Saturday, December 31, 2005

Be careful in there!

On House Detective (9:30 AM EST on HGTV) today, a ceiling joist of the home being inspected was twisting because someone had removed part of a wall to make a doorway larger--way larger!  Think twice about removing walls to make homes look more open.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Tropical Storm Zeta

MIAMI, Dec. 30, 2005 (AP Online delivered by Newstex) -- Tropical Storm Zeta
formed Friday in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, another installment in a
record-breaking hurricane season that officially ended last month.

Zeta, the 27th storm of the season, formed Friday about 1,000 miles
south-southwest of the Azores islands, according to an advisory posted on
the National Hurricane Center's Web site. It posed no immediate threat to

The center said it would send out a full advisory later Friday. Tropical
storms have winds of at least 39 mph.

It was not immediately known if Dec. 30 was the latest date for the
formation of a tropical storm in the Atlantic. But earlier this month,
Hurricane Epsilon became only the fifth hurricane to form in December in 154
years of record-keeping. Hurricanes form when their winds exceed 74 mph.

Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, which forecasters turned to
after they used up _ for the first time _ their list of 21 proper names for
storms. The record for tropical storms and hurricanes in a season had been
21, set in 1933 before such storms were regularly named.

The 2005 Atlantic storm season, which officially ended Nov. 30, included 14
hurricanes, including Epsilon.

(Thanks, Lloyd)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pun time:

  King Ozymndias of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with the Hittites. His last great possession was the Star of the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world. Desperate, he went to Crosus, the pawnbroker, to get a loan.  
  Crosus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it."  
  "But I paid a million dinars for it," the King protested. Don't you know who I am? I am the king!"  
  Crosus replied, "When you wish to pawn a Star, makes no difference who you are."

(Thanks, April)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Cthulhu & Kitty cartoon caption poll (link)

Curtain up!
Light the light!
Cthulhu and Kitty may have
Another fight!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

'Tis the season...

Reindeer: The Truth Behind the Legend
What made Santa choose reindeer to help him pull his sleigh all over the world in one night? Wouldn't elephants, with their huge flappable ears, make a better choice? Okay, there's the weight factor, but what else makes reindeer the right choice for the jolly North Pole toymaker on his annual voyage? Read on to learn some of the secrets of the world's most famous deer.   (From the National Wildlife Federation e-newsletter.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Green remodeling (link)

When you're ready to start saving money and living a "greener" lifestyle, it's best to begin with the simple stuff whether you're a savvy do-it-yourselfer or a homeowner who doesn't mind hiring someone. We've collected some of the "low-hanging fruit" of green remodeling to help you get started: Green Remodeling: Start Simple :

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Book review: New Pacific

New Pacific is sort of a sequel to Pacific Empire, a Alternate History I really enjoyed.  Here's my review of New Pacific:

A truly frightening look at our future if ...,

What could be worse than politicians in charge?! Well, G. Miki Hayden gives us one answer--corporate suits who stop at nothing--using technology to stay in control; people trapped in cubicles where they live and work; a polluted, over-populated earth; and more... What can one man do? Well, with a little help from family, friends, and clones, he can try to save the earth and the moon... New Pacific: Books


Monday, December 19, 2005

Book reviews

I write book reviews now and then, and I only review books I like.  Here's one that appeared in the Writer's Digest Book Club bulletin (July 2005 issue):

The Savvy Author's Guide to Book Publicity: A Comprehensive Resource--From Building the Buzz to Pitching the Press by Lissa Warren: Carroll & Graf Publishers (2004): $14.00

Lissa Warren is a book publicist, and she takes an in-depth look at book publishing, publicity (print and broadcast coverage), and publicists. She guides you through the steps of the whole process from the author questionnaire, galley, and finished book mailings, through tours and beyond.

She shows what to expect and what to do, furnishing lists of publicists, tour companies, web marketers, etc. She covers fees and options, press releases, bios, Q & A, photos, follow-up events, ... again with lists. The frequently asked questions in chapter 7 are very helpful.

One chapter covers the interview; with tips for print, TV, radio, and web chats, including "... disdain to interviewers whom [haven't] read your book," she says, and quotes Annette Heist "...I think it is safer to assume that no one has read it."

The "Buzz" chapter includes a list of book trade shows. There's a chapter on the pitch, followed by Ten Things to Do if Your Book's Not Getting Media Attention. Then come the appendices! This book is useful!

Friday, December 16, 2005


I enjoy reading--fiction and non-fiction, and I want to bring a fun and informative book blog to your attention, so be sure to check out Tampa Book Buzz in my blog links; they're to the right under the website links.   

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Enviro-tips for your home & garden (link)

Winterize Your World
Winter is upon us, and changes in the weather can affect your house, both inside and out. From winterizing your home, to preparing your garden, join us as we scout out what steps you can take protect yourself, your house, and your wallet.  Link:  Winterizing Your Home & Garden


I finished out the mulch pile yesterday (Well, once I rake the mulch up, I'll have a pile again because it covers a lot of territory.) and ordered another load from the electric company.  It's a good thing that's free because we use a lot of mulch.  We got a lot of old carpet during the weekend; a friend brought us a pickup load full after church Sunday.  We laid that out Monday morning.  We'd already laid out the carpet Saturday afternoon that we picked up Saturday morning.  All that carpet expanded several beds.  Don't forget to lay it upside down if you do this.  We got the hint from a gardening show years ago, btw.  Our goal is to have all our trees and bushes in mulched beds for ease of mowing.  Another goal is to cover the rest of the lawn with hardscape to cut down on mowing!

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Oil vs. gas vs. electric heat (discussion link)

This is an interesting and helpful discussion; well, there is some disagreement...  oil vs gas? - Topic Powered by Groupee Community  (This is from the website.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Interview (link) & upcoming anthologies

I have stories accepted for two shared world anthologies, Tales from the Big Black (Cold New Planet) and Magistria II: Shards of the Goddess (Crystal Quest).  The first anthology is science fiction and the second is fantasy.  Here's a link for my interview with the editor: Authors Page

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Thinking about building a house?

After we sold our house,  we could stay there a few years. No pressure in moving; that was something I'd dreamed about. No putting the furniture in storage, renting, or moving into our mother's house with all our pets. This is just one of the things to be considered when you're getting ready to build. We thought we'd rent a POD (a container available in different sizes with a pick-up and delivery service; they bring the warehouse to you. You pack only once; they take your possessions to a PODS storage facility, or most any selected destination), if we had to; you can put them on your building site, but fortunately we didn't have to store anything. It's a neat alternative to mini warehouses.

We made a list of what we wanted, what we didn't want, and what we could live with. Too picky, said one realtor. We worked our way through several realtors, innumerable listings in newspapers and real estate guides, and open houses.  We finally decided to build... 

I learned a lot about house hunting, building, and decision making. So, three years after building our house, when we built one next door for our mother, I was ready! Well, knowing what's happening can help you to communicate more easily with the builder.

(My house book is #6 on this Barnes & Noble list: Barnes & Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals )

Monday, December 5, 2005

Exciting UFO Stories

One of my SF stories, What Price a Friendly Freep, is available from Fading Shadows: UFO Stories  (My story is in issue #1.)

Sunday, December 4, 2005

This Old House Kitchens

I came across this book recently; chapters include Planning, Design, Demolition & Framing, Plumbing & Electrical, Lighting, Equipping the Kitchen, Storage, and Counters.  It's available from This Old House Kitchens : A Guide to Design and Renovation Sticker: Companion to the.: Books: Philip Langdon,Stev...   Here's an excerpt from the Library Journal review:

From Library Journal
The book is illustrated with both black-and-white line drawings and color photographs, and examples of finished kitchen areas abound. Available materials, varying processes, and essential elements are discussed in practical, nontechnical language and style. The close focus makes this book nearly comprehensive.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Levelling a floor (link)

Backerboard to Level Floors
I live in an old log home where the floor is unlevel. I want to install a floating laminate floor throughout....  Link: Using Backerboard or something to level floors - Topic Powered by Groupee Community

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