Alfred Hitchcock Goes for a Run

I have been running since the age of ten, when Jon and I decided to follow in Greg’s footsteps.  He in turn was following in the footsteps of David Horstman, our neighbor and avid runner (and if memory serves me right, a member of University of Dubuque’s 1970 IIAC Championship Cross Country team).

In all those years, I’ve had some pretty interesting things that have happened.  I’ve won races.  Been put on the hood of cars.  Gotten injured.  Ran with some of the greats.  Been chased by dogs and people.  Gotten into fights.  Gotten bloody.  Seen a bobcat and crossed paths with a mountain lion.

Today, however, marked the first time I’ve ever had a bird attack me mid run.

Steph and I were out on a nice, easy 7 mile run when we crossed the road to get onto the trail.  Just as we did that, I heard this horrible screech and felt my hair get all tussled.  I ducked, then spotted a black bird flying away.  Apparently I took the corner too wide and got a bit too close to its nest.  Little thing came out and drove me off.  I wish I had my heart rate monitor on at the time because that would be quite a spike in the graph.

I can just see it now – strutting around that nest, waiting for its mate to come home so it can say “I drove off a predator today.  What did you do?  Oh, get a little worm?  Was that hard?”

A Good Day

Two good things happened to me today.

1. I have fulfilled a promise I made to Steph way back earlier in the year and submitted an application to the Viable Paradise Workshop.  This is considered by some to be the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writer’s Workshop.  Instructors include Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, James MacDonald, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and quite a few more.  Still have to see if I get in (only 28 students are accepted), but I’m quite happy.

2. I currently have two ‘offices’ at work.  One is located in another building on campus.  It is nice, quiet, private, and on most days, a long way away.  The other is in the Library where I spend most of my time. To have a private office within the same building would be incredible.  Today, I learned that a major project in which I played a large role was approved and my dream of having a private office in the Library will likely come true before the Spring semester begins.

It’s like my birthday, only, a day late.

Happy License Renewal Day!

I turn 35 today.  Not surprisingly, so does my twin brother.  Thus, it seems fitting that a loving Instant Message exchange of words between siblings occupy today’s post.

Matt says, “I return!”
Jon says, “I knew I didn’t put enough postage.”
Matt says, “I totally feel the brotherly love.”
Jon says, “Happy Birthday from Sarah and Jon. You’ll get a  email with your present shortly”
Matt says, “Um…I should get you something then, eh?”
Jon says, “Yeah, a pony”

I’m sending him a sheep instead.

I See You Lest ICU

To the owner of a white minivan who was driving on Ohio Street this morning around 6:30am :

When driving your car, please open your eyes.

It’s a very simple request and actually, from what I hear, a legal obligation. Now now, I know how we all dislike having government interference in our lives and generally I’d agree with you. But this may be one of those cases where its for the common good.  See, despite what Hollywood shows in movies and on TV, being put on the hood of a car is not a pleasant experience.  Nor is smacking the side of, oh, say a white minivan, when they blow through an intersection without even a sideways glance.  Helpful hint – that red octagon that says STOP?  Yeah, it’s not a suggestion.

Thanks and take care now.


Official Definition of Synopsis
syn-op-sis, -noun

  1. a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject.
  2. a compendium of heads or short paragraphs giving a view of the whole.
  3. a brief summary of the plot of a novel, motion picture, play, etc.

Unofficial Writer’s Definition of Synopsis
yaaaa-arrrrrrrr-gggggg-hhh, -torture

  1. the near impossible task of condensing a complex story and plot that has seen countless hours of sweat and tears at the keyboard into just a few hundred or thousand words
  2. an act that makes “attempting to convince the wife that the new Mustang you just bought is a really good investment and not just a mid-life crisis” seem like a good way to spend the day

I’ve spent the last two and a half days writing the synopsis for Genie Memories.  I stand behind the above definition.

Overheard …

Overheard during last nights GURPs World War II RPG that a group of us play:

Matt : What war are we playing?  World War One?

Jon: World War 1.5.

Jay: Yeah, that’s the patched war.

Matt: Oh!  That’s where they fixed the Italian ally issue, right?

Jay: Yup!

Matt: I bet Hitler’s bummed he didn’t live to see the patch that fixed the ‘Don’t Invade Russia in Winter’ strategy glitch.

Asparagus officinalis

If anyone had told me as a kid that someday I’d walk through a farmer’s market and say “Hey!  Asparagus!  Let’s get some!”, I’d call them a bit on the nuts side.  For Christ’s sakes, it’s not only a vegetable but a rather odd looking one and it takes three freakin’ years to grow a crop!  Steph, of course, begged to differ.

Behold – today’s lunch.

Herb crust pizza with tomato sauce (homemade), sweet peppers (home grown), mushrooms, and asparagus purchased at the farmer’s market.  Man, sometimes, being married to a foodie is awesome.

Day of Days

Six years ago, Steph and I had the honor of visiting France. One of our specific destinations was the Normandy Beaches since my grandfather landed there and … well, it’s Normandy.  Too much of history is lost but something tells me this one event will not.  The most incredible thing happened when we walked into the historical area.  It was quiet.  I didn’t even hear birds chirping.  You saw people walking amongst the graves, along the paths, looking at markers, and in the background you could hear just the ocean.  I went toward the beach and just stood there where the Germans were dug in and looked at the bench the America, British, and Canadian soldiers had to cross.  I don’t think it could be done today.

It was one of those moments that cannot be forgotten.  Steph had a camera and wisely (in my opinion) loaded it with black and white film.  The first is looking from the ocean toward the shore.  The water was roughly at the same level as when the soldiers landed.  The next two don’t really require much explanation.

How To Distract a Bear

Well, Steph has assured me that Flying Squirrels will not attack so it looks like we’re going to Glacier National Park in late July, maybe early August.  At this stage, it usually becomes my mission in life to learn as much information about the trip and all the cities we pass through.  This leads to fun conversations:

Matt: I’m watching a video on how to avoid bears.

Steph: I’ll consider you the expert who will keep us safe then.
Matt: Surprisingly, throwing your hiking partners at the bear isn’t on the list of things to do.
Steph: I’m actually pleased to hear that.