Saturday, August 01, 2009

PNWA Conference Day 3

Today was all about listening to successful writers and how they do their craft, how they found success and what we need to do to get there.  I met more famous people this weekend than I have met in my entire life.  Joseph Finder, Robert Dugoni, Will North, Caitlin Kittredge, Cherie Priest, Richelle Mead, Lisa Mantchev, Kevin O’Brian, Mike Lawson, Royce Buckingham, and many more. Some of these aren’t world wide famous, but are certainly big writers within their own genre, and they know their stuff.  They’ve been doing it for a while.  They study their craft.  They work at it.  They love it.  They want other people to be good at it.  It was like attending a three day Nerd Dinner for writers, and it will have a huge impact on my writing career.

I loved to hear how different writers write.  Mike Lawson did all his writing when he was getting started riding the ferry from Seattle to the Bremerton ship yard, much like I do my work on the train. 

Royce Buckingham and I talked through one of the short stories I was working on and I think we figured out how to novelize it, and how to get around a particularly bothersome issue in the plot.  He liked the story, and that may lead to other opportunities as well.  Connections are so important.

I have a really good lead on an agent now, but have some serious work to get done before I send it to her.  She said she would wait, and would remember me (for good reasons).

I also met a couple of folks who I am going to work with to try to set up a writing group, which will be good for all of us.  I’m excited to read their stuff, and to get feedback on my stuff.

It was also good to get home and see the kids for a few hours before they went to bed.  I was talking to Lisa about the possibility of me taking a weekend to go to Manitoba to do some research for my book, and Reece looked at me and said ‘Daddy, don’t go away.’  Awwww.

PNWA Conference Day 2

Okay, it’s the morning of Day 3 of the conference, and, like yesterday, I’m a day behind on blogging. And yesterday, I was writing this at the conference where connectivity to their network was $7 / minute.  Yes, you heard me right.  So the day 1 article I just uploaded was written 24 hours ago.  Today, I’m up early again, but writing this at home before I leave.

Yesterday was all about the business of writing.  All the sessions I attended dealt with pitching to agents, writing query letters, hearing about what is going on in the publishing world.  Has anyone heard of the ‘SteamPunk?’ or ‘NewWeird’ genres?  Apparently they’re the next Chick-Lit.  You know, once chick-lit has run its course. 

In the gaps between sessions, you stalk agents.  Literally stalk them.  Catch them on the way to the bathroom or when they’ve got a mouthful of food.  You get about 15 seconds to try to sell your book to them.  I’m serious.  I’ve spent 12 months working on this bloody thing, and I’m lucky if I get to the third sentence of my speech.

I can handle rejection when it’s based on “Its not an area I work in”, but the hard ones to take are the ones who say they are interested in the area, but not in your book, for one simple reason.   It’s too long for Young Adult.  And you look at them and say, but it’s not young adult.  It’s got very adult themes.  And they say ‘But your protagonist is 16.  Adults don’t want to read about 16 year olds.  Make him 20, and it works.  Or make it YA, and cut 40% of it.”

Seriously.  40%.   They want me to cut 57,000 words out of my book.  Ouch.  I took that pretty hard, but it is no use arguing with them, because they are right, and you know this because you don’t hear it once, or twice, but three, maybe four times in the span of a couple of hours.

So after hearing it a few times, and getting through the grief, and it is grief, because you go through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, you have to decide what to do.  I clearly can’t just just 57,000 words from my book.  What I can do, is break the book into two pieces.  The first two thirds of NOWHERE HOME told one story.  The last third started to take the tale in a different direction to set up for what I had planned in book two.

Well, as it turns out, that first two thirds is about 80,157 words.  Perfect.  The second part is 57,000, but when I pull in some of the work I’ve done on book two already, I’ve got nearly the second book already completed.  I’ll have to do a lot of editing yet to cleanup the ending of the first and the beginning of the second, but I know I can do it, and by the end of the summer, I’ll have two completed books:  THE LONGEST ROAD, which now becomes the title of the first book, and NOWHERE HOME, which becomes the title of the second book.  I’m now looking forward to making this work.

I talked to a lot of people yesterday as I was going through this process, and received a lot of advice and support.  I just hope I can stay in contact with some of them as time goes on.  Pam Binder, the President of the PNWA is an amazing woman, and she an I have talked a lot during this conference.  She saw the look on my face yesterday after a brutal agent rejection, and spent about fifteen minutes talking with me.  She had friends waiting to go do something, and held them off until she was sure we had put a plan in place to deal with the length issue.  Amazing.

Last night, at the dinner, I got to listen to Joseph Finder speak about how he got his start in writing, how he had a lot of help to get going, and took a lot of risks.  He developed a  3 year plan to get a novel published and then to decide whether or not to continue writing, and sold his first book just shortly before his three year deadline.  Lisa and I have talked about a 3 year plan here from time to time as well, but I’m not about to quit my day job to pursue writing full time.

One of the things I do feel really good about is that people are amazed when I tell them that I turned out the original 139000 words of Nowhere Home in about 4.5 months, working mainly on the train.  Agents love to hear a writer can do volume (as long as it isn’t crap).  Now that I know my books should be 80000 words, I could easily turn out two books a year, if not more.  I have lots of ideas in my head for books that fall into the area I’ve been writing, I just didn’t think I could stretch them to 120000 – 140000 words.  Now that I know I don’t have to, that’s really going to see my output jump up.

Anyway got to go get the kids up and get ready to hit the road.  Have a great day.

PNWA Conference Day 1

I’m at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Conference in SeaTac, Washington this weekend.  It’s actually early on the second day.  There’s no one else in the whole conference center at this hour.  I’m a wee bit early, so I thought I’d use the time productively.  Yesterday was an interesting day, in many ways.

The conference center is literally right across the street from a building I worked in from 1999 to 2004, so I know the neighborhood pretty well.  There’s a Denny’s Diner not to far from here I used to go to from time to time, and since I was early yesterday (and hungry), I decided to swing in and have one of my guilt pleasures, a Denny’s French Slam, with bacon, and true diner coffee.

When I got off the plane from Denver in 1999, I stayed at a hotel just a few hundred yards from Denny’s for the first week.  The first night I was there, I met a waitress named Geri.  She was in her early 50’s then, the picture of an American diner coffee slinger, the deep voice of a life long smoker, or at least inhaler of second hand smoke, as nice as all getout, and just really friendly.  Her husband worked for Alaska Airlines, where I was just starting, and she and I struck up a friendship.  I’d swing by once (or more) a month.  She knew my order.  We talked about the airline, we talked about what was going on in my life.  We laughed.  We went through Flight 261 together.  We went through 9/11 together.  This Denny’s was half a block from the airport.  Pilots, crew, staff from every airline were in and out of this Denny’s at all hours of the day and night.  To Geri they were all family. 

When I came in yesterday, Geri wasn’t there.  I asked the guy behind the counter where she was.  He paused for a moment, and then told me that Geri had passed almost a year ago from lung cancer.  She had gone quickly.  A few weeks from diagnosis to death, and it had hit the staff pretty hard.  I sat there for a moment, a little stunned.  Then I started to tell the new waiter about how I knew her, and a couple of my memories.  He just smiled, kind of nodded his head, as if to agree, what a great ole gal.  Geri, I’ll miss you.

I got to thinking after that, as I often do after hearing news like this, about how lucky I am.  I’ve got a fantastic family, a great job, a hobby that is truly fulfilling, and have been fortunate in the past few years to be in the right place at the right time to be financially safe, living in a great neighborhood with great neighbors.  Sometimes it’s really important to take a step back and just remember that, and just as important to say it out loud.  So to all of who are reading this, thanks.  You’re part of the reason I’m so lucky.  You care enough about what is going on in my life to want to read about it.  That’s means a lot.

Last night, author Terry Brooks (who wrote the Shannara Series, Phantom Menace and 30+ other books) did the keynote speech.  He talked about Fame, Fortune, Friendship, and Fulfillment.  He said he had achieved Fame.  He knew this because his son, who was in his early teens at the time, told him has was famous because he worked with George Lucas on Phantom Menace.  He had achieved Fortune.  He knew this, because when he asked his publisher one time about a bigger advance on a book, his publisher, Mr. Del Ray, basically wondered why a man with more money than God needed a bigger advance.   His talk about Friendship revolved around the fact that his 10 year old son had put all his personal information on a social networking site, and he now had plenty of friends, and didn’t want anymore.  But his talk about fulfillment aimed directly at the heart of all the writers in the room.  He talked about getting so immersed in a character that you can’t separate them from yourself.  He talked about the nerves of starting a new book, and not knowing where it is going to go when you sit down.  The relief you have when it is done, and the angst you feel when you are away from the keyboard for too long.  He hit it right on the nose. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I still want my share of fame, fortune and friendship, but that fulfillment piece, that’s where it’s really at for a writer. 

I met a lot of interesting people yesterday, and I’m hoping that a few of become good friends.  There are some really talented people here, and some that are… a little odd.  I’m trying to set up, or join a writing critique group to learn to write better, and it’s important to have people you like and trust in the group.  This is where you find those people.  Yesterday was a day for practicing your book pitch to fellow authors, listening to feedback, and making alterations.  Today is the real deal, where we start to meet with agents and editors.  I’ve listened to some really good pitches, and some not so good.  My first draft fell somewhere in the middle, but with a little help, I’ve got it tightened up.  I talked to Pam Binder last night, the president of the PNWA, and she asked for my pitch, and she said it was really good and tight.  We’ll see.

People are starting to arrive now.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting back to Normal

The kids were starting to feel better last night.  How do we know this?  They’ve got enough energy to get into trouble.

Prior to them being sick, we always closed their bedroom door at night so they couldn’t wander around the house, and so that little noises like a squeaky floor board right outside their door wouldn’t wake them up.  But when they got sick, we left the door open so we could hear them better.  They were sick, so they made no attempt to close the door again.

Last night, we left the door open and put them to bed.  We had a service guy over to deal with some wasps nests outside the garage, and Lisa wanted him to check the bathroom fan vent to make sure there wasn’t a nest there.  So I took him upstairs, and lo and behold, there was Reece, quietly standing at the top of the stairs.  I put him back to bed.

A while later, I had to run back upstairs.  I noticed the door to their room was open wider than what I left it, and sure enough, their was no Reece in his bed.  I found him sitting in the rocking chair in our room, presumably getting ready to watch Elmo on the TV in our room.  They’ve watched a lot of TV during the last week they’ve been sick.  I think he’s getting a little too used to it.

While I was outside with the ‘Bug relocation expert’, apparently Lisa had two more visits from the little tyke exploring his new found freedom.  Hopefully they get used to it soon, and just go to sleep.

It’s going to be a scorcher here today, so it’s unlikely that they will get much time outside even if they are healthy enough to go.  Which means more Elmo, more Thomas the Train, more Fire Trucks (the TV show Emergency from the 1970s).

It could be worse.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Odds and Ends

I’m actually blogging this from the train on the way home from work.  I’ve got a bit of writer’s block getting going on my next book, and thought, what the heck.  Writing is writing.

We’ve got two sick kids at home right now.  Reece was feeling better until last night, and then he overate at dinner and spewed it all back up.  Lorelai threw up yesterday morning, then started running a fever, and had other ‘gastro-intestinal distress symptoms.’  Her fever was down this morning, but she was throwing up again, and was on the ‘a teaspoon of water ever five minutes’ regimen today.  I really hope that this passes soon.  It’s really hard to see two very happy, outgoing kids just curled up on your lap, too weak to stand up or walk around the house.  Let me rephrase that. It’s not hard.  It’s heartbreaking.

Changing topics completely now.

I found a really cool tool at  I’ve had problems doing up buttons for years, to the point where I only wear button up shirts when I have a lot of extra time to get ready for work.  I have CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth Disease), that has greatly reduced the strength in my thumbs to the point where my right thumb is completely useless.  I had to stop playing guitar because I could no longer hold a pick, nor could I work the fret board with my left hand.  My grip power in my right hand is less than a pound.  Most people have 25-30 lbs of grip force.  But with this tool, buttons become a… snap?  I highly recommend it for anyone who has problems with their wrist or hands.  Its a little bit pricey, but I’m thinking of getting a second one, one for home, and one for travel/work.

It’s in the upper 90’s (F) today here, and supposed to top 100 tomorrow, the hottest day ever in Seattle.  Not for the 29th of July.  Ever.  That’s just wrong.  The air conditioning at work was busted on Monday morning, and temps crept into the eighties in the office, and are still pretty warm and muggy today.  It’s nothing like the summers on the farm baling hay and straw, but back then, I wasn’t such a wus either.

Lisa and I both got IPhones a few weeks ago.  I had a lemon at first, and had to take it back after 4 days, but now I’ve got one that works.  I know for sure that I will never be a power user, but it did come in handy for checking email when my project was going live at work.  I do try to surf with it once in a while, but I’m pretty sure I could live without the web feature at this point if I had to give it up.  I guess I reached the end of the internet a while ago.  There are very few sites I check every day, and I’m close to a real computer often enough that I already hit sites that way.

Anyway, I’ve now reached the end of my brain.  Catch you later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catching Up, Again

Slacker, that's me. You'd almost think that nothing has happened in our lives since I last blogged... in February? Wow.

But yes, a lot has happened. There's no way I can do this chronologically, and I'm sure I'll miss stuff, but here we go.

This week has been downright weird. I had Wednesday-Thursday-Friday off work, and planned to do a lot of yard work, a little shopping, and a lot of relaxing. But on Tuesday night, Reece came down with a stomach flu that we have never before seen the likes of (and hope to never see again). It came out of nowhere. One moment, we were tucking him into bed, the next moment he was a projectile puke spewing machine. We stood there like dolts, in shock I think, that vomit could fly that far, and BOUNCE! By the fourth retch, I had him in my arms and running to the toilet. Unfortunately, this was just the first of 20+ vomiting incidents over the next 48 hours. The p0or boy couldn't even keep water down, and we were getting really worried. By yesterday, the vomiting had stopped, and the diarrhea begun, stinking stuff reminiscent of a porta-potty left full all summer long in hot weather. He seems to be doing better today, though we're keeping his diet bland and letting him sleep as much as he wants to.

Luckily (knock on wood), no one else seems to have come down with this one. Lorelai was great through most of it, but we were very conscious not to ignore her while fawning over the sick brother to let her go green with jealousy.

The two of them are growing up so fast now. They're officially two and a half now. We bought them 'Run Bikes' that are like bicycles, but without pedals. They sit on the seat, and use their feet a la Fred Flintstone to power them along. Reece is a natural at it, and was jumping off curbs on the second day. Lorelai is a little more reserved, but she's learning.

Lisa went through a point in May / June where she didn't know if she would still have a job due to layoffs at her client, but she managed to find a new spot and will be there through the end of the year at least.

I just wrapped up a major project at work, building a product for Microsoft called Demo Showcase. You can see the results at It's been really well received by the customer and the users, and has built quite a reputation for our company and for myself. I have been blogging about it on my technical blog at The project chewed up most of my free time in June and early July, so not much else got done (i.e. blogging here).

This week, I'm headed to the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association conference in SeaTac, WA for four days. I'm hoping to learn a lot in the various lectures, but I also have meetings lined up with an agent and an editor, and I hope to make some connections to get my book published. I launched my own website last month at You can read the first chapter of my book there. I've been spending a lot of time lately editing the book, so that has cut into my 'writing' time, but I hope to get back to that right after the conference.

The garden is doing well. I put in two raised 4' by 8' planter boxes this year, basically tripling the size of my garden. It's quite a bit more work, but so far we've had broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers, peas, yellow beans, tomatoes, green beans and summer squash on our table at night, fresh from the garden. We have Swiss Chard as well, except we keep forgetting to cook it up. We've got a big pumpkin growing and 3 more kinds of squash on the way. Next year, less lettuce (or different kinds perhaps), no spinach (slugs kept getting it), no Swiss Chard, half the amount of broccoli, and a better fence around the peas (the kids pulled them all down early in the season).

Lisa got me into reading a new author named Marshall Karp. His first book, The Rabbit Factory is very good, reminiscent of Janet Evanovich, but bigger plots. I just finished it yesterday and am trying to refrain from picking up the next one from the shelf until after the conference.

Other books I've read in the last few months:

  • The Eternity Artifact and The Parafaith War by L.E. Modesitt - Pretty good
  • The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni - okay, not great. I actually met Robert Dugoni at a PNWA meeting a few months back, and got the book autographed.
  • Sword Song - Bernard Cornwell - excellent as always
  • Fearless Fourteen - Janet Evanovich - series is getting tired
  • Last of the Breed - Louis Lamour - Good story, ending is rushed (I know how that happens)
  • Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card - This book was awesome. Scared to read any of his other books. I read one other book of his last year, and I hated it.
  • The Shining - Stephen King - The scariest freakin book I've ever read. I had to stop reading it at night.
  • How the West Was Won - Louis Lamour - Not great, but a fast read and enjoyable
  • Farmer in the Sky - Robert Heinlein - Great Read. Classic SF from the 1950's that is still enjoyable today.

Out movie watching time has dwindled severely, but here are a few we did manage to watch in the last few months:

  • Gran Torino -Good, but Oscar Worthy... no. 3/5
  • Marathon Man - I'd bet a lot of movies in the 1980's and beyond we're influenced by this one. Pretty good, if you understand what was going on in the world back then. 3/5
  • The Golden Compass - Bad movie, skip it 1/5
  • Marley and Me - average. Not great 2/5
  • Frost / Nixon -Amazing movie. See this one. 5/5
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Pretty good, worth watching 3/5
  • The Italian Job (1969) - Not as good as the remake. 1/5
  • Starter for Ten - Middling... chick flick 2/5
  • Death Race - If you just sit back and enjoy it for what it is, it'd not bad (4/5)
  • War, Inc. - Turned it off after 15 minutes (0/5)
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People - Oh what have you done, Simon Pegg (2/5)
  • Dan in Real Life - Not bad... for a chick flick (3/5)
  • Twilight - I don't get all the hype. Buffy was better (2/5)
  • How the West Was Won - not as good as the book (2/5)
  • Slumdog Millionaire very good, as you have probably already heard (5/5)
  • Frozen River - Pretty good (3/5)
  • The Duchess - Very good (for a chick flick) 4/5
  • Eagle Eye - A stretch to give it 2/5
  • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Actually pretty funny (not for you, Mom) (3/5)
  • Half Nelson - If you're happy and want to be depressed, watch this. (2/5)
  • Tropic Thunder - Pretty Bad, Laughed once (1/5)
  • Wanted - Bad. Really Bad (1/5)
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall - A little bit funny (2/5)
  • Ghost Town - Eh... (2/5)
  • John Adams (Miniseries) - Great - Watch this one (5/5)
  • The History Boys - Okay, but a little uncomfortable to watch (2/5)
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Bad. Oh so Bad (1/5)
  • First Snow - Okay (3/5)
  • WALL-E - pretty good (4/5)

What you can determine from this list is that we watch far too many chick flicks, and the guys flicks the last few years have sucked. I'm hoping for a good summer blockbuster, soon.

Okay, we'll call it a day now, and pretend that I've updated you on everything that has happened. But if I'm lacking in good material in the next few weeks, I may just flash back to something else that went on between February and July, but I tell ya, I was working a lot, and a couple of months went by without me noticing much.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Introspection time

On Sunday, I went to a memorial service for a guy a used to work with, back in my airline days. He was 50 years old, with a wife and a fourteen year old daughter. He died of complications due to lung cancer, but wasn't a smoker, and was an athlete and outdoors man all his life. I never really knew him well, but we worked together for about 8 years on and off, and enjoyed giving each other crap and a lot of joking around.

He was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2008, and fought it with everything he had, and a positive spirit. I had lost touch with him after I left the company in January of 2008, and didn't even know he was sick until I was told that he had died a week ago last Sunday. It kind of took my breath away.

I went to the memorial for a couple of reasons. One, to show my support for the family, and to let them know that a lot of people will have good memories of him, far beyond those who knew him really well. The other reason, was probably a little selfish, but it was to see some of the folks I hadn't talked to or seen since I left the airline. I wanted them to know I still was out there, and that I hadn't forgotten all the good friendships when my career moved on.

But what really struck me as I listened to the eulogies, one given by his pastor, one given by his best friend, one by his brother, and one by his brother-in-law, was the long term bonds that he had formed in his life, and how much these people still meant to each other. His college room-mate was still his best friend. They lived close to each other, hung out on long weekends camping together on father-daughter trips, and drank micro-brews together on the weekends.

I felt slightly jealous of that. I've moved around a lot in my life, and was driven by a lot of solo projects and solo efforts. I enjoyed long distance cycling when I was in Colorado for the challenge and the solace. I like to read and write and play golf because it relaxes me and they're all things I can do by myself. I worked hard, and jumped at opportunities around the country (and from Canada to the US) because I could, and I didn't have anything to tie me down in my younger years. I don't regret moving here, as I have a great life, with a wonderful family and a job I love. But I haven't formed those long term bonds that he had. I don't have friends who have known me all my adult life and know all the stories about the stupid stuff I did in college, or that wild weekend in Wasaga Beach the summer of 1992, or how close I came to falling off a cliff in Utah in 1996. I know those stories, and some I'll tell to my kids (perhaps as cautionary tales), but there's something about someone you know coming up to you and asking 'Hey, do you remember that time..." that I probably won't get to experience as often as I'd like.

But I also realized, as I drove home, that it wasn't (hopefully) too late too make the effort to reconnect with some of those folks I used to know. More than to just add them as friends in Facebook, but to try to see them once in a while, hang out, and to help out when needed. Friendship isn't something that's always easy, but at least it's easier and more clear cut for me, since I'm a guy. Guy's have notoriously lower maintenance friendships than that other gender. I'm just saying.

Anyway, we all lead busy lives, and there's a hundred excuses we can find for not doing stuff with our friends. But maybe, just once in a while we need to sacrifice the important stuff, like watching a rerun of some old movie, to do the really important stuff like go and have a beer with an old friend, or to write an email to someone you haven't talked to in five or ten years.

So if you want to hang out and have a beer sometime soon, and I haven't called you already, give me a holler.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Recent Pictures

What's new?

Again, it's been a long time since we've updated this. Life gets pretty hectic, and some things fall by the wayside.

The kids are doing great, and talking up a storm. Whoever calls the house these days usually gets the 'treat' of getting to talk to them on the phone for as long as they want to listen. Its cute to us, but probably not so cute to the sales people who cold call us. No, we don't really do that. But we should.

Reece loves to play on the little V_Tech computers we bought them for Christmas. He can count (usually misses #4 for some reason), and knows a lot of the letters by sight now. He's better at some of the games than I am already. But I still kick his but on the XBox. No mercy!

We got out of our routine for a few weeks around Christmas and New Years with parties (birthdays x 3) and holidays, and three of four colds that ripped through the area and made everyone miserable. I was going to say this is the first week since Thanksgiving that everyone has been healthy, but there's a distinct possibility that the kids aren't feeling well tonight. They were asking to go to bed at 6:45 (a half hour early), saying Elmo was tired. And there was all the poop today. That might be another indicator.

We try not to watch a lot of TV, but the kids do love Sesame Street as long as Big Bird and Elmo are on all the time. And they like watching Daddy's Fire Truck show, an old drama I DVR from one of the Retro networks called "Emergency". My mom and I loved that show growing up, and unlike a lot of old shows, it hasn't aged badly. We'll watch an episode on Saturday or Sunday morning sometimes.

Work is going well for me, but extremely busy, and will stay that way until at least the end of July as I am working on a big project. I'm learning a lot, but this is definitely the most high profile project I've ever worked on, and the pressure to get it right is going to be enormous by the end of it.

Lisa is still working as well, and actually added a few more hours per week (now 3.5 days instead of 3). She's dancing a lot and going to another dance competition this weekend.

I finished writing my latest novel on January 1st, and have been going through my old writing and finishing off some short stories I've had laying around before I jump back in to a major effort again. I've been slowly editing it as well, and trying to find a publisher / agent to help me market it, but that, I hear, can be as much work as writing it in the first place. I'm not holding my breath at this point. Once I get this edit done on it, I may circulate it a little bit to see if people like it. It's going to take me a month or two to edit it at the rate I am going right now though.

I haven't done much reading lately, so no reviews today. We also haven't seen any really good movies lately either. We've been watching Battlestar Galactica, House, CSI, and a pretty funny show on the CBC called Being Erica.

I started working in the garden on Sunday, pulling weeds and planning the vegetables for this year. But it snowed here today, so I might still be a little early. Only in the Pacific Northwest do the weeds grow bigger in the winter than in the summer. What a mess.

Anyway, that's about it. I'll post some pictures tonight too if any of the 300+ on our camera turned out. We'll soon see.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We're dry

Just a quick update on the weather.

We seem to have escaped the flooding in our neighborhood, though I was getting very concerned yesterday. Down river from us, close to Puyallup and Fife, they said the Puyallup River was 6 inches from going over the top of the levees. We have a lot of friends living in those areas, and some, I think , were evacuated, but I haven't heard officially.

The USGS site today listed the previous record for January 8 for the flow rate on the Puyallup River at Alderton (just a mile from Sumner and 2 miles from my house) at 8550 cubic feet per second. The actual rate today: 53200 cfs. 6.5 times the previous record. That's a lot of water. It's the biggest recorded since 1917. I guess that is the hundred year flood.

Anyway, the rain is slowing down, and the freezing level has come down the mountain from 9500 feet to 2000 feet, so the snow melt has stopped. The river has crested, and the worst seems to be over.

Of course, the Sounder (the commuter rail system) wasn't running this morning so I drove in. Not too bad considering everything going on. We'll see how the trip home goes this afternoon.