Category Archives: reading

Journal Entry: July 31, 2009

Last night I came home from work and talked with T– a bit, then watched AB while T– went to pick up some groceries and dinner. While she was out, I heard from D– who offered to bring by some Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner, and I told him sure! By all means!

So T– brought home Kung Pao Chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken from some random Chinese place next to Homeland (read: not P. F. Chang’s), which surprised me by being pretty good. And D– brought me some Hot Barbecue boneless wings. And I ate way too much food. It was excellent.

While I ate, I finished up Triad, which is an expertly crafted novel. I recommend it strongly.

Then I spent most of the rest of the evening playing with AB while we watched Conan and Jimmy Fallon. AB was apparently the life of the party, though, because after she went to bed D– went home, and not long after that T– and I were both asleep.

Still, it was a fun night.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: July 30, 2009

Tuesday night I came home from work, did forty minutes on the elliptical, and then had dinner with T– and AB. It was a pot roast in gravy, with mashed potatoes, and it was incredible. Thanks babe!

After AB went to bed, T– and I retired to the room to read, and I found myself fast approaching the climax of Triad, so when I finished chapter twenty-two and should have gone to sleep, I didn’t (and the same again at the end of twenty-three). So it was late when I finally put the book down and fell asleep.

There were storms that night, and around 2:00 AB woke up screaming. T– went to comfort her, but AB cried and cried for me, so I went in there too and AB explained that she was afraid of the frog. I asked why, and she looked blank, and then she curled up on her pillow. As soon as we got back in bed, though, she was crying again.

We tried a couple times to comfort her, but the storm kept waking her again and again, so finally I went in there and curled up on the edge of her bed and she finally fell asleep. I tried twice to leave (and once to actually get some sleep on the thin mattress in there) and finally escaped around 3:45. It was a long night.

So Wednesday morning got off to a late start. Skipping work, I ended up spending the afternoon taking care of paperwork for my teaching stint at OC this fall. I signed up with payroll, turned in my signed contract, and got a big box of evaluation copies of textbooks to choose from. And I got to talk to half the English faculty while I was there, which was fun.

Then I spent a lot of the afternoon reading Triad, because I could.

D– and my sister’s family came over to our place for supper, and we all had pizza. Then I went to church with T– for the first time in ever (on a Wednesday night, that is), and got to see K– and N– and even squeezed in a few minutes to talk with Courtney about her book. I also got a copy of No Plot, No Problem from her, so I can make sure The Storytelling Process isn’t just retreading old ground.

Then after church we put AB to bed (which went much more smoothly than on Tuesday night, in spite of the rain), and I read another chapter before calling it a night.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: July 27, 2009

Hah! You just thought I was the perfect husband.* On Saturday N– orchestrated a surprise party for T–, and I got her just what she wanted (SFW). In your face, Mister Darcy!

Ahem.

Friday
Friday was a long day at work trying to figure out how we’re going to handle the crippling documentation we got from Raytheon. Not fun.

Shortly after I got home, we went out to dinner for T–‘s birthday. We decided to try somewhere new, and picked a little pizzeria we’d driven past a dozen times up on May. K– and N– and D– joined us, and we each ended up getting our own personal pizza, trying all the house specialties (I think) and a plain ol’ boring half-beef half-pepperoni for AB and me. It was delicious.

Afterward D– came over to introduce me to a hilarious show called Three Sheets while T– went to see a movie with my little sister. Three Sheets is a travel show about a guy who goes to exotic locations (we watched Brussels, Champagne, Jamaica, and Costa Rica), tries all of the famous regional liquors while participating in the local night life, and then the next morning tests out the indigenous hangover remedies. That last part is made necessary by the sheer, absurd indulgence of the first part. It’s fun.

Anyway, T– got home late, D– went home, and I think I made it to bed while it was still Friday.

Saturday
Saturday morning I woke up around 9:30, worked out on the elliptical, and then ran up to Taco Bell to grab us some lunch. Then I invested myself in Courtney’s novel, and read through to chapter sixteen before AB woke up from her nap and we had to leave.

We had plans to be at K– and N–‘s place by 3:30, so that T– could go shopping with N– to help her find a frame for a painting T– had made her a year or so ago. D– joined us (because he and I were going to go hang with K– and probably play some XBox), we drove up there, and then N– took T– to get a massage. As a special surprise, several of her friends were there, too.

While she was doing that, K– got the kitchen decorated and set up for a surprise party, D– watched AB, and I ran up to Walgreens to get some wrapping paper and wrapped T–‘s present. When T– came back to the house, with Becca and E– and my little sister in tow, she was surprised again to find an actual party waiting for her. She loved it all.

When the party finally wound down, T– went with my sister to do some shopping at Hobby Lobby, and B– gave D– and me a ride back to our house. I read another two chapters of Triad so I could give some specific feedback, and then contacted D– to see if he wanted to go out. We ended up heading to Henry Hudson’s around nine, and we were there until they turned on the lights and kicked us out. In betwixt, too much alcohol and much talk of relationships and religion.

I got home around 2:30, and made the wise decision to stay up and do some hydrating, and while I was at it I watched Joe vs. the Volcano. Excellent flick. Finally went to bed a little after four.

Sunday
Sunday morning I woke up in time for church, took a Benadryl and two ibuprofen, and then crawled back into bed. T– called me at 11:45 to ask (doubtfully) if I wanted to join them for lunch, and I said sure. We had Schlotzky’s, which really hit the spot.

Then I spent the afternoon playing Fallout, which is an incredibly massive game. I got lost in it, and in no time at all it was after five. T– called me out for dinner, and afterward I decided I should actually do something useful with my Sunday so I mowed. Then I got a little too ambitious and pulled out the chainsaw to trim some of the trees along our front fence. The end result looks nice, though, and it should make mowing next time a more pleasant experience, though.

After that I came in and helped T– get her Cricut up and running, and she showed off just how cool it is (which is to say, very), and then we put AB down for a nap, and then we sat side-by-side on the loveseat with our various laptops and read through Digg for an hour (which was a little surreal), and then we went to bed.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

* no you didn’t

Journal Entry: July 24, 2009

Oh man, I have got to be just about the perfect husband.*

As you already know, I got T– a brand new* car for her birthday,* but for practical reasons we had to pick it up two weeks early. So, y’know, I wanted her to have something to open on her actual birthday, so my special lady got to wake up this morning to find a package of peanut M&Ms on her nightstand.

Happy birthday, baby! Only the best for you.

Yesterday I spent all day feeling tired — by which I mean shaky, weak, and semi-transparent. I had hoped I was just hungry and lunch would solve the problem, but it didn’t (and I had a pretty hearty lunch). So I came home from work and took a nap. An hour and a half later, I felt a little better.

T– made me a very special dinner, by request, and then we tried to watch a Better Off Ted and play with AB at the same time. It was fun.

After AB went to bed, T– and I retired to our room for some reading. She’s on Pride and Prejudice and I’m on Triad, as I mentioned yesterday. We spent almost two hours on that, and then went to sleep.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

* not really

Journal Entry: July 23, 2009

I’ve been reading Courtney’s fantasy novel, which is one of the better fantasy novels I’ve ever read. I spent much of my lunch break for each of the last two days working on that, and I find myself really regretting it when I’ve got to put it aside and go back to work.

Work this week has been a lot of wrestling with FrameMaker, which is an authoring tool for structured documentation (as opposed to a WYSIWYG editor like Word). I had some training on it way back when, but there’s just so much that it does so differently from what I’m used to, that I find myself floundering again and again. It’s frustrating, and could have been avoided altogether if certain higher ups had done their job when negotiating with Raytheon, but that didn’t happen and here we are.

I’m not bitter, I’m just unproductive.

Anyway, after work yesterday I wanted to take a nap, but we do our Wednesday night meals pretty early to get them done before church, so I spent half an hour playing with AB instead, and then we drove up to Arby’s to meet my sister’s family and N–. Then all of them went to church, and I went home to hang out with D– who, it turned out, was unavailable.

So instead I worked out, figuring it was too close to bedtime for a nap at that point. I also cleared out the village of Minefield and made a tidy profit in the process. Which is good, because I’d been running out of ammo.

T– brought home the missing second half of Courtney’s book, but I got distracted working on internet things (specifically my Google Docs account) and didn’t get around to reading any of it before bedtime.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: October 16, 2008

I can only remember one book ever making me cry (err…with narrative emotion, that is, not terrible prose). The Stand has come really close twice now, though, and I haven’t even gotten into the actual story yet.

Last night after work T– made up some steak and pasta for dinner that was phenomenal. Then she took AB to church and I laid down for a nap that never happened, then finally gave up and went to the office to work on my reading list. I also started installing WoW, because frankly I need something to play and Spore didn’t really stick (although, pending five or six expansions it might be pretty cool).

Anyway, Wrath of the Lich King, the second WoW expansion, rolls out November 13, so I’ll probably go ahead and play a character up to 80, maybe try out the Death Knight. I don’t think I’ll ever get back into it seriously, but I’ll probably play for a few months to check out all the new stuff. It’s really not hard to get your money’s worth out of an MMO.

I’ve also been in talks with Toby about doing some more game programming, and I’m secretly obsessing about a new story idea I’ve come up with, but I’m nowhere close to putting pen to paper on that one. I finished Dad’s novel last night, for the thing this weekend, and I’ll be able to finish Heather’s today, because it’s a much shorter one.

After church last night, T– joined me in the office and we watched Get Smart while I typed up my reading notes and finished installing the game. Then somehow it was already 11:30 — that one took me by surprise — so I headed to bed, dreading the morning’s alarm. And rightly so, but at least it was Thursday, so I got to do BWW for lunch today. I almost cried in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: October 15, 2008

So, we have the Pogue Family Writer’s Conference this weekend, and as part of the project, everyone submitted a manuscript that everyone else is supposed to read (before the conference) and critique on Saturday morning.

I think we all feel pretty far behind on the reading part. I read all three books earlier this year, as part of a markup, but I haven’t read the rewrites, so I feel like I should go back through them. I also just realized last weekend that the book I submitted is one I haven’t looked at in over a year, so it’s one I really need to reread in order to get much value out of the feedback I’ll be getting. So my week is pretty much booked solid, as far as personal time goes.

In spite of that, when I got home from work yesterday I took a nap. I haven’t been feeling well lately. I don’t know if it’s something physical or psychological, but either way it’s got me down. I woke up about 6:30, had dinner with T–, and then watched AB while T– went to the grocery store. Afterward, we put AB to bed and then I locked myself in my office to spend the rest of the night reading Dad’s book.

I didn’t finish it, which puts me in a pretty tight spot for the rest of the night. Tonight T– will be taking AB to church, and tomorrow night they’re going to a church picnic, and I plan to skip both so that’ll give me a little extra reading time. I’m not totally confident it’ll be enough, though.

Anyway, that was my evening, and probably will be going forward.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry

Okay, it’s done. They’re here. My blog is now 232 posts more content-rich.

I’ve got at least a week’s work ahead of me, double-checking them all and adding tags, but it will be fun work. I always enjoy reading through my old material, even when it’s just diary stuff.

So…hmm. Let me start with this. Whenever T– goes over to someone’s house for the first time (and more so back when she was just out of college), and they know she’s an interior designer, the first thing they say is along the lines of, “Oh, god, you must think this place looks terrible.”

Not because T– puts on superior airs or anything. It’s just a common response to specialists. Anyway, that’s always been kind of a sore spot for T–, because she doesn’t walk into a house and just immediately start judging it. She can look with a critical eye when she’s working (or someone asks her advice), but she’s not in that mode all the time.

I’m exactly the same way with reading. I don’t read through every book I pick up looking for the mistakes, unless I’m specifically working on editing that book. Sometimes bad story elements will jump out at me, but they should for anyone who regularly reads (or watches) stories.

So, lately I’ve been reading The Cat Who books, as I think I’ve mentioned, but I’d put that on hold to do the markup of Dad’s novel. Now, obviously, while doing the markup I was in editor mode, and since I finished that and picked up the next Cat Who book, I’ve noticed it hasn’t gone away. I read every sentence in the book and think how I would rearrange or rewrite it to make the verb stronger.

It’s rather distracting. The book isn’t awful (although the writing is kind of weak), but I’ve gotten in the habit of giving advice and now it’s kind of got me in its grip. I’m just glad I’m not reading one of my favorite authors at the moment, because that could be depressing.

Anyway, yeah, yesterday I read a couple chapters of The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern over lunch, picked up AB from E–‘s after work (because T– had spent the day working in Tulsa), and then completely decided to skip the gym. I’d done my running on Monday, and I just didn’t feel like going.

Instead, I hit the mall and picked up some new running shoes (that I’ve been meaning to get for a couple months now), then had dinner with T– and watched an old episode of Lost, and then headed over to D–‘s place to check out Age of Conan, the new MMO. It’s pretty dang sweet.

I got home late, and got up late this morning because of it. Still, way worth it.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry

Today was unlike yesterday. I made it in to work on time, spent the day working on profitable things (albeit work-related), and then went home.

I stopped by B– and E–‘s on the way home to pick up AB, because T– was working in Tulsa. I got to chat with them for a while, which is always fun (even if B–‘s still reporting sad tidings from work). After that, I met D–, K– and N– at Taco Cabana for dinner. It was fun, in a social sort of way. AB got hold of a cup of queso and spilled it all over my jeans, but whatcha gonna do? She’s just a little baby.

I did get a couple pictures uploaded to my MySpace at work. I also got several pages typed up for “Royal Holiday,” although I didn’t compose anything new. I think I’ve got it written up to the part where it gets interesting, though, so if I ever get started on it, I’ll probably go right through to the end.

After dinner, I got some fajitas to go and took them home to T–, who was happier to see her baby than the delicious fajitas I brought. Fair enough, I guess. She ate while we watched some Jim, and then I took care of some business on the computer and read some Anansi Boys while waiting for D– to show up. We went for a walk just now, and had some good talks. We’ll have to see if anything comes of it.

Maybe I’m ready to start reading again. Harry Potter hit the spot, and now I’ve picked up one that’s been on my recommended reading list for two years (and when the book is given to you as a gift, along with the recommendation, that’s some pressure right there), and I’m really enjoying that one. So we’ll see.

Back to that again. I don’t really trust myself to follow through on things. It’d be fair to say I don’t really decide what I’ll do. I’m just like a character in one of my stories. I’ve developed an interesting personality (you know, from my point of view), and then I just put myself in situations and watch to see what happens….

That’s a really admirable ability in a created character. Not so much in a human being. Alas.

Journal Entry

Hmmm. I had a media-heavy weekend…..

Saturday, August 11th
As mentioned, I was up late Friday night reading Harry Potter. I woke up around 11:00 Saturday morning, only to be told we had to be at T–‘s brother’s place for lunch at noon. So I got cleaned up, and read another chapter of the book.

We went over to Matt’s place, and had brats and hotdogs. The kitten we gave them a couple months ago was running around, and he’s become a pretty fun little animal. The kids are all doing good, got to see Matt and Chris, had a good lunch and spent a lot of time talking. Then we checked out the old Jeep Matt is rebuilding, which is a pretty cool project. After that, John and I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum.

I wasn’t really excited about that movie when I heard it was coming out (mostly because Supremacy was something of a snoozer), but for the last week or so I’ve been hearing a lot of people say how excited they were to see it, and getting really good reviews from people who had, so when John asked if I was interested, I said sure.

After leaving Matt’s, we had a little time before the movie so we stopped by a model car shop (John collects some of them), and while I followed him around the shop I saw an old Camaro, and for the first time in my life I got it. I was all, “Oh, Camaros used to be cool.” I’d never seen one before that that came close.

Anyway, the movie was awesome. Fantastic action flick. I recommend it highly, for anyone and everyone. Make sure to watch The Bourne Identity first. Supremacy is optional. If you’ve seen the first movie, you can pretty much assume everything that happens in the second movie, and save yourself two hours.

After the movie, we went back home and John made steaks. He just got his first gas grill (to my knowledge) when they bought the new house, and this is the second time he’s made us steaks on it. He keeps asking for my advice, but he already does a better job getting everything to the desired done-ness than I’ve ever managed, so good for him. The steaks, by the way, were excellent.

Then we went downstairs to watch some TV, and I was making an effort to be friendly and social, but the book was just lying right there. In easy reach. Looking at me.

So, y’know, during a commercial break or whatever I picked it up, and just sort of started flipping through the pages, and next thing you know, it’s one in the morning and I’m turning the last page.

So, basically, that’s my Saturday.

Sunday, August 12th
Sunday morning we had plans to go to Westlink for church — that’s the one in west Wichita where T– and I met (and D– and I for that matter, and Julie, Julie, and…well, half of the people reading this blog). It’s where I attended for the six years I lived in Kansas.

Anyway, of all my old friends, only Vicki nee Linnell still goes there. Everybody’s parents still go there, but that’s not quite the same thing. It was weird, though. T–‘s parents came with us, and we got stopped just inside the door by a greeter who recognized the Charbs even though they hadn’t been there for over a decade (T– and I have been back to visit more often than that). But, while we were caught in the entry, classes apparently let out, and it seemed like 3 out of 4 of the people walking past recognized one or all of us and came over to say hi. It was an outpouring of welcome and hospitality. It made my skin crawl.

But, yeah, everyone was really friendly and so excited to see all of us. We showed off the baby some, had an interesting service, and then Vicki and her husband Dan came to lunch with us at Chilis. After that, we went back to the house and pretty much started packing right away, because I had plans with D– in OKC Sunday evening. (Evening, I said, not afternoon — okay?)

The drive went pretty well. I came up with a story idea Suday morning and spent a couple hours developing it, then discussed it with T– on the drive home. That’s always a good time for talking, y’know? Anyway, I’m hoping to develop the idea into a short story within the next month, and that short story can serve as sufficient summary of the basic idea to hold it for me until I get time to develop it into a novel. Should be fun.

We got home around 5:30, unpacked the car, watched some Jim and had sandwiches, and then at 7:00 I headed to the mall to meet D– and K– and N–. I tried to invite B– and E–, but phones failed us and by the time I got through, I didn’t have sufficient time left to do all the necessary wheedling and convincing. Also, it wouldn’t’ve done any good. Poor B– is getting hammered with work stuff. That’s got to stop!

Anyway. Anyway. Back to the point. We went to see Stardust, which was awesome. It’s like Big Fish, if Big Fish were a happy movie. I loved it. Highly rewatchable. Very good story. I had a great time.

Then D– and I went for a walk around the neighborhood, and I ran my new story idea by him, and we ended up going to his apartment to try out a new bottle of chianti, and finish the conversation. I ended up getting home a little after eleven, and I was too tired to make my blog post. Sorry about that.