Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hit the Deck

We're getting ready to actually build a deck.  The deck has been a bit of a travail for us.  We were going to have a contractor do it, but that didn't go so well.  The first contractor came out once, then never returned our messages.  The second contractor came out, and each successive estimate for a simple twelve-foot-by-sixteen-foot deck became progressively larger.  The third contractor seemed cool; we put down half the bid so he could buy materials, and then we got an e-mail saying that he had fled the state for the safety of his family and that we could sue his bond.

So, we're gearing up for a week-long project that would take a professional somethnig like two days to do.  I think we'll have to call the deck "Swamp Castle."  


On the writing front, there've been a few cases of life intervening -- whenever there's a change in schedule, my writing routine gets thrown for a loop.  I've been doing some editing, but not much creative writing.  I've been making up for that by getting back into the swing of submitting stories.   


Speaking of routines, on the excercise front, I need to start a routine.  I've got the equipment, so I don't have that excuse.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

End of July Post

Whew.  I haven't posted for a while.  This morning I'm having a lazyish morning at Café John, reading news with some tea and a blackberry muffin Mark made.  About a half hour ago a green hummingbird came and sampled the dianthis and morning glories.  It sat on a power line and then flew away.  Luckily Smokey wasn't in the yard.  I'm hoping the hummingbird comes back.  Mark and I weren't sure if it was good at being a hummingbird or not, since the canna lillies threw it for a loop.

A friend interviewed me for her blog and wants a picture.  Mark supplied some "non-goofy" pictures from a recent hike, but the one I like the most is a little out of focus.  I tried to take some self-portraits, but they were taken at night with the sole illumination coming from a computer monitor.  I was hoping they'd come out techno-geeky, but they came out sleezy-leery.   I suppose there's always the photo with the forks.

In other news, I got some exercise equipment -- a jump rope and some stretchy band things you stick in a door frame -- so now all I need is a techno soundtrack with random grunting and I can pretend the living-room is a gym.  This is all part of my plan to be ripped by the time I turn 50, I figure a year and a half should give me enough time.

And now... more tea and muffins.  Oh.  Wait.

Addendum:  As I was closing up this post, two more hummingbirds came by to inspect the canna lilies. I've never seen them actually drink from the canna lilies, so I'm not sure there's nectar to be had. I guess they like red flowers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

PHP and Story Submission

Some computer issues here meant that the PHP compiler on our computer got updated.  It was probably eight years old, at least.  

When I fired up my local story submission tracker, it created an empty report.  Luckily, I had Duotrope to fall back on.  I love Duotrope, but one feature it doesn't have is a market suggestion feature, which my home-grown PHP script does have.  Not to mention, it's always nice to have a back-up of what I'm doing that's not in the cloud.

It turned out that there were changes to several PHP calls.  The first one was how files were read into arrays.  I have three files--stories, mailcall, and markets--which I use to track which finished stories have been sent to which markets.  The second changes were to how the mktime and date functions worked.  Luckily, using a set time zone function fixed those; and then I had to fiddle with a how a market close date was trimmed (or in this case, how it shouldn't be trimmed anymore).  

Now the programs are working, and I don't have to think too hard about if I've sent a story to a market previously, or which new story might be a good fit (is within word counts, is the right genre) for a particular market.  

And... submit!