Star Lines
Saturday, June 29, 2002
  To Sleep, Perchance Not to Dream: I wasn't going to mention this until I was sure it wasn't a fluke, but I've been sleeping like the dead for the past couple nights. Seventeen hours total in two days, which hasn't happened in four or five years.  And I'm so tired now I'm heading off again to find the Sandman before midnight, which I hope means another good night. I'm going to blame it partially on a new tea infusion I've been drinking, it's Chinese and it tastes like liquid weeds, but I think it's really doing the trick. Now if it could just get rid of the nightmares, I'd be a happy camper across the board . . .  
  A Beautiful Misconception: For being a good girl and getting all my work done this week, I rented "A Beautiful Mind" on video and after emerging from the wreckage of the TTII this afternoon (another long story) I sat down to watch it.  Although I know this will make certain teeth grind on the other side of the planet, I thought Russell Crowe earned the Oscar with his performance.  The reality of schizophrenia, on the other hand, got a true Hollywood gloss job.  I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, no matter how smart John Nash was, his illness was portrayed as the vanilla sugared watered down version suitable for public and Academy consumption.  If you don't believe me, spend thirty minutes with a full-blown schizophrenic off his/her meds.

I had other reasons for watching the movie, too, much in the same way "Finding Forrester" and "Good Will Hunting" confirmed a few facts and misconceptions.  Tormented genius and unlikely genius are fascinating subjects for the public, maybe because seeing gifted people really get screwed over is comforting to the tribe.  While we as a society may worship what the rogues produce, we don't seem to like them very much, do we?  Hollywood also waffles, showing talent as either a special effect (Nash's ability to see code) or a congenital birth defect (Will's never-really-defined ability).

I hung out with some smart people when I was in the military; we were all eidetikers so we did things like playing chess in our heads and never studying.  All the straights hated us, and rightly so, we were an annoying bunch.  One thing the movie got right, though, was the question, "When was the last time you ate?" -- we routinely lost track of time -- but with some of the geniuses I knew, it should have been "When was the last time you showered?"  
  Shameless Self-Promotion:  My wonderful web designer Willa has posted the final version of my Writer in the Window story, Contract Stipulations, along with the .pdf and html versions of the two previous Mercy & Cat stories over at my web site.  These are free to anyone who wants to read them, and will be posted for the whole month of July, so enjoy.  
  Quote for the Day:  "You won't know how much you can do until you try and try again, and keep trying.  You won't know know unless you're the last person over the finish line so many times that people laugh when they see you show up.  No big thing.  Self respect is your trophy, courage and strength are your shoes."  -- Tirona Thomas

Amen, Tommy.

Medical Fact for the Day: Paralysis of the vocal cords occurs when the vocal cords become stuck in a fixed position.  The vocal cords consist of two cords near the Adam's apple which remain open during normal breathing and close to create sound when you speak.  Damage to the nerve which helps open and close the cords causes the paralysis.  If the onset of paralysis is sudden, the patient will experience immediate shortness of breath follows.  This is the result of a neck injury or a potentially fatal condition and is considered a medical emergency -- call 911 immediately.

Other causes of gradual paralysis of the vocal cords are thyroid surgery, aggressive cancer in the neck, a tumor in the chest or lungs, or arthritis.  Diagnosis is made by examination of the vocal cords with a scope.

Treatment depends on the severity of the paralysis, and the source of the condition.  Some patients respond to local injections, others require surgery.  If both cords are suddenly paralyzed, the first priority is to clear the patient's airway, and a tracheostomy is performed to reestablish normal respiration.

Blog for the Day:  Questions -- "I have always thought that one person can change the tide of history," futurebird writes, and has so much to say about running, art, poetry, New York City, and life. She also asks a lot of questions -- but not the kind you'd expect -- and you get to answer them.  I look forward to reading her archives, she asks the questions that speak directly to the poet in me.  
Friday, June 28, 2002
  The Friday Five: Since Lily has been bugging me to do one of these weblog question thingies (I never remember to do them on the right day) here's my take on one of the more popular ones:

When was the last time you...

1. ...sent a handwritten letter?  Yesterday, to my friend Kris, thanking her for the early birthday present, bragging about my kids and discussing something else that's just between us girls. Working on a letter to my friend Robyn tonight.

2. ...baked something from scratch or made something by hand?  Today, roasted garlic and onion bread (okay, in the machine.)

3. ...camped in a tent?  Winter 1982, on a military bivouac, which cured me of camping in tents forever.

4. ...volunteered your time to church, school, or community?  Church -- last weekend, dropped off food for the parish pantry, School -- last month, restored an antique quilt as a gift for our departing director, and Community -- two weeks ago I made a cash donation to an AIDs drive.

5. ...helped a stranger? -- Last Tuesday, I helped a lady at Borders find a trade copy of Cold Mountain. All the store people were busy.
  Welded Links: I've corrected the Forward Motion link, and hopefully will find Holly's weblog (Holly, it's disappeared on me) soon.  If anyone has the new link, please comment with it. 
  Upgrade:  After spending a year playing with my Palm m100 pda, my techno-pal Kris sent me an early birthday present -- a brand spanking new Palm m125, which takes little program/memory cards and stuff.  So far I've gotten through the setup and upgrade on the software without blowing Dre to bits (yes, Evil Master Super Computer is back after a total overhaul, and Phillip has gone back to being my private toy.)  I like the new one, although it's more metal than the other, but not so different that yours completely computer retarded here can't use it. It even fits into the old cases and stuff.  So now Mike, who has been secretly coveted the old handheld, will inherit the m100, as soon as I can figure out how to transfer all my WIP notes from one to the other....  
  Side Note to the Outlawing of the Pledge:  While I do appreciate hearing different opinions on the subject, I'm not going to get drawn into a debate over this with anyone.  It may not be fashionable to be a patriot and a Catholic, but I'm not going to defend the history of my country and my religious preference.  This is America, I don't have to.  The way the Constitution works, we can all have different beliefs and politics and remain free from persecution and prejudice -- as long as we respect each other's rights.  If that means not saying "under God" for some people, no problem.  Just don't tell me how to say the Pledge to suit your belief systems.  
  Hit and Run:  Waking up at 4 a.m. means three hours of quiet time before the small demons arise demanding to be fed, and I raided my dream journal for something that's taking nebulous novel idea form.  It's a merger between horror and mystery, and I'm not too sure how it will turn out.  Anyway, here's an excerpt from the first draft, written this morning:

Excerpt from Noble Intentions (working title) by S.L. Viehl:
(Rated R for language and violence, kids, you should be in to summer camp)

Chapter One

I don’t like to sleep, because I don’t have dreams.  I have nightmares.  Every night, no exceptions.

Worse, I get stuck in them.

Tonight I’d been wandering through this big old house – French or English mansion, stuffed with ugly old furniture, fur rugs and smoky candles – for hours.  I’d heard voices talking behind a couple of closed doors, but as soon as I got close they faded away.  In the real world, voices meant people.  In my nightmare world . . .

Light footsteps came running toward me, and I ducked inside a room and left the door open a crack.  I saw her jet past, a young woman in a funny gown and a white lace cap.  Then she stopped, and backtracked, and stared at the door I was hiding behind.

I didn’t know her – I never knew anyone in my nightmares.  Didn’t matter.  I could see how pale she was, the way she panted, the white showing all around her eyes.

Tonight’s blue plate special:  Uma Thurman wannabe.

“Help me,” almost-Uma said in a gorgeous Irish accent.  “She’s deranged.”

Of course she (whoever she was) was deranged.  There was no such thing as a sane monster.  I opened the door and stepped out into the hall.  My knife appeared in my right hand, and the crowbar from the truck of my car materialized into my left.  After reading this dumbass book about taking control of your dreams, I’d tried “summoning” everything from a bazooka to a blow torch.  No luck, I ended up with the knife and the tire iron.  Every single time.

Like my subconscious was saying to me, You don’t get better until you kill something or fix it.

There should have been theme music, some spooky riff by the guy who did the theme to the Exorcist.  Instead, there was absolute silence, which nicely framed the heavier footsteps coming at us.  As I slowly turned to face it, the blond girl fainted right next to me.  I didn’t bother trying to catch her, and she hit the hardwood floor with a low thud just as the second dream bitch appeared.

Tonight’s monster:  Snow White Gets Really Pissed.

She was tall, black-haired, blue-eyed, and her skin actually resembled snow.  She wore a silly-looking golden tiara studded with rubies, and her cheeks were flushed.  A long dark wet patch covered the front of her red velvet gown.  There was stuff on the patch, too – pulverized bits of someone’s head, from the look of it.

The hatchet in her hands was just as tasty.  I shifted my grip on my blade.  Maybe she’s the Evil Queen who did Snow.

“Good evening, Jax,” she said to me in Elizabeth Taylor’s voice.  I never know them; they always know me.  “Do you want to play?”

I lifted the tire iron.  “Come here and find out.”

Not-Liz circled around me, trying to draw me away from the girl.  I stayed put and waited – like I said, I have nothing but nightmares.  I've had plenty of opportunity to discover that the one thing you don't do in a nightmare is chase the monster.

“You’re rather late,” she said, taking a few test swings with the axe.  Drops of blood and bits of brain tissue flew out, spattering the girl.  “I’ve already killed my husband and the children.  Would you like to see?”

Even though I knew it was a nightmare and I’d be waking up soon, something boiled up inside me.  I mean, she killed her kids.  “You’re enough to make me puke, thanks.”

“Am I?”  She glanced down at her bloody dress and flicked off a bone fragment.  “Gracious, I suppose I am.”  Then she met my eyes with her freaky crazy monster Snow White Slaughters the Prince ones.  “Give me the girl, and you can go.”

They always offer me a deal.  And dumb bitch me, I always say –

“Go fuck the hatchet.”  Or a variation on that theme.

Not-Liz licked her lips.  “Pleasure later.  Business first.”

This monster wasn’t very savvy or creative – she came straight at me, hatchet swinging, mouth open, screaming like a banshee.  I planted my weight and bent my knees a little.  At the two-foot mark, I pivoted to one side, stepped forward to avoid the axe, and drove my tire iron sideways into her belly.  She doubled over nicely, driving her throat right onto my waiting knife.

Ah, gee, I wasn’t even going to break a sweat.

The hatchet slipped from Not-Liz’s hands, thanks to the generous lubrication provided by the arterial spray.  She went down on her knees, then looked up at me, all shocked and shit.

“Hope you like hell,” I said as I jerked out the knife.

She clutched at her neck.  “See . . . you . . . there. . . .” Over she went, hitting the floor with a squelchy whomp.

Someone grabbed me from behind and spun me around.

“Thanks.”  Almost-Uma grinned at me as she lifted the bloody hatchet.  “I hate double-crossers, don’t you?”

Copyright 2002 by S.L. Viehl
All rights reserved.

  Quote for the Day:  "Most men's anger about religion is as if two men should quarrel for a lady they neither of them care for." -- George Savile, Marquis of Halifax

I'll dispense with the usual sarcastic remark here, as what the 9th Court did to the Pledge has overjoyed/outraged many folks.  Just think about what George is saying.

Medical Site for the Day:  A Guide to Medical Information and Support on the Internet -- Judy Bakstran's personal website is one of the best I've seen, with a comprehensive network of links, reference articles, chat rooms, search engines and more.

Blog for the Day:  Twisted Grin -- I'm finding all these unusual and beautifully designed weblogs these days, and Spencer has a very engimatic one going here.  It took me a few minutes to navigate, but hey, I'm old and slow, you youngsters will probably figure it out in a snap.  Although I usually don't like reading light text on black backgrounds, this electric green didn't bother me at all.

Thursday, June 27, 2002
  Oh, God, No God:  In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that the phrase "one nation under God" from our Pledge of Allegiance amounts to government endorsement of religion.

Circuit Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote: "Leading schoolchildren in a pledge that says the United States is "one nation under God" is as objectionable as making them say "we are a nation `under Jesus,' a nation `under Vishnu,' a nation `under Zeus,' or a nation `under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion."

I respect the rights of atheists and those who believe in other-than-Christian religions, so I don't think they or their children should have to use the phrase "under God" while taking the Pledge of Allegiance. However, I don't agree with changing the entire Pledge or forbidding its use to please them. As Ari Fleischer points out, if the word "God" has to be removed from other such American institutions, we'll have to outlaw our currency, the Declaration of Independence, most of the judicial system and a huge chunk of our nation's history. How far will we go to homogenize our nation to make it suitable for the anti-God crowd?

I believe my children should have the right to pray and discuss religion in school, and be taught moral standards based on Christian beliefs -- that's why my kids are in a private religious school. If the atheists and other supporters of this ruling wish corresponding privileges for their children, why don't they simply start their own schools?  
  Quote for the Day:  "You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true." -- Richard Bach

I wonder if that goes for the one I had about George Clooney last week . . .

Medical Fact for the Day: Dystocia, also known as torsion spasm, is typified by involuntary movement caused by sustained muscular contraction, which results in repetitive movements or abnormal postures.  Dystocia is associated with such brain disorders as Cerebral Palsy or Wilson's Disease in some patients, in others the cause is unknown.&npsb; There are indications the condition is genetically inherent.

In adults, dystocia manifests itself the eyes, mouth, jaw, laryx, esophagus, neck, torso and the extremities, causing a variety of spasmodic-type responses and movements.&npsb; The most common dystocia in children and adolescents is foot dystocia. The condition has always been considered rare, but may be more common than is presently known as it is easily misdiagnosed.  Treatment via various medications may help patients with severe symptoms, but certain tranquilizers actually make the condition worse. There is no cure.

Blog for the Day: -- SF author Greg McElhatton is marathon training in order to raise at least $2000 for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the leading clinic in Washington DC providing assistance to those with AIDS and the HIV virus. He keeps a journal on his site with updates on his progress, and reading it always makes me take a couple extra trips up and down the stairs. Run Greg run!
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
  Selected Prose: Stopped by B&N tonight to pick up a new copy of Diplomacy of Wolves (autographed copy is never to be touched, and my reading copy finally fell apart) and found an on-sale hardcover first edition of a romance novel I've been meaning to read. The author closed a beautiful deal for her first two books a couple years ago, to the tune of six figures. From what I heard, she justified this by trading solely on her magnificent education which of course qualifies her to be a magnificent writer (yeah, right, like it's automatic.)

Anyway, I'd already read her first shot, and it was not so great. Later on, I personally met the author in New Orleans. She was rather drunk at the time, so we'll just skip describing that part. But being a charitable soul willing to believe said author deserves that kind of advance money -- I am a great believer in higher education, as long as I don't have to do it -- I bought and read the beginning of shot #2. I only made it to page thirty before my level of disgust rose to the point of giving up and putting it in the Friends of the Library donation bag. This book is so lame it should be healed by Christ.

I understand what impresses the publishing world, and what doesn't. If you've got a pedigree, a PhD, or you're a pretty person, that ups your worth considerably. Publishers can sell the author as much as the book, and this is not exclusive to female authors either. Christopher Rice wouldn't have gotten into hardcover straight off the bat if his mom was an ordinary housewife. Landis wouldn't be on the Neb ballot if he was working as a janitor at the Jet Propulsion Lab. And Gaiman wouldn't dream of trimming his poetic shaggy locks and wearing horn rims. And why shouldn't they capitalize on their assets? If you got it, market it, right? It's not cheating. Not really. 
  Outgoing: I'm starting another summer project by submitting short stories and articles to various genre and trade print magazines, both to hopefully sell some work and see what editors are looking for (or not.) To date, I haven't had any luck with genre magazines, and only minor success with trades, but I remain ever-optimistic. Postage rates are going up, btw, so if you're sending out SASEs with your submissions, make sure you have the right amount of return postage on them. 
  Quote For the Day:  "Technical knowledge is not enough. One must transcend techniques so that the art becomes an artless art, growing out of the unconscious." -- Daisetsu Suzuki

This goes for writers as well as samurai.

Medical Site for the Day:  -- MDLinx provides daily medical news for a network of 33 medical specialty web sites for physicians and other med pros (and if you want to keep on top of what's happening in your field, this is really worth it) but also offers free daily e-mail newsletters in over 660 medical specialties and sub-specialties to consumers.

Blog for the Day: -- (rated R for language) Another brilliantly designed weblog by Corym (that may be Cory M., if it is, my apologies to the author.)  When you stop by, click on one of the photo/links at the bottom of the screen and watch what happens.  
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
  Summer Movies: I'm going to see at least two movies in the theater this summer.  I promised myself I would, along with Robin Williams live on HBO (that's on the night of my birthday, so I can force myself to watch TV for a couple hours.)  What I'm hoping to see:

1) Men in Black II -- I loved the first one, and I love Will Smith.  Tommy Lee Jones is just icing on the cake.  I also predicted (way back when my son was watching The Fresh Prince of BelAir) that Will Smith would become a huge star, and I go see his movies so I can be sit and be smug about that.  I doubt Will's own mother is as smug as I am.

2) Minority Report -- Tom Cruise is so cute when he's in danger, diving off buildings and wearing all black.  And although it's based on a Dick story, which turns me off like immediately, I can just watch Tom flex.  Oh, boy, can Tom flex.  Besides, John Shirley hated the movie, which makes seeing it an expression of my feelings about John Shirley (besides making loud raspberry sounds.)

What I might see if the ex makes good on his vacation promises:

3) The Bourne Identity -- Matt Damon is cute, and it looks like plenty of stuff blows up in this movie.  Works for me.

4) K-19: The Widowmaker -- Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson in the same movie.  I'm already getting the cardiac meds filled.

5) Reign of Fire -- D&D meets Mad Max, from the movie trailers.  Bet the dragons kick butt.  
  Respect, Earned or Otherwise:  I read Sci-fi Weekly for the interviews, and because the letters to the editor are almost as funny as the ones to Locus online.  Some of the recommended web sites aren't bad, either, but I usually skip the reviews and editorials.  This week's editorial caught my attention, as it was touted with this paragraph: Scott Edelman, Science Fiction Weekly's editor-in-chief, meets up with those who would mock science fiction, and realizes that "Variety Is the Price of Life."

I read the editorial, which on an ordinary day might have sent me off into another rant.  I mean, geez, come on -- if you really want to be mocked, try being a romance author who writes science fiction.  But today I was feeling mellow, and already worked off my supply of ire by kindly dealing with my earnest reader and his six pages of telling me how to write books. I could deal with this tantrum.

Mr. Edelman's editorial is important on one level, because it clearly illustrates the desperate literati attitude prevalent among pros in this genre.  He talks about wanting serious recognition from Hollywood because SF films are top grossers; he expects the media to reverently approach guests of honor at SF conventions versus going for the more entertaining nobodies dressed up like the Borg; he's "damned weary" of all the jokes. Mr. Edelman demands respect for what he loves, and by extension respect for himself, and is angry when he doesn't get it.

You don't get respect by by showing how richly you deserve it or by expecting it. True respect is freely given, not provided upon demand, and you have to earn it. And 99% of the time, even when you earn respect, you don't get it. There is a constant source of respect available to everyone, but they are so busy looking for it elsewhere that they never find it. It comes from within, in the form of self-respect. That's the best kind there is, and the only kind of respect you can really rely on. 
  Disappointments R Us:  Whipped through a final polish on the next romance synopsis, now that I'm five books ahead I can play with some old/new ideas (go ahead, hate me.)  This one is a twisty homicide thriller set in New Orleans, and the cast is an interesting mix of high society Creoles and backwater bayou Cajuns.  I have to finish buffing out the first three chapters before sending it off to the agent, and then I get to re-tune the two fantasy submissions and do some other on-spec stuff.

In the meantime, I got through the rest of the fan snail mail and mulled over one I was not sure how to answer.  The reader wrote a six page analysis on my SF work, most of it well-written though really negative; he'd do better reading someone like Vinge or Card. At the same time, he was quite sincere and respectful, not bashing me personally at all.  Finally I wrote my response, in which I simply thanked him for taking the time to write his opinions and send me all the feedback.  Then I added my usual non-hateful reader disclaimer: "Don't give up on science fiction.  Check out other authors at the library and keep reading."  Which, when we disappoint a reader, is what all authors should do. 
  Comparisons:  I'm trying to find the right phrase to describe the level of anger a slightly intoxicated teenaged boy would achieve after having spectacularly lost a football game, being dumped by his girlfriend, then being tricked and left behind in a swamp by his even more intoxicated older brothers.  I dimly recalled hearing "madder than a stepped-on snake" once in conversation, which I used as a temporary fix.

I haven't actually heard that many madder-than-some-animal analogies outside the South.  The old country standby is "madder than a wet hen" which has been corrupted into "madder than a rained-on rooster" by a famous TV anchorperson; everything else is local or personal metaphor, like "madder than a gator in a storm drain" or "madder than your Aunt Marge when Your Uncle Ed bought three years of Direct TV."  Has anyone heard anything better/funnier that would be clearly understood by all, not just us laid-back southerners?  
  Mystery Solved: Not one of my cats would touch their dry food yesterday, and since no one had muzzled or chained them, it confused me.  Were they all sick?  No signs of anything amiss in the litter boxes.  Would I have to take all three to the vet simultaneously?  I did that once, only once, and still have the scars to prove it.  Maybe they were tired of the food.

This morning when I went to brew my tea, the trio clustered around my feet, rubbing and crying like refugees.  "Okay, okay," I said, and got their dish to dump out the dry food and fill it with the junky wet food they love.  Then I saw something white all over the food.  Closer inspection revealed that it was granulated, but too fine to be sugar.  I wasn't going to taste it, but I did check the popcorn salt shaker and found it was about half empty.  Mike doesn't use salt, I haven't been using it, the cats certainly don't use it, which leaves only one primary suspect . . .

Hmmm, I like salt, and I like cats, so....

but why salt the cat's food?  Is that a question I even want to ask?  
  Quote for the Day:  "The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it." -- Dr. Samuel Johnson

And, hopefully, keep the writer from living in a cardboard box under a bridge.

Completely Non-Medical Fact for the Day:  Sofa-Head Syndrome -- Falling asleep on the sofa with damp hair means you will wake up looking like Dennis the Menace after shock therapy.  You may also have what appears to be a large dent in the back of your skull (a natural indentation formed by damp hair drying against the arm of the sofa.)  There is no treatment for sofa-head syndrome, you'll just have to take another shower.

Blog for the Day:  The Making of A Restaurant   -- Luke Seeman and Sandor Weisz are two guys contemplating opening their own restaurant someday, and their weblog is like a writer's novel idea file -- chock full of interesting recipe and food links, humor, opinions, etc.  Would I eat in Luke & Sandor's restaurant?   Well, maybe, if I could skip the baked potatoes....  
Monday, June 24, 2002
  Jewel of Wisdom: Little things can go a long way to influence a writer. I remember reading a book where the heroine owned no costume jewelry, only the real thing, as in her words (paraphrased) "I'd rather spend money on one pair of real emerald earrings than buy a drawer full of junky ones." That struck me as a really cool philosophy -- go for quality, not quantity -- and changed my outlook on a lot of stuff.

I waited a long time to get into print -- a looooooong time. Ten years plus. Constant rejection, rejection letters coming in every single week, in pre-printed piss-off forms and nasty notes from well-meaning editors. Some day I'll do a top ten list of all the hateful remarks editors have made to me over the years. Aside from breaking up with my exes, that was probably the most horrible time of my life. I'd also given myself a deadline of December 31, 1998, then I'd stop trying to get published, do it for fun, and go back to work full time. My first contract came in November 1998. That's how close I came to never getting into print.

Along the way, I ran into various writer scams, but I also seriously considered self-publishing (at the time I wasn't on the internet, or I'm sure I would have checked out all these e-book publishers, too.) I was just as desperate as the next writer to be published, so I thought about a lot of alternatives. At the time, for about $500.00, I could have a printer do a short run of my book and send me the copies. It was really, really tempting. The logic of self-publishing was, if I couldn't get paid for my work, at least I'd see it in print and have something to leave my children and hand out to the family at Christmas. Also, I wouldn't have to wait any more. I'd be able to hold my own book in my own hands.

In the end? I couldn't do it. I wanted the real thing -- the real emerald earrings of publishing. Everything else was junk jewelry. So I kept writing, and I held out. And here I am.

I'm not saying the philosophy is right for every person -- we all have to make our own choices. I just want you aspiring writers out there to think about it. What do you really want? What are you willing to settle for?  
  Rats: No, nevermind, didn't work. Tell me something, you techno wizards out there -- how do I insert two blank spaces between sentences? Hitting the spacebar a couple extra times doesn't work. I know it's silly, but I just want two blank spaces between sentences. Is that so much to ask??? 
  Eureka!!! I just figured out how to put spaces between sentences. Yes, it took me this long. Stop giggling.  
  Quote for the Day: "Standing on tiptoe, one is unsteady. Taking long steps, one quickly tires. Showing off, one shows unenlightenment. Displaying self-righteousness, one reveals vanity. Praising the self, one earns no respect. Exaggerating achievements, once cannot long endure. Followers of the Way, consider these." -- Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu

Hiding in cave, no one bugs you.

Medical Site for the Day: -- Another comprehensive online medical information site which offers free information and educational updates, along with other services for nominal fees. Although geared more toward the med and media pros, this is still one of the better sites I've found.

Weblog for the Day: It's All About Books -- Teri Embrey has a simple, no-frills site with thousands of links -- all about books, of course -- and some nice commentary. Teri, if you read this, some of your archives are inaccessible and need to be republished.  
Sunday, June 23, 2002
  Make Your Own E-Book: I've mentioned this before at Forward Motion, but I thought I'd add a note here -- you don't need to buy expensive software to make your own e-books, BCL Computers will do the work for you, and convert your documents to .pdf or HTML format. They've also added a new Beta option that allows you to send your document a file attachment via e-mail versus direct uploading for the conversion, too. The site requires you to register with them in order to use the service, but otherwise it's 100% free. I create all my e-books through BCL (because I don't do enough of them to justify the software, and I'm lazy.) I highly recommend it to anyone on a tight budget. 
  Taking Care of Business: Since my series is going on hiatus after Eternity Row is published in September, I've decided to write at least three StarDoc novellas and publish them on my web site for my readers. These novellas will all be prequels to the present series timeline, like Salo and Darea's story "Warrior Bond." Also, like all my web published stories, they'll be totally free of charge. Right now I'm planning to write them six months apart, and hoping to finish the first -- a story about Cherijo during her medical school days -- by September. 
  Benefit of Being Single #781: I can cut up an apple, a banana and throw a handful of raisins on my bran cereal without someone saying, "Why are you eating that dry? Why don't you just get the kind that comes with the fruit already in it?" Hee hee. 
  Quote for the Day: "You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you." -- Joseph Joubert

This goes for stories, too.

Medical Fact for the Day: Tinnitus is a condition in which a patient has the perception of ringing, hissing, or other sound in the ears or head when no external sound is present. The degree to which a patient is affected by this condition ranges from an occasional nuisance to steady, life-altering distress. It's estimated that approximately 17% of the general population around the world (44 million people in the US suffer from tinnitus.

Doctors believe tinnitus is triggered by a number of sources, such as tumors, severe head trauma, particular medications, sinus, respiratory and ear infections, build-up of ear wax. The effects of tinnitus can also be magnified by a number of drugs such as aspirin, quinine, birth control pills, and some antibiotics, as well as alcohol, tobacco, salt and caffeine.

There is no cure for tinnitus, but discomfort and distress can be relieved through various dampers such as hearing aids, maskers, and white noise generators. Some homeopathic experts believe ginkgo biloba can relieve symptoms. Doctors believe regular exercise helps by increasing blood flow to the head. Research is now being conducting in teaching patients to block out tinnitus sounds themselves by "re-training" their ears with audio conditioning, with promising results.

Blog for the Day: I Love Everything -- Glasgow designer David Gaston has one of the coolest-looking weblogs I've ever seen, and the links from his posts lead to all sorts of interesting places. I imagine you techno folks will go crazy over it, but I just enjoy the combination of artistry and unusual linkage. 
  Mercy & Cat, Take Three: If you were with me for the Writer in the Window last month, then you know I threatened to post the story I wrote live online, "Contract Stipulations" on my web site for July. I gave it the final buff and polish last night, and just sent it off to my wonderful web designer Willa. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, as it is a lead-in for my Gamers novel, and I was able to add a bit more complexity by giving Mercy and Dre something more in the past. Now I'm going to try to make a mini-e-book with the first two Mercy & Cat stories, and if that's successful, I'll ask Willa to post that to the site for everyone who missed those.  
Adventures at the KeyBoard

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