Working Wednesday, April 20, 2022

This week I’ve been working on a book with a guy known for fiction with a high body count. We do a lot of trouble-shooting in e-mail, and when we were trying to figure out a particularly vexing problem, this happened:

Bob: Let’s just kill everyone. Simple plot.

Jenny: You’ve used that one too many times.

Bob: But then they come back as zombies. Liz and Vince are the only two left.

Jenny: That’s Book Three.

Bob: And then the aliens land.

Yes, folks, that’s how we work. On a book that will have zombies and aliens over my dead body. Which Bob is okay with.

What did you work on this week?

83 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, April 20, 2022

  1. J: Bob, are you pondering what I’m pondering?
    B: I think so, Jenny. *Snarf!* But then who’ll be left to bury all the radioactive corpses?

    Weird dreams. My life as a musical. Weirder than that! It’s the score of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Once More With Feelings adapted to hydroponic gardening.

    He does pretty well
    with weeds from hell
    But lately we can tell
    He’s just going through the motions.
    Calling in the part.
    Nothing seems to penetrate his heart!

    Okay, so it’s mostly the opening number, over and over. And then I dance and all the Romaine Lettuce bursts into flame.

    Did I say weird? I mean, seriously weird.

    They got the Mustard Plant out!

    I might manage a serious post when I’ve had enough decaf to make a difference. It’s below freezing here, though, so maybe not. I’m cold and sluggish and it’s not just weird dreams.

    1. That’s not weird, just inspirational, I once watched Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, spent the rest of the day, thinking in that form of dialogue. Very confusing, at least your dreams could make a fun hydroponic gardens advert or a tiktok

  2. I am looking for options. I am planning our semi-elopement and am stuck on the dessert. We are having our witnesses over for a meal after. Neither my partner nor I are fond of cake. He is lactose intolerant, so that pretty much leaves out cheesecake, tiramisu or ice cream. He likes it and will eat it, but I don’t want him to feel yucky on that day in particular. I could make a coconut milk based triffle, but I don’t think I want to do something that fiddley with everything else that needs done that day. Ideas welcome!

    1. Pie?


      Pavlova with whipped coconut cream (not milk) instead of whipped cream?

      Flan with coconut milk?

    2. My therapist told me that will let you order dairy-free cakes from anywhere. I’m on the West Coast so that didn’t seem that feasible for me (most of the places offering cakes are on the East), but maybe that’s an option if you don’t want to deal with making fiddly things.

      1. We have a vegan baker who takes orders, but she is also gluten free and that combo tends for very heavy cakey things. It’s great for people with severe allergies but not what I really want for a special day.

    3. French apple pie? It’s rich and looks great – those concentric rings of apple slices with an apricot jam glaze. It’s not difficult (pate sucre, which you push into shape – no need to roll it out), though it does take a while to make. But I should think you’d be able to buy it ready-made; although you want one with stewed apple under the slices, not any kind of custard. My recipe is from a 1980s Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook.

      1. What about a tarte tatin then. Not too difficult to make if you buy puff pastry. With some non dairy vanilla ice cream.

          1. No worries. Butter is fine. It’s mostly fat without much else and most lactose intolerant people don’t have trouble digesting it, especially if it has been further processed in the baking. It’s just cheese, cream and yogurt that are the culprits. Ya know, all the fun stuff.

        1. If you want something unusual maybe look for a dessert soup recipe like blueberry or raspberry. Served with cookies.

    4. Wedding bakers just sub soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, or oat milk for milk and marg or veggie oil for butter in their recipes. Maybe a nice moulded fruit Jelly

      1. I don’t know where you are but any vegan bakery should be able to make you a vegan dessert . My cousin in law has a vegan bakery that ships (Sweet Maresa) but I bet there is one near you .

        If you want to bake just look up vegan recipes.

        What are your favorite desserts ? Can you get someone else (paid or family) to make it so you don’t have to fiddle with it?

        1. Thanks! I lean heavily to the fruit and cheese/cream stuff myself. Is there anything better in June than fresh strawberries and whipped cream? Ah well. The trick, really is that I have a small refrigerator and I am trying to budget space for everything that needs to go in there…

    5. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. A friend mentioned donuts, which I can’t believe I didn’t think of, considering how many times I have read Bet Me…

      I am going to try reaching out to our local Amish baker and see if she is willing to do a special order for us. Lots of flavor choices and her pastry is wonderful. Fingers crossed!

        1. I’m thinking maybe candy too. In glass jars. We are having 10 people. Apparently I am planning on feeding 50.

    6. Meringue cake. Make circles of meringue with a filling between them. Lemon curd with raspberries would be quite fetching.

    7. I’ve been baking dairy free for many, many years now. Both my boys are dairy-intolerant, and I’ve had my moments, and I love baking so I’ve had to adapt. How formal are you going? And how many people are you catering for?

  3. Not aliens, I am still angry about the last Indiana Jones… also Shia LaBeouf and Cate Blanchett… She is much too good an actress for the dialogue they gave her to work with and him urgh. I digress…NO ALIENS! (as I walk round like Edna Mode adjusting my glasses) Also they only ever work when you have a giant budget for CGI

    1. Kay, you must be hallucinating. That movie was never made. No one dragged me to it in the theatre against my better judgement. I did not demand brain bleach afterward. Nope. Nope. Nope. It’s just a bad dream.

  4. I’ve been doing some desultory crochet with some yarn my friend liberated from a hoarder. I should have just donated the stuff, but I pulled some out, thinking to make a blanket that could then be donated. (I chose the baby yarn, because it was soft – but I un-crocheted the first white I used, because the yarn was squeaking as I worked. Yuck!) I went a little long, so it’s bigger than a baby blanket, and I’m changing colors often – so there will be lots of ends to weave in. I’m at the point where I don’t dare start anything else because I will abandon this project in a heartbeat. If I stick to it, though, I should have a nice lap blanket to warm someone and much less yarn to donate.

    I’m also still amazed that I blew up a pyrex casserole dish. Learn from my example, and don’t heat those things while they’re empty!

    1. I blew up a Pyrex casserole dish once. Didn’t know it could be done, and it startled the heck out of me. My takeaway from the experience: stick to a 9X13 cake pan.

    2. I blew up one too. I set it (hot) in a sink that I had wiped down and dried but apparently I missed a drop. Kablooey!

      1. I blew up a 9 by 13 Pyrex by putting it down (with stuff in it) when hot on a cold iron stove burner. Presumably it was the heat differential.
        Glass everywhere.
        I think it’s actually pretty common

  5. It’s been done, Jenny&Bob. I was talking with my big brother the other day, and he told me about a book he’d read where the Good Guys and the Bad Guys were in battle throughout the book, and then….the Bad Guys won. The Good Guys all died. BUT, the final chapter took place in Heaven, where the Good Guys ended up.

    $#!t. Seriously???

    1. Reminds me of Rogue One. Very disturbing for kid 2. Far too realistic an outcome for all of us.

      1. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Rogue One. Usually that sort of thing bothers me as well. I think that ending with young Leia helped, especially as I saw it right after Carrie Fischer died. But I certainly didn’t expect Disney to go that route.

        1. DD was still a bit youbg when she saw Rogue One and we just didn’t expect it to be so debastatingly sad.

          Some years before, we had a similar effect with Baymax (?). The film with this giant, kind white blob of a robot who sacrificed himself for the human kid.
          The kid could safe the chip with all the info, but for my two little ones, that just wasn’t enough. The tears continued hours after we’d left the cinema. They felt very betrayed.

      2. Rogue One was the first film I’ve seen where I actively wanted the protagonist to die – I felt betrayed when she appeared to have survived for a few moments; but then thank goodness she hadn’t. No more Star Wars for me. (Apart from the original trilogy.)

  6. My full time contract job will be done end of April, then I’ll take a week’s break, and then I’ll start a part-time editing job. So I have some time ahead to expand a bit, which I am looking forward to.

  7. I worked on my book, which oddly enough, does contain two aliens. They fit in, but just barely, and that makes for some interesting dynamics. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun with your book. That makes it worthwhile. I love writing this scenario and rereading it. I don’t care if anyone else likes it, at this point.

  8. Can you just post ALL email threads between you and Bob.

    I fear I get him… I’d be ok with the zombies but draw the line at aliens.

    1. No on posting all the e-mails. There are thousands of them and some of them (mine, always mine) go on for days.

        1. It really is. I’m still exploring it, but even if I decide to keep Spark, I’ll use Spike for collaboration.

          1. It looks like collaboration works well for you. Rope Bob in for the other works in progress? We need more Crusie books to get us through current events…

  9. I’m still cleaning up snow (although it is so heavy, I’m going to have to wait for most of it to melt). Catching up on emails. I need to go work on another book proposal for Llewellyn, too.

  10. Doing two tech weeks, more or less: the 10 minute play show is on tech week this week but I won’t be there until their last two days, as they are doing TWO tech weeks “because musicians!” I went half the week last week and will go half the week this week. Then Evita starts tech week next week, but this is the first time we’re doing numbers in order.

    My mother won’t go to the 10 minute play festival and I am mad about that, but I can’t say anything. She’s going to another show’s matinee that day and doesn’t want to bother doing 2.

    I’m still drowning at work (we lose yet another person after today), but at least my ill coworker came back, and we’re supposed to actually get two more new employees in May, so there’s something.

    I am still working on recreating Mirabel’s Encanto outfit. The skirt will take forever to knit, of course, but I’m nearing the end of the blouse, as I’ve finished knitting it and I just put it out to block. Presumably I can start decorating it after that’s done.

  11. I’ve had a good week, gardening. Having to pace myself due to dodgy back & arm, but have planted new things in the garden, pruned the enormous salvia hard back to the fence, planted my potatoes and shallots, sown lettuce, carrots, rocket, sugar snaps, beetroot, salad mix and spring onions, and today reshaped an area to form my new strawberry beds (won’t plant them until July/August, but want them to be settled and ready).

    More gardening this next week. I’m hoping to get properly set up for the season – weeded, planted, sown and mulched. Would be the first time!

  12. Going to an inperson meeting of my progressive political group this evening. I really need some person time. And pizza! And all the snow from yesterday is gone!

  13. Well, the best news I’ve had all week is that last night, Hannah slept all night. From 9:30-5:55, she slept and so did I. I can’t count the last time I slept that many hours in a row in my own bed and actually rested. This year has been hell on my sleep between worrying about Charlie (he did a lot of wandering around the house at night the last 3 weeks or so), losing him and Pumpkin and everything that went along with that, and all the general chaos of this year. Throw a puppy into the mix and I’m over caffeinated and running on fumes.

    The night before last, she fussed and barked and threw temper tantrums for 3 hours straight, and I was down to my very last nerve with her. I told Paul that I had 2 choices: let her sleep loose in the bedroom or go to another room myself, possibly in a hotel. I let her sleep loose and she slept from 11-1 and from 1-6 which was a lot of sleep for her. And me.

    We are going to visit Paul’s dad this weekend (we are in staying in a hotel) and I’m hoping to get in a few naps while we are there.

    I’ve been caulking and filling the door trim we put up and I’m mostly done. Paul is away the last weekend of the month and it’s supposed to be nice weather so I’m going to put on a mask and get my sanding and painting done. Then, it’s on to baseboards!

  14. Today was my very last day as a working stiff. A few colleagues organized champagne and cake and snacks and bought me two absolutely gorgeous skeins of hand-dyed wool yarn (btw, they were shocked how much good yarn costs 😁) Was very very lovely of them, my boss had a few truly nice words (a good guy, I was very lucky).

    Hubby is retiring in a couple of months and in July we are planning a large garden party (outside, of course, still covid floating around) and that‘ll make up for not being able to say goodbye to many in the way I wanted.

    Feels strange, I must say! But it was time.

    1. Congratulations on joining the retired world! I stopped in at my former workplace this morning to get some cash (a credit union; I was the front desk receptionist) and say hi to my former co-workers and found myself greeting a member as if I still worked there. I had to bite my tongue and finish my goodbyes and get out of there. I don’t really miss working there, except for the people, but it seems old habits die hard.

      1. I’ve been back to the Power Plant twice. Or maybe three times? The first time was to pass along the knowledge nobody had time for about annual reports and monthly reports. Any others were just popping in on the way home from a doctor’s appointment. It was not inconvenient for me.

        Congratulations, German+Chocolate+Betty! Enjoy!

  15. I didn’t do much last week apart from walking around in Bruges. On holiday. Sightseeing, eating waffles, being stunned by the sheer number of chocolateries.
    After our return I’m once again stunned by the amount of washing that has to be done.
    Plus dd is rearranging her room and has sorted put loads of stuff. Now we have to sort out where the stuff should end up.
    DH ought to join in with his working space. Not exactly my ideal for week 2 of my vacation (well, taking overtime), but necessary. Tomorrow will be spent making a train trip to Franconia, as dd and friends want to visit a whatsapp-group-friend. DH and I riding along to make sure this distant friend us no evil fake gremling. Well, I’m pretty sure she’s no fake person, but better save than sorry… the weather forecast is nice and the destination is said to be pretty, so the trip is more attractive than doing chores x days in a row.

  16. My Easter weekend project was to resurrect my art room, which was an unholy mess. Progress, but it’s gonna take more than three days.

  17. I only put in a bit over 2 hours of yard work this weekend but my Saturday date with gardening BFF incorporated giving her three large metal things, so it *looks* like a lot got done. 🙂

    Had a mild intention of going out to stab weeds after work today, but it’s windy and kinda chilly and my allergies have been kicking my ass. So I’m going to make myself a cup of drunken decaf mocha and write a scene for the WIP instead. Added about 5K to that over the weekend, decided when/where/how the Big Reveal will happen, and am coasting downhill to the finish line.

    At least I did re-pot two orchids today during a lull at Day Job. They don’t ask for much, but when they are actively unhappy they let you know it.

  18. I wrote a piece of Murderbot fan fic, which I’m very pleased about because it’s the first time this year I’ve written something creative. And it’s getting good feedback, which is definitely nice too.

  19. I am researching the requirements for an aviation map. It has been fun and I think we will have a cool product when I am done.

  20. THE LARAN GAMBIT ms now done and ready for copyediting and proofing!

    I’m slogging through a stack of envelopes with luncheon choices and checks, so I can email the restaurant tonight with the information for our April 30 in-person meeting. Also need to update the banking, deal with three sets of meeting minutes, and finish up a new slate with the rest of the nominating committee.

  21. I spent one of my two days off (in a row! Still amazing!) cooking food with actual nutrition in it. Tarka dal, pumpkin soup, and some spicy breakfast beans to eat with avocado slices and grainy toast. I still have a bunch of vegetables crying out to me from the fridge, but it’s a good start.

  22. I did not work at all today. Mostly I slept to make up for waking with an earworm from the Buffyverse. No, I blogged about my gardens, and updated the post later, but that was the closest I came to gardening today.

    Almost worse than the earworm was all the “Pinky and the Brain” pondering jokes with Bob as Pinky and Jenny as the brain.

    J: Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Bobo?
    B. I might be, Jenny, but I don’t think they make tutus in my size.

    J: Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Bob?
    B. I don’t know, Jenny, but I think love stories between Earthlings and Aliens have been done to death, which is where they should end up.

    J: Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Bob?
    B. I think so, Jenny, but why would they make love in a launching ICBM?

    J: Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Bob?
    B. I think so, but zombies eat brains.

    J: Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Bob?
    B. [Fill in the ridiculous blank.]

    1. Bob never asks what I’m thinking. He doesn’t have to. I tell him before he could ask, which he wouldn’t because he doesn’t want to know.

      This is us:

      Me: Nothing but good times ahead.
      Bob: We’re all doomed.

      1. This is so funny if you follow Bob on facebook because he has survival guides for every possible situation. So far just reading the titles are enough for me.

    1. Well at least you were trained for it, unless they cower at a towering pile of library books most of us are out of luck

  23. Oh I love all your books with Bob Mayer ! Does this mean we could be getting a new one out soon? I’ve just read the first few chapters you posted on Arresting Anna, your books will always be my favourites !

    1. Three new ones. About “soon” I don’t know.
      Also, you have excellent taste. Thank you!

  24. I used to listen to the Baen Free Radio Hour Podcast, but not so much anymore. Zombies made me remember the serialization (as part of the podcasts) of Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo.

    June 12, 2015

    Name: BFRH 2015 06 12: Contributors to The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera; and Under a Graveyard Sky Part 1

    Description: Matthew Johnson, Derek Kunsken, David D. Levine, Linda Nagata, and Michael Z. Williams discuss The Year’s Best Military SF and Space Opera. Also, part 1 of John Ringo’s Under a Graveyard Sky.

    It continued for a long time, weekly podcasts, until it finally ended.

    May 27, 2016

    Name: BFRH 2016 05 27: Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Prize Award Winner Roundtable; and John Ringo’s Under a Graveyard Sky Part 51

    Description: A discussion with Aimee Ogden, winner, Ronald Ferguson, third runner-up, and William Ledbetter, administrator of the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Contest Award cosponsored by The National Space Society, and given each year at the International Space Development Conference, this year in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The participants discuss the award process, their stories, and writing and the writer’s life; also part 51 of the complete audiobook serialization of John Ringo’s Under a Graveyard Sky.

    Zombies are not my thing. Even worse would be to have aliens invade, manage to kill them all, and then have them come back as zombies. Unless dead humans came back as zombies to fight the alien zombies (but not the live humans.)

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