Update on Quitting, and Why I’ve Been Scarce

So, this was supposed to be the Big Weekend, where Chantix kicked in and I became a quitter. I should have remembered my body’s reaction to drugs: “So?” It shrugged off the half-milligram like it was nothing. When the dose upped to one milligram a few days later, still meh. And the urge to smoke was strong as ever – stronger, in some ways, because I know I’ll be giving it up soon, and damn it, I’ll miss it.

I had my first violent dream recently. I was trying to get a hotel room, and the clerk was being a complete jerkwad. Nasty, condescending, and a crook to boot, insulting me whilst trying to bilk me out of money. So I slapped him across the face. The little old ladies in the lobby heartily approved. I made a triumphant exit as he looked on in confusion. And that was that: the most violence I’ve experienced in a dream since starting this stuff. This is lame. It makes me fear the drugs won’t work. According to the horror stories, I’m supposed to be having all sorts of violent ideations. Instead, it’s mostly been a lot of geology field trips and a wee bit o’ erotica.

Saturday, the beginning of week 2, the dose went up to two milligrams daily. And I went walkies. We haven’t seen the sun here much for days. It peeked out briefly. I headed east toward the Cascades, ended up in Sultan briefly, acquainted myself with a few back roads, found a place that sells bamboo plants that I’ll have to investigate soon, and went back to Monroe to re-visit Al Borlin Park. I was last there in June 2011. It’s a bit different, now.

Skykomish River at Al Borlin Park, June 2011

The river then wasn’t at its highest, but was certainly vigorous, and had ripped bits off the bank. When I went back this July, the bank was boringly intact, and my first impression was “Holy fuck, look at all the gravel!”

Skykomish at Al Borlin Park, July 2012

Obviously, the river’s gone down, which I should have expected: summers here are fairly dry, although this one’s been full of enough rainy days to make me doubt we’re going to get our three months of summer this year. Still. Not complaining. It could be 100+ degrees and horrid humidity.

I also found a great mystery flower, which leaves me in a pickle, because there are about ten billion great mystery flowers from Marys Peak I still need to post. This one’s pretty neat, though, and I might skip ahead briefly. It was worth the mosquito bites I got taking it. Note to self: the next time you plan to do a river walk in July, either wear bug spray or don’t stop moving for an instant.

I went home. I meant to post. I got involved in some research, and read a paper that made my brain hurt quite a lot, and read a few other things trying to make sense of it, and by the end, with my brain aching and a purring felid on my legs, I decided a post could wait. Sorry.

So I meant to post something early Sunday, but I spent too many hours living my life through Chantix. It’s the kind of thing where I crack an eye open, decide I can snatch another hour, and go back to dreaming. Lots and lots of dreaming, mostly about geology, which is fun. Then when I finally rousted my lazy arse awake, I got up just long enough to wee and flopped back down to check the internets on the Kindle. This is when my homicidal felid decided to help me quit smoking. She curled up in a tight little ball on both my legs and stayed there, purring occasionally, for three hours.

I want you to understand something. I can never go three hours in the morning without a smoke. Never, ever. That cat would’ve been ejected after a half-hour, an hour at the outside, in the past, and to hell with the consequences. But Sunday, we stayed put together. I caught up on some reading, and then dipped back into the Ingersoll book I’m reading, and thought about diving back into some Serious Papers before deciding no, it’s Sunday and I’m feeling lazy, and I got the occasional “A cigarette would be nice” twinges but nothing that drove me to evict the cat. What did was that can of Coke I’d been drinking. Some urges even Chantix can’t stop, and that’s probably for the best, as I’ve heard bladders can explode.

By the time I was free to get to my computer, I was in full Lazy Sunday mode. Tonight has mostly been about Dumbucks who Make Rape Jokes and the Dumbfucks Who Defend Them, which I’ll have something to say about later, when I’ve thought of something Stephanie Zvan and the commenters at Pharyngula haven’t said better. Now I have to finally get some of that work done I promised myself I’d do.

Speaking of work, Evelyn’s beginning some. Wish her and Jackie well.

So, that’s the sit-rep. Looks like by the end of the week, I’ll have either cut back dramatically or quit smoking completely. Which is good. Because I may need to stop Chantix early so I don’t sleep the rest of the summer away…

Twin Falls: A Test Post with Pretty Pictures

I’m fiddling about with settings. Next step is to test. Other things beginning with T and S: Twin Falls on the Snoqualmie River.

Cave, falls and plunge pool at Twin Falls

I knew nothing of geology when I dragged my intrepid companion here the first time. Also, I didn’t have my super-spiffy shiny Sony Cyber-shot HX5V. So I have two excuses for going there again and collecting photos for you.

Still. I really like this one my intrepid companion shot whilst we were playing down by the river.

Moi on a huge rock at Twin Falls. Image courtesy Cujo359

His camera kicked my Photosmart’s ass.

Right. So. Some of the changes: I’ve added the G+ and PressThis sharing buttons. I know, exciting, right? You’re under no obligation to use them on this post, unless you want to. But they’re there for you if you ever wish to employ them in the future. And, hopefully, you enjoyed these images, even if one of them was shot with a sub-standard camera.

So, my darlings, what other waterfalls do you recommend?

Slowly Emerging

Figured I’d better check in and let everyone know I’m still alive. Buried in Agatha Christie, still, but alive.

I’m slowly clearing the email backlog, so those of you who’ve emailed without reply for a while should be getting responses soon. I cleaned up ye olde inbox at last, flagged things needing attention, and downloaded all of those papers that have been languishing therein. They’re all loaded on the Kindle, and the Docs folder is looking pleasantly plump. Pretty soon, I’ll be through the Agatha Christie, and on to the science.

It’ll be a relief. I love her, I do, but this concentrated dosage wears a bit. It’s just that I can’t bloody stop… I’m coping by suspecting absolutely everyone, alive or dead. That way, when the murderer is revealed, I can say, “I suspected him/her all along!” It’s a hollow victory, but I’ll take it.

Writing will probably return soon. I’m getting restless and fretful, with occasional flashes of ideas, which is a good sign. And if worse comes to worse, I can always beat something out of myself with a rock hammer – I’m going down to see Lockwood soon, and I have a feeling that will provide the necessary goad to ye olde Muse.

I’ve been out of the loop for a long time. I’ve no idea what’s going on, aside from the fact that Washington State approved gay marriage, and Gov. Gregoire should be signing it into law. Weddings! At last! I’m proud of my adopted state, and hopefully shall be attending a wedding or two this summer.

So what else have I missed? Let me know the happenings, the awesome science papers, and whatever else comes to mind.

And thank you for standing by while I get my shit back together. You, my dear readers, keep me from giving up. I owe you.


It Was the Best of News, It Was the Worst of News

And with that melodramatic Dickensonian post title, I shall now announce nothing much of substance. Aren’t you glad you clicked over? I knew you were.

The good news is, having mostly finished my blog reading backlog, Los Links will be fat and sassy this week. The bad news is, I still have to compose it. Good news: I’ve got some old school Doctor Who to watch, during which links shall be linked. Bad news: my brain is so fried after several hours of solid reading that it’s oozing gently from my ears, which means Maclargehuge Post Containing Actual Substance and a Quote by Ed Yong Hisownself shall be delayed. Sorry.

The good news is, I called my mother whilst walking over to Quiznos for some sustenance, and she sounds miles better. Very nearly as good as she gets. Good enough that I could broach the topic of her signing a release so her doctors can share information with me, and she didn’t freak out, but thought it was a brilliant idea. The bad news: good times don’t last. We just savor them while they do, and do our best to ensure there’s more good than bad, which isn’t such a bad thing after all. Every life is a matter of trying to extract more good than bad, and we haven’t done so badly, overall.

The good news: kitteh and I eschewed the living room for the bedroom today, where beautiful bouncing sunshine leapt through the windows. The bad news: that bloody bouncing sunshine woke me up. Argh. And now it’s close to setting. Double argh. The good news: I write best in the dark.

And speaking of writing, I have got good news on that front: I’ve been beavering away steadily on ye olde WIP. The bad news: I had to return to the notebooks to figure out why the story stalled. The good news: I have made what seems to be a breakthrough, and may be able to wrestle some story out of what seemed like a pile of disjointed words. Bonus good news: I’ve filled quite a few notebook pages with useful thoughts. The bad news: I forgot to stop by Staples to replenish the notebook supply. The good news: Staples is close by.

And that’s about where life is at the moment. Now for the really bad news, the worst possible: it’s laundry day.

I shall see ye for Los Links if the pile of dirty clothes doesn’t eat me.

Geology Pays! Plus Other Things of Note

I’ve been lost in NaNoMadNess and neglecting you terribly. So here are a few things by way of apology.

Andrew Alden has a wonderful little piece telling of victories made possible by geology, and celebrating its influence on and connections to the other branches of science. I think it’s quite possibly one of my favorite things this week.

Daniel Fincke has got a lovely roundup of delights from around Freethought Blogs. I say delights, but some of them aren’t so much delightful as they are important, such as Greta Christina’s piece on the American Cancer Society and its rather desperate attempts to pretend it wasn’t discriminating against atheists at all. That’s more infuriating than delightful. But I’ll tell you what is delightful: Daniel’s new banner. It has made me consider the logistics of modifying my bathroom to fit a camel with a hammer. I wish I wasn’t so certain the cat would be terribly upset by such a thing. Perhaps I’ll just have to frame the art in there instead.

Go say hello to Maryam Namazie, who is our newest FreethoughtBlogger, and makes me even more honored to be a part of this collective. She’s an incredible woman.

And, finally, go perform a good deed for the day and tell Delta to stop with the anti-vax insanity, if you haven’t already.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy a brief visit with my bed before I have to abandon it again….

The Days of Doom

So, here’s the status: the company I work for is getting far more annihilated by the release of a certain phone than anticipated. This means I’m catastrophically behind rather than merely dramatically behind in my reading, research, and writing. Time to answer comments, emails, etc. is severely lacking. So if you’re met by a wall of silence, it’s not because I don’t love you, but because if you want Los Links to be more than five links long and hope to see quality content on this blog soon, it may take me a while to get back to you.

I’ve got some prewritten posts ready to go. The cantina won’t be falling silent. But you’ll notice a rather heavy emphasis on matters SF, as those are the ones I’d written up in advance. I’ll try to leaven those with some fresh geological goodness.

Things should calm down a bit after Sunday. I say should. If they roll out mandatory overtime, however, that happy state of affairs could get unhappy in a hurry.

There are also some health issues interfering with my ability to type for more than a half-hour at a time. No worries, it’s just the usual complaints brought on by years of typing ten+ hours per day. When I do email you or respond to your comments at last, I may sound a bit terse. I’m sorry about that!

Incidentally, if you’ve ever wanted to guest blog for the cantina, now’s the time to mention it. I could use some pinch hitters, and I know there are some brilliant writers in this crowd who may be wanting to get some eyeballs on their work. I’m thrilled to oblige. You can find me on Yahoo under dhunterauthor. Pitch me a topic.

All that said, keep the comments coming. You lot have been amazing, and you’re a large measure of my success as a writer. Without you, much of what I do would not be possible. You’ve earned an enormous drink. Go have one forthwith.

See ye soon, my darlings!

Technical Difficulties

Some of you have contacted me via the blog or email regarding technical difficulties. See? This is why you should follow me on Twitter: you’d know what’s going on, in real time!

But I know not all of you have time for Twitter, and you missed Ed’s notice, so here’s the deal: we had server issues. We’re fixing those. Our tech guy’s working himself into a lather (everybody say “Thank you!”) to get the site running better, and very soon we’ll have a snazzy new server that should take care of many of the problems you’ve had loading the site. He’s also working on some issues with commenting that have been brought to my attention – continue to let me know about those through Twitter or Facebook or even email, yahoo’s got me down as dhunterauthor.

We know it’s not perfect here yet. We’re working on that. Well, more specifically, they’re working and I’m egging them on.

This is a young site, and there are going to be a few rough spots. I know it’s going to be frustrating. When you’re experiencing issues, so am I, and believe me, when you have a tiny window of time to write in and can’t do it because the site’s down, it hurts. But it’s gonna get better. Stick with us, and we’ll get there.

Thanks for your patience!

New Post on ASRI

For my Wise Readers: Leaping Into the Saddle of the Horse I’d Put Out to Pasture. In which I explain why I’ve been so horribly out of touch with so many people, and announce the short story I’m working on.

I’ll be posting that story to ye olde writing blog, which is invitation only. I know at least one of you wanted an invite a bit ago. I got the email at a time when I didn’t have time to log on and send you said invite, promptly forgot to flag the email, and it got buried under a mountain of other stuff. I have no idea where it is. So please, ask again! And for anyone else who wants to become a Wise Reader, email me. Yahoo knows me as dhunterauthor.

I’ll be setting aside an hour or so to do such housekeeping, and maybe even correspond with a few friends who must think my email is broken or that I’m not willing to think of them anymore. Neither is true! I can’t wait for the day when we can email people with our thoughts no matter where we are. I’ll be better at this whole communication thing then.

Right. Off to continue slaving for my Muse get some writing done. Labor Day indeed…

While We Wait for the Carnival to Come to Town…

Due to a breakdown, one of our sideshows is coming in late, so Ye Olde Accretionary Wedge #34 Addendum won’t be up until later today or tomorrow.  It will be worth the wait.  And if you missed the first go-round but have something you’d like to submit, please do feel free!

Due to a breakdown in my mad time management skillz, I haven’t got anything to fill the gap.  And I’ve got five hours of hard writing ahead, which means I can’t whip up anything brilliant.  So I’m going to ask your input instead.

Y’see, I’m fast running low on quotes for Cantina Quote o’ the Week.  And I figured, rather than scouring the intertoobz for more quotes, I’d invite you, my darlings, to submit your own favorites.  Anything you like.  I can’t promise I’ll use them, but I’d love to see them all.  I likes a good quote, me.

And now, ’tis time for a quote from my best friend: “I’m off – and I’m leaving, too.”

See ye at the sideshow.

Los Links Will Return

Well, we can’t blame Yahoo this week.  Instead of my draft email with all my lovely links presenting me with a blank slate when the time comes to put them all in order, we had Blogger going waaay down.  Well, that and the fact I’m writing me arse off at the moment and would’ve punked them off til Sunday anyway.

But the Readers have Spoken, and I wanted to assure you all that I will, indeed, continue on with Los Links.  Just for you.  And because there’s too much awesome stuff not to highlight.  But mostly for you.

And I’m now using Yahoo Notepad instead of email, which seems less eager to delete everything I’m collecting.  We shall see.

I’m off to continue my adventures with the Muse.  Laters, my darlings!