Mar. 8th, 2011 01:31 pm
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
The follow-up visit to Caitlin's Orthopaedic surgeon went well. Her surgery was a success. Everything looks great to her doctor.

He was a little surprised that she is still crying when she activates her leg muscles. He feels that the pain will disappear in the next couple of months.

When I picked up Caitlin from school, I was handed a letter to my doctor from her school PT. Apparently, Caitlin will no longer hold her trunk up when she sits at school. The PT provided tons of photos as proof. This problem pre-dates her surgery.

The thing is, we don't have the problem at home. Even at the doctor's office, she sat independently on the exam table for 20 minutes. She also sat in her wheelchair for an hour without needing chest support.

Since the doctor couldn't think of a medical reason for this problem, we figured that it might be behavioral.

My guess: Little miss figured out that she can get out of schoolwork by acting floppy. This is NOT GOOD. If she keeps it up, she's not going to Six Flags this summer.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Some person is eBaying their story "idea" for a starting price of $3,000.00.

I love this quote from Victoria Strauss in Writer Beware:

"Ideas aren't worth anything. It's only their expression that has value. This is why ideas aren't protected by copyright: they are the basic building blocks of creative endeavor, and as such must be available for anyone to use. Give a dozen writers a single idea, and you'll wind up with a dozen different novels of a dozen different qualities, each of which might or might not find publication, depending on a wide variety of factors and variables."

Yup. It's all about the implementation.


Feb. 28th, 2011 09:12 am
michaeldthomas: (Argghh!)
I'm going to miss our local Borders. It was the centerpiece of our life in DeKalb for our first few years here. I'll admit, we stopped going there about a year ago. Once they purged their in-store inventory and made the staff push certain books (no, we're really not interested in a copy of Meyer's The Host), it just made us feel sad.

When Borders first opened in Naperville when I was in my late teens, I felt the surge of true love. For the first time in my bibliophilic life, I had a bookstore that actually sold the books I wanted buy. Not mention the videos and CDs! The prices weren't great, but I could find amazing things.

I never felt that way about Barnes & Noble. It always felt more corporate and sterile to me.

I was also never a great lover of independent bookstores (except for some used bookstores and Pages for All Ages in Champaign/Savoy)). I rarely lived near one, and most of them never sold things I wanted to buy. I wasn't one who lamented when the boxstores put the crappier ones out of business.

After years of mismanagement chronicled throughout the web, Borders has declared bankruptcy and our local store is one of the first to die in a giant wave of store closures. Lots of good people are out of work and a tactile way of shopping is gone from my life (I'm sucking it in and shopping at B&N now).

Amazon is convenient, but it will never replace the experience of browsing a shelf and discovering a treasure.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Real life is managing to be as real as possible.

1- Entropy visited our home again. This morning the fridge started to make noises like the Tin Man with an upper respiratory infection. It's been a loud fridge for a long time, so its immanent demise comes as no surprise. Luckily, Lowe's had a nearly identical fridge on sale and in stock. Nice people will bring it here tomorrow while taking away the old one. Other than the dryer, that means every appliance in our household has been repaired or replaced in the last month (plus a kitchen sink repair). Homeownership is fun!

2- Caitlin is doing much better. She made it through the last few days of school without any screaming fits. Her brain has also been stable. Hooray for good Caitlin health!

3- Pink Raygun gave Whedonistas a good review.

4- I like my new short story (so far).

5- The week started off with the deaths of comic book creator Dwayne McDuffie and Doctor Who Brigadier actor Nick Courtney. They both will be greatly missed. I keep tearing up from all of the wonderful remembrances.

How are you?
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The Happy Convention Round-Up!

What did I love at this year's Gallifrey One?

1- Hanging out with our peeps for four nights of drinking, dirty jokes, and general debauchery. (Sadly, in this case debauchery means arguments about Doctor Who continuity). ;-)

2- Watching Lynne and Deb hold copies of Whedonistas for the first time.

3- The entire Whedonistas launch panel, signing, and dinner. It was a complete success. I'm sure that Lynne and Deb will blog about this in greater detail with fancy pictures. The most amusing part might be my wife, Deb, and RM giving all of their Torchwood theories to half of the current writing staff.

4- Buying Peri & Sil action figures for me and the ginormous 11th Doctor TARDIS Playset for my little fangirl (she LOVES it).

5- Watching Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, and Sarah Sutton say the things about Matthew Waterhouse that I wanted to say after reading his dreadful Blue Box Boy.

6- Helping two friends make an awesome book deal.

7- Finding out that Janet Fielding read the copy of Chicks Dig Time Lords that Lynne gave her in the Green Room after Janet referred to it on main stage panel while answering a question.

8- Taking a trip to the In-N-Out Burger.

9- Getting to meet some new people while deepening other friendships.

10- Caitlin managed to have a good weekend with my mom and aunt.
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
Caitlin had a massive seizure this morning that needed Diastat (rectal valium) in order to stop it. For almost ten minutes, Caitlin's brain betrayed her and caused a rhythmic spasm on her left side that only powerful drugs could stop.

This is her first seizure since last May and the first one needing Diastat in about two years.

Hopefully, this is an isolated seizure and not the start of a new pattern.

She's been asleep in her room for the last five hours or so. The seizure wiped my poor angel out.

Seizures still suck. You never get used to them happening to your child.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
11 years ago today, [ profile] rarelylynne and I were married in a Unitarian church in Hamden, CT.

Yeah, that kind of rocked. :-)

We went out to lunch at the local Middle Eastern joint yesterday. Today I'm watching Cait while Lynne works on a SEEKRIT PROJECT (if you were quick to the CONvergence programming page this week, you might know what it is).

In other news:

1- Lynne guest blogged about Chicks Dig Time Lords at [ profile] jimhines's blog for his First Book Friday series.

2- There's an AMAZING review of Chicks Dig Time Lords on the Tin Dog Podcast. It made Lynne cry.

3- [ profile] shsilver reviewed Whedonistas. It's the first of hopefully many. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The Paul McGann Doctor Who movie is finally being released in North America. We pre-ordered ours a couple of weeks ago, and I've been jealously watching my Twitter stream as other friends watch their copies before me.

So, why do I care so much about a Doctor Who story that at best can be called mediocre?* (Apologies to those few like [ profile] jblum and [ profile] dreamer_easy who I know love it.)

Back in 1996, I wasn't really a Doctor Who fan anymore. I'd loved the show during my teen years, but my life had gone in different directions once I was in college (relationships, music, writing, comic books, trying to be "cool"). My Doctor Who things were all packed away.

Hearing about the movie reignited my interest in the show. I found rec.arts.drwho and the early websites. I also stumbled upon the videos of classic stories for sale at Best Buy and Borders. At that point, my fiancee C cut a deal with me: I could buy the videos if I quit smoking.

I did it. My cigarette budget became my Doctor Who collectibles' budget (if you've been to my house, you know how that worked out).

That May, we watched the McGann movie with a small group of friends in our Campustown apartment. I enjoyed it, flaws and all. I wanted more. I started buying books, toys, and anything else with a Doctor Who logo on it. C and I attended our first Doctor Who convention that November (Visions 96). The rest is history. The world might not have a book called Chicks Dig Time Lords if it wasn't for that telemovie.

That's why I can't wait until I have that DVD in my hands. The Paul McGann movie changed my life. :-)

* For the record, I think it's an average story. For a regeneration episode, it ranks about the same as Robot. I love the direction, McGann's performance, and the TARDIS set. The script is not particularly good, and some of the actors are a bit crap (I'm looking at you, Eric Roberts). The biggest knocks on the movie is that it didn't spawn a new series and Fandom had nine years to pick it apart.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
It was an average weekend. I missed most of the Super Bowl while dealing with a broken washing machine. It seems that the timer or kill switch crapped out (the cycles no longer advance). The Maytag man will be out on Thursday. At least most of our laundry is clean.

Other than that, the highlight was watching the second Doctor story The Dominators. Sweet Zombie Jesus, that's an awful story. It's probably the most boring and insipid tale in Doctor Who history. Even the documentaries focused on why it sucked like a sucking thing. I have trouble thinking of anything nice to say. Why did the universe save this story while junking most of The Evil of the Daleks and The Web of Fear?

I need to write. I think I have my characters and plot for the new short story, but I need to research some things.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Since it's only a week and a half away, I thought I would list [ profile] rarelylynne 's Gally schedule. If you see her, make sure you ask her for a Chicks Dig Time Lords's ribbon. :-)
Lynne's Schedule )
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The title sums up our week. DeKalb ended up with about 16 inches of snow. We kept our power. The worst seems to be that our Internet has been wonky in the evening. [ profile] rarelylynne and I shoveled about half of our driveway and a kind neighbor used a snowblower to finish the job. Other than Lynne and Caitlin getting two days off, the storm was pretty uneventful. Basically we just spent two day watching Hercules, Xena, and Robin of Sherwood episodes (Caitlin is on a fantasy kick).

Some other news and notes for the week:

1- Cheryl Morgan sums up why I mentioned that Chicks Dig Time Lords is eligible for a Hugo Award in the Best Related Work category.

2- About a dozen reviewers now have PDF ARCs of Whedonistas.

3- Gallifrey One is only two weeks away. I'm not on any panels. To put it bluntly, I'm kind of tired of doing Doctor Who panels (especially now that my DW writing project is on indefinite hiatus). I've said just about everything I can say about the show, and I think the world can survive one less middle-aged white guy giving his opinions about the series. I would rather just relax, hang out with friends, and fanboy my wife. :-)

4- I didn't write much this week, but I submitted a couple of short stories (one for the first time). That gives me three currently on the market. I also have a new story percolating in my brain.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
1- Caitlin is still progressing. :-)

2- I spent this week doing small home repairs. I replaced a borked drain on our kitchen sink. Thank the maker for youtube repair vids. I love that I live in a world where I can learn how to repair things in minutes rather than paying big money to a plumber.

3- We had a wonderful visit from our friend Sigrid on Wednesday. We watched Doctor Who, shared stories, and ate pizza. She also had a chance to talk to [ profile] rarelylynne about a SEEKRIT PROJECT. Good times...

4- It's the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster today. I was in 6th Grade eating lunch when they announced it over the PA. It's still devastating. I cried a little last night during the PBS NASA documentary that covered it and the Columbia Disaster. I truly believe that these two tragedies are the reason why my generation in the US isn't pushing our government for more manned space exploration. Space became scary instead of wondrous.

5- The comic book magazine Wizard ended its print edition while firing everybody this week. I used to occasionally read it back in the 90s. I was never a big fan since it had too much of a frat-boy attitude. It was much more focused on the exploding booby titles from places like Top Cow than the thoughtful Indie and Vertigo comics that I was reading.

Still, it's a shame to see it go. I'm not pleased in general by the death of the print magazine as a viable form of information and entertainment. Wizard once sold over 100,000 copies per month in the late 90s. It was down to about 20,000 last month. For all of its problems, it paid its writers, had an editorial process, and published the occasional well-researched article. The comic book websites can't replace that.

Wizard claims that it will open a e-magazine, but so did Starlog. They seem happier now running crappy conventions with c-list celebrities than covering an industry.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
We're having our first major cold snap of the season. They had to send a second school bus for Caitlin this morning after the first one's lift broke.

News and notes from our week:

1- Caitlin continues to improve. She's still very sore, but she went to school every day this week. She's also tolerating the extra physical therapy. Hooray!

2- We're about to send out PDF review copies of Whedonistas to a bunch of magazines and websites. There should be some reviews in the wild before the Gallifrey One book launch.

3- Lynne's Seekrit Projects are still Seekrit (but EXCITING).

4- I'm rewriting a weird fantasy short story I put aside last May. I still hate reading critiques of my work, but my readers definitely help me improve my writing.

It's nice to be working again after a month of Cait's medical stuff.

5- I've been watching the new PBS documentary series about the history of NASA. It's good, but I wish they could go into greater depth. As always, I'm amazed we didn't kill more astronauts during the 60s.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
It's a new year filled with new conventions. In case you want to stalk us, here's the current list:

Gallifrey One
February 18-20
Los Angeles, CA
Lynne M. Thomas is an Additional Guest
Plus: Whedonistas Launch!

March 18-20
Chicago, IL

Odyssey Con
April 8-10
Madison, WI

May 26-30
Madison, WI

4th Street Fantasy
June 24-26
Minneapolis, MN


June 30- July 3
Bloomington, MN
Lynne M. Thomas is a Guest of Honor

November 11-13
Lombard, IL

Chicago TARDIS
November 25-27
Lombard, IL
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
1- Hey, Chicks Dig Time Lords made the long list for the 2010 British Science Fiction Association Best Non-Fiction Award. That means at least one person put it down on their ballot. Cool beans!

2- As most of you saw yesterday on Facebook and Twitter, Caitlin had her first Physical Therapy session yesterday. We had low expectations. Caitlin, however, had a different plan. First, she independently sat on the floor for the first time since the surgery. Next, she stood on her right leg with minimal assistance. Essentially, Cait displayed all of the abilities she had before the surgery. Considering that she's still recovering from having her hips altered only a month ago, we're very impressed. Cait's PT was flabbergasted. Caitlin's still in some pain, but it seems that she will completely bounce back from this surgery in only a couple of months.

3- Lynne, Deb, and I spent the last few days finding and contacting as many geek culture websites as possible about reviewing Whedonistas. It's amazing how many Girl Geek websites and podcasts exist. There's even going to be a GeekGirlCon in Seattle this year. Quite a few of them have already agreed to take a copy of the book.

If you have a suggestion of a cool review site that might be interested in Whedonistas, please let us know. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
Caitlin's bones are all healed!!! No more brace!!! She can begin physical therapy and use her real wheelchair again!!!


The only downside at the moment is that she's in pain due to her leg and hip muscles being unused for over a month. She'll have a rough few days, but the end is in sight.
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
We had a quiet weekend. Here are some Things of Interest:

1- After one week of exercising, I manged to lose two pounds. I'm happy, but weight loss isn't my actual goal. As I said when I started exercising, this is about having a healthier lifestyle. Still, I'll take it. :-)

2- Today is the next follow-up appointment with Caitlin's Orthopaedic surgeon. Hopefully, there will be some good news that will make our lives easier. We all want to see that brace go away.

3- Caitlin is more or less fine. She's been really sore in the morning, though. It was bad enough on Friday that I had to call her in sick from school. It breaks my heart when Caitlin screams in pain.

4- Since [ profile] rarelylynne bought a WorldCon supporting membership in order to vote for the Hugos, I swung by the library and picked up a pile of SF/F books published in 2010. READ ALL THE THINGS!

5- This D&D video might be the greatest bad thing ever.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The Hugo Award season is upon us. I obviously have nothing eligible for an award, but I would like to mention that Chicks Dig Time Lords (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O'Shea) is eligible for a nomination in the Best Related Work category.

You can find out more about WorldCon and the Hugo Awards here. :-)
michaeldthomas: (content)
I did pretty well with last year's goals. Here are some goals for 2011:

1- Try to be a good father, husband, and friend.

2- Try to take better care of myself. I'm becoming sedentary in my middle age. The scale hasn't changed much in ten years, but I look thicker in the middle. My family has a history of heart disease and my daughter isn't getting any smaller. Therefore, it's time to start exercising each day for at least 30 minutes. I have the time; I just need to do it.

If anybody has any suggestions for a good at-home routine, feel free to leave a link. Right now I'm just doing the stretching and calisthenics I remember from high school gym class.

3- Here are my writing goals:

Revise my short story "Virus."
Submit "Virus" and continue submitting "Pediatric Wards" and "Nostalgia Trips" until they get published or I exhaust all of the markets.
Revise The Scarlet Queen (this will include sending it to readers and a second set of revisions).
Query agents for The Scarlet Queen.
Write at least two new short stories.
Begin writing the new novel.
Work on the new nonfiction project.

4- Continue my work as [ profile] rarelylynne's PA.

That seems like a reasonable list. Wish me luck! :-)
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
There's not too much to report. She's still healing. Her cramping issues are getting better. It still breaks our hearts, though, when she screams out in discomfort. Caitlin really wants her brace off.

We're meeting with the school today to go over the plan for the week. I'll be driving Caitlin to and from school until she can use her regular wheelchair again. This will not be fun since we also have to use the wacky harness system in the car (the brace prevents her sitting up). Did I mention we can't wait to get rid of the brace?

The next doctor's appointment is in a week. Hopefully, things will move towards normalcy after that.


michaeldthomas: (Default)

August 2011



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