Thursday, July 31, 2008


Hang in there, legions of fans -- update coming soon.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

typing is hard

In case anyone's wondering why I haven't been globbing much's some LP math for your morning's entertainment. Current project allows Your Author five and a half normal weeks of writing time to produce about 71,100 words. By "normal weeks" they mean they're calculating this as if you get weekends off (ha!). This means producing about 2,500 words of sparkling prose a day. Many of those words are phone numbers and things like "open noon-3pm on alternating Tuesdays from June-August but only Sundays and every other Thursday the rest of the year" -- not too taxing creatively, sure, but tedious to arrange. Especially when you're getting the info from a reindeer-mauled notebook or a used cocktail napkin and you have handwriting like mine.

The other part that makes the math a bit weird is that, really, you don't write most of the book from scratch. It's an update of what's already there, so some of the text is going to stay as it is, if it's fine that way. The basic early history of Sweden, for example, hasn't changed much since the previous edition. (Bad example, though, as LP has a "new style" for its history chapters, meaning significant rewrite.) Anyway, what we're really counting here is not so much words written as words prepared. Or something like that.

Anyway. Yesterday I wrapped up a big chapter, which allowed me to do an accurate where-I-stand word count. Uh-oh! The scoop: I've been home and writing for 15 work days, by which I mean Monday through Friday, days when regular people work when they have real jobs in offices. One of those days was a holiday (July 4th!), so let's call it 14 work days. In 14 workdays at 2500 words per day, I should've finished 35,000 guidebook words. That's a lot! So how many do I really have done? Get ready:



What this means, of course, is that (1) I'm freaking out a little, and (2) in the margins between today and tomorrow I need to crank out 10,000-odd words. Plus today's 2500! Whoo!

I'm already tired just looking at that!

OK. I'm off to inject some coffee and look around for an easy chapter that's already perfect...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

sweden recap

As promised...a brief wrap-up of Sweden, form of list:
  • Days in country: 38
  • Kilometers driven: 7818
  • Same distance in miles, according to an online converter: 4846.695299451205
  • It sounds cooler in miles!
  • Kilometers of trails hiked: probably about 100
  • Kilometers of city sidewalks explored: 4846.695299451205 (not counting when I was lost)
  • Peed in the woods: many times
  • Non-adorable cottages seen: two (plus one that was just so-so)
  • Elk spotted: one
  • Reindeer: hundreds
  • Australians: only one!
  • Pairs of shoes annihilated: one and a half (I've been limping)
  • Hotdogs eaten: one
  • Herring for breakfast: five times!
What? Where am I???

The last little bit of my trip was spent in Harnosand with the whole family, as described earlier. Sample photo:

GB and Mini-GB. Dang, that chick is small!

Best quotation of the trip, taken from a report about reindeer, their history and uses:
"The intestines made nice toys for the kids."

When I flew back to Portland, the boys picked me up at the airport in a minivan. It was supposed to be a van full of cute boys, but by accident they had instead filled it with cute girls. Oh well. There was also beer, and just enough room for my luggage, so I was pleased. We cruised around for awhile, attempted to look at the sparkly lights of Portland from Mt Tabor Park, were denied by Johnny Law, retreated to Beulahland, had one beer each and all went to bed. (Not together.)

A couple of days later, John G and Sean came in from SFO for Margo's Awesome Goth Wedding and we immediately went out for drinks. I was still jetlagged and waking up at 3am every day, which meant things started to look weird and woozy by the time the bars closed, but it was fun. (It also made me wonder how much time can pass before you have to concede that what you've been calling jetlag is really just your personality.)

JG and I went to Powell's. I love Powell's. I bought four books. Because if there's one thing I need, it's more books. One of them was Kevin Sampsell's new book, the ickily titled Creamy Bullets, and as I was carrying it around the store, there he was. I saw him see me holding his book, and I didn't know what to do - it was already autographed, and I've only met him once a long time ago, and I just sort of froze. Looked away. Awkward.

The other things I bought were Gary Lutz's Partial List of People to Bleach, which I keep hearing about (mostly from Kevin Sampsell! who published it), and a Paul Berman book (for skool), and this book called Motorman by David Ohle, whose new novel The Pisstown Chaos (which I just started) might be the weirdest thing I've ever read. Planning to review it somewhere so I'll save the details, but if you're impatient and like reading weird things, pick it up.

And that's all for now. More guidebook typing awaits!


Whoa! Sorry, glob fans, if you were starting to think I'd been trapped in Newark Airport this whole time. I wasn't, I've just been busy. I'm all nestled into my little Portland apartment, now with real art (in frames!) and grown-up furniture. Most of my stuff is in storage, and I have to say it's pretty sweet to have a crashpad so uncluttered.

Still noisy, though. See those windows? Huge loudspeakers in disguise. Broadcasts of the 28th Avenue Street Noise Show begin at 6am and go until about 3am. My favorite segment is the one called "Local Homeless Guys Frighten Drunk Hipsters for Cash," which comes on around 2, but otherwise it's quite peaceful here.

Anyway, I'll be in town until the end of August, typing away at LP's Sweden guidebook and other secret projects.

Speaking of Sweden...update and photos coming later today. Honest!