of those time have been in the last month.

I was finally able to relax when I got home. I finished up Foundation’s Fear and will start on Foundation and Choas tomorrow. Spoke to Mom, Dad and Doug on the phone this evening.

No need to pack a lunch tomorrow; I’m having lunch with A.J.

Best of all: tomorrow is my “Friday”. I’m heading up to Albany this weekend (a 4-day weekend for me) to see Eric and Ryane and so I took Friday off.

Now, going to watch a Sopranos episode and then off to bed.

Fragmented weekend

This has been one of those fragmented weekends where I am trying to do three different things and not doing any of them very well.

I’ve been watching episodes of The Sopranos. I’ve seen all of them more than once already, but for some reason, felt the urge to watch them all again. Perhaps because season six is schduled to start up in March. In any event, I’ve spent a number of hours watching Soprano’s episodes this weekend.

I’ve been trying to get some writing done on “The Graveyard Shift”. I did a pretty good job of that yesterday, but I also felt like I would do more this morning. Instead, I watched a couple of episodes of The Sopranos.

I’m also trying to finish up Foundation’s Fear. I’ve managed to get halfway through it, but I would have been a lot farther along if my time hadn’t been so fragmented this weekend.

Add to that the fact that I’ve been tweaking style sheets for my reading list website (certain styles are driving me batty!) and have not done any of the house-related chores I set out to do, and you get an idea of the kind of weekend this has been.

On the plus side, I did come up with another pretty good story idea, which means I’ve got four solid ones, if you count the one I’m working on now.

Anyway, that’s how my fragmented weekend is going.

Revamped reading website is online!

Well, the newly revised reading website is done and is finally available online. Most of the functionality is there now, but some will have to wait for next week. This is the second day in a row that I spent more than 12 hours coding to try and get it completed and at this point I’m pretty burnt out. I’d rather spend the rest of my long weekend reading or writing (to say nothing of cleaning up the house a bit).

It’s 2:15 AM now, however, and I’m off to bed.

New Year’s 2006

Another new year! I caught the Times Square action on ABC last night, just as the ball was falling. I didn’t see Dick Clark at all, but he was narrating. It was clear that the stroke he had affected his speech to a minor extent. I only stayed tuned in for a few minutes. I then made a few phone calls to wish people a Happy New Year.

Now that 2005 is over, I can say that it was officially my most travelled year thus far. I flew 45,900 miles on United in 2005, which means I was a mere 4,100 miles short of reaching Premier Executive status. I also managed to pass the 200,000 miles flown lifetime on United.

I had set a goal one year ago today to try and do more writing. I wanted to attempt to write 100,000 words for the year. That’s about 400 words per workday, or maybe 15 short stories for the whole year. I didn’t even come close. I wrote 2 new stories 2 new stories, totalling perhaps 10,000 words. I made 9 submissions this year and, of course, had 9 rejections. (Among those 9 rejections, however, was a near miss from Sheila Williams at ASIMOVS.)

I read 35 books this year, totalling 5.3 million words. 2005 closes out 10 full years of tracking what I read. Today begins the first day of the 11th year and for the first time I can now ask, “what was I reading 10 years ago today?” and get an answer. As it happens, 2006 is also 10 years that I’ve been keeping my diary (although the real anniversary isn’t until April 6).

The company softball team had a better record this year than last year. We went 3-7, but those three wins came at the end of the season. I think we’re going to do even better next year.

I was supposed to buy a house in 2005, but decided to wait one more year. That means that 2006 is the year of the house hunt.

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions and don’t plan on starting now. But I really would like to make more of an effort at writing this year than I did last year. I think I have 2 or 3 strong story ideas and so it’s just a matter of sitting down and writing (always easier said than done).

More progress on the reading list site

I probably spent 16 hours yesterday working on the backend code for my revised reading website. I continued working on it today, and my goal is to have the new site on panix by the end of the day today. I’ve got just about all of the back end coding done. A few minor things left and then, I need to finish writing the code to generate the static pages. Beyond that, just minor stuff. But I’m pretty happy with it at this point.

Last minute productivity

It always seems to be a race to the end of the year. I’ve been feeling pretty lazy these last couple weeks but today I started knocking things off the old mental to-do list. I sent out a slew of “thank you” notes for various gifts I received for the holidays (is it me, or is the sending of a thank you note becoming a dying art?). I also finally got around to renewing my season tickets to the Orioles for 2006. It’s the same seats we’ve had the past 2 years, and the same price too for the 13 Sunday games. This year, however, 3 of those 13 games are against the Yankees, which means I’ll get to see them more than I normally do in a regular season.

I’m halfway though Forward the Foundation but should finish it tonight. That will complete my 4th reading of the entire original FOUNDATION books (although the last time was back in 1998). More on that later.

Jen heads back up to New York this afternoon on the Vamoose so the house will once again be quiet. My plan is to finish up my book, finish writing the remaining code for the new reading list site, and get started on a new short story.

Maybe I’ll even get the house cleaned up in between.

Getting ready for the new year

Lots of things to do, and I feel like I’m running in six different directions at once: trying to get my newly revised reading website up and running by January 1. Trying to complete Forward the Foundation before the end of the year. Trying to get this blog squared away so that I can make better use of it in the coming year. Trying to decide how to get started on two new stories (ideas come easy, getting started is always the hard part for me). Time’s running out. The new year is just around the corner…