Friday, March 25, 2005

[Herb Border]

Here’s what I did this evening:

That’s the new herb border I planted just outside my back door. The planter full of dirt was there when I moved in, and though it clearly hadn’t been used in awhile, the soil was in reasonably decent shape. I dug in two bags of potting soil yesterday, then bought some herbs today and planted them. I’ve got spearmint, parsley, oregano, and thyme, those all being herbs that I actually use in cooking.

I had a pretty productive day, overall. Work wasn’t very exciting; the highlight was my lunch with Dad, during which we chatted pleasantly about a variety of subjects, mainly the stuff we’re working on. But I also managed to finish the first draft of my February short story (which gives you an idea of how far behind I am in my writing plan), practiced Japanese, and reviewed some Syllable source code.

By the way, thanks to everyone for your comments on my recent depression and soul-searching. They’ve all been nourishing food for thought.

I think one of the reasons I was more productive today was the fact that I wrote out my goals in specific detail yesterday. Instead of “Draw”, I wrote, “Draw twenty human figures” (so I can get better at drawing people). When I looked at my to-do lists today, I also reviewed my goals, and found myself much more motivated by seeing what I actually want to accomplish in the medium- to long-term, instead of just a bunch of little immediate tasks. It’s a significant psychological boost.

And now, a bit more VR story:

She smiled shyly, in that way that he found so blasted pretty. Inconvenient just at the moment he was struggling to negate any romantic interest.

“Anyway,” he said, struggling to remember his point, “I can change. I want to change. I think I’m about to change.” He grinned. “And I’m going to need somebody to kick my rear into doing it when I change my mind. Deal?”

She grinned right back and extended her hand. “Deal.”

Karl turned to Kino and whispered excitedly, “They’re shaking hands. I think we’re good!”

The next few weeks were a blur. Doodlehopper dragged Thomas through the muddy streets of Thailand, making him sit in dark, spare rooms in which the air was heavy with incense, as she traded taut sentences with lean, hard men. They spent thirty-six harrowing hours chasing a lead through the overstuffed hills of Hong Kong before he disappeared completely. They spent almost a week in overcrowded basements in Norway, trading in a few favors for unfettered access to the secret undergrounds of the ‘net, where nearly everything was known by somebody, and everything else could be found for a price.

Thomas and Doodlehopper were sharing the detective work, each using their own methods and, after each little success or failure, collaborating on the next best move. Kino and Karl played back-up, setting up hotel rooms or flights, finding safe places to eat, and generally being the oddest concierge service any of them had ever seen.

Thomas was on his feet for most of each day. This would have been difficult enough for his weak muscles, but Doodlehopper had begun sparring with him the first day. For hours every day, she led him through stances and mock battles, charging at him and jabbing him with her fists and feet. She never attacked hard enough to really hurt him, and her mood was always one of gentle patience. But after three days, his muscles were screaming. Two days later, he woke up so sore he honestly thought he was going to die.

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