18 thoughts on “Slacker Thursday

  1. CA finally passed a budget. Yay. A groundswell is rising to get rid of the supermajority requirement – I signed an online petition – but some doubt about the timing – unfortunately, the earliest we can get it on the ballot is June 2010. A long time liberal former legislator – John Burton – has vowed to champion this cause if he becomes head of the CA Democratic Party. This is one aspect of the anger building against the Republicans – it will be good if this anger can be effectively channelled.

    The Dow reached a six year low today. I’ve been anticipating the next major down leg in the markets, any day now, and so we might be right at the precipice. I have a small short position (SPDR options) and so it’s weird waiting for the apocalypse.

    Discovered this cool bicycle made from bamboo:

    Am building a small patio table to grow various culinary herbs. Got tired of paying ridiculous grocery store prices for fresh herbs, such as rosemary. Eager to do a bit of small scale gardening. Am seeing signs of spring in CA, and so, by my reckoning, northern climates have about a month remaining of winter.

  2. maha,
    “Slacker Thursday?” What, are you channeling Eric Alterman a day early? 🙂
    Go ahead, slack maha, you’ve earned it! 🙂

    I did the same thing you did when I first moved to NC. I don’t know about CA, but watch out for what are called ‘Japanese Beetles.’ Overnight, they went through my basil like Sherman through Georgia! I went from mounds of leaves, to stalks. It remeinded me of my hairline when they got done…

  3. That bamboo bike… what a great idea! Have they been around a while? Or is there some new innovation that made them feasible? (‘Cause I’m wondering why no one thought of it sooner.)

    This is interesting:


    The Sargent Shriver National Center for Poverty Law released a scorecard for all members of Congress (last session), and I found a reason not to hate Ben Nelson! He scored an A+, if you can believe it.

    Here’s something I’ve never mentioned before. Since 2005 I’ve been represented by a literary agent, a very good if not famous or turbo-powered one. Three years ago we tried to find a publisher for the novel she signed me for, and we ended up collecting 25 sometimes quite flattering rejections for our trouble. Since then I’ve been working on something completely different (to quote John Cleese), a “literary paranormal” novel, if the genre even exists. The agent just finished reading my third draft, and last week we had a long discussion over the phone. Basically, I’ve got to tear the whole thing down and rebuild it… and I’m trying to work up the mental and emotional energy to even make a start. I have to face throwing overboard a whole lot of writing that I felt quite proud of, and find a reason to love what remains. Oh, and I have to write a pile of new stuff too, and it has to be really good. No pressure!

    My point is… wow, herb gardening sounds so wonderful… even when the Japanese Beetles attack. It’s relaxing, no one is critiquing your work, and if the results survive… mmm, pesto!

    Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind this evening. Or was… time to shut down now.

    Slack away, maha… I totally agree that you’ve earned it!

  4. I went to the National Civil Rights Museum today in Memphis. It was well worth it– everyone should see it at least once in their life. My only complaint is they should have strategically-placed tissue dispensers throughout the place.

    Pardon me, I’m a bit drunk right now LOL trying to fight this cold with Amaretto in lieu of having no Nyquil on hand…

  5. If one has Amaretto, who needs Nyquil?

    What’s thoroughly laughable is the GOP focus on packaging, rather than content. McCain’s daughter talking about the Internet, Steele talking about appealing to hip-hop, geriatric white old men doing street demonstrations of pitiful size, while retaining the core message of low taxes for the rich – no government services for the poor.

  6. Joan -I think Robert . Heinlein ogot rejections for 3 of the 4 books he gott the Hugo for. This included a rejection for ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ . Don’t take rejection too personally, it’s the opinion of people who are unable to do what you are doing.

  7. Joan,
    Keep the faith! In yourself, of course.
    Try a new agent. Or, try self-publishing. Or, rewrite. BUT DON’T GIVE UP!
    I have faith in you!!!
    Best of luck!

  8. Hey Moonbat, You live in one of the best climates in the U.S. when it comes to growing fruits and veggies. When I lived in Long Beach, I grew everything from artichokes and asparagus to zebra ginger.
    Rosemary grows in poor soil and thrives on neglect.

    I’m just starting a project featuring biodiesel plants,nopal cactus,microgreens,dragon fruit, bananas,shiitake and oyster mushrooms, and egyptian papyrus; in addittion to hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics.

    For fun and good eating, check out the oyster and Shiitake mushroom kits at fungi perfecti…….

    Raising your own food is a VERY good idea.

  9. Well, while we’re gardening, let me recommend a couple of things that can work well in limited spaces: Picklebush cucubers (Burpee) grow in a 4.4 space and bear for a long time if you pick daily or every other day at 4 or 5 inches long. Also, Burpee has Sungold yellow/orange grape tomatoes, which bear and bear and taste great. These are 2 plants that can really repay your efforts. For myself, I’m in the internal debate stage of considering a greenhouse. That means my wife has not said yes or no yet. I don’t plan on a heated one, really just an oversized cold frame 12×16 or so to get an early start and prolong the season a few weeks.
    Who says we’re slacking?

  10. If one has Amaretto, who needs Nyquil?

    Oh so true!

    Raising your own food is a VERY good idea.

    Also very true. Sadly, I live in an apt so tiny, I don’t even have counter space for one of those “Aero Garden” deals. Fresh herbs would be awesome.

    As for my novelista woes, I really appreciate your supportive comments. I’m going with the “rewrite” option because good agents are hard to come by. It’s even harder these days for a newbie to sell a manuscript, so we’ll make it as good as it can be. I’ll be sure to let you all know if it sells. Then it’ll be a round of Amaretto on me!

  11. I just finished Barbara Kinsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”. I figured it would give me a shot of inspiration for planting. We’ll see. Herbs are fun and they grow like weeds. We have a Rosemary as big as a Volkswagen. Japanese Beetles are the worst, particularly if you want to grow organic. Before our vineyard succumbed to drought I used the soapy water method. Now, we use the chicken method. We keep pastured chickens and they love to eat the grubs that become Japanese Beetles as well as the adults and turn them into fresh eggs and chicks. I’d go for that trade anyday. The downside is that a lot of crops have to be shielded from marauding hordes of chickens with netting or chicken wire. They love tomatoes as much as we do. Life is so unfair.

    In a few more weeks we’ll start making cheese again. Right now I am having to bottle feed five kids that didn’t catch on to nursing. They are cute, but sinewy little devils who think of me as a second “mom” which can be painful at times.

    In the absence of high culture here in the N.C. Piedmont I’ve gone back to classical guitar. It doesn’t mix well with farmwork,and I am having to rework pieces I could once play in my sleep. Getting old can be frustrating.

    I love the bamboo bicycle. An old friend of mine once built a hang glider out of bamboo. It was sufficiently strong and light for that, so why not a bike?.

    So, I guess the Apocalypse is coming sooner or later. We’ve lost, like everyone else. I guess we’ll just take what comes. I hope we don’t have to eat any of our favorite goats or even those pesky ones. We’ll have plenty of eggs and cheese at any rate. And who knows, we may come out of this with a better sense of what’s important in life. (Yeah, I know I sound like an old hippie.)

    My poor 92 year old mother got wiped out in the Great Depression and lost pretty big in this mess already. We built her a cottage on part of the farm so she will be all right, but imagine living long enough to face the second time around.

  12. Joan. Have you looked into the concept of on demand publishing? it seems to me that on demand publishing knocks down a great deal of the obstacles to be overcome by an aspiring writer. It’s not a guaranteed ticket to the big time, but it allows you full control over your work and the income generated by that work. It’s an awesome concept.

    I wish you success in your endeavor.

  13. The other day I heard a fascinating and very illuminating radio interview with John Perkins, author of “The Secret History of the American Empire.” Make a long story shorty, perkins was an economic hit man hired by the NSA on behalf of US multinationals. Working with the world bank and other NGOs, he ranged far and wide, undermining governments to expose the resources of nations to profiteering for the benefit of corporations.

    It waqs a fascinating web Perkins wove, speaking as a former insider.

  14. I once read you could grow potatoes in a tin tub with drainage holes on your patio. You start with a little dirt in the tub and the plant and as it grows you add dirt. By the end you have a tub of potatoes and dirt. I have never tried it, but it seemed like a good idea when I read it. I have some herbs and plants that I enjoy. I am not always successful, but sometimes I am. Unless you want a flowerbed full of mint. Plant mint in pots. Heh heh… I was a little toooooo successful with mint.

  15. Yet more proof that Republicans suffer from some kind of multiple-personality disorder: One recently summed up California’s ‘problem’, the entire problem no less, to Prop 13 declaring that since the passage of that bill, property taxes in California have been ‘frozen.’ Nevermind that she’s dead wrong (my property tax records don’t lie), I thought Republicans were against taxes.

    It’s come to the point that when even just talking to a Republican, one should first ask, “Who are you today?”

  16. Have you looked into the concept of on demand publishing?

    Swami, my agent has blogged about it before. It’s still a minor market share, but it’s the wave of the future, imo. (Actually, purely-electronic on-demand, e.g. Amazon’s Kindle, is the wave of the future.) The agent’s a lot more savvy about that stuff than I am. Bookwise, I’m like those music lovers who say, “They can have my vinyl turntable when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.” But I also realize that books on paper are Very Bad For Mother Earth… so the accepted format will have to change in my lifetime.

    Of course, by the time I get this hideous monster tome finished, publishers may be distributing literature directly into readers’ hardwired brains.

  17. Earthling, I once had a cold so bad I could barely see, let alone breathe, and I complicated it by flying to Dallas (there’s nothing worse than having a bad cold at 38,000 feet). The guy I was meeting at the other end took me to Papadeaux that night for Cajun sea food. It was So Very Hot that I could taste it past the sludge. The next day my head was completely clear. My suggested cold cure: cayenne pepper. Lots and lots of it. 🙂

    Joan: Write on! (groan – what a lousy pun) Let us all know when it’s out so we can help boost your sales!

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