Posted by: Mark | November 14, 2017

Semi-Betta Report

I didn’t clean the Betta tubs today but saw that three male half moon doubletail, three baby boys, three baby girls, and two male bumblebees arrived, bringing the Betta population to 61.

Posted by: Mark | November 12, 2017

Book of Mencius

The Book of Mencius is one of the nine works of the ancient section of the Lifetime Reading Plan that I haven’t read.

I was such a dope that I thought it was Roman. It is in fact Chinese. I’m weak on Asian Lit so this should make me slightly less dumb.

I hope to finish it by the end of the year but we’ll see.

Posted by: Mark | November 11, 2017

Resolution Update 47

Rough week but there have been worse.

1. Run 730 miles – no change – 469.1 miles overall.

2. 5,000 push ups and 8,000 leg lifts –1,935 push ups and 2,002 leg lifts.

3. Lose weight – Didn’t weigh in.

4. Support 24 local artists – still two. Nothing.

5. 42 manuscript submissions – 41 submissions.

6. Write 40,000 words and five new stories – 40,194 words and six completed stories. Complete.

7. Read all the New Testament – Complete.

8. Read The Nature of Things — Complete.

9. Finish Finnegan’s Wake – Complete.

10. 300 blog posts – this is 253. 47 to go.

11. Read The Song of Roland — Complete.

12. Read The Poem of El Cid – Complete.

13. Read Dante’s Paradise – Complete.

14. Read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym – Complete.

15. Read 100 Years of Solitude – Complete.

16. Read The Odyssey – Complete.

17. Read The Secret Agent – Complete.

18. Write another 10,000 words: 194 words.

Posted by: Mark | November 11, 2017

Betta Report

My first betta day of the week:

7 male deltatail (4 from the last shipment)
5 male veiltail (4 from the last shipment)
5 male doubletail
4 male crowntail
3 female veiltail
3 male butterfly
3 male rose petal
2 male elephant ear (all from the last shipment)
2 male halfmoon plakat
2 male koi
2 male king
2 male dragonscale
2 male halfmoon
2 male halfmoon doubletail plakat
1 male paradise
1 baby boy
1 baby girl
1 female koi
1 male bumblebee
1 male halfmoon doubletail

Only 50 tubs and no deaths.

Posted by: Mark | November 11, 2017

40,194 Words

In previous years, my year’s resolution was to write 100,000 words. This year I only dared to shoot for 40,000. I reached that today plus another 194.

I’m going to try for another 10,000 words with 50 days to go. I probably won’t get it but it should spur me on.

Posted by: Mark | November 10, 2017

The Secret Agent

I finally finished Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. I’ve only read one other of his novels but the way he structured the story is what struck me the most.

The plot is fairly straightforward: a terrorist is assigned an attack but it goes out of control. The bungled bombing happens before the halfway point with the rest of the story about the aftermath.

Normally I probably would have guessed what would happen next (usually I did guess correctly but events took so long to play out that I second-, third-, and more guessed again) so it didn’t seem predictable.

I mentioned before that Conrad”s character’s don’t say anything. They boom, ejaculate, hiss, and everything else. Every college writing instructor will tell you that’s wrong but it didn’t bother me.

Conrad would also fail Creative Writing 101 because he writes as an omniscient narrator. A professor would scribble “Point of view shift” every time that happened and insist on focusing on only one character per chapter.

Several characters never get a real ending, including Inspector Heat who I thought was going to be a major figure.

All in all, the effects made the story seem older than Poe (Poe”s work was actually over half a century older but seems more modern) with the story revolving around the topical subject of terrorism.

I’m glad I read it. My new year’s resolution’s finally paid off.

Posted by: Mark | November 10, 2017

Lizards and Crows

This morning three large crows were standing behind my car. They didn’t hurry up to move when I started the car. One waited until the last second and flew off just inches from the ground, lower than if it was walking.

In the afternoon, the kids started yelling that there was a lizard in the house.  I thought at first that it was a centipede or a toy but, no, it was a live wall lizard. I let it go but now I’m wondering if it will survive the night.

According to folklore, seeing three crows is an omen of good health. Having a bird in the house is an omen of death. Having a lizard doesn’t seem to mean anything except that maybe the dryer vent is loose.

Posted by: Mark | November 7, 2017

Betta Report Nonexistent

How will my life go on? I had to clean all the fish tanks except the betta tubs. I’ll take it a day at a time.

Posted by: Mark | November 6, 2017

Betta Report Supplemental

I didn’t have to clean the bettas today but one male veiltail was gone (I hope it was sold), one male crowntail was dead, and a customer bought one male elephant ear.

Full report tomorrow.

Posted by: Mark | November 6, 2017

Joseph Conrad Couldn’t Stop Ejaculating

Good lord, couldn’t he think of another word for “said”? (He obviously could because he used them a lot.) But not here:

“Poor, poor,” he ejaculated appreciatively.

Using “ejaculated” as a voice tag and an adverb? This would torn apart in Creative Writing 101.


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