Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Getting Ready

I'm heading back up to Seattle for a nice long 4th of July weekend! I'm very excited because it feels like forever since I've been home. Probably because last time I was in Seattle I didn't stay at home, but instead went out to one of the San Juan Islands for the weekend. I'll be very happy to be in my house with my girl. Sounds nice.

The past week has been good. Work has gone well and my work for Green Ronin has been super-exciting because I'm finally getting to see the DC Adventures book in near-final form. There's been a ton of editing, proofing, and busy work, but wow, it's so great to see it all come together. These will be some of the best books we've ever produced and I'll definitely be proud of them.

Since Jim's been gone I've been walking to work pretty much every day. I think I've accepted rides from work twice, maybe three times in the last three weeks(?). That's pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I'm sure it's been good for me and although there were a few days there when my legs were threatening to get shin splints, I managed to head them off and everything's been fine since.

This Friday is the last day at the company for Aaron, one of my co-workers on the current project. He's an amazingly good guy and incredibly talented. I'm a bit sad to see him go, but I know it's a great opportunity for him.

Okay, time to relax a bit before bed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Organization Weekend

This was my first weekend all by my lonesome now that Jim's gone and it was pretty productive.

I spent a lot of the weekend working on things for Green Roning; proofing, emailing, writing up and sending out contracts, writing up some characters, keeping up with posts on the M&M forum, and I'm sure there was some other stuff in there as well.

I also swapped my queen-size bed for the single in Jim's old room. While I like the larger size, it just took up too much space in my room. Saturday afternoon I took apart the big bed, moved it next door, and then did the same thing for the smaller bed. Now I have a lot of extra room. I even moved the big, white chair Jim left behind into my room. That's going to be super nice to have. Previously I had to either sit on my bed or on the very hard, very uncomfortable wooden chair I use while at the computer. I may break it in tonight by watching a movie or playing a game on the Xbox.

I talked to Mom and Dad today, so I was able to wish Dad a happy father's day in person. That was nice. I'd really like to be able to get home more frequently, but money and vacation time conspire against me.

Only a week and a half before I get to fly home for the long 4th of July weekend! I can't wait to see my girl!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Search Continues

With Jim gone, my landlady had me put up an information sheet at work to find a new renter for his room. We'll see how that goes. I think it'll be a little while before the room is claimed again simply because she's headed out of town for work soon and won't have time to get serious about the search until she returns.

Work is good. I finished up a pretty interesting section today and I was pretty impressed with how it turned out -- which means it turned out exactly like I'd conceived of it. I also had my review at work this week and that was favorable. They're very happy with the quality of the work I do and everything else was good, too, so I'm happy about that.

At home I've been working like a crazy person on the DC game for Green Ronin. Lots of emails to answer and take care of along with editing and organizing. I enjoy it, though, so that's good. It's also been a lot of fun to see people's reactions to the previews we've been posting on the Green Ronin Website. There's always a naysayer or two, but the preponderance of comments have been really positive. I like that. Oh, and I was interviewed on a podcast today, in case you're interested.

I got a call from the doctor today about an ultrasound I had last week on my liver. Turns out I need to take better care of myself and lose some weight. Man, I wish it were that easy. The one thing I know will be good about the situation I'm in right now is that with Jim gone I'll be walking a lot more. Even more than when I first moved here (because he would often pick me up and drop me off from work and now that's not an option). Of the four days so far this week I've walked about 11 miles and tomorrow I'll tack on another 3.5. That should certainly help burn some calories.

Now it's time to read and relax.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gone, Buddy, Gone

I'm a bit sad. When I returned from work tonight, Jim was gone. He got an offer from a company down in Austin, Texas for a new job, so he flew his family out on Sunday, had some fun with them yesterday, and loaded them and all of his things in a rented van. They're somewhere between here and Missouri right now. I think his goal was to make it to Reno tonight.

It's definitely a bummer to not have him around and I'm sure I'll have quite a bit more time to myself because of it. I'll also be getting a lot more exercise as I walk to and from work every day. That's definitely going to be good for me.

I'm going to move my big bed into his old room and take his smaller bed for my room. That way I'll have more space in my room, which would be nice. The new bed is a single, but I think that'll be fine. I'll see how it goes once I make the swap.

Work is fine and after hours I'm spending a lot of time on the DC comics project for Green Ronin. I don't remember if I actually mentioned that here earlier, but we announced it a while ago. It's a big deal and it's a lot of work for me.

I'm going to go busy myself with it now.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Weekend Away

Not this weekend, but last weekend (that is, Memorial Day weekend) I traveled back to Seattle. I left Thursday night -- and for the first time the plane was delayed -- and came back Tuesday morning, so it was a nice, long stay.

A couple months earlier, Julia's parents quizzed us kids about how interested we'd be in a weekend away as a group and we all said that sounded good, so her dad rented a house on Decatur Island. It's in the Puget Sound and is one of the San Juan Islands.

Friday morning we headed to her parents' house, transferred all the things from our car to theirs, and drove the hour-and-a-half to Anacortes where we loaded our gear and ourselves onto a small "personal" ferry. This ferry was pretty cool (I thought), except I see on their site that they call it a water taxi. Anyway, the front end is flat and they can lower it to bring on supplies, bikes, people, whatever -- sort of like the Army's personnel carriers that you see in films about landing at Normandy. The ride took about 30 minutes, maybe more, as we dropped off a couple of people, picked up a couple more, then landed at our dock at around 4:30, I'd guess. We quickly unloaded our stuff, and wow, did we bring a lot of stuff! It wasn't much fun unloading it and it was especially not fun to then have to carry it up to the house -- even though there was a cart to help us out.

Julia's sister and brother-in-law were coming later in the evening, but we'd brought their two kids with us (Jason and Madison), so as we moved everything up to the house, Julia kept the kids from underfoot and checked out the house. When we all made it inside we were very impressed! Initially it was a bit cold, but we lit some fires and it warmed up quite well. The layout was fun, too. There was a loft over the front porch, a loft over the entry area, a full bedroom upstairs, another full bedroom underneath that, and "the honeymoon suite" just off the living room. Julia and I were in the honeymoon suite.

The house was equipped with a computer, Internet access, a TV with Dish or some kind of service, but we only used it to watch some movies we'd brought along. Jason, it turns out is a big super-hero fan, so loved watching the Spider-Man movie and some Spider-Man cartoons.

A couple hours after we arrived, Matt and Sara were dropped off on the pier by the same people who brought us. They'd already eaten and we were in the middle of the first of many tasty meals. I think it was spaghetti that first night.

Saturday we walked and/or rode bikes up to the farmers' market a couple of miles away. On the way there we passed by the single general store on the island -- closed for the weekend due to a death in the family, so it was a good thing we brought everything we needed. The farmers' market itself was literally nine tables set up underneath a big lean-to. The people were selling baked goods, jam, plants, homemade oil candles, and a handful of other things. I think we all picked up something or other, but again, it was a good thing we brought everything we needed.

The one thing that really amazed me, that I learned later Saturday afternoon, was that the tide was so significant on the island, and the bottom of the Sound was such a gradual slope, that for a good six hours toward the center of the day the water retreated out to a good 40 feet past the end or our roughly 40 foot-long dock! That was pretty remarkable. To go from standing at the end of the pier and being about eight feet from the bottom at one time of day, to being able to step off the pier onto the muddy floor of the Sound a few hours later.

We took advantage of the retreating water on Sunday when we went to dig up clams. We grabbed some shovels and buckets and wearing our boots, we dug into the mud to find them. It wasn't hard, because like you've heard, they spit water out of the holes they're hiding in when they retract their "foot." With a bit of digging we found maybe a half-dozen decent-sized clams and threw them in buckets. I found a really, really disgusting-looking sea-centipede about an inch-thick and maybe two feet long. Creeped me out, quite honestly. I think Julia found a hermit crab, but I don't think they saved that. I started walking out into the water a little ways and pretty quickly stumbled upon two nice-sized grabs (the yummy kind!) and Julia's dad told me to bring them to shore, so, using the shovel, I scooped them up and carried them in.

Crabs are very aggressive.

Even as I was carrying them they were fighting the big, nasty shovel and even raised their claws at me when I'd "threaten" them with my boot. Anyway, once they were on shore we flipped them over and Julia's dad was able to identify the males from the females (females have a wider triangular-shaped section on their underbodies than the males. It's pretty obvious when you compare them.) After we found those two -- oh, we let the female go, the other was a male, so we kept him -- we found five or six other crabs hiding in the small seaweed beds, three of which were males, so we kept those, too. We took our catches back to the house and Julia's dad set about getting the gear together to cook them all. He found a crab pot in the house, a propane can, and a cooking unit to hook up to the gas.

So, yeah, we cooked up the crabs and ate them with our steak dinners. They were good.

I should mention that most nights we all sat up and played Catchphrase or a weird hybrid of Catchphrase and Charades, which was a lot of fun and often had us in stitches. The mornings were often taken up with working on puzzles. I think Julia put together four of them with help from the others. Afternoons were reserved for reading; my favorite part of the day!

Monday pretty much consisted of packing up to leave and then a long drive home. Since the water taxi couldn't get to us until the water was high enough, we didn't leave until 6:00pm, then stopped for pizza dinner, and headed home. Julia and I didn't make it to bed until 11:00 and we had to be up at 5:00 to get me to the airport for the trip back to California. I was very tired that day.

And that was our fun weekend away! Now, I am tired and am going to bed before 11:00. Good for me!

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I officially have the flu. I felt okay this morning except for a slight headache, then it expanded to include dizziness, soreness, a worse headache, and then once I got home, chills alternating with sweats. I am unhappy.

It sounds like a couple of the guys at work were feeling similarly and so is Julia, so it looks like I'm the common factor there.

I can't think very well right now, but I wanted to post something here. I owe a big update about last weekend up in the Seattle area. Julia and I and her whole family went out to Decatur Island for the long weekend. It was nice and it deserves to be written about when I'm a bit more clear-headed.

Nothing worse than the flu in hot weather. Ugh.