News, websites, dogs and life

Submitted by Zombieman on Fri, 02/24/2017 - 16:12

Writing wise I figured out some of my problems lately; not making time for it, not having a decent laptop to work on. I have a variety of other time draining thing going on in my life (don't we all?) and eking out time to write has been challenging lately. Medical stuff, house stuff, car stuff, work stuff, all these have contributed to lower than desired word count. Truth be told I am not feeling much for the work on TZC6 that I have done, in fact I have resolved to salvage a few things from it and start it over. I want it to be good and I thought I was done mulling over the possibilities, then, of course, I start to drift to sleep and a dozen new ideas hit me. If this had happened once, I would have forged on; I can't incorporate every idea into every book, but it has been happening a lot lately and I have harvested the best ideas for the book out of my rando-near-sleep ideas and will give it a fresh start...soon.  Zombies are not the only thing I have been writing on lately and a few of the other things I have been working on have seen some chapters and will continue to do so. My goal for the rest of this year is to finish off TZC6 and that is pretty much it. I would love to get book II of Shiners out there and get a fantasy novel in place too, but the only thing I want is some finality to the Zombie Chronicles by December. I also bought a cheap, lightweight laptop to write on, I am back to a 13 inch screen, which is about the perfect compromise of portability and usability for me.

The website is getting a makeover. Love it, hate it, don't notice the changes...well, from an organization stand point I am setting it up to be easier to navigate and update. The design is 'chic-1998'; basic, with few bells and whistles. I don't see much need for a forum, I barely blog, no, mostly this place is for information, for some free reading and for people to be able to contact me, if they feel an overwhelming need to do so. There is not much point to logging in or creating an account here (someday maybe I will hook up social media so visitors could be logged in with facebook or twitter or tinder or something...just not now.) I figure the rest of the web has plenty of that going on, people who do come here, visit for a very specific reason and that's what I aim to serve.

Overall the old website ( had become a bit of a mess, there were things posted on it that were impossible to find without following some links that were well buried, those had to go. Also I needed a platform I could update more readily and finally, finally, my webhost moved up to some new software and I was able to put a canned version of Drupal 8 here for the 'new' ctales.  I will get content up as I scrape it off of the old website and I will try to post new stuff alongside of it along with the old. 

When I was a kid I moved from Illinois to Colorado. In Illinois I lived on four acres of flat farmland, which had a racing track on it for motorcycles, dune buggies and go-carts (all of which the family owned and I could drive), plus a little log cabin, an old windmill, a grain bin and a foxhole or two for when the nukes fell (I grew up during the cold war.) We had numerous dogs pass through there before I moved, which was when I was 10. As we lived along a paved highway plenty of dogs were hit by cars and replaced with the 'dog of the week.' Some dogs were mean, they disappeared too, some were very friendly and stayed. We had everything from dalmatians to schnauzers, to St Bernard's to Irish Setters, plus all the mutts in between. My favorite though, the dog I 'grew up with' was a Black Labrador named Mini. This kind of imprinted the breed on me when I was young and I have been a Labrador kind of guy every since, though I have dipped into the chocolate variety too. When the family moved to Colorado, we had to leave my dog behind. We gave Mini to a close family friend and my family never got another dog as long as I was living with them. My dog died of cancer about five years after I moved, but in my mind, Mini never died. She is always waiting for me, ready to fetch and play and nudge me out of the way or bite on my jeans when she wanted my attention or to pull me out of harms way. Being a kid, I went on great adventures with her in my mind well into my early teen years and when I was finally in a position to be a responsible dog owner (after one abortive attempt in college) I was able to get a dog of my 'own'. 

I got Dusty when I was living in Maine, he belonged to the daycare next door and he was too aggressive with the kids, so somehow he ended up mine. I had five kids, from less than a year old to around 10 and he never gave any of them a problem, he was, in sort, a good dog. Time goes by, like it always does, and six years later, in Iowa, after I finished building my first house, Dusty grew sick and I didn't know what to do. Fortunately my father and mother were passing through Iowa and stopped to visit and my father talked some sense into me; the dog was dying, starving really and I needed to do something. We went to the vet, I held him as he was 'put down', it sucked. He died.

A year later, I bought a new black lab, a puppy this time, and Duncan was also extremely mellow and 'good', his main bad habit was stealing food. Either from little kids or off of the kitchen counters (he once got a whole family sized pizza, and wolfed most of it down before I arrived on scene less than a minute later), other than that he suited me well. I taught him many tricks and he continued to amaze me with what he could do. Duncan started getting sick late last year and finally after the New Year, I brought him to the vet, thinking he wasn't in too bad of shape. I was wrong of course, there was fluid backed up in his bowels, which is why he couldn't eat, which was caused by fluid building up in his heart. The vet could manually drain the fluid from his heart, which would allow it to function better and should clear off the fluid in his gut, but it was only a temporary solution and would probably have to be repeated every 3-5 days, for the rest of what would probably be another 3-6 weeks of life before his heart gave out.  Shit. I had him put down, as opposed to leaving him slowly starve to death and then perish of a heart attack. He died. 

My dogs were not humans, don't get me wrong, I am not romanticizing them to that level, however they still carry a lot of emotional weight and have always given me that certain *something* that is indescribable. I love dogs, always have, undoubtedly always will. My first dog, though, Mini, is always still alive. Always out there, always waiting. It is almost unfair to the other two, really, she gets to live on because I was a thousand miles away when she perished. The others I gently held as they passed and were undoubtedly gone. Now who is romanticizing things? <sigh> It was tough, I can't imagine anyone who has a dog not being affected by losing them. In a year, maybe, I'll start looking for a new companion to journey with me for another 10 to 15 years, until then I will just think of the dogs that were.

This weekend is Gamicon FE, off in Cedar Rapids, some light gaming and, as a change, I am not selling any of my old crap at the auction this year. It should free up time for me to actually game and though I may sit in on the auction, I am really not looking for anything. No doubt I will come back with 6 or 8 new things to read that I can add to the hoard of gaming stuff I already have and don't use. :-)