February 3, 2005

The best-laid plans of mice and men….

My recent illnesses have reminded me of my childhood allergy to dust mites, and suggested that my allergy has perhaps not dissipated with the passage of time. So, I decided to buy a dehumidifier.

According to WalMart.com, Wal-Mart sells half a dozen brands of dehumidifier. After work, I stopped by my nearest Wal-Mart and spent half an hour wandering its aisles. They didn’t have any. None at all. The two employees I asked waved me in different directions, completely uninterested in helping me actually find what I was looking for.

I got home to a snow-covered walkway. Actually, the snowfall itself was gorgeous; big, fat flakes drifting down from the sky and covering just enough of the ground to return the countryside to postcard prettiness, without covering the roads. But that meant I had to clear the snow from the sidewalk (our association tells us to clear sidewalks within twelve hours of a snowfall).

So, once I’d cleared the walkway, it was already 8:00 and I was tired. Didn’t get much done today as a result. I basically just watched the MST3K episode “Red Zone Cuba” and munched on store-bought chocolate chip cookies.

But even this was good; I need a break now and then.

VOTE! On the right. It’s a poll, and it’s just over there. No, on the right.

‘Twas a good day, overall. I kept a time journal at work, which kept me productive, and I managed to do almost everything on my to-do list (the only thing I’ve failed to do is practice Japanese, and that’s because I can’t find my Japanese book).

In particular, I finally finished proofing that novel. Boy, that was a big job. It was a pretty good book, too; it just required a lot of concentration. I couldn’t just read; I had to concentrate on every word.

So I decided that, once I was done proofing, I’d return to drawing. I’d like to get some practice a couple of times a week. Nothing special. Once I get used to it, I’d even like to post something every week. Not necessarily a comic; that’d be too much. Maybe just a few panels of a comic every week. I could always make something like tailsteak.tk.

As I mentioned in another entry recently, I’ve realized that I don’t do well with daily tasks. They get repetitive. I can do some of them, like writing these journal entries, but only the ones I find deeply, personally enjoyable. Other tasks just don’t give me the same immediate satisfaction.

For example, I tasked myself with writing a bit of fiction every night, and have utterly failed at that for days. But part of that is because of my frustration with writing only a little bit of fiction at a time. It takes a little time to get into the flow of writing, and when I’m writing only a little bit, I can never get into the flow.

So, I think I’ll write a few times a week, and draw a few times a week. And hopefully I’ll be able to keep that up.

I mean, wouldn’t it be cool if I could maintain a bunch of skills and projects all at once? Imagine if, in any given week, I made real progress on short stories and animations and comics and software development and home renovations and learning another language.

And now, more VR story.

She felt unexpected wetness moisten the corner of her eyes as she asked, “‘S there any way I can back out of this?”

He shook his head. “I must kill you.”

“I could say I’m not guardin’ him anymore.”

He shook his head again, as certain as the grave. “You may be attempting deceit.” He paused, as if weighing whether to continue. “To me, you are already dead.”

The fear grew and shifted into rank hatred of herself, for her weakness. This was not what it was supposed to be like. She never acted like this. She was Doodlehopper, always fearless, always copping an attitude.

Until she saw her death hovering behind a man’s naked blade.

Her instincts ripped her back to reality, to the man staring at her behind his sword. She realized suddenly that he had been watching her this whole time. He could have attacked at any time and overwhelmed her, and he was so good he had to have seen her fear and lack of focus.

He saw her surprise and said, “I will not do you the dishonor of killing you when you are, eh…unarmed?” He sounded uncertain about his choice of words; she nodded grimly.

And she dropped her bokken. She slowly put her arms to her collarbone, and with a voice so even she surprised herself, she said, “You’ll have to kill me unarmed.”

He was silent for a moment, then chuckled. “If that is your destiny. I am not as honor-bound as all that. I will still kill you; you have made it suicide.”

He raised his blade and rushed her. She knew what she had to do; she didn’t have time to notice the fear welling up inside her. One hand slipped into her jacket and gripped a tazer as she leaned to one side, his blade hissing past her as her arm struck out like a viper.

He convulsed, striking his sword against her outstretched arm and collarbone, hard but not enough to cause much pain. She leaned her weight onto him, keeping the tazer on him until his eyes rolled back and he collapsed to the ground, the sword clattering to the floor.

She looked down at her arm and chest and grimaced. His well-trained wrist muscles had beat the blade into her arm. Her shoulders were in worst shape, as they’d born the brunt of his attack. Her shirt now hung in several ribbons, and blood ran in long red streams down her arm.

So she felt no shame when she closed her eyes and let herself shake and cry.

Eek! I’m almost at the end of what I’ve written.

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