On the night watch

30 June 2010

I ran across a quote a few days ago that was so fitting, at least for me, that I knew I’d have to share it.

Last Saturday, while my supermodel wife Nina was meeting with her CMT support group, I took the kids over to the Sacramento Central Library.  We had thought about the zoo, but it was pretty hot and we didn’t really want to be outside for three hours in it, so we pushed that idea back to the fall CMT meeting in September.  Besides, libraries are a fun place for me and my daughter, and were for my son too before he got sick (maybe still are, but his reactions are harder to read these days).

So we went into downtown Sac, found a handicapped parking space on the street (we have the little blue placard, as Nina and Sean both qualify), and headed in.  We went down to the Kids’ Place and Charlotte got to exploring, while I sat down with Sean and a stack of books I’d wanted to read but the Stockton libraries don’t have.  And it was in one of them that I found the quote.

It comes from a story called “The Perseids” by science-fiction author Robert Charles Wilson.  The context is that late at night, a man is being asked by his new girlfriend about his divorce, and he tells her how his ex-wife had “said I was never there … that I wasn’t completely engaged”.  Here’s the payoff:

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A spot o’ fanfic for ye …

30 June 2010

Just a quick post here … I didn’t have an entry up yesterday (Tues 29 Jun), as I was working on another piece of writing.  With the release of Iron Man 2 last month (which was excellent — four stars, Ray sez check it out), I’d decided to start a new fanfic story, one that takes place after the movie’s conclusion.  (If you aren’t familiar with the whole “fanfic” concept, click here for details.)

Knowing my tendency to put things off, I set myself a deadline — I wanted the prologue done by June 30.  Well, I managed it with one day to spare … and here it is: Chapter One of the soon-to-be-classic epic (giggle) “Hearts and Souls.” I plan to post one chapter a month until it’s finished (sometime next summer at that rate), but I might get a wild hair and do it faster.  Either way, enjoy!

The only downside is that struggling with the format of “Hearts and Souls” kept me busy until about 11 p.m. yesterday, so there was no time to also do a blog entry.  Sorry ’bout that.  But I will have an honest-to-goodness blog post — besides this one — up today before midnight.  My promise to you.  Watch this space …

The joy of a shared experience

28 June 2010

My wife Nina (aka the Supermodel) had a fun time Saturday.

How she had a fun time … well, that was different from what you might expect.  She didn’t lounge all day in bed or spend it at a day spa.  She didn’t go shopping.  She didn’t hit the local 36-flavors ice cream parlor and eat herself into a sugar coma.  She didn’t spend a single cent, unless you count grabbing dinner at a burger joint (and I ran my ATM card for that).  She didn’t do any of the typical “fun” things that middle-class (or lower) Americans do when they want to have fun.

Nope, Nina went to a support group.

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Dr. Strangedraft, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Geoff Petrie

27 June 2010

(Blogger’s note: my apologies for my absence since Thursday, but I was felled by a combination of busyness, tiredness and temperature — Stockton just got hit with its first heat wave of the year.  That’s why I’m finishing this around 10:45 p.m.  What follows is what would’ve been Friday’s column; my planned entry for Saturday will go up Monday, and since I didn’t have a plan for after that, I’ll just get back to winging it.  Enjoy!)

To be a sports fan is to be a second-guesser.

Rocky Bridges, a longtime minor-league baseball manager, once said that “there are three things the average man thinks he can do better than anybody else — build a fire, run a hotel, and manage a baseball team.”  He’s more or less right.  When a team loses (or sometimes even when they win), there is no shortage of people who can explain in (excruciating) detail what the manager/coach should have done differently.  Every time a trade is made or a free agent signed or an amateur player drafted, those same backbenchers are there to question the particular team executive’s judgment, horse sense, math skills and/or eyesight.  It’s the nature of the game, as much as hand-eye coordination or overpriced beer.

So it’s no surprise that, in the days after Thursday’s National Basketball Association draft, folks hereabouts are commenting, not always positively, about the Sacramento Kings’ selections of center/forward DeMarcus Cousins and center Hassan Whiteside.  As have I.  The only difference with me is that I’m pretty sure it is I, not Kings general manager Geoff Petrie, who’s in the wrong.

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World Cupdate

24 June 2010

(Blogger’s note: if you don’t like sports, you’ll want to skip today’s entry – as well as tomorrow’s , when I’ll be talking about the NBA draft.  Fair warning.)

A few random thoughts on the ongoing World Cup, on the day after the greatest “whew, that was close!” goal in the history of United States soccer:

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Not Always Right … but strangely familiar

23 June 2010

Sometimes I’ll be just tootling along, minding my own business … and come across something that makes me cringe.  Such was the case a few days ago.

It was Sunday afternoon, I was relaxing in the office at Chez Anselmeau, and decided I wanted to read something humorous.  There’s a website called Not Always Right that features transcripts of actual conversations between customers and service workers in various establishments — restaurants, stores, call centers, what have you.  The transcripts are submitted by the service workers, and consist of the dumb, unreasonable, uncomprehending or just plain loopy things customers have said and/or done.  (Thus the title — because in these cases, the old bromide “the customer is always right” has been clearly demonstrated to be false.)  I’ve worked in a variety of customer service positions in my time, and I have always been of the firm belief that a patron’s request should be accommodated within reason (much to the chagrin of some of my bosses, who didn’t really consider the point of “customer service” to be serving the customer), but there are limits, and sometimes said patron tries to cross them.  Anyway, I find it fun to read accounts of customers who are even more difficult, strange or clueless than some of the ones I used to deal with.

So I was having a good ol’ time reading the stories at Not Always Right … until I got to one in particular that wiped the smile off my face.

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Equal time with Charlotte

22 June 2010

Most of the time, when people talk about a serious illness, they don’t talk about the collateral damage.  I don’t mean the other physical problems that being sick can create, aside from the immediate symptoms.  I mean the way being sick affects everybody around the sick person.  The stress, the worries, the changed dynamic of relationships — you get the picture.

Well, if you read this space, you know about collateral damage — for a while, it seemed like it was the only thing I was writing about.  Sean first came down with Leigh’s disease almost eleven months ago, and to say it’s changed our lives would be an understatement.  Even as he makes his slow recovery, we’re having to make a constant series of adjustments to assist it, to keep our family together and healthy, and to not lose our minds.  Nina (aka the Supermodel) and I are adults, though — we can sack up and deal with it.

Our daughter Charlotte, however, is not an adult.  In fact, she turns 9 in a couple of weeks.  And it’s hardly been all Skittles and root beer for her.  which is why today was so important.

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