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Book #18, Tommy Gun

This one was interesting, but also took a while. I don't know anything about guns (no seriously, not anything), and the tommy gun is one of the only ones I recognize, so I thought this would be an informative read. And it was; the history of the tommy gun is more complicated than I thought. It was invented shortly after WWI, to prevent anything like the standoff in the trenches from happening again, but the inventor couldn't sell it because all the world government were convinced that the Great War was the war to end all wars, and they wouldn't need it. (Ha, ha.)

I think the hardest part to get through was near the end, where the author fixates on WWII. Of course, the tommy gun was a major part of WWII, but it's story after story and they get very similar and repetitive after a while. They were never lengthy stories you could get invested in...just a single page, "in this battle, all was lost, AND THEN" a guy with a tommy gun shoots up dem Nazis and saves the day. Just a one page blurb, over and over, for like 50 pages. So that's mostly what slowed me down on finishing this one!

Total book count: 18/50 - 36%
Total page count: 5678/15000 - 37.9%

Up next: I borrowed Hitler's Pope from Tim at work like two months ago, so that's definitely the next nonfiction I start. I read a few more stories in UFO so I'm getting close to the end on that. And then....Harry Potter? Maybe? At last?

Goal #85, Organize my CD collection

I think I more or less did this in March, when I discovered SwapACD.com. I had several big cardboard boxes of CDs, multiple CD cases, and other single CDs scattered all over my apartment that never got organized, because I really didn't need to when they were all on my computer and I could just burn a copy of anything I wanted! I also only really listen to CDs in my car, and I only use burned CDs because my car is a little rough on them and after a while they start skipping. So I didn't want that to happen to my real CDs and I always just burn 'em. So!

I went through my boxes and picked out only the CDs I really wanted to have on hand - CDs I knew I'd listen to a lot, that I wanted the artwork and booklets and everything for. So mostly my favorite bands. Barenaked Ladies, Counting Crows - I got rid of a lot of Rush and Styx and such because most of them are CD versions of records and only have maybe 7 songs on them, PLUS they are like $5 on Amazon so if I ever really wanted it I could just buy it again. I got my collection whittled down to only one small Rubbermaid tub, and everything else went on SwapACD. It was pretty awesome because I got rid of so many. I actually had to list them in chunks because I couldn't afford to mail them all out at once. The best part is, SwapACD is a sister site of PaperbackSwap, which means I can transfer CD points into book points and use them to get books instead! Not that I haven't gotten any CDs; I got a Barenaked Ladies CD I didn't have, some Better Than Ezra, Freezepop, Yes....one sender probably thought I was crazy because I got Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell and the soundtrack to the Little Mermaid from them. But hey, a lady needs diversified interests these days. And I still have 31 points there that I can use if a book on my PBS wishlist becomes available and I don't have any points on hand. Which is happening more often these days, since I'm not really finishing a lot of books lately. :x

Goal #15, Meet 5 new people

Maybe I'm cheating on this, but....I got a new job in April. So yeah, I met 5 new people there, and more. :) I am really counting this because this is my first job where I really feel like I've become friends with my co-workers. At Harley, I was friends with Mumford of course, but even though everyone else at Harley was nice to me, we were never really "friends." I actually friended one of the girls there on Facebook, and a few months later I discovered she had unfriended and even blocked me. So apparently we weren't on friendly terms like I had thought? I have learned that I'm not actually very good at telling when people are pretending to be nice while at the same time disliking me. I am in the "s/he is nice to me, so we are friends" camp. Simple-minded, I guess.

At Dialing It Up, once again people were friendly, but since they were all phone people and I was the accountant, we didn't interact much and never really connected. I liked Nate, the controller I was assisting, but that was about it. At Broadview, I think I could've made some friends there, but I was only there for six weeks. I did like Rachelle, my supervisor (again), but we didn't have much time to get to know each other. So now, I'm at my new place, and I really feel like I've made a few friends, and everyone else is nice. Kasie and I are near the front, and we are the "non-computer" people - it's an internet software company, but I'm the accountant and she's the administrative assistant, so we can't talk programming with everyone, so we do our own thing and talk about dogs, mostly, hahaha. She recently adopted a puppy from the group I've been fostering for. We are Facebook friends and she did NOT unfriend me (yet???). Tim is cool and reads a lot of historical nonfiction, so we talk about books a lot - I actually borrowed a book from him I haven't started yet, maybe that should have been on my "up next" list! Rodney is the president of the company, but he's pretty chill and easy to talk to, and when we meet once a week to discuss finances we end up talking for an hour or two, only maybe 20 minutes or so of which is actually business talk. So basically what I'm saying is I really like it there! And I like the people I've met. It took some time for a few people to warm up to me, because I think they could tell I was LDS and I am actually the only LDS person in the office (think that doesn't happen in Utah? Think again), and even though it didn't bother me it seemed to bother a few other people. But once they figured out that I didn't care how they lived their lives as long as they didn't care how I lived mine, we are all quite friendly with each other.

In fact, the company does team activity days, where we close down the company for the day and go party! In a couple weeks, on Friday we are all going to Park City to eat, wander around, maybe do the Alpine slide or zipline or something. Also, there is talk of a whitewater rafting weekend trip sometime in the future, if we can find a weekend when everyone can come. On the company's dime, I believe! Best company ever? Quite possibly.


Goal #21, Go for a run in the rain

I had actually added this to my list, then taken off because I'd gone on runs where it started sprinkling, barely, and it made the air so instantly muggy and horrible that I was like "this doesn't even sound fun, I'm taking it off." But then I ended up doing it on accident, so back on it goes! (It's replacing my goal to do a half Ironman, because that's not happening by October. It's been moved onto my 2nd goal list for now.)

In July, we went to Wyoming to do the Star Valley Half, a small race in a smaller town to benefit some of the town's citizens. It was a good race, through beautiful mountains right in the area of the Tetons. The course was pretty and nothing too difficult. I was taking it easy without pushing, because I had another half in two weeks, and since we were in the RV I had slept on a terrible little camping bed and was sore and stiff anyway. It was cloudy and lovely the whole time, but at mile 12 the clouds broke and it started hailing. Hardcore!

So, you know, good times. It hurt when it hit my lips, and I had some red marks on my arms and face from it for the rest of the day. But when it's actually race, it's just another funny race story to tell! But like I said, I would never be like, "oh, it's raining, I should go for a run!" Nope. Not fun. Only when it's just "one more thing to go wrong," then it's fun/funny.

Book #17, Cesar's Way

Maaaaan, this is gonna be the first year since I started that I don't hit 50 books! Goodreads says I'm 12 books behind, so even if I was counting the manuscripts I'm reading & evaluating, I'd still be 6 behind, because I'm pretty sure I've only done 6 so far. Dang. And at the rate things are going, I definitely won't be able to play catch up! So unless I lose my job again or something (!!!) it looks like I'm permanently off schedule. Oh well.

I started watching Dog Whisperer when I first got Rufus, thinking it would just be for fun. But it was waaaay different than I thought it would be. I thought it would be a lot of hippie, communing with nature stuff, where you treat your dog like a person and try to understand its complicated past and whatever. It's actually the total opposite - Cesar insists that many domesticated dogs' behavior problems are BECAUSE people treat them like humans, and they're not allowed to be dogs.

Anyway, he goes over a lot with how dogs think, and how it's different from humans, and how when we try to humanize their behaviors we're way, way off the mark as to what's actually causing it. And it's really amazing how it works! I read about half this book on the drive to and from Wyoming in July, and when I got home I started using some of what I had learned, and I noticed an INSTANT improvement in Rufus and Marlene's behaviors. There's still work to do, of course, but they really listen to what I'm saying and I'm seeing them get better and better every day. And they're so happy! Rufus is actually more snuggly than he was before, now that I'm tougher on the discipline. Cesar said that dogs are happier with their affection when they feel like they've earned affection from you, and that definitely seems to be the case.

If you have a dog, or want to get one someday, I definitely suggest watching the show, and reading this book helps elaborate on a lot of the stuff in it. He talks about some specific problems, and by the time he's called in they're really bad and require a professional, but a lot of the behaviors I was starting to see in my dogs were still small and I could handle them myself before they got out of control. This was definitely a worthwhile read! I have another of his books on my nightstand already, that's specifically about training. And I'm actually excited about it!

Total book count: 17/50 - 34.0%
Total page count: 5362/15000 - 35.7%

Up next: I'm actually on the epilogue of Tommy Gun (at last!) so I will hopefully finish that today or tomorrow. I haven't picked up UFO or Guerrilla Marketing in like two months, so I'll get back on that. And start the next Harry Potter because finishing that is on my goal list that ends in October, and so help me I will do it.
Okay, I think I'm behind on posting about goals achieved, because it's been hard to sit down on my computer without being bothered. But my dogs are both sleeping and I've broken Marlene of the habit of barking at me when I'm on the computer (with a strategically used squirt bottle, sitting on the desk next to the computer right now), so time to play catchup!

This is the least fun goal ever. It sucked and I hated it. But it's done, and it needed to be done for almost ten years, so I GUESS this is a good thing. It took three weeks, three different appointments of 3-4 hours each, and I was so sore after each one. My jaw finally decided it was done during the last appointment, and came out of joint so I couldn't close it all the way and it was way over to the side, and my dentist had to maneuver it back in place. It was pretty hard to open my mouth very wide for a week or so after that. SUCKED.

But it's done, the crowns have both stopped hurting, and now when I go into the dentist I don't get that reminder that I really need this BUTTLOAD of work done - it's all caught up and if I manage to take care of my teeth and not get any cavities, I'll have only six-month appointments for the rest of forever. Right? Right?


Book #16, 44 (Book 5)

Well. I finally had time to finish a book. According to Goodreads, I'm 10 books behind still for my goal of 50. :( Not sure I'm going to catch up on that! Nowadays, when I have free time when I would usually read, I nap. Or play with dogs. Or walk dogs. Or work on making things that will make money to pay for dog vet bills, car repair bills (found out today it'll be $1500 D': and not ready until Tuesday), etc. So my reading time is nonexistent. Basically every night before I go to sleep, I read a few pages. Which means I'm still working on some books I started in May. Oh well.

This is the fifth book in this series, and kind of my least favorite. The paranormal stuff was not very prominent, and it wasn't well explained in the end. There were some things introduced that were new ideas for the series, but they weren't thoroughly explored. For example, she's been able to see ghosts, but now someone is having a problem with one she can't see. She thinks at first that the person's just having hallucinations, but discovers that there really is something there. It's never explained why she can't see him, what his deal is, etc. Hopefully in the next book it will be explained? It was still interesting enough that I want to read the next one.

Total book count: 16/50 - 32.0%
Total page count: 5090/15000 - 33.9%

Up next: I started reading Cesar's Way on our way to Wyoming this weekend for the Star Valley Half, and I'm pretty close to done. Still working on Tommy Gun (so close!) and Guerrilla Marketing (actually haven't touched it since May; should get on that since I've started my running store).
Holy crap, guys. Holy crap. I've been so busy and now I need to put it all in this here journal. So I'm going to try to do it in bits and pieces. This one will be - um, about dogs.

Looking at my last post, the big update is - Garnet found a home and is there, and I decided to keep Marlene. She and Rufus love each other SO MUCH, and I really adore her. She's kind of crazy and hyper, but I found some good tips online (and from other fosters who know more about dogs) on how to help a high energy dog burn off all that hyperness even when you don't have a yard. So I've got puzzle toys, and I've been freezing treats (which also helps cool them off, since it's so hot lately and all I have is a swamp cooler), and she's been doing well. Still pretty hyper. And we're working on the training, she obviously was never trained in any way.

marlene rufus snuggle

Seriously, who am I to break these two up? They're siblings already, obvs.

You may notice Rufus is wearing a cast in that picture. That's because a few weeks ago, he was TRAMPLED BY HORSES. We were at my parents' house. Their neighbors have horses, who are trained and nice, and Rufus goes over to see them all the time. Well, there were some new horses across the street, which apparently were NOT trained, and when he went over to their field, they decided he needed to die. One of them stomped and scared him, and he was running away towards me, but five horses chased him down and circled him, all stomping and stomping. I had to hop the fence and run in, flailing my arms desperately, trying to scare them away. When they finally scattered, I ran in to pick him up. He wasn't screaming anymore - oh, the screaming and crying, I'll have nightmares of that sound for years - but he was alive. He was just staring, panting, so terrified, definitely in shock. As I carried him to the edge of the field, the crazed horses started following ME, like they wanted to stomp ME to death too!

demon horse
Pictured here.

Anyway, Marlene had come running when she heard Rufus crying, so she bolted behind me and went into "desert survivor" mode, snarling and snapping and barking, and she scared the horses away. Did I mention she weighs eight pounds? She's so hardcore.

We rushed Rufus to the emergency vet, and they put him on an IV and he snapped out of shock really quickly. The vet actually said he's never seen a dog snap out of it so fast. So after some prodding and x-rays, it was established that somehow five furious horses all missed his head and abdomen, and he had no serious injuries. In fact, all he had was a broken leg. We were referred to a surgeon and got in the next morning - but after the surgeon saw the x-rays, he told me the marvelous news that Rufus did NOT need surgery after all! So now he's got his li'l cast on, and next week we go in for his 4-week checkup and x-rays. We did have a "chewing the cast off" incident a couple weeks ago, so now whenever I leave he has to wear a cone of shame, which of course he is not a fan of. Too bad buddy.

Today, I got two foster puppies. (I know.) They are from a litter that was born in foster care, and now they need to be separated from mommy so her milk can dry up. My mom and Tricia took three, and I took two (someone else has the other two). They're all named after supers, so I have Xavier and Wonder Woman. So far they're good; I let them outside and they went potty the second they hit the grass. They were nervous in my apartment, especially since Rufus and Marlene were fighting to shove their heads in the carrier and barking. So I put the carrier in the puppy pen and took my dogs outside, giving the pups a little quiet time. When I came back they were out, and I gave them some food. Once I went into the pen and bonded with them for a few minutes, I let Rufus and Marlene in and made sure they were calm (no easy task with Marlene), and the pups seemed okay. Wonder Woman is definitely the skittish one. Marlene and Rufus scare her pretty easily. Right now they're both snuggled up together in their pen, sleeping with their full tummies. I am concerned that they apparently whine and cry whenever they are awake. Not sure if my sanity can take this, since my apartment is so small there's not anywhere I can't hear them.

On the plus side, I may not have them for three weeks. Usually pups aren't adopted out until 8 weeks, because that's when they're old enough to be on their own and don't need a littermate with them. But these two are already adopted, by the same family, so they could probably go to their new home earlier. If I'm lucky, I may only have them a week. That's what I'm hoping for. I'm going to ask sometime tomorrow or Sunday, if that's okay. I know I read somewhere that if people are adopting two puppies, they can take them earlier. Maybe not six weeks. But at least seven weeks? Then I'd only have them for two weeks total. I can do that.

If I'm honest, I really didn't want more puppies. I wanted a nice, mellow, adult dog, like a six-year-old yorkie or something! Man. Puppies. They're cute but they haven't even pooped in the house yet and I'm already counting down to when I can give them up!
Another update post! And this one isn't even dog-related. It's writing-related! Because I'm trying to do that again now! This week I sent out three, count 'em, THREE, stories to various publications. And I've decided to stop really targeting the "pro payment" markets like I was originally. For one, I'm tired of getting rejections (ha). For another, it's not like I'm trying to make a living off this, so I'd rather sell more stories to markets where I get paid $15-25 that are still widely read, than spend months and months trying to get one story into a pro-payment market. While pro markets have thousands and thousands of readers, lots of SMALL markets, including online ones, are totally respectable and have a fair amount of readers. PLUS, they are part of a closer-knit community, and I think I'd rather get into small presses and make writer friends than spend forever trying to get one story in Daily Science Fiction. (That's still going to be a dream market for me though. And I'm still going to submit there first whenever I think I wrote a really good one, because JUST IN CASE.)

I also was targeting pro payment markets because if I make three sales to those, then I can join Science Fiction Writers of America. But there's been some hubbub about them lately, and I decided - maybe I don't want to join so much. There's been some huge sexism issues, and I'm not super sensitive about sexism (probably because I've been lucky enough to not have faced a large amount of it, just here and there and mostly it's just stupid and amusing), but I read some of the stuff and I was like, "Uh, this was published in their bulletin? In the year 2013?" I mean, some of it reads like 50's sexist trash. There was an article about "lady" editors and writers, that was almost entirely about how pretty they were, how nice they were to look at, it mentioned how they looked in bathing suits. Did it mention anything they had written/edited or the contributions they'd made to the science fiction genre, a genre in which women have been historically overlooked and tend to publish with just initials so that no one knows they're women? Nope. Turns out, women who have made major contributions to SF are STILL having a hard time getting credit for it. In 2013. Like I said, there's been a lot of outcry (by both men and women) trying to get this fixed, so I'm sure improvement is in the works - but at least it's made me less focused on joining SFWA as soon as possible, because as of right now it seems to be run by people I don't care to join.

So, I'm seeking out some more of those smallish markets to submit to. "The Gods of Mecrie" is coming out in the July issue of Bards & Sages, which is exciting, and hopefully that will get a little attention. To be honest, I have come to the conclusion that my first publication was in a magazine that no other writers actually read, other than the ones who are published in it. (This may sound terrible but I don't have a hard time thinking that my story was one of the best ones in there. By far, in some cases.) The other publication was in a book, and since it was titled "Bronies," I think a lot of people that might have liked it passed over it, so there's not much going on there. So now I'm getting a better feel as to which smaller markets are "worth their salt," I guess, and Bards & Sages is a good one that maybe some other writers will read and I'll get some actual comments about it. So that is exciting! And, of course, I've got three out right now, so that is also full of potential! Of course, all three have been previously rejected by other markets, so.....yes. *cough*


OH MY GOSH it's been almost a month since I last posted! Well, if you're friends with me on Facebook, you know it's because my life has gone a little out of control recently. In a good way. Don't worry.

The biggest thing is that I took in some foster dogs! I'm following several dog rescues on Facebook, from back when I was dog hunting. Most of them have a foster system - no physical location with kennels and such, but just a network of loving foster homes that take in rescues and care for them (and train them, rehabilitate them if necessary, etc.) until homes can be found. One of them posted one Friday, saying that one of their members was down in New Mexico at a high-kill shelter - and almost every kennel was a litter of puppies. The member said she could rescue dogs and bring them up, but they could only take the ones that had foster homes to go to. So they issued an urgent plea for emergency fosters who could take dogs the next night.

Well! Most of the options were too much for just little ol' me and my tiny apartment - many of them were, like, Labrador mamas with seven puppies. But then there was one little mama, about my Rufus' size it looked like, who was just a fluffy blur in the picture because she wanted to get out of the cage to the person taking the picture. And one tiny, tiny puppy. I thought - I can handle one more dog, and ONE puppy! So I volunteered, signed up as a foster, and the next day picked up a matted, neglected, malnourished little poodle and her tiny puppy.

Since we always named our pets after video game characters, I named mama "Marlene" after Barret's daughter in Final Fantasy VII, and the baby "Garnet" after the main heroine in Final Fantasy IX. For the first couple days, Marlene wasn't letting Garnet nurse, even though she didn't have any teeth yet and definitely wasn't ready to be weaned. I figured it was because she was so skinny. I cooked some chicken and rice and fed Garnet bits of the rice to try to keep her going. After a day or two of big meals, Marlene started nursing again - so it was definitely because she was starving. Shortly after that, it was revealed that Marlene and Garnet were found in the desert - the guess is that the owner dumped her there pregnant, she had her puppies, and Garnet was the only one who survived the ordeal. Garnet was about three weeks old when I got her, so how my little Marlene kept herself and a baby alive for that long in the desert of New Mexico is beyond me. Even more beyond me is the idea that someone could dump a loving, sweet, well-behaved girl like Marlene in the desert, scared and pregnant, left to die!! She was also so matted and dreadlocked, it looks like she's never been cared for. I took her to the groomer this week and she's feeling like a new woman - so cool and ready for the summer heat!marlene

She is such a sweet girl! And Garnet, well....just look at this face:


I took that picture the day after I got her. It's been almost two weeks and a lot of good meals, and she's practically doubled in size! I think her mystery daddy was a bigger dog - pretty sure she's going to be bigger than her little mommy now. But oh, what a precious little thing she is right now.

So, yeah. I'm having fun being a doggie foster mommy, but that also means I'm like, not getting ANYTHING done. Haven't had reading time to finish any of the books I've been reading for the past month or two, or make anything other than what's sold and has to be shipped out. Basically I'm just keeping an eye on dogs and taking care of them, when I'm not at work or elsewhere. Which is fun. But even though I love these two, I'm looking forward to when Garnet is old enough to be adopted and I can find a new home for both of them. :) Three more weeks!


The Crime-Crushing Criminologist
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