Tag Archives: New Yorker

The Good Place

There’s this comedy TV show called The Good Place that’s about this woman who dies and ends up in the Good Place when it seems that she should have ended up in the Bad Place. We’re already through a couple of season but I’m not going to spoil the story.

This season there was a bit where a character from the Bad Place is strategizing things that could be bad and one of them is this room where the New Yorker keeps coming and piling up, no matter how fast you read you can’t catch up.

My love/hate relationship with the New Yorker continues. Way more love than hate. More like love/exasperation.

Right now I’m powering through the summer double issue as fast as I can so I can go a whole week with no New Yorker. The double issues have this thing where they put short pieces in the middle of longer pieces.

I just realized that I cannot skip around in a magazine. I have to read from cover to cover. So when the article is interrupted I have to stop and read whatever is next and finish that before I go back to the first article. Yesterday I was reading a story that I wanted to finish but then it was interrupted.

“Just skip over and come back to this,” I told myself.

But I could not do it. I had to read the stuff out of order. Why does my brain work this way?

Last month was drier than normal and I was not on my watering game so I think my berries suffered a bit for it. One of the blue berries looks kinda sad, too.

The book is still there and still waking me up at night and still inching closer to completion. Backwards on the wordcount again.(GAH!)

67476 / 75000 words. 90% done!

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We’re at 98% of a Flimsy First Draft

My goal was to have a first draft by the end of the month and I’m mostly there. I’m still working on it. I have a series of about five scenes that are more framework than actual draft and I am still filling those out so this is even skinnier than I would normally refer to as a first draft but I need a win so I’m giving it to myself.

I have almost two full months to get ready for first readers and I am going to need it. I struggle with all of these books in different ways which is exasperating. I want to have figured this out.

In other news, I nuked my Instagram account. This article helped me decide because this is my experience. People are posting fewer photos and more stories and often the stories are too long and I HATE that herky-jerky thing — I don’t need to know what it’s called. Also the ads are creepy — I will talk about something, like say, pizza, and then a pizza ad pops up in my timeline. We were talking about the opioid crisis at the office and then a drug ad showed up in my timeline. Creepy.

I still have a Twitter account and I reluctantly log in about 5 minutes or less a day, except Timbers games, when I spend a lot of time logged in because I like being with people sharing my joy or my pain, depending on what the team is doing.

A fig tree’s first spring leaves. There will be lots of photos of Percy.

A couple of miscellaneous notes:

New Yorker story about heirloom beans. I love everything about beans: stories about heirloom beans and other people who like beans, cooking beans, eating beans, pictures of beans, bean recipes, the bean store. I make lots of different kinds but generally we’re perfectly happy with pinto beans.

Neighbor report: woke me up again last night. *sigh*

I don’t know what’s going on with my word count meter. It was gone and then it came back and last time I checked it was gone again. Here’s a different one:

66254 / 75000 words. 88%

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Beg-A-Thon Week #3 Progress Report

This week I did just over 11,000 words. I remain on target for my goals.

From here on out it makes no sense to measure by word count. I need to tidy up about 24K per week to get the draft to the beta readers by July 28th.

Now that I look at it like that, it seems impossible. Oh well. I’ll do my best.

So I wrote a complete (not pretty) draft since starting on May 20th. That’s pretty incredible. I’ve always considered myself to be a slow writer.

I had a fairly substantial outline to work from but I need to remember not to let myself get too gummed up at the beginning because I figure out a lot of stuff as I go along.

One of the things that makes this possible, like I said before, is letting everything else slide. This is agonizing for me but when you want one thing you have to sacrifice something else. Bob is out of school so he picks up more of the chores. I also (oh so painful) gave up about 90% of my reading time. I had time to power skim the New Yorker and that was it. I used my time on the bus to work out the next bits I wanted to write.

So if my outline says “woman discovers she’s really an alien.” Then while I’m on the bus I’ll write notes about how she figures out her craving for raw meat and the strange appendages she has growing out from behind her knees aren’t normal so she goes to the science library to do research but realizes she’s being followed by a purple Cadillac…

And so on like that so when I sit at the computer I’m ready to roll.

I try to preserve my back and neck and wrists by regular breaks.

I do any number of these things:

Shoulder Stretches with a belt.

Wrist and forearm work (This is a class preview. It might sound technical but watch the demo. These are great.)

Foundation training back exercises. I am generally the type to be put off by branded exercise systems but I’ve been doing the basic exercises regularly as part of my recovery from the back debacle of 2015 and I think it’s helped a lot.

Those are my secrets to writing a whole bunch in a short time. Although to be honest I’m not as confident in this manuscript as I was in the last one.

Thanks again to all my terrific sponsors. My report showed over $10K in donations already. Not for me but for the whole thing.

It’s not to late to donate.

This is what the tomatoes are doing. I’m going to put the cages up this afternoon. I did a half-assed job of throwing them out there and have ignored them ever since so probably not going to be a big tomato year. (Again.)

A couple more links.

I’m not a big pork eater but I’ve been anxious to try out a new recipe and this Cuban Roast Pork caught my eye. Right now the house smells amazing.

For a huge portion of my career I worked with the Metlakatla Indian Community in SE Alaska. This is a terrific article and photo essay about basketball in the Community.

That’s this week’s update.

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His and Her Reading Styles

We started subscribing to the New Yorker again a couple of years ago. I was always wary about it because a new issue arrives every week. You have to keep up or they bury you fast. Then it becomes a chore.

But I learned that the New Yorker is perfect for reading on the bus. My habit is to start the previous week’s issue on Monday and usually by Tuesday on the way home I can finish.

If I get behind, I skim. If I don’t like an article, I skip to the next one. No saving anything for later.

When I’m done I give them to Bob. This is his stack. In June he had a stack this big that he was aggravated about. He asked me if there was anything good he shouldn’t miss, as if I could remember. Now I put a Post-In on the cover if I think there’s an article he would like. He leaves it as a chore.

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Pizza Factory

I usually wear my clothes more than once before washing. One weekend after my sweetheart had done about 4 giants loads that ended up being his clothes he came and asked me why I never had any dirty clothes.

And the answer is, I do. But not nearly the volume that he has. Plus most of my work clothes are dry clean.

This morning I put on this shirt and it smelled like it spent the night in a pizza factory. I haven’t been to a pizza factory nor have I made pizza or anything that smells like pizza. So this shirt has an exciting life of its own.

I can’t remember if I wrote about updating my operating system over the holiday. I still hadn’t finished educating myself from updating my operating system during the 2013 holiday. I’m not clear why we need to update things so often. If I could link to a New Yorker cartoon, I would link to the one that says: “Oh great. More innovative variations on things.”

Once I finished the book that guided me through the upgrade, I moved to my “using your new operating system” book and when I looked at the page that told me all the new things it could do I said: why would I want to do that?

Text from my computer? Start an email on one device and move seamlessly to finishing it on another device? (I typo’d that as “seemlessly.” There’s a joke in there somewhere.) When I’m searching my desktop I can get results from the web. wuh?

I like the tabs in the finder window. I’m only on page 14 of a 77 page book so there may be other things I like.

Progress on the Project of Forever:

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He Gets Me

This is my other story about subscribing to the New Yorker. In the back of the magazine there are cute little interesting ads. Sometimes you can’t even tell what the ad is about. I like to check the URLs to see what they are.

There was one ad for buying original art. Oh, I like original art.

I got to the website and there was a button you could click for art work under $25,000. I realized I was not the target audience.

Later I was telling Bob this about this and I told him they had art in a style that we’d seen before in museums.

“You know,” I said, “It’s called … um … it’s called … The Boat Painters.”

He keeled over laughing because (a) he knew exactly what I was talking about and (b) it’s called The Hudson River School.

(If you haven’t heard the story there was another time when I was telling him I’d heard something about a band he liked. I said, “It’s called something something big world.” It was actually called Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. But he knew what I meant.)

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Evolve or Die

This was my first daffodil although I’ve got a few more since I took this photo. I had to crouch down and I was in a hurry so it’s not a great shot.

WHEW! I didn’t win the billboard contest.

I have a whole bunch of stuff to post about (trip to Seattle, Timbers game) but I haven’t had time to prepare the accompanying photos so this is a quick space-filler post.

I know I always bitch and moan about how much stuff I have sitting around, waiting to be read but I’m always on the lookout for something good to read.

At one point we got the New Yorker and I loved it, except that it comes every week and I have to go through the whole thing. Either it took up most of my weekly reading time OR it piled up and caused me anxiety about how it piled up. I’m sure there are numerous posts about that in the archives.

I was reading the fiction online until recently it seemed like whatever I wanted to read was locked up. Then I thought, I want to support publishing, maybe I can get a subscription so I can just read stuff online.

Bikes, Downtown Portland near library.

You cannot. You can only get a print subscription and when you do it online you are signed up for automatic renewal unless you notify them two months ahead of time that you don’t want to renew. Also you get a stupid free bag. Anyone out there in need of another free bag? Our coat tree is almost collapsing under the weight of all the free bags we have at the office. I won’t even get started on all the free bags we have at home.

How hard is it to come up with an electronic subscription option?

Maybe I already have a free one with my library card. I’ll have to check on that.

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No Books on A Plane

dahlias dahlias
dahlias dahlias
I might be disappointed in the tomatoes but at least the dahlias look great.

Yesterday I wanted to pay a bill using funds from a savings account. Since I couldn’t write a check, I took a wad of cash and then drove to the credit union to pay the bill.

They asked me for ID.

I understand the need for security in banking matters, but I can’t imagine why I’d need to show ID to pay a bill with cash. Is there a lot of this going on fraudulently? And if so, is anyone complaining?

Another thing that happened yesterday is Kim called. She couldn’t believe she couldn’t take a book on a plane. Magazines are apparently okay. “I’m fine with no liquids. I’m fine with no knitting needles. But I can’t take a book?” She couldn’t bear the thought of killing time flipping through a soul-depleting issue of Vogue or US Weekly or whatever.

After we’d visited a bit, I suggested taking a New Yorker. What a great magazine that I never read anymore because, dammit, it comes every week and I want to read more books. She agreed this was a excellent idea and was ready to go off to a good newsstand to see what other treasures she could find.

I just bought a pile of books for my summer trip. I already have a huge stack of books on the shelf that have been passed on to me and they are mostly big heavy book club type books. It’s August. I don’t feel like reading The Kite Runner or The Known World right now. I got books with magic, witches and time travel.

I still had one more book in my YA pile from the library and I dutifully picked it up. It’s called An Acquaintance with Darkness and sounded like it might be spooky. “Abraham Lincoln,” I said, after I read the first page. “Who cares?” (Something with a girl in the civil war.) I set it down and picked up one of the new ones. “I want to read about time travel.”

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Catch Up day

New Yorker – Finished at Last
We got our last New Yorker on our subscription over the weekend. I was only one behind at that point but I sat down and plowed through both issues and now I’m done. No renewal for us, I like the magazine but it’s too much — I’m going to read some books for a change.

After troubleshooting my pie crust for the past couple of months I think I figured out part of my problem. One of my foolproof pie tips said to be careful not to use too much water. So all this time I’ve been adding the most skimpy amounts of water. This last pie I put the entire amount the recipe called for. I didn’t even add a tablespoon at a time, I just poured it all in and hey, what do you know. The crust actually held together. I guess it was a little tough. But at least it went into the pie plate without a struggle.

Just because a restaurant has been around for a long time and lots of people go there doesn’t mean it is good. Case in point: The Holland. This was a restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we’ve been there for breakfast a couple of times, usually because it’s a convenient place to meet the in-laws if there are relatives in town. I never liked it. I’m completely challenged when it comes to breakfast foods I will eat so I was pretty much limited to the oatmeal and even that was icky. Last time I was there it had obviously been sitting under the lamp: nice skin on top. I mean, come on, how hard is it to serve an edible bowl of oatmeal? But my reasons for not liking it go beyond that and now that I’m sitting here typing this I can’t even articulate them.

We drove by there a week or two ago and the Holland was closed and I didn’t feel sorry. There was an article in the paper and Bob saw it and asked why they closed it and I just said, “Because it was a bad restaurant.” I didn’t even read the article.

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