Granted, it’s early, but Halloween is off to a quiet start.  Hopefully, we’ll break last year’s record of six kids!  I’m already eyeing that bag of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Regardless, the day is off to a splendidly scarific start.  Apparently, Akemi threw a scare into poor Lawren, startling the hell out of him when he came home this afternoon.  She claims she’d heard him fiddling with the lock and was simply opening the door for him.  He insists she was waiting for him, standing there like Sadako from The Ring.  Awesome.  I heard him yell from upstairs in my bedroom.

Well, hmmm.  The fantasy novel is off to a slow start.  I set aside two hours today to writing and got all of a page done – approximately 500 words – that I’m going to have to rewrite tomorrow.  At this rate, I figure it’ll take me a couple of years to actually complete it.  I suppose it should come as no surprise given that my one and only foray into prose fiction, the short story “Downfall” for the Lou Anders edited superhero-themed anthology Masked, took me approximately nine months to write.  Still, I’ll persevere

About halfway through the many, many books I’m going to have to read in thoroughly researching this period piece I’d like to write.  I feel like I’m back in university.

Also reading for pleasure.  About halfway through The Secret History by Dona Tartt, a terrific novel gifted me by Rob’s wife, Hilary.  It’s a change of pace before I move on to the second book in the Belgariad series.  I really enjoyed the first book, Pawn of Prophecy.  An engaging adventure, interesting characters, and a wonderful sense of humor.  Finally, a fantasy series that has won me over.  It’s been a while!

Dogs pics!  It’s been a while…

See, this is why I have such a hard time being prolific. It's tough getting any writing done with a dog on your lap.
Lulu spooked out.
Maximus is almost back to his old self. A little lazier than his old lazy self, but that may just be the tramidol.
Bubba oblivious to the food on his face.
Jelly enjoys a stumble-about in the leaves.

Bubba soaks up the sun.
Lulu also enjoys the sun, squeezing in between the couch and the window so she can check out the outside happenings.
A post spa Jelly.
A rare shot of all four of them together, in this instant squeezed into the lone sunny spot in the room.
Post-spa Bubba ready for Halloween.
Lulu dares you to take her toy away. Go on. Try and take it.
Bubba turns in for the night.
Maximus turns in. Since his diagnosis, he prefers to sleep with a towel tucked under his chin.
But, since returning to Vancouver, Maximus has seemed much happier. And hungrier!
Maximus out and about.

A cozy Bubba.

Those mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are looking pretty good right about now…

41 thoughts on “October 31, 2011: Hmmm. This could take a while…

  1. Well, we had a record for us. No trick-or-treaters. It’s been awhile since that’s happened. Hubby and boys are watching RAW while I’m on the Internet.
    Loved the dog pictures!!!

    Have a good night!!!

  2. The dogs are all adorable, but the post-spa pics of Bubba and Jelly are priceless. What faces! Happy Halloween, Joe, enjoy the candy! 🙂

  3. We shut off the lights and lock ourselves in, Halloween scrooges that we are! 😀

    Love the puppy pictures, and glad to see Maximus is hanging in there! My two kitties aren’t doing so good – old lady Marbles is still struggling with just being old (loss of muscle mass, bad joints, recurring bladder infection, etc), and Big Girl Kitty seems to have her digestive problem back, coupled with vomiting up blood (which she has done before – it’s rather gross). She may have cancer, or it may be something else (she has an inflammatory disorder that causes ulcerations). Needless to say, I’m facing the hard fact that I might have to put them both down soon. Not a happy prospect, but I also don’t want them suffering needlessly.

    So, Lawren is still living with you? heh – it’s the son you never had! All grown up and still living with ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. Please tell me he’s living in the basement…that would just make the picture complete! 😀

    Also, the leaf picture? I totally thought your yard was covered in Pringles. 😛

    Have a good night, sir!


  4. Happy Halloween. We had a fair turnout of trick-or-treaters this year. But I overestimated and got too much candy. Again.

    Thanks for the puppy pics!

  5. Thanks for the dog pictures. Lulu is the cutest thing! (They are all cute!) Why don’t you give Lulu a shot at that novel. Looks like she has some ideas, if you would just get out of the way…

    I did not turn on the porch light and told my beagle “no barking!’. So had no trick or treaters. They were out there, but just keep moving.

    @ Tam Dixon – would you like to share your recipe for your Huggy Beans. I love baked beans and could use a hug! 🙂

  6. Period research – I just finished To the Ends of the Earth by William Golding. 750 pages, and I only understood about 2/3 of it, without a diagram of the ship and a manual on sailing ships of the early 1800s. I read the book because I watched the BBC mini-series and didn’t understand some of it, so I thought the book would help. It did, and it didn’t. I still don’t understand the bit about the hot iron and the mast, or how vegetable oil helps calm the waves at sea. Anybody? I did enjoy them both, though. If I could find a study guide, I’d read it again!

  7. Welcome to the world of being a novelist, demanding pets and all. Usually once you’ve got the story rolling, the writing moves more quickly, but it can be slow while you’re getting it started. For me, it’s slow going if I haven’t picked quite the right spot to start it. Don’t forget that if you’re not enjoying the story yourself, it doesn’t matter how cool the idea is, it’s not going to go anywhere.

  8. We have had precisely 6 less treaters than you in oh… 15 yrs? Big hill top, few houses. I don’t blame them, I quit decorating about 13 yrs ago. some day.

    Love the dog pics. You want them all together? Get a space heater for them to huddle around. 🙂

  9. Glad to hear you enjoyed Pawn of Prophecy. I’ve read it and the rest at least 3 times..I think. The 5 books in this series I think stand out among his (or should I say their work as his wife has always helped and later got co-author credit on the his later books) but I’ve read all his/their work. Sad to hear they have both passed.

    Your attempts at writing reminded me of a recently read interview of one of my favorite SciFi authors L. E Modesitt Jr. and his description of his writing habits. From the interview:
    “I simply write pretty much on the same schedule every day when I’m not traveling. The alarm goes off at 6:00 AM. After fixing and eating breakfast, I walk/run/jog some 2 ½ miles with the crazy Aussie-Saluki, then come back and shower, dress in my writing uniform—black Wranglers, boots, collared long-sleeved shirt, and vest (yes, summer and winter, but the summer vests are lighter). I go down to the office, sit down in front of the computer and check email, then set to work. Except for walking the dogs, eating lunch, and necessary errands, I write until at least seven at night and often until ten. Saturdays and Sundays I write a little less, but still average 6-7 hours a day. Part of this is enabled because my wife works a similar schedule, and the children have long since left the house.”

    Whole thing is here:

    The guy is a machine if you ask me. But when you write books in the 700-800 page range I guess you have to keep at it.

  10. I really liked the Eddings books, they were fun and a very easy read, to quote the cliche, the pages turned themselves ! Only another 9 or so to go for you and then some peripheral backstory books 🙂

  11. @ Ponytail – {{{hugs}}} Just ‘cuz! 😀

    @ crazymom1 Here’s a discussion forum thread that might help you with the iron/mast thing:

    Oil helps to prevent waves from breaking. Here’s a little demonstration of how it works:

    Kinda cool, no?

    I have that miniseries – I’ve just never gotten around to watching it. Maybe this will inspire me to do so!


  12. PS for crazymom1 – Here’s a bit I found on the internet:

    In earlier times, the pouring of modest quantities of oil into the sea was done deliberately in order to forestall rough seas. This phrase alludes to the calming effect of that oil has on wave action as it spreads over the surface of the sea. Very small quantities of oil can cover a surprisingly large area as it spreads into a layer just a few molecules in thickness. The surface tension of the oil layer has an effect similar to that of a thin skin and is highly effective at calming ‘troubled’ water.

    Hope that all helps!


  13. G’day Joe

    Hey, do not forget you promised us a pic of Rob Cooper’s Halloween house. So where is it??? mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Good luck with the novel.

  14. We had upwards of 100 trick-or-treaters, and I never buy enough candy. I think we ran out by 7:45. Alas, in my attempt to do a good deed and rescue the neighbor’s cat who got out and was headed for the street, I left my purse unattended for approximately 90 seconds and was rewarded with a stolen wallet. I wouldn’t have had my purse with me at all on Halloween night to hand out candy, but I had just returned from driving my friend home, the one who had a bone marrow transplant in February, and couldn’t make it home with her young sons on foot. On the bright side, my kids willingly donated all of their Almond Joys to help comfort their poor, grieving mother.

  15. No trick or treaters this year thank god. I stopped giving out candy a couple years ago after a group showed up at 10:30 and upon hearing that I ran out demanded money. After turning them away empty handed they paintballed my apartment.

    I’m glad you liked Eddings. I have so much love in my heart for those books.

  16. The trick or treater count in my neighborhood ha slowly dwindled to a record low of one last year to a definitive zero this year. Now, what to do with all of those Kit-Kats and Resse’s cups…

    Max is looking good! Here’s hoping the move back home has done him a world of good.

  17. Yay!!!! Baby doggies!! Lovely bunch! 🙂 Love Lulu on your lap. May be she want to give you some inspiration, Joe. 😉 Hey Joe, did you ever put any of your dog’s names into any of your stories? Have your dogs given you any inspiration when it come to writing? 🙂

  18. We had a warmer than usual evening, so lots of little cuties in costume going door to door, parents lingering in the street. The big Hispanic families all come to the door, even the parents are toting treat buckets. They all get candy, if someone makes the effort, they get the treats. Santa and his family came by! So much fun!

    I wore my Star Trek science officer bathrobe with my science officer t-shirt and black yoga pants. Most folks just thought I was in my jammies, not Off-Duty Spock. Must have been the lack of pointy ears and cool eyebrow lifting.

    I had just enough candy leftover to fill a small sandwich bag, toward the end of the evening, I do give it out by the handful. Two pieces minimum all evening though. Fun stuff like gummy hamburgers and cola candies, and neon worms. I don’t buy chocolate mini-bars, if I do, they go to work with MyLarry so I am not tempted. I have York peppermint patties for that.

    And my temp crown fell off. Yech, blerg, grrrr. I get it glued back on tomorrow. At least the tooth isn’t alive, so no real pain. I did not have the root canal, I will have an extraction and implant in January. Joy joy. … and I wasn’t even dipping into the treat bucket, I was drinking water when it popped off.

  19. So you DO enjoy “mainstream” chocolate. I feel much better. Had my share of PB cups last night as well. Yum! Was over a friend’s house and we sat outside on the front porch under blankets. Only had about 20 kids, but that was more than last year.

    Great pics of the furry friends. They are all so photogenic. 🙂

    Best of luck with the novel. The words will start to flow soon. Soon! Ok, maybe later!

    Happy All Saints Day!

  20. Ponytail: I got the recipe out of a magazine. We in the South are easy to please with food. Add lots of fat and it will be loved! I’m an aspiring vegetarian but when it comes to beans, it just taste weird without meat. I substituted BBQ sauce for the ketchup and added brown sugar to taste. Pretty easy recipe (my favorite kind). It would probably be even better with some pulled pork added.

    I went to karate class and my son (supposed to do his homework) gave out candy. When I got home it was mainly teenagers that didn’t bother wearing a costume. That is how you know if you are too old to trick or treat- you are too lazy to dress up! Occasionally we will get a pregnant teen trick or treating, that is just sad. I always give them extra candy.

    Great doggie pictures! Poor Max… I still believe a heating pad would be a good thing for him.

  21. I kept reading it as “Prawn of Prophecy”. Even tho I got plenty of sleep I still woke up exhausted thanks to the cold weather, and the fog didn’t help; alls I wanted was cocoa and a good book instead of a busride with the drunken Jason Voorhees. Seems the local Plein Air Bauhms got the drink on longer due to Halloween so they headed home around the time I was heading for work, making for a lovely bus ride.

    Have you tried writing outside or is it too cold for that? I can concentrate better in the park than I can at home.

  22. I was out last night keeping the kids safe as a part of Rogers Pumpkin Patrol. Saw some great unique costumes! A Lady stopped our van and gave us a treat, a full box of smarties! Was a good night!

    I’m nervous about my appointment on Thursday compounded by the fact I was woken up by a call from a Nurologist they want to see me on Friday! So heading to Toronto twice in 2 days! Wish me luck! I see a few sleepless nights in my future!

  23. Alas, We don’t have halloween in this little town in the Netherlands. But the day was still a good one considering I passed for my drivers licence. Regretfuly I am 27 years old, So why in Sokar’s name did it take me this long to get it? (Legal driving age here is 18) Let’s just say I have certain health problems that had me take medication that didn’t allow me to drive. (Still have the medication now, But less then 9 years ago)

    Anyhoo, I passed!

    Here’s to hoping you had a nice halloween yet still have enough of those Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups left to get you through the winter.

    Kind regards,

  24. Joe, I find it interesting that you edit as you write. Have you considered writing a rough draft all the way through, then going back to edit? You may find that writing goes faster if you don’t have to worry about getting it perfect as you go along.

    (BTW, I’m not a writer so don’t listen to me.)

  25. @das Thanks, that forum helped a lot! I still don’t understand the oil thing, because they’re sailing–wouldn’t they just sail away from it? But that’s minor. Now I at least understand the whole thing with the mast.

  26. @ Das – Awwwwwwww! You are so sweeeeet! I agree with you about Joe’s new “son”. Lawren has turned out to be such a nice young man too. Good parenting skills Joe and Akemi! 😆

    @ Tam Dixon – Yum! Thanks! That recipe looks awesome!! I’ll see if I can’t put it together sometime during the next couple of months . . . thanksgiving, christmas, a thanksgiving pot luck at work, new years, or just because I love beans. Can’t wait to see who hugs me! 🙂 Thanks again!

    @ Penny – you will be in my thoughts and prayers the next few days. Let us know.

  27. @ Tam Dixon – …and when I get hug, I hope they don’t squeeze me too hard.

  28. Novel taking too long to write… Going to have to re-write it anyway… October 31st… The last day before November… November is Nano…n/m…I bet he’s already registered. I’m going to log in and buddy a user named SpamBait.

  29. I could take Lulu’s ball. I could.

    I can write with 2-3 kids on my lap. I had that in mind when I shopped for this chair.

    Sometimes, I’m barely getting an arm around them and darting my head to see around them and sacrificing some screen space to have a Netflix window open playing Calliou, but it’s more productive than having to deal with what they’d be getting into otherwise. And being able to nurse one or two means I don’t have to get up to get snacks or deal with spills. It’s all about having the right chair.

  30. Doggie pictures are great. As for candy, got scads of the stuff left over, especially mini snickers bars. pouring rain during prime TorT hours meant fewer kids. Got soaked in my Death Axman outfit. Funny how some of the most extreme reactions to me were from the teens. Smaller kids either wouldn’t walk by me, or didn’t worry about it. The older ones kept eyeing me and couldn’t figure out if I were real or a mechanical device. Except for the smart alec kid who noticed my shoes. (problem solved with a nice dark towe). Anyways, hope to hear how your night went. And what if anything you and Akemi dressed up in. Kudoos for at least staying home and doing the hand out thing. Too many people I know are settling to head out for adults only parties, leaving fewer homes with lit porches to reward the brats willing to brave the elements.

  31. @ BoltBait – You may not be a writer, but I’ve heard that advice before. David Mack (Daredevil, Kabuki, and all round nice guy!) gave me the same advice once: Write, let it flow, get it all out…then go back and edit, rewrite, and so on and so forth. The first time I ever wrote anything was while I was nuts (had a manic bout of hypergraphia following the death of a friend) and I wrote like that – I just let it flow, and it was GREAT! Once I got through it, however, I started editing as I went, and it just kinda killed my flow of thought and my creativity. I’m not sure if it was just because the manic episode passed, or if it was because I changed writing mediums (from pen to computer). I tend to think it was a combination of the two, especially using the computer to write because all the bells and whistles (spell check, grammar alerts, etc) are distracting and make me feel like I HAVE to edit as I write. Writing everything down on paper first allows my thoughts to flow without those interruptions. However, the manic/hypergraphia thing did help because it made me more emotional, and I am far more creative when I’m emotional. Like now? My depressive issues have been fairly light the past year or so, and I can’t write worth sh** right now. I need to hurt to create, I suppose. Great. Now I’m making myself depressed just thinking about it.



    HEY! That might be a good thing! 😀




  32. Joe, why don’t you write a book where the main character is a dog…I think that would be awesome…maybe a sarcastic dog..yes there’s an idea, I’m full of them…feel free to borrow it.

    Cheers, Chev

  33. Hi Akemi & Joe,
    1. I hope this finds you – I only had your really old email address…
    2. Gave the little goodies sparingly to staff & visitors & all agreed – awesome!
    Hodie & all

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