The best bad news

fountain pen on notepad

I recent­ly had a look at my sub­mis­sions on The Sub­mis­sions Grinder, and noticed that I’d sent “Me and the Bee” to two mar­kets over a year ago, with no updates. I emailed the both of them, and one of them replied to me:

Our edi­to­r­i­al team real­ly enjoyed your sto­ry, and we were hold­ing onto it for a while as we fig­ured out our plans for our next issue. Unfor­tu­nate­ly we’re now on hia­tus as we have decid­ed to restruc­ture our jour­nal. I’m sor­ry again for this dis­ap­point­ing news, but I think your sto­ry is very strong and has a good chance of being accept­ed else­where.

So… it’s not accept­ed, but it almost was, I guess. So close.

Pho­to by Aaron Bur­den on Unsplash.

Tonight’s writing

The river

I ham­mered out 1,100 words, give or take, in “Sum­mer­time in the Void”, which is a new short sto­ry about a man left behind by the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty.

Here’s a sam­ple, but be kind, it’s first draft mate­r­i­al:

His dad, not long before he left, had told John that you can’t ever cross the same riv­er twice, and John had asked why not and his dad had just smiled and told him “You’re smart, fig­ure it out.”

Because the water’s nev­er the same, he decid­ed. Some­times it’s swift and deep, and sometimes—like now, after a long, hot, dry summer—it was shal­low, lazy, and mud­dy.

I’ve got about 3,900 more words to make this into a coher­ent sto­ry. I think I can make it work.

Farewell, summer

Sunset on Clear Lake

A friend told me once about his young son’s reac­tion to autumn. The boy was maybe two years old, and my friend took him out into the yard to watch the leaves fall from the trees. After a cou­ple moments spent look­ing around with con­ster­na­tion on his face, the son picked up a dou­ble hand­ful of leaves, held them up to his father, and said, “Fix it, Dad­dy!”

I feel the same, kid. I’m not ready for sum­mer to be done, but there were yel­low leaves on the deck this week­end and I had to use the space heater at the office today.

I know a lot of peo­ple who love fall, with its sweaters and the riot of colours in the trees, but to me it’s just the gate­way to yet anoth­er win­ter. I’m def­i­nite­ly a spring-and-sum­mer kind of guy.


Galactic panorama

Star Trails

I went out last night, since it was clear, and vis­it­ed my friend Tim, who’s camp­ing this week­end at Wasagam­ing. I snapped some star trails at his camp­site (my bat­tery, almost dead, man­aged 80 shots at 10 sec­onds each).

On the way home, I pulled off the high­way about ½ a mile down a grav­el road, and tried out a panoram­ic pho­to of the Milky Way. I set my cam­era up in por­trait mode and shot 5 pho­tos, 45 sec­onds each, tilt­ing the cam­era up after each shot. The cam­era start­ed out aimed at the hori­zon and the last shot was point­ed straight up at the zenith.

I stitched the pho­tos togeth­er using Hug­in, which did a very good job of auto­mat­i­cal­ly ori­ent­ing the pho­tos and find­ing the match­es. I did­n’t have to mas­sage any­thing man­u­al­ly.

Le voilà:

Panorama of the galaxy
Panora­ma of the galaxy. 5 images, stitched with Hug­in.

Shodan × 2

Two of my judo stu­dents/­co-instruc­tors grad­ed today for their 1st degree black belts (or shodan). They did just fine.

It was an odd expe­ri­ence for me. They were the first two that I’ve shep­herd­ed that far. It felt like a test-by-proxy for me, as well as a test for them.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Neal and Joe. Wel­come to the dan ranks.

Hawk attack

A hawk against the sky

So I went for a bike ride. I head­ed out to the coun­try­side south and west of town, and on one of the mile roads I paused to take some pho­tos in the “coun­try roads” style.

Country road
Coun­try road, just past the edge of town.

Where I stopped, though, there was a dead bird on the road, a big one. I think it may have been a hawk. While I was snap­ping pho­tos, two oth­er hawks land­ed on a cou­ple of near­by tele­phone poles and start­ed squawk­ing. One flew a cou­ple pass­es over me. I put my cam­era away and rode off about anoth­er ¼ mile down the road, where I stopped for a few more pho­tos. As I was snap­ping away, I heard/felt some­thing whoosh over my head, maybe three feet above me. I looked up and one of the hawks had fol­lowed me. I snapped a cou­ple quick pic­tures of him (one’s at the top of this post) and then took off again.

After that they left me alone, and I took some oth­er pho­tos.

Rainy evening

I hap­pened to be out and about last night with my cam­era, and took a cou­ple of pho­tos.