So you might remember we had a global pandemic which affected a lot of travel plans. One of those plans was a family transatlantic cruise from Southampton to New York–or, as my mother repeatedly described it, “the Titanic route.” That trip was eventually rescheduled for April of 2023, and so last month we flew to London, visited some tourist sites, and then hopped a train to Southampton.
En route, I checked my phone and realized our train journey wouldn’t make it. The final leg was shut down due to an accident (someone had gotten onto the tracks). I worked to re-route our party, knowing we had a countdown to board the ship. But as we prepared to disembark early and find an alternate route, another message came in: our cruise was canceled, less than an hour before boarding began, due to a technical issue on the ship. (Later information revealed that it was an engine/scrubber problem.)
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago on a plane en route to ClickerExpo, but I forgot to finish and post it live. Here we go!
I had the opportunity to see the new tour of Les Misérables this week, and I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it.
I came awkwardly to my Broadway nerddom. When young Laura told my piano teacher I wanted the learn the “Phantom of the Opera music,” I meant Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and I was honestly boggled when she gave me the title track to Lloyd Webber’s show, which I’d never heard of. Then that stage passed, and I came of theater age during the heady early ’90s. This of course meant Les Misérables was a key influence.
It’s been a while since I started my walking desk experiment and I have finally worked it out. I have a sit/stand desk from Ikea and an elevated monitor, which has really helped my back and neck pain since I no longer look down. (Sorry, laptop in bed and on the couch. I love you, but you’re not good for me.) I had still been using my original treadmill, however, which technically did the job and was undoubtedly cheap. It had a timeout “feature” though and would stop the belt suddenly, which could be quite disorienting if I were in the zone.
Yesterday I stepped out through my front door with the dogs, and I walked face-first into a huge spiderweb spread across the frame of the door itself.
I clawed the web from my face and hair, and I turned back to see the spider crawling up to the refuge of the doorjamb. It was a large spider, at least an inch long, so certainly old enough to know that the door, used multiple times a day, isn’t a great spot to put a web. But hey, everyone makes a mistake, I guess.
I went back inside shortly and spent most of the day working at home. I got a lot done, very productive, yay me!
In the evening, I finally decided to leave the house, and I walked out to my car in the detached garage. And between my car and the garage wall, right where I walk every day, was another new, huge web.
Guys, I really don’t know any other way to take this, than that the spiders whom I have always protected here have suddenly turned on me. Who has been spreading rumors among them? Who has fed them lies in place of flies?
Look here, arachnids: I got no beef with you (other than the tick family, with which I have a feud of extreme prejudice). I actually really appreciate your efficiency in dealing with many more annoying insects. Please stop with the human-sized webs built overnight in my more regular and predictable traffic pattern. If you really need someone for the Centennial Sacrifice, just let me know, and I’ll see if I can get that would-be burglar who pretended to be a gas meter reader back.
Authors are frequently asked about where ideas come from, or sharing ideas, or how to get ideas. This is a bit funny, because ideas are frankly the easiest part of storytelling, and they can be found everywhere.
But honestly, no matter how weird and twisted I can get as a speculative fiction writer, I can’t match up to real life. Continue reading
A week ago, I posted this short personal tale to my Facebook page:
As I got into my car to drive home last night at 2 am, my proximity sensor warned me something was close behind my car. I checked my mirrors, checked the rear camera, but nothing. I started to back out, and the proximity warning screamed. I checked again. Nothing. Backed up veeery slowly, the warning shrieking the entire time.
I drove home. I pulled up to my gate, set well back from the road, under large trees between empty fields, in the total dark of a feeble moon. Proximity warning goes off. I check the mirrors and camera. Proximity sensor indicates something big and very close behind.
Quito is a fascinating city, but it’s plagued with air pollution and could really benefit from some electric cars. The gondola lift run is visible to the right.
We made it! We flew in last night and arrived at our Quito hotel, the elegant JW Marriott (yay points!), to find we’d been upgraded to a seriously sweet room. Like, I’ve seen dorm rooms smaller than just this bathroom. So we bathed in luxury prior to setting off into the rural highlands tomorrow.
Jon and me, with the Ruku Pichincha peak behind us
Today, however, we decided to do an acclimation hike. Up Pichincha.
Quito itself sits at of elevation of about 9,400 feet (2,850 m), and since we’re coming from a home elevation of about 500 feet (<200 m), we should have taken a couple of days to acclimate. Even if coming from a higher elevation, everything you read says you shouldn’t go up Pichincha on your first day.