Journal Entry: March 30, 2009

Last Wednesday night we had dinner at the newly-reopened Moe’s Southwest Grill up in Edmond, for the convenience of our Edmond contingent which consists of K– and N– as well as my little sister and her family (who live about a mile from the restaurant). Unfortunately my sister was sick, and K– and N– had a whole slew of houseguests (including one who flew in Wednesday night), so none of the Edmond contingent made it.

We still had fun dining out with D–, though. While we were there, he informed us that he’s embarking on a quest to practice a vegan diet for one month. He read a book about its medical benefits (and specifically advocating the one-month challenge), and he thinks he’s up to the task. We’re watching with what I would describe as “horrified fascination.” I don’t think I could ever survive such an ordeal, but I wouldn’t put it past D–, and I’m sure even in just the first month he’ll start to see some real benefits from it.

After dinner we all split up. T– took AB to church, D– went home, and I went over to K– and N–‘s place to grab some DVDs from K–. Then from there I went by the gym and canceled our languishing membership, with a little defense from the guilt-factor in the knowledge that a new elliptical machine was in the mail.

I got back to our part of town around 7:40, and headed to D–‘s place. We went for a walk (more guilt-dodging), and talked about our collaborative writing project. It may have been nineteen months since I last mentioned it, but it’s not a dead project.

After that we headed to my place, in time to meet T– for the new episode of Lost. While we were waiting for the TiVo to build up a bit of a commercial buffer, I mentioned that I’d been considering picking up an over-the-air HD antenna, and D– reminded me that Cox offers free HD channels for the local stations (the same ones I would pick up over-the-air). I checked it out, and sure enough we were able to track down all the major networks (on channels like 74-4 and 106-2), but TiVo was unable to fetch program information for them, so we couldn’t set up Season Passes.

A little research revealed that, with a $2/month CableCard from Cox, TiVo could properly recognize and record the channels, so I decided it was a worthwhile investment. I’ve had an HDTV for five years now, and only actually had HD programming for about eighteen months of that. We didn’t discover any of that in time to get an HD recording of Lost, but we should be covered for this week.

After the show, D– headed home and I went to the office to get some writing done.

Thursday morning T– called Cox and scheduled a service call for Friday, to get the CableCard installed. She also asked if I’d be interested in having pizza for dinner, to which I responded with enthusiastic affirmation. We invited D– over, and spent the evening watching TV (still standard def, but 30 Rock is funny either way).

I also proclaimed that I would, over the course of my three-day weekend, write three chapters a day (which would put me back on track to finishing the novel in March). There were witnesses, so I cannot pretend I didn’t make that claim. I did not, it should be said, follow through on it. Thursday night, I don’t think I did any writing at all.

Friday was my Regular Day Off. I woke up around 9:30, went to my office, and wrote until lunch. I got about 1200 words done, finishing up the scene I’d meant to finish on Thursday night, and setting up to finish off chapter five. I had hoped to finish the chapter before lunch, but the delicious aromas of chicken salad sandwiches lured me out of the office early.

We had lunch together, and then T– headed out to run some errands while I watched AB. It was about an hour and a half until her naptime, and we spent much of that watching Sesame Street. Then when she went to bed, I took care of some chores around the house, then headed to the office and ended up deciding to bring my laptop out into the living room. I got it set up and got started on the second half of chapter five before T– got home. Then we turned on an old episode of Lost, and I got pretty distracted, and didn’t accomplish much for the rest of the afternoon. Around 3:30 I gave up on writing and instead got started on dinner.

I mixed up a big batch of chili, because the weatherman assured us we were due to be snowed in for the weekend and I wanted plenty of tasty leftovers to keep us nourished. I spent half an hour or so getting it together, and then let it cook all afternoon, and when we finally ate it at 6:00 it was so delicious I had two and a half helpings. There wasn’t really a ton leftover for our snowday, but that was okay because the snowday didn’t happen.

Saturday morning we woke up to a little bit of snow on the ground, mostly decorating the lawn but not really anything on the road. B– came over around 11:30 to drop off his daughter, who we were babysitting while E– presented one of her papers at a symposium. That’s a pretty prestigious thing, and I’m proud of her for getting invited to present it. She shared a copy with me during the week and asked for markup, but I didn’t see anything that needed correcting (apart from some nitpicky punctuation). It was a fascinating look into bilingual education for small children, and the perception of it by parents.

Anyway, B– slipped out after E–‘s speech (though apparently she stayed for the whole thing), and came around 1:30 to pick up Maddy. After that AB went down for a nap, and a few minutes later T– headed out to do some shopping for her crop, and then go host her crop. I sat down to do some writing, and made about 1,000 words worth of progress on the second scene in chapter five, then D– came over to hang out and help me watch AB for the evening, and I pretty much stopped work for the day.

Instead I pulled out Too Human, an XBox 360 game. I tried the demo forever ago and really enjoyed it, but the negative critical reviews were enough to stop me buying it. (It doesn’t take much.) Back when I was thinking about picking up The Numerati, though, D– sent me a link to a $20 discount promotion for the game, and free shipping for purchases over $50, so I got those two in a bundle (along with another book of the same sort).

Anyway, the game had been sitting on my shelf for a couple weeks, so I finally broke it out. The multiplayer is only available over XBox Live, so we just played through the single-player campaign, passing the controller back and forth. The first half hour or so of the game is just the demo, which I’d played through repeatedly, so I let D– do that while I played with AB. Then he got to a rough battle and I took over, and played for a while until AB started getting fussy and demanding supper. I heated up some leftover pizza for her, and D– ran up to Taco Cabana because we didn’t really have anything vegetarian-friendly in the fridge.

Then I think AB took over the TV, watching some WordWorld until her bedtime. After I got her in bed, I started up Too Human again, but D– headed home. I played until I hit a roadblock, got frustrated, and then I put it away and actually started writing again. I got another 1,000 words done on chapter five, most of the rest of the chapter, but I got distracted right after Katie met the victim’s wife but before they actually started talking (which will make up most of chapter six). I was at word count for chapter five by that point, but still needed a few more paragraphs to tie it up.

Instead of doing that, I started playing some stupid game on my laptop, and was still doing that when T– got home around midnight.

Sunday morning, during church, I finished chapter five in longhand, writing out the introduction between the two women in my scribblebook. Then after services we went to lunch with D–, and K– and N–, and N–‘s parents, at Ole. The service was terrible, so I don’t think we’re going to get K– and N– back there ever. Alas. All my favorite salsa places consistently aggravate K– and N–.

Anyway, after that we went home and spent the whole rest of the day watching Lost. It was delicious.

In case you’re keeping track, over the course of the three-day weekend, I just almost completed one chapter. All I’ve got left to do is type it up.

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