Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's the weather?

Because I don't like the U.S. covers, and because the U.S. version isn't out yet, and because the U.S. version will have all its fascinating, semi-incomprehensible slang edited into bland Americanisms, and because I have the British version of the first two books, I ordered Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch from Amazon UK. It's surprisingly inexpensive, even with shipping. The book arrived today and I've been reading for a few pleasant hours.

The book's set in mid-December in London, with an unusual amount of snow. And I've been lying on the bed reading in a summer-weight nightgown--thin cotton, sleeveless, short--with the air conditioner going. I did turn off the overhead fan because my feet were cold.

So between reading a book set in bitterly cold weather and lying around the air conditioning in not enough clothes, I somehow got the impression that it's cold out. So when I put the book down to take a break and stretch my legs, I thought, "Oh, I'll take a brisk walk."

So I pulled on some clothes and opened the front door. And I was INCINERATED ALIVE by a WALL OF FLAMES. Or at least I started to sweat instantly as hot air rolled in. Because it's 95 degrees out and about 100% humidity*.

I think I will take a walk much later tonight after it's dark. Until then, I have a lovely book to read.

*Actually 91 degrees and 51% humidity, which the Weather Channel says gives a heat index of 97. So it's not that hot. But it's not snow, either.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bathroom Makeover!

The one thing I like about LJ, from back when I used it, is that LJ allows you to put a bunch of pictures behind a cut so people who don't want to have to load 50 photos don't have to. But if you are reading this, IT'S TOO LATE and your browser is churning along trying to download a lot of pix of my boring bathroom. Sorry about that.

I forgot to take before pictures, but here's a photo that shows you the ugly light fixture that was in there before, the weird shade of brown on the wainscotting*, and the struggle I had getting all the wallpaper and glue off the walls.

This project has taken me weeks. Once I got the wallpaper off, it took me hours to get all the glue off too. I got it done, though. I was motivated. I wanted the bathroom to look fantastic. And it does now, because BEHOLD the after picture:

To get it this way, I had to put about 400 coats of paint on every flat surface. I ended up going back in last night and repainting the wainscotting* a different shade of white, because the shade I chose before actually looked gray.

I also repainted a little blue table that's been in one bathroom or another in various family members' homes for probably my entire life. It was dark blue and now it matches the aqua color on the walls:

And here it is actually in the bathroom. (Yes, I know I that drawer is messed up. Just don't look.)

The bathroom is probably cleaner than it has ever been, even right after the house was built. I still need to scrub the floor, but everything else is sparkling. And I am exhausted. Because look at the mess in this picture and realize that that was the first of three separate painting events. Also, you can't see that the tub was still full of gummy, snot-like pieces of glue I'd scraped off the wall and hadn't cleaned up yet.

Here are a few more pictures of the glory that is my clean, fresh bathroom.

 I love love love that shower curtain. This is my scrubbed-out bathtub. No glue snots left. Oh, the former shower curtain was rust-red and gold. It is now in a landfill.

The new light fixture casts interesting patterns on the walls because of the faceted shades I picked. I like it. Incidentally, I installed the toilet paper holder myself. I am handy that way.

Oh, and the final picture is me, originally taking a picture of the light fixture but it looks like I was trying to determine some setting on the camera. This one's not very flattering, either to me (my hair needs brushing, for one thing) or the reflected living room, which looks like a disaster zone (the rest of the house has had no love since I've been working on the bathroom). But I never post pix of me so this is what you get.

*I'm not sure I have that word right. It looks funny.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Awesome things

Look at this, I'm posting twice in one day.

I have a guest post about publishing with small presses up at Rob Haines' blog. Really, what else is there to say about that except that it is awesome?

Also, Cate Gardner's story "The Mechanical Heart of Him" is today's Daily Science Fiction story, so if you sign up really fast before the day's over you may get it mailed to you. If not, I believe it will be up on the site pretty soon. The story is also awesome.

I have to work tomorrow, which is not awesome, but I have Friday off instead and my sister-in-law and nephews are in town so I can see them Friday. That is definitely awesome.

The Grouch turns in her Hugo ballot

When I bought my Chicon World SF convention ticket almost two years ago, I was excited about being able to vote for the Hugo awards. I thought carefully about who I wanted to nominate this spring, and waited eagerly to see if any of my choices made it onto the ballot.

They didn't. Alas. And yes, if you read the original version of this post you'll remember a different paragraph here, but I decided I was being way, way too snarky and changed it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't forget to enter!

Just a quick reminder that my Goodreads giveaway for a print copy of Evil Outfitters, Ltd. ends tonight. (Actually, I think it ends at like three in the morning or something, but you definitely should enter now.)

I am almost done with the bathroom painting. It looks fabulous! I even have the new light fixture in there, courtesy of my aunt and uncle who came over Sunday. But I'm not happy with the shade of white I used to paint the wainscotting, so I'm going to repaint with a warmer shade on Thursday. Then I'll post lots of pictures!

I'm also writing--not Wharf Rat, although that's next, but Adventures of Zoology. BY GUM I WILL FINISH IT THIS TIME.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wallpaper blues

The nasty, ugly wallpaper in the master bath finally made me snap. This weekend I've been tearing it down.

I've done this before, and it's a big job even in a small room. I hate wallpaper. This stuff seems to have been put up using superglue; I've gotten all the paper off, but there's still chunks and blops of glue remaining. I even got a solvent to remove it...and the solvent doesn't work. So I plan to damn well paint over the glue. It's a bathroom. No one's going to notice.

I'm going to have to paint the wainscotting too. It's currently a weird shade of brown, and the paint under the olive green wallpaper is...olive green. I like light colored rooms, especially for small rooms and especially for bathrooms where dark colors make me think the room is probably dirty. I'm going to paint the wainscotting plain, clean white. The upper parts of the walls I'll probably paint a very pale shade of aqua.Once all that's done, I get to pick out new towels and a new shower curtain, which is the fun part.

But before I can paint the walls aqua, I need to remove the current--hideous--light fixture above the mirror. It's rust-colored because it's purposefully rusted to look rustic (rusty rustic). It's also fluffy with dust. I hate this light fixture more than anything else in the universe. Once I've got it removed, I can go back to hating racism and war, but right now all I can think about is the light fixture.

I even bought a new light fixture already, a clean, elegant chrome one with white shades. And I was going to remove the old one today, but when I tried to figure out which breaker controlled the master bath so I wouldn't electrocute myself, I discovered that apparently the master bath is controlled by some switch in another town. So I will have to get my good and deserving aunt to take a look at it next time she's over. She's a good handyman and can probably rewire lamps with her mind powers alone. She'll also understand my white-hot need to get that light fixture replaced.

So this is what I do in between books. I have managed to find time to outline Wharf Rat this weekend too, though. I'll probably start writing it as soon as I can get that light fixture removed.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

My house today (not a great picture, in retrospect; I should have cropped the road out). I remembered to put out the flag! And if you look closely, you'll see that there's a pot of red-white-and-blue petunias on the porch:

I have tried for years to explain to people who didn't grow up in my town what a big deal the Fourth of July is here. Only about 1,400 people live in my town, so we're not exactly big, but we do July 4 right. The street between the commons and the middle school's big front field is closed to cars, and the street is lined with booths: church bake sales (my favorite), various local groups trying to drum up support or interest, a small library book sale, games for kids, etc. There's music and a dog trick show and footraces. But wait, here's a picture I took this morning:

I walked down with all the cash and change I could scrounge from my purse, the car, and the couch cushions. I hit the St. Francis Episcopal Church bake sale first--that's the church where I grew up, so I had to go there first--and bought a whole lot of cookies and some home-baked white bread. Then I went to the St. Joseph Catholic Church bake sale and discovered my favorite, zucchini bread! With CARROTS! So I bought a big loaf of that as well as some brownies and a zucchini chocolate cake--seriously decadent except that it's zucchini and zucchini is good for me, right? Once I got all that, I was down to a few quarters and nickels, so I went across the street to the book sale and spent fifty cents on two paperbacks.

View of the action from across the commons. My house is just a few minutes' walk behind me from where I'm standing.

And...then I went home. Because when I was a kid, I knew everyone and everything was fun, but now most of the people I see are strangers and the ones I do know stop me and say, "I'm so sorry to hear about your mother" in that deeply throbbing sort of voice that makes me want to scream, and it just got too depressing to stay.

The zucchini bread and cake are dry. St. Francis wins the bake-off this year. Picture of my loot (and my hideous stove that's not very clean either):

Monday, July 2, 2012

I am a headache

I have a ferocious headache, one second away from deserving the name migraine, so I will just chunk these updates out and then go to bed.

The bird, alas, is dead. I didn't think he would survive; the fact that he lived two weeks still amazes me. I wish he'd died before I spent all that money on the big cage. Then again, once I get the cage disinfected, I may just get a couple of pet finches. My brother and I had zebra finches when we were little. They were boring but cute pets.

It has been quite hot lately.

I finished writing Shadow Trail yesterday! It's about 53,000 words long and I've already done one quick revision pass. There's a lot to be said for writing to a strict (if malleable) outline. The pacing in this one is excellent, if I do say so myself, although I will probably tinker with the ending to make it more exciting. Next I'm going to outline Wharf Rat, the project I started in May. I'm more likely to finish books that I've outlined, and I'm more likely to finish them faster and better. So outlining it is for the next few projects.

Happy late Canada Day and early Fourth of July. I'm going to bed.