Charles Pillsbury III

Geek. Dad. Writer?

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Archive for April, 2006

BlogZot 2.0

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I’ve linked to them before, and I think mentioned as well, but MacZot is doing another Blogzot where the price of a piece of software is inversely proportional to how many times it gets mentioned in blogs.  So I’m doing my part to share a site I love ( http://www.maczot.com/ ), and hopefully drop the price a smidge for those who want to buy it.  AND if enough people mention it, they will be giving away the copies for free.  As great as MacZot is, this also takes some help from some cool software companies who are willing to cut their price a bit to get some press and word of mouth out there, this time SubEthaEdit from CodingMonkeys being given away as part of BLOGZOT 2.0 on MacZOT.com.  Between them, MacZOT and TheCodingMonkeys will award $105,000 in Mac software as part of this promo.

 

I’ve gotten a couple of little pieces of software from Maczot before and the experience has always been great (I’m especially enjoying the power nap software pzizz), so if you’re a Mac head go check them out for a cool “Deal a day” on Mac software  (like http://www.woot.com/ does for gadgets).  This highlights how interesting the Mac world is right now with its piles of Open Source software from the Linux/Unix/Gnu world, amazing commercial apps from Apple, Adobe, etc, and some fantastic little applications from small time software developers.

 

CharlesP

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April 25th, 2006 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Misc

Reading, Writing, and Sleep Deprivation

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In reverse order… we’ll start with the Sleep Deprivation. 

Sam has now been having visits with Mrs Margaret (his occupational therapist) for a couple of weeks now.  We’ve been doing the brushy thing with him, and joint compressions, and calming baths.  But, of course, things are in a “getting worse before they get better” phase with Sam’s OCD tendancies (diagnosed as Sensory Integration Disorder now).  Most nights have now gone to me going straight to bed with Sam because otherwise he is up every 5-10 minutes from midnight till 7AM.  As it is he’s only lightly sleeping and if I get up (like I tried to do last night to go pick up Grace and give Alicia a break from screaming fuss-face baby) he springs to life and hunts me down wherever I may be in the house.  Hopefully, the treatments will start connecting those nerves and he’ll get better at self-soothing.

Writing.  I’ve been doing a year of writing challenge over at www.wordtrip.com trying to keep up writing 6 days a week.  I’d love to get up to a thousand words a day, but right now I’m just hitting the minimum 350 or so.  I’ve been working on two different stories (one sci-fi, one adventure-esque) and mulling a third over in my head.  I’ve not made great progress in either of them yet, especially as I’ve restarted each of them at least once so far.  BUT I am getting some writing done this year and that’s a start.  I’m hoping to finish one or the other as a short story soon so I can start trying to sell it (along with one or two others I had already finished the last couple of years).  My goal is just to progress along the writing path and get some shorts sold while I work up which story I want to make a novel. 

 In related writing news, Wordtrip has made it onto the Writer’s Digest top 101 Websites for writers list for the third year in a row.  Oh, and I’m also signed up for the OSC Writing Class this summer.

Lastly…Reading:  Most people reading this know that I’m an avid reader, and the last 3-5 years or so I’ve been hitting around 80-120 books a year.  My latest round of books has been a wide mix of writing books (particularly enjoyed Kate Wilhelm’s book on Clarion Writer’s Workshop, and the current “Four Noble Truths” book), non-fiction (trying to finish Guns, Germs and Steel, and also a couple books on Sam’s Sensory Integration Disorder, throw in a biography on CS Lewis and some spiritual books here ant there), and of course a huge pile of novels. 

I just finished reading Swan Song by Robert McCammon which was from the mid 1980s and it was an amusing trip back to the feel of the 80s when we all worried (at least a little) that the US and USSR would blow the whole dang world up.  It was good, but not my favorite, and at almost a thousand pages I certainly wouldn’t be re-reading it… ever. 

I also read Rose by Martin Cruz Smith, and enjoyed it greatly.  It wasn’t as good as his other books I’ve read (I’ve enjoyed his Renko mysteries, but really liked his Gypsy in Amber and Canto for a Gypsy), but it was still very well done.  I think my problem with it was mostly that I didn’t have a good feel for what the mystery was, or why it was important anyway, right off the bat.  But Smith does a great job of developing his flawed investigators and Rose was no exception.

My audiobook for the last couple of weeks (after the enjoyable but disturbing latest Robert B Parker book, Sea Change) has been Kate Wilhelm’s Malice Prepense.  The characters weren’t anything like it, but the basic story structure felt like an episode of Law and Orer.  The first half of the book involved the layout of the mystery (murders) and the investigation of said mystery.  The back half of the book was a smattering of trial (defense) and further investigation to help the trial efforts.  Well written, good characters overall (a couple felt a smidge cookie cutter, but they didn’t drag the whole thing down).  Again I was amused by some of the “dated” things like the 1995 era computer items (Floppy disks and Dot Matrix printers especially), but they didn’t make it seem so old you couldn’t enjoy the story (though I guess it could be said that a younger reader who had never encountered a dot matrix printer might have some confusion there).  I’d certainly recommend it, easily as enjoyable as any Grisham I’ve read (though I’ll admit it’s been a few years since I’ve read him, but I know liked it more than I liked A Time to Kill).

Currently reading Greenwitch (part of the Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper) as a reprieve from the bulk of Swan Song.  Going to start listening to Animal Farm and then Lolita as my audiobook selections for the next few weeks.  Laying off the fiction reading for a while after Greenwitch and focusing on finishing Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Out of Sync Child, The Narnian, Four Noble Truths, and Case for a Creator next.

As most of this gets updated over at Wordtrip.com on my reading and writing blogs I probably won’t post as much of it here, but thought I’d update for those who don’t frequent over there.

 

 

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April 18th, 2006 at 5:22 pm

Posted in Blog Entry

Tic Tac D’oh!

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Samism: First Week of April 2006

Alicia’s Mom had given Sam a Tic Tac for something or other last time she saw him and left the container of them in our van. Sometime this past week when Alicia was buckling Sam into the car seat he asked if he could have one. They were sitting in his cup holder apparently and Alicia said she’d give him one in just a minute. He calmed down and let her buckle him and get on the road. She realized a couple seconds later that she’d forgotten to give him one, but he was being so good and quiet that she didn’t want to say anything and get him talking again and wake up his sister or get him upset because she couldn’t reach back and hand him one while driving.

Cut to the arrival. Alicia gets out and opens the back door where Sam is sitting in his car seat with an empty (and crushed like a beer can) tic tac container in his lap.

Alicia: “Sammy! did you eat all those Tic Tacs?!?!”

Sam: “No!” (and he points to the floor) “I frew DAT one on the ground!” (big grin)

He realized if he talked while she was driving she might look back and bust him for eating the whole container. Then he realized that he STILL might get it for eating the whole container so he dropped one on the floor so it was out of temptations way so he could be SURE to not eat ALL of them.

I love that kid.

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April 8th, 2006 at 11:10 pm

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Snakes on a plane… err… in a box

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Well, last week Jake lost Gold, the first of the snakes he got for christmas.  Yesterday he got to hold Streeky before he left town for a couple of days and this morning before I went to work I found him dead beside the water bowl.  Jake was heartbroken when one of them died and now #2 is gone.  I’m going to clean out the cage and all tonight and tomorrow and hopefully we can figure out what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again with replacement snakes. 

 

FYI: The snakes were sold as “Indonesian Garters” but from what I can find they were actually Stripped Keelbacks.

 

Picture of Gold

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April 4th, 2006 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Blog Entry