jon_chaisson: (Default)
At this point next Sunday, A and I will be preparing ourselves to head out to the airport and catch a plane to London again!  Yes, once again we're heading out to our other favorite city in the world for a few weeks to see the sights, visit friends, and hit all the pubs.  And maybe buy a bunch of books and tunage, heh.  Bur seriously, we've been looking forward to this vacation for some time now.  We've both been overly busy for the last month or so with our Day Jobs, so this will be a very welcome reprieve.  Looking forward to it!

Once again we're in Kensington near the Earls Court tube station, at a 'boutique apartment' not that far from the hotel we stayed at previously.  We do like that neighborhood as it's within walking distance of a lot of really cool museums and shops, not to mention easy access to the Underground that can get us pretty much anywhere.  Plus it's relatively quiet at night!

In the meantime, we have one more week of Day Job drudgery and getting (reasonably) caught up before handing the baton off to one of our coworkers for a few weeks.  I'm hoping I won't have a crapton of things thrown at me this week, but given the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't be surprised.  Still, not going to worry if I don't get to all of it.

I'm actually more worried about not doing any work on Meet the Lidwells for a couple of weeks!!  I'll be bringing my tablet and Nook so I can do a bit of reading of what I have so far and maybe taking notes for what I can do for revision, but that's about it.  I *might* also bring a spare notebook or two and work on Secret Next Project, though...that one's coming along a lot faster than expected so perhaps kicking off a longhand rough draft of that might be in the cards.  As for my blogs, I'll most likely be doing fly-bys in the interim, as blogging from my tablet and/or phone isn't always the easiest thing to do.

And of course we have All the Packing to do.  Which I'm sure we'll have done by Tuesday, even though we won't be flying out until Sunday afternoon. :p

jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
I've been a lazy sod all week, and I don't feel guilty about that one bit. Yay, vacation! :)

Well, that's not entirely true. I kept up on the blogs, and I've finally gotten caught up in cleaning up my personal emails. [Work emails is another thing entirely. I'll be checking that tomorrow.] But no, I didn't do any writing work. No editing, no formatting work for The Balance of Light, no work on the Lidwells project. No personal journal entries.

All I've been doing is enjoying our vacation the way I should: by not having anything prodding me on the shoulder screaming for attention. Road trips, shopping, just enjoying the day.

That'll probably change tomorrow as both A. and I dig our way through work email detritus and prepare for heading back to our Day Jobs. I'm sure I'll have a backlog of stuff to do (including five or six compliance courses due at the end of the month), which is irritating but part of the script. I'm just hoping that the items I wasn't able to get to were reassigned and weren't just sitting there all week.

That said...I'm looking forward to getting back into the creative groove. I want to get back into the Daily 750 (again), do some serious plot building for the Lidwells Project (time to break out the index cards!), and start planning out what I need to do for BayCon on Memorial Day Weekend!

In other news...our internets are now running at breakneck speed, thanks to switching over to Sonic. The IT guy came in and installed the wiring, the router, and had everything up and running in a matter of a few hours. [He was also a big geek and we had a fun conversation about anime and Doctor Who while he was working! :p ] But yeah...our speed went from a snail's pace to OH HEY I HAD NO IDEA THIS SPEED EXISTED. Like that day, way back in the stone age, when my family went from dial-up to DSL. Heh.

That said...yes, it's been a wonderfully relaxing staycation this week, and I can't complain. We had fun, went on roadtrips, did some fun shopping, and got caught up on sleep. Woot!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's the halfway point of my week's vacation where it goes from 'ah, we have all week to relax and have fun' to 'O NOES where did the time go we only have a few days left'. Not that I'm complaining...it's been quite a fun and interesting week!

Weekend: headed to FOGcon up in Walnut Creek and had what I called my 'soft open' debut as an author on a panel! I had two panels, actually: one was a reading, and the other was a discussion about self-publishing marketing strategies. I'll be honest, it did feel a bit strange to be there as a pro as well as a fan. One of the best parts, though, was when someone walked up to me later on and thanked me for the info I'd provided on the self-publishing panel! :)

Monday: Heading downtown to visit A's brother and have lunch in our old neighborhood of North Beach. It hasn't changed much at all, and a lot of our favorite Italian restaurants were still there and doing just fine. :)

Tuesday: Long road trip down to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House. Very odd place, that. This is what happens when you have way too much money and maybe a bit of paranoia to go along with it.

Today: Downtown once more to the Golden Gate Theater to see Into the Woods! I haven't seen that since I was in college, so this should be a lot of fun!

Tomorrow: Our internets may be down for a short while, as we are switching over to a new internet provider called Sonic. If you recall our nightmarish dealings with AT&T a few months previous, this will hopefully be a big change for us. I've heard nothing but really good reviews from them. In fact I kind of helped them install wires to our building by giving them the contact info to our landlords so they can plan stuff out. The only downside was that it took a couple of months for them to get to us -- apparently our entire neighborhood desperately wants to change over as well!

Friday: Nothing planned that I can remember off the top of my head. This may be one of our 'lounging around the house doing nothing except watching Midsomer Murders' days. :p

Saturday: No plans, but probably errands like food shopping and cleaning.

Sunday: Grumbling that we'll need to head back to work the next day, and log onto our work emails to clean out the box so we're not hit by an avalanche on Monday morning.


OH! Meant to mention: while at FOGcon, we decided that it would be in my best interests to also attend BayCon this year as an author as well. I'm not the biggest fan of this year's theme (utopia/dystopia), but it does kinda sorta fit with the setting of the Mendaihu Universe. But here's the really neat thing: I contacted BayCon programming and asked if there were any spots open for panel participation, and was told that even though the initial deadline to sign up for that had come and gone (2/23), they checked out my Welcome to Bridgetown writing blog and made an exception!! They sent me a survey to fill out for what panels I'd be interested in, which I sent back right quick. WOO! This new professional avenue for my writing is going a lot faster than expected! Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but still...glad that it's going in the direction I want it! :D

So yeah, that's our week so far....hope everyone else is having a good week!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Sunday morning and it's raining outside, which is kind of amusing in its own way, considering that our vacation to New Jersey and Massachusetts last week was hit with its own precipitation (including just a tiny bit of snow, but it didn't accumulate). Not that I mind the weather, just that high humidity usually causes my head to pound just that little bit.

Still, it was an enjoyable vacation back to the old stomping grounds. I hadn't been back to NJ since we moved out back in '05, but for the most part it's remained the same and I found my way around relatively easily (with the occasional help of A playing the role of Siri when it was needed). The drive up to MA was nice as usual, as the Merritt was lovely as always, especially since it was autumn. Many visits to friends and family and the occasional shopping spree. I even got to walk around Solomon Pond Mall for a little bit, which I hadn't been to in about ten years. The flights to and from weren't bad either, just the occasional turbulence. Managed to have an empty seat on the way home so I scooted over so I could stretch out and take a cat nap!

But yes, it's Sunday morning and now we must go and shop for groceries so we can fill our very empty cupboards. I also have a ton of emails (both personal and Day Job related) to sort through, as well as a few loads of laundry, so that should keep me busy for the rest of the day. Then it's back to the grind once more.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
I figured this would happen. Our two-week vacation to London and Paris was excellent and full of fun events (and meeting up with local friends!), and somehow we thought that capping off the vacation by going to Outside Lands would be just dandy. We're doing fine, but we're really starting to feel the effects of jetlag from the return flight and the effects of second-hand smoke (cigarette, vape, and pot) from the festival. We're contemplating skipping out on Day 3 due to exhaustion...there are many good bands playing, but we're both okay with not making it.

Besides, I got to see Duran Duran last night, and that's a band I've been wanting to see practically since Rio came out. And I get to see both Air and Radiohead tonight, two bands I've loved since their beginnings.

On the plus side, this gives us Sunday to catch up on sleep, clean out our work emails, and do a crapton of laundry that we haven't been able to start yet!


Normal life will start over once more come Monday. I'm hoping to get back into the groove of twice-weekly blog writing on both my sites, continue with the TBoL edit, and ease myself further towards the new writing-related projects I have on deck. Many good things coming soon!

Also trying to ease myself back into healthier habits once more, both physical and mental. Drink more tea and less soda. Log off social media more often. Get rid of more of the distraction habits. Get over to the YMCA more often. And focus a hell of a lot more on said writing plans.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Weekend? What is this 'weekend' you speak of?

*whew* What a busy couple of weeks! Sunday night going to the symphony then waking up stupid:early AM to jump on a plane to Hawaii for a week. A relaxing 5.5 days in sunny (and occasionally rainy) climes to get back late Saturday night...only to wake up early on Sunday to meet up with a few east coast friends in town for their vacation. Then back to the Day Jobbery on Monday. And with one major (but thankfully fixable) screwup, Emm and coworker have just been dropped off at SFO to head out to Manila again.

So yeah...lots of great times had over the past few weeks, but MAN OH MAN was it jam-packed! I do not want to do anything at all this weekend. Maybe some grocery shopping, but that's about it.

Well. Me being me, left to my own devices on a weekend, I will most likely be staying in Spare Oom and cranking out more pages for the final wrap-up of The Persistence of Memories.

Oh yeah! Not sure if you saw my cover mock-up that I posted elsewhere online a few days ago, but if not, here you go:



I think this one fits the theme of the book quite nicely! I knew I wanted a night image, or at least an earth/space one, given that I wanted stars visible. I downloaded the hi-res/no watermark picture from Shutterstock (same as last time) and will be using the same software as before. I'm aiming for a mid-April release for TPoM, so I will let you all know as soon as I have a hard date planned.

In fact, April is looking to be the first of a few busy spring/summer months for me. I have a lot of fun things planned for my blogs as well as other projects. Will let you know more when we get closer to the dates!

On that note, going to sit back, relax, and...not do much at all, really. :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Somehow I managed to finagle Friday off as a Personal Day, so Emm and I drove down the coast to Monterey/Pacific Grove and had a nice relaxing mini-vacation at the Gosby House Inn. Pacific Grove is literally next door to Monterey, a tiny bedroom community that has its own mini downtown of restaurants and shops, and has a lovely coastal drive. We hit the usual places: the yarn store, the used bookstore (BookBuyers in downtown Monterey has an excellent used SF/F section), the restaurants, and so on. We also took a quick drive over to Carmel to visit the beach for a short time as well. An insane amount of pictures were taken, of course!

I deliberately did not write anything, although I did reread what I had of the new Mendaihu Universe story so far, just to remind myself what I had and where it needs to go. That one's been on the back burner (one of the closer ones, currently on mid-heat) while I get the trilogy prepared for release and get some serious writing done for Walk in Silence, which is still aiming for an April 2016 release. The new MU story needs a LOT of work, so I think I'll be doing a lot of outlining and plotting before I get back to it. It's definitely salvageable, just very disjointed at this point.

Also, it being December, this is of course the time of year where I start thinking about my end-of-year compilation and best-of lists, so you will most likely see those within the next few weeks on the WiS blog.

The Day Job, I should add, has been rather quiet as of late (knock wood), which is expected. It usually dies out from about Thanksgiving to around the fifteenth or so, where clients are loath to start any new banking and have paid nearly all their outstanding invoices, leaving me with naught but reading the various system reports that kick out throughout the day. Can't complain. There will be a quick surge of busy time as we get closer to Christmas (the usual last minute OMG that goes on), and then it'll be dead again for the last week of the year. So in short, I've got it made for the next few weeks (I hope). Which gives me a bit of time to sneak in some writing and editing. Heh.

Hope all is well with everyone this season! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
...and we're back from New England! I'm still feeling a bit out of sorts, due to the fact that our vacation dates were Saturday to Saturday instead of the usual late-Friday to Sunday afternoon. I'm still trying to remember what day it is.

The weather back east was nice for the most part, if you ignore the brief drips of rain that lasted five seconds, or the "hey...is that snow?" squall that lasted for about three minutes (and took place about an hour after we arrived at my parents' house). I'd complain about it being warm in the 60s one day and in the upper 40s/low 50s and super windy the next, but that's actually kind of par for the course here in SF too.

Lots of pictures taken, lots of things seen, and many people visited! Alas, we did not get to meet up with everyone due to conflicting schedules, but other than that, a fun time was had by all. I did get a good amount of reference photos for the Walk in Silence project -- A and I were both amused at how some of our old haunts are still there in the Amherst/Northampton area after all this time!

Surprisingly, I didn't spend that much money on frivolous things like cds or books. I bought a few manga tankobon (considering Naruto is over and I need a new series to keep me company) and a few books, but that's about it. Not surprisingly, we did eat a LOT of unhealthy but extremely tasty New England food (including fried clams!), so it evens out!

OH! THAT'S RIGHT! BIG BOOK NEWS! :D

So I believe I've mentioned earlier that I'd uploaded A Division of Souls to NoiseTrade Books (a site that features ebooks and mp3s in a pay-what-you-want setup, and a great indie source for both). A few weeks ago they contacted me and asked if I'd like to be a part of their New & Notable campaign. In essence, it's buying ad time on the site, but it was well worth it, because as of today, it's gotten over two hundred downloads. Sure, many people got it for free, but I'm fine with that--just the fact that I got it out there and it's still getting hits a few days later makes me blissfully happy! Onward and upward!


So on that high note, time to go back to normality and sort through my personal email. Woo!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
What? I'm on vacation? Oh, that's right, I am. Yay! Time flies when you've got way too much on your plate. *whew*

October has been kind of wacky for me...it started off okay, and I was able to balance the Day Job with the various things I had going on. Alas, that was not to be for various reasons. Yes, some of it is still time mismanagement, but there was also an uptick of stressful work at the Day Job that drained me pretty quickly. Unfortunately this meant that I've pretty much dropped the Inktober meme and only get to the 750 when I can, as I'm seeing those as superfluous. The good thing is that I've been quite consistent with the ADoS galley edit and the TPoM final draft edit, and I'm doing a bit of rereading of older WiS files as well. Here's to hoping that everything goes back to normal soon.

So yes, vacation! It's that time again when we head back to Massachusetts to visit friends and family, so we're both looking forward to it. Pictures shall be taken, writing shall be done, and much fun shall be had. :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
One of those weekends where I choose to make it relaxing instead of trying to pack it with too many things. Saturday was nice and relaxing, as we were both able to sleep in until 8:30 (that's actually kind of late for me), did our grocery shopping, and then hung out until we met up with A's parents for dinner and the symphony. I didn't get any actual writing or art done -- I skipped the daily 750 and the Inktober meme basically to remind myself that it's okay to miss a day. [More on that in a moment.] Slept like crap for some reason last night, but we have no real plans today other than stopping by the farmer's market, so it looks like today will be more relaxation with a bit of football thrown in.

I get tomorrow off as it's a bank holiday, so I'm thinking another trip to the dollar bins at Amoeba is in order. As is a fly-by to the guitar store on Haight to pick up a decent capo (my current one is a dinky little contraption I've had for so long it's starting to rust), as is a fly-by to Japantown to pick up the last Naruto tankobon volume. There may also be some Halloween candy purchasing, but I'll try to be good and not pick up too much.

The writing is coming along quite nicely, thanks to adjustments in my schedule following through more consistently. Most of the major work is still line editing right now, so having an outlet for fresh words keeps me on my toes. Much needed and a good thing. I'm still attempting a more consistent blogging schedule, but as long as I hit both WiS and WtBT at least once a week, I'm happy.

So what was that about missing a day? Well, the issue was that, just a few days into Inktober (as well as doing the 750), I started to realize that I was paying more attention on trying to continue an unbroken daily streak than I was on the writing or the art itself. Day 5 and I was thinking, I need to get something done today, but I don't have anything to write about or draw! O NOES! And that's when I had to remind myself that's NOT what these exercises are for. And more importantly, on the whole I write a LOT more than I think I do. So yeah...if I miss a day, even on purpose, THAT'S OKAY. It's not the end of the world.

That said, it's not as if I didn't completely avoid any writing-related things. I actually spent a half hour or so in the back room digging through my files to find all the Walk in Silence and related notes and outtakes. [It's a good thing I did that major purge-and-sort sometime back, because I found everything quite easily.] I wasn't planning on officially starting the final run of that project just yet, but it didn't hurt to get myself prepared for it. The files are now in a single shoebox in a specific area. I should probably do the same with the straight-to-computer outtakes as well, do some printouts and get everything together. Oh, and yes, I am planning on using my nice camera to take local pictures during our trip back to MA next week, for reference as well as for possible cover art.

EEP! That's right, our vacation is next week! How did that come about so quickly?? I still need to make final plans to meet up with our western MA friends (and still have time to hang with the family). It's just a week, but it'll be great to see everyone again!


Hope y'all are having a good weekend! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's Sunday morning, and after not sleeping for about a day and a half, I managed to get a good solid eight hours sleep in. I think my internal clock has finally recalibrated. My thoughts are a bit more coherent and things feel more back to normal.

Our London trip was fantastic! Two full weeks of going to museums, visiting historical sights, meeting up with a few friends, hitting the pubs, book and music shopping, and a hell of a lot of picture taking. We even went to see a few shows: a classical performance at the Albert Hall celebrating the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, Shakespeare's As You Like It at the Globe, and The Curious Event of the Dog in the Night Time at the Gielgud Theatre. I shall post many of my pictures at the Tumblr blog over the next few days.

The flights were uneventful for the most part, except for all the unfortunate screwiness at Toronto Pearson Intl Airport (aka YYZ: cue the Rush song now). Our flight out landed rather hard with a discomforting lurch to the left; our connecting flight to Heathrow was delayed and a new plane needed due to the fact that someone had accidentally flushed their lipstick down the loo before we even took off, which effectively borked the entire plane's sewage system; the flight back was delayed due to backed up runway traffic so we had to circle Toronto for a good half hour; and just before we landed, we had to lift up and circle again due to another plane taking off too slow. To top it all off, we very nearly couldn't bring the two bottles of liquor we bought at Heathrow Duty Free because apparently it needed to be hermetically sealed in a bag (YYZ's response: this restriction is US security's idea, not Canada's, and besides, Heathrow should have known this, so either you need to have it in a sealed bag that you don't have and that we can't give you, or you can check it in and there's a good chance security won't let you bring it on, or you have to put it in your soft-canvas carry-on, which by the way is a few pounds too heavy and you're going to have to have it checked in. No worries, here's a few "fragile" stickers we can slap on it (after wasting five further minutes looking for them, failing, and borrowing United's), so anyway it's not our fault. Next!). Suffice it to say...Canada, I love you, but YYZ was a freaking nightmare. [Noted: our bottles of Talisker and Pimm's did in fact survive these shenanigans, thanks to my deft wrapping and padding via my jacket and many tee-shirts, so all ended well.]

All that said...we ended up back at the apartment at 1am PT, so after all that, we decided to just pull an all-nighter and stay up all day Saturday. I felt a bit loopy, but somehow managed to drive us to the Lucky Penny for breakfast, food shopping at Trader Joe's, and even got all the laundry done. Most of the rest of yesterday was spent putting things away and catching up on personal emails. We finally passed out around 10pm, so I believe our sleep cycles are back to normal.

Not much planned for today...probably a bit of house cleaning, and getting my work laptop back up and running so I can clean the inbox. Other than that, we have no plans other than kicking around the house and being lazy for our last day of vacation. It's back to business as usual tomorrow!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
*sigh* It's Sunday afternoon and the last day of vacation, so now I get to look forward to two months' worth of Q4 ridiculousness at the bank. On the plus side, Q4 in EDI is nowhere near Q4 in retail, or any tax season for that matter, so while we might get waves of OMG requests (usually in the form of "something broke HALP"), it's not as if I'm forced by guilt to work hours of overtime. And as long as the systems don't get all jacked up for some ridiculous reason, I should be okay. Still--it's kind of weird that on the one hand, I'm kind of sad that our final vacation of the year is coming to an end, but on the other hand, I'm totally fine with heading back to the grind tomorrow. We got a lot done, had a lot of fun, and we're looking forward to visiting places old and new next year already.

So did I get anything creative done over the vacation? Well, yes and no. I did keep up with Inktober for the most part, missing only a few days but catching up quickly thereafter. I did finally get a response from Angry Robot (rejection), which has given me some food for thought as to where the Bridgetown Trilogy will go next. I did another Two Thousand reread to remember where I am. But other than that? Not a sausage. No poetry, no journal, no 750 Words. Though I did bring those notebooks with me to Portland, I chose not to break them open, mainly because I wanted to take a mental break from it all. I can afford a week's distance every now and again, I think. Besides, with all my extraneous creative energy going nowhere, it ended up in some of the drawings, so I managed to reawaken my love of art pretty quickly. I even chose to buy some quality drawing pens. All my art pens and some of my pencils are now in a repurposed takeout container under my monitor, right next to my journal and notebooks.

So! What's next, once Monday rolls around? Back on the horse, of course of course. Back to hitting the daily 750 Words (aka the New Idea Playground), back to working on Two Thousand and Walk in Silence, back to weekly WordPress entries, back to the whiteboard schedule. I'm ready to go!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Yay vacation! Currently enjoying my last week of days off before I jump back into the excitement of bank work for the rest of the year. We had no real travel plans this time out and decided to take a quick flight (just under 2 hours) to sunny rainy Portland OR for a few days. We had no real plans other than to drive around, see the sights, and spend way too much money at Powell's City of Books. Much fun was had, many pictures were taken, and we saw quite a lot of fun things. I've come to the conclusion that Portland very much has the same "college town" feel as Boston, maybe with a bit of a Pioneer Valley feel for flavor. We also drove up Route 84 to the start of the Columbia Gorge, which is absolutely lovely (and would have been more so if it hadn't been raining).

So what are we doing for the rest of our vacation? Not much of anything, really. Go see a movie, do a bit of walking, dread heading back to work on Monday. The usual. :)

I'm a few days behind on Inktober due to being busy during vacation, as well as being superlazy yesterday, so that means I'll have to play catch-up for the rest of the week. The fascinating part of taking part in this meme is that it's definitely reawakened my love for drawing. I've always wanted to devote more time to it but never got around to it, and the meme reminded me that I can still pull it off. In a way it's the same as my music playing--I never played all that much until I bought a few more, and now I'm noodling around on my guitars a bit every day. [Same with working on my daily 750 Words--that's been a great writing exercise for me.] I've even done a bit of shopping for art pens and found a great pack that I think I'll love using (which I bought at Powell's, no less)! I'm curious to see where this goes. Will I ever go pro with it? Probably not...but I think I'm back at the level I was at in college, and I'm really liking that feeling, and that's what matters.

In other and more pressing news, this morning I got an email from Angry Robot. They've turned down A Division of Souls, but I'm okay with that. In fact, I have to appreciate their not only giving me an update email during their business shuffling, but in this one stating one of the reasons why they turned it down. [More on that in a Welcome to Bridgetown post later.] I'm understandably bummed, but at the same time I'm relieved and excited. Someone not only read it but took the time to say something about it upon return, and that's given me food for thought. Does this mean more revision? Possibly. Does it mean weighing self-pub versus professional publishing again? Perhaps. I don't think I'll be spending nearly as much time on the trilogy as I have in the past--most of the possible revision would be cosmetic at this point--and besides, I have two (possibly three) other projects that I'm juggling at the moment that I really should not put off any longer. It'll be interesting and busy for a while longer, but I can handle it, as long as I keep myself focused.

I've a feeling 2015 is going to be quite intense for me, but in a good way.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Woo, vacation coming in less than a week!! We'll be flying out of SFO on Saturday and across the briny blue to the UK for Worldcon and much sightseeing, and I'm totally looking forward to it. A and I both have a list of places to visit--the many museums, the usual tourist traps, and of course a few Beatles-related points of interest. And I'd be kicking myself if I didn't spend two weeks in London and not visit the famed Abbey Road, right? We even picked up a few tickets to see a play at one of their many theaters there. I'm really looking forward to this trip, gonna be a lot of fun!

Looking forward to Worldcon as well...it's going to be one where I know quite a few people who are also going to be there, so it'll be a lot of fun to stop and say hi to everyone! Interestingly enough I haven't yet read through the entire con schedule yet (partly due to the fact that I completely forgot to do so until a few days ago), but I've come to the conclusion that cons work even better for me if I don't overplan it. There are always a few definites as far as panels are concerned, but keeping my plans relatively fluid means I'm less concerned about possibly missing things and more open-minded about panels I stumble in on at the last minute. I've discovered new books and writers that way too!

So yes...this weekend has basically been all about the planning. Getting a shuttle to the airport, getting London transit cards, buying travel books, mapping out a schedule, working out a to-do list, stopping mail delivery for a bit, and so on. All the usual steps one takes pre-vacation. And now I'm at the point where I'm making a mental list of what I'll be bringing on board the plane. This is one of those rare moments where we can bring a carry-on with us but not an additional bag to be put overhead. Not complaining about that too much...I'm sure I can figure out a way to arrange the necessities in my satchel--you know, the tablet, the mp3 player, book to read, notebook for writing, possible change of clothes (you know how it is), camera, and all within the confines of the space they're giving us. It'll be tricky, but I think I can pull it off.


In other news...what have I been up to the last few weeks? Aside from a three-day cold that annoyed the hell out of me, I've been keeping busy. I'm not as far along with Walk in Silence as I'd like to be, and I think it's because I've hit a slow muddy segment that will most likely need to be heavily rewritten. I'm at the point of why the hell am I writing this anyway, and is it really worth the work? second-guessing, which is annoying. The words don't exactly suck, but I'm perhaps at a point where I'm getting bored with the project. Or that I'm at a point I don't want to write for some reason and would rather not deal with it. In other words, I've got the writer's typical mid-project don't wanna's.

If anything, I'm going to utilize this vacation for two things: a brief break from the writing to get my thoughts back on track, and a distraction to plan what fiction project I'm going to work on next.


So yes...going to be a busy week of last minute plans, packing, and everything else under the sun. I may even post something here or at WordPress before I leave, if time permits. We'll see.
jon_chaisson: (Athol sign)
The J & A Good Time Comedy Revue and Biscuit Brunch Tour '14 was a rousing success! Our weeklong vacation to various New England points of interest was chock full of daily meetups with friends and family, not to mention stopping by favorite haunts. The first half of the vacation was spent in the Boston area, where we stayed at a lovely B & B in Cambridge a short distance from both Porter and Davis Squares. Much driving and sightseeing, including a very enjoyable leisurely drive around Boston and neighboring towns on Sunday. We headed westward to central MA on Tuesday and spent the rest of the week with family and more friends. We even managed to drive through three different states on Thursday, when we drove up to Brattleboro VT, then over to Keene NH, then back to Athol for a brief break before heading down to West Springfield to see my good buddy Bruce, who I haven't seen in quite a few years. We finished off the week with a brunch with my parents before heading back to Boston. That night we met up with two more people in Chelsea, and finished off the night with soft serve on Revere Beach--something one just has to do at least once. We flew back on Saturday morning, where we somehow managed to remain awake. This had to be the busiest vacation I've ever had, but it was a blast, and I'm incredibly happy I was able to see so many people during it.

And as an aside: I was not able to work on writing revision on a daily basis...but I did manage to more than make up for it by working on three chapters during the six-hour flight back to San Francisco! :)

Whew! So that's our spring vacation out of the way. We don't have another major vacation until August when we head to London for WorldCon, which I am of course eagerly looking forward to. In the meantime, we do have a number of fun events scheduled, including a number of SF Symphony shows Shakespeare at the Kabuki, and more. It's been a hectic 2014 so far, but in a good way!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Re: the subject heading--last week when we stopped at Amoeba I finally got around to picking up Bob Mould's Workbook 25, the 25th Anniversary of his excellent 1989 album, and after much distraction and other things going on, I finally got around to ripping it to the drive and giving it a listen. MAN, this album still kicks ass after a quarter century. It's a gorgeous album, full of lovely acoustics and incredibly strong songwriting from a guy formerly known only a few years previous as one third of Hüsker Dü, the guy who tore into his heavily distorted Flying V and howl-screamed most of his lyrics. Well worth picking up and giving a listen.

So! What has been going on in JoncWorld? All sorts of fun things.

--Taxes. Finally did them the other day, and though we still owe for both the State and Federal (I know it's my job's fault--I may need to adjust how much is taken out), it's a little less than last year. And it dawned on me that, if I finally follow through with getting published, I'm going to need to start itemizing next year. Whee! That'll be fun. But yes...that bit of silliness is over and done with for another year.

--Work. Work is...work. It's not frustrating, but I did have a bit of ridiculousness to contend with. Long story short, if you have any nonspecific questions on how OFAC Sanctions work, I'm your man. Let's just say I had to school a few people on it last week. Much fun.

--Walking, Shopping, Eating. Another fun-filled weekend here in sunny SF, in which our intrepid heroes headed over the Castro and the Mission yesterday. After a very tasty brunch in the Castro (in which a hilarious couple asked us about whether their facial hair made them look Amish) (yeah, I don't know either, but it was damn funny), we walked down 18th Street, stopped briefly at ImagiKnit (one of A's favorite yarn stores) and then for some AWESOMELY TASTY ice cream at Bi-Rite. From there it was over to Valencia, where we stopped at this really fun gift shop that sells all sorts of silly cards, and then across the street to Borderlands Books, where we spent mumblemumble on books. And then today we headed over to Fillmore so A could get a haircut, and for me to spend some time at Browser Books, where we eventually spent mumblemumble on more books. Then it was down to Japantown for some okonomi-yaki! It was probably for the best that I didn't buy any manga at Kinokuniya, then...

--Reading. I finally finished Chang Rae-Lee's On Such a Full Sea and I have to say I was pleasantly entertained, especially given that it's been described as a post-apocalyptic novel. See, this book proves that not every post- climate failure/society failure/pandemic novel needs to be full of zombies, or a horror novel, or a suicide-inducing downer (Cormac McCarthy I'm looking at you). It was not only fascinating, it was quite true to life, extremely heartfelt, and *gasp* didn't exactly have a complete resolution! All in all, one of my favorite books I've read in a long time. Well worth it. And now, I'm reading Carter Alan's Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN, which I'm finding equally as fascinating--let's face it, I love pretty much any book that tells the history of rock radio, but this one is great because I'm very familiar with not just the station, but many of the deejays involved.

--Writing. Yes, still plugging away at the revision of The Process of Belief. I'm on Chapter 8, and I seem to have gotten past some of the more tetchy "stage directions" parts into some tighter prose, so there's that. As I told A., I figured when I wrote that I was focusing more on the word count than the prose itself, and paid a little too much attention to the visual cues and not much else. Around 2002-4, that tended to happen whenever I was in the zone. In other writing news, I decided to put the 750 Words aside for now, as I want to try something slightly different. More on that later.

--Making plans for our vacation. We'll be in the Massachusetts area in a few weeks and so will hopefully be meeting up with friends and family at that time. Should be fun!


So yes...been a busy but productive week here! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Vacation

Nov. 3rd, 2013 07:08 am
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
So how do I start my last vacation week of the year, when the clocks turn back?

By waking up at 5:30am. *headdesk*

Of course, I could turn on the TV, but we've had satellite issues for the past week or so (we're hoping to get someone in to check and/or fix it soon), so no watching my HGTV/DIY shows like I usually do on Sunday mornings. Alas, I am stuck sitting here in the dark, playing with my laptop. Oh well. Perhaps it's for the best.

So, what are we doing on our vacation? For the first half of the week, nothing, really. Just reveling in the fact that we can sleep in, not have anything pressing to do, sit around and be bums, and watch past episodes of Murdoch Mysteries or Ken Burns documentaries off Netflix. Neither of us are used to being such sloths at this point--A. gets twitchy and need to do things, and I always end up with that nagging urge that I really should be writing if I'm sitting around doing squat.

The other half of the week should be interesting, though. We're going to be doing a roadtrip down south! The farthest we've gone with the car has to be Hearst Castle down in San Simeon (a tiny town on the central California coast that truly is in the middle of nowhere), but we're heading further this time, all the way down to the LA area! I've stopped at LAX and John Wayne Airports to go to Disney or for a connecting flight, but have never actually checked out the Sprawl itself, so this should be a fun experience!

We'll be staying mostly up in the Santa Monica area, checking out all the famous LA spots: theaters, museums, tar pits, what have you, because why not? We're making a mental list of places we need to check out, which I should most likely map out if I'm going to figure out how to get there. I do of course plan on doing a bit of picture taking, especially at vantage points like Griffith Park, not just because it's what you do there, but so I can also use it as reference material for the trilogy and its various potential stories in that universe [Bridgetown is sort of an east coast version of the LA sprawl]. Should be fun!

The most interesting part of this is that we'll be driving all the way down there--yes, we'll be heading down the long stretch of Route 5, which I've heard is quite the long trip but worth it once you get there. Luckily I'm just fine behind the wheel as long as I have my tunes and something to keep me hydrated and awake.

In the meantime...this part of the week will just be waking up whenever, drinking coffee, and not much else. A well-earned vacation as always. :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
This time next week, I will try to keep myself from singing the below song and further embarrassing [livejournal.com profile] emmalyon:



Alternately, I don't think I have the dancing chops that Gene Kelly did, so none of this either:




Yes, I am SO looking forward to this trip. :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Woo! Long weekend for relaxing, doing fun stuff, and getting important stuff done before our trip! I'm keeping a mental list of things I (or we) need to do before then, and I'm sure something will be forgotten, but nonetheless, I'm planning on this weekend being a good one, especially since the weather is definitely in our favor.

Yesterday was a rather NOISY way to start, as we had a)the Blue Angels practicing overhead, and b)our building maintenance guy fixing our shower, as the diverter valve (the middle one that changes the flow from the tap to the shower head) was pretty much kaputt. He pretty much tore the old hardware out and replaced it with new hardware along with a new shower head, so much clanging, crashing, pipecutting and thumping (and whistling and singing in Polish, I should add) took place in the bathroom, all while jets were WHOOOSHing overhead. He was also gracious enough to fix a major leak in the kitchen sink as well, and recaulked around the sink itself as well, which was quite nice of him. A very odd and noisy Friday indeed, but a good one!

Today was spent heading over to the de Young Museum in the park, so we could see a few shows going on: a collection of modernist paintings and a retrospective about Rudolf Nureyev. The second of which, of course, made me think of the Love Tractor song of that bears his name.

After a bite to eat at our favorite restaurant (Q, down the other end of Clement), we headed up to the Laurel Village shops for coffee and a few small things, including an plug adaptor for our trip. We also stopped by the Books Inc there, where I didn't actually buy anything, but made mental notes to check out a few music books that just came out (Ann & Nancy Wilson, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and a collection of John Lennon's letters). After that we stopped at the OfficeMax for more shopping (Emm got a new toy and I got a messenger bag). And on the way home we stopped at a tiny bakery just off Clement that had some tasty looking cupcakes. I, of course, thought their cake scrap parfait (chocolate cake bits with layers of funfetti frosting in between) was the Most Brilliant Thing Ever and ordered it straight away. As of 6pm, we are both still full and have no plans on having dinner any time soon. :p

So yeah...busy Saturday! Tomorrow we don't have anything exciting planned, so it'll most likely be filled with more errands like food shopping and whatnot. I will also be continuing my crash course in Rosetta Stone French, a bit of writing, and laundry. I'm sure football will also make an appearance.

And yay, I get Monday off! That day will be spent dropping off the car at the Honda place downtown, taking the bus up to the Haight, and hanging out up that way for a bit. Amoeba doesn't open up until 10:30, so that leaves me about 2.5 hours to kill, but I'm sure I can find a coffeeshop I can hide in. And once I'm done there I can just take the N train back downtown and pick up the car from there. That reminds me--I should probably stuff the book and clothing donations in the car too, so I can drop those off on the way back. Get everything done! :)


So yeah...two more weeks before we head off to Paris. It's still weirding me out that we're going there on vacation for a full week (just slightly over, actually), but I'm really looking forward to it. My mind is racing with all the things that need doing before we head out, all the preparation and whatnot, and the anxiety that I won't do my name justice and speak French badly enough to get laughed out of town, but aside from that...I'm looking forward to it all. We're staying at this tiny little hotel on this tiny side street about a block and a half from the Louvre and the Bibliotheque, so we will of course be stopping at all the museums and the stores and the cafes, check out Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower, and all the fun stuff. I've already decided that at some point we will hang out at a cafe on the Left Bank and I will do an appropriate Murph drawing and write a poem. Just to say I did. ;)

Woo, two more weeks! :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] emmalyon and I have been visiting various Boston landmarks the last few days during vacation, so I decided I'd take some pictures of things and places that have influenced my writing over the years, or were at least important to my writing. Enjoy!

There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed... )

I wish I'd have taken more pictures (I would have liked to have gotten pictures of Charlesgate, my apartment in Allston, and a few others), but we didn't have the time. I may grab those pictures from the internet later on and post them in a follow-up, however.

We'll be heading out west to my parents' house tomorrow, so I will most likely be taking more reference pictures as the week progresses.

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