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Oakland Boulevard
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This Christmas we're not being as generous with gifts as usual, because my wife was laid off lo those many months ago, and so we're poorer than usual, but we're managing to send cards or cookies or handmade things to most of our usual giftees. I spent 20 minutes in line at the post office today sending off what I think are the last gifts for faraway people -- at least the last ones in largish boxes that require standing in line at the PO -- so that's a relief. I still have a little wrapping to do, but wrapping doesn't stress me out like the prospect of just-before-Christmas post office visits do. (There were only a couple of insane and/or abusive people in line, along with one or two of those hapless souls who pick the wrong time of the month to run out of stamps, standing empty-handed amid people lugging gargantuan boxes.)

My wait wasn't bad; I had London Boulevard by Ken Bruen to read, and I like it a lot, much better than his Once Were Cops, which I read a couple of days ago. (The cover of London Boulevard says "Now a Major Motion Picture" though I gather it won't be out until 2010, and they made the old has-been theater actress into a hot young movie starlet, which is a regrettable but predictable choice. It's an especially funny decision, though, because Colin Farrell is playing the lead, in the role of a character who in the novel sleeps with the much-older theater star -- and in real life Farrell allegedly/notoriously propositioned the 70-something Dame Eileen Atkins for "no strings attached" sex a few years back; you'd think he'd be fine with playing the role as written in the novel, complete with May/December shagging! (The things you discover when you look up a movie's release date on Wikipedia...) Anyway, I'm just glad Ken Bruen is getting bucketloads of Hollywood money, he deserves it, and I actually think Farrell could nail the role, even if he is playing an Englishman.)

Otherwise today was pretty pleasant. Not the most productive writing day I've ever had, but I managed a bit over 2,000 words on the work-for-hire novel, which is a lot more than I've done in the past several days. Also made a giant lamb and vegetable crockpot stew, did some grocery shopping, took the kid for a walk and playground visit, fixed a broken drawer, and did other necessary things. Being useful around the house is happening a lot lately. My boss gave me a giant Ikea shelf/cubby thing she was getting rid of, so I put that together Sunday while chatting with my friend D (the joys of a hands-free phone headset), and it fits wonderfully in the kid's room, and should help us get the chaos there a bit better organized.

The kid was actually quite good today. Never got a single time out -- which is rare, as he's in full-on "I'm two and testing all possible limits" mode -- though I did have to take him away from the playground when he smacked another kid on top of the head for no particular reason. We're being pretty much zero-tolerance when it comes to that sort of thing. He's usually pretty good, but he gets smacky when he's tired.

Back to work tomorrow, for the usual headlong rush through the last few days of the magazine. Zoom zoom zoom. Lots of obituaries this month, but I'm caught up on them now, I think. Everyone remotely connected with science fiction: please stay alive until after we go to press!

My collaboration with Nick Mamatas, "The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft", is playing at Pseudopod. Go, enjoy.

One other bit of good news: my story "Lachrymose and the Golden Egg" was reprinted in the Greek magazine 9, and they'll be sending me about $150 Euros soon. My second story there, and I hope they're the first of many.



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