Dinner with a Side of Laughs #5

In addition to writing words here, I have a personal slice-of-life podcast where I share my thoughts using spoken words!  I have a dislike of overly long podcasts, so I decided to keep this one under five minutes.

Click here to enjoy “300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz!”

Advertisements

“Fun?” What’s that?

San Japan is this weekend, conventionsand I’m really not sure what I’m going to do.  Granted, I know what I have to do, and that’s assist with two panels for originalgamer.com as well as host my own “How To Publish E-Books” panel, but outside of ‘working’ at those panels, I don’t have anything planned.

I’ve joked in the past about how one either works at a convention or has fun, but can’t do both.  Its been so long since I’ve had significant free time at San Japan that I’m not sure I remember how to have fun there.  I don’t cosplay, I don’t care much about the guests (sorry) or the dances or the cosplay contest or watch many of the popular shows, which doesn’t really leave much left to do.

Thus, I’ll probably spend most of San Japan hanging out with friends.  I know people that help out with the event, sell in the dealer room or artists area, wear costumes, or, much like myself, just happen to be there.

And truthfully, how much more fun do I need than that?

Lost Stripes

So long, buddy
Miss ya, buddy

The weekend after Christmas last year, I adopted a cat from a local shelter. His ‘given name’ at the shelter was Reese, but I called him Stripe. He is a huge 10-plus pound brown furball with black stripes (hence the name) and a few patches of white here and there. I remember when I first took him out of his ‘catbox’ he freaked and tried to escape through the fireplace, and took to hiding behind the clothes dryer for a week or two.

After that adjustment period, we got along fairly well. Stripe loved attention and would happily sit on my lap and sleep while I sat on the sofa playing games or watching movies, taking time out ever so often to pet him. If he wasn’t on my lap he was usually napping nearby (see picture). He had a tendency to beg for food and would even hop on the back of my chair as I sat at the dining room table and try to see what I was eating. I would usually cave in and toss him a piece of meat, which he would often bat around for a few minutes before eating. He would also lie down on the floor and mew until I petted him or rubbed his belly.

The only issue I had with him was that he wanted attention all the time and often at the most inopportune times, like when I was cooking or trying to do work on the computer. For all his pining for attention, though, he was shy around new people, going as far as to retreat to his familiar clothes dryer hiding spot whenever guests would visit. Most of my friends said he was an odd cat, and I was hardly one to disagree. He snubbed the scratching post and cat tunnel I bought for him, but would bat plastic bottle caps around the floor all day long.

As is often the case with pets, our relationship had its rocky parts. I quickly learned that the combination of me being a wiggler and him being just a little bit bitey made it a bad idea to have him sleeping in the bed.  He eventually developed a habit of clawing the sofas which resulted in several squirts of water from a spray bottle, which he despised. Seriously, if I even reached for the bottle, he would dash away in a heartbeat. There were more good times than bad, though. I started letting him outside in the afternoons and he seemed to enjoy exploring the yard and going about the neighborhood. As there aren’t many stray dogs around, I felt safe in letting him go out, but never after dark. When he’d had his fun, he would sit outside the side door and mew until I let him back in.

I let him out last Tuesday. He never came back.

I’ve gone out walking around the neighborhood, but Stripe has been nowhere to be found. Every morning after I wake up and every evening when I got home from work, I check the side door, but he’s never there. It’s been almost a week, and I’m already missing the little things, like how he’d wait outside my bedroom door in the mornings or when he would stand up and paw on my thigh while I sat working on the computer.

Part of me wonders if maybe he just wanted more attention than I could give him. I’d like to think (hope, really) that he ran off to be with someone else who could give him more time than I could. I’ve already cleaned up and put away the litter box and cat toys and will soon be vacuuming up his cat fur for the last time. He may not have been the ideal cat, but I wasn’t the best owner, either. I’m don’t know that I’ll be getting another pet anytime soon. Despite the implications, I’d rather he have run off because I was a lousy owner than to have something bad happen to him.

Good luck, Reese, wherever you are.

Change of Screenery

technology2I have owned a iMac for five years now.  At the time, I figured that if nothing else, the improved hardware would be worth the expense.  It has been a pleasant experience for the most part…mainly because I installed Windows 7 onto it.  Thus, I don’t have to deal with OS X unless I really have to…like when I’m publishing an e-book to the iBookstore.

OS X is nice, but when I need to Get Things Done, I find myself gravitating back to Windows.  I also own a Windows laptop and thanks to The Cloud (or OneDrive to be more precise), I can easily keep my files in sync between my various devices instead of relying on the ol’ ‘sneaker-net’ like I used to back in my netbook days.

I will concede that the Mac is good at certain things, like organizing pictures and iTunes and all that good ‘not-computery’ stuff.  I also like that Time Machine keeps a full backup of my system in the event that something awful happens.  While I (fortunately) haven’t put it to the test yet, I have faith that it will work as advertised.  Sadly, my lack of being in OS X means I’ve accumulated quite a few pictures that I haven’t file away yet for safe keeping or kept very well organized, for that matter.

And so I have decided to start using my Mac, as, well, a Mac.  My 12″ laptop will serve as my ‘desktop PC’ and so I will be able to finally get all my pictures organized and keep all of my music in one place for what that’s worth.  Of course, when there’s Serious Work to be done, I’ll be booting back into Windows 7.  I’ve even gone as far to consider buying a new Windows desktop for the first time in a number of years.

Windows 8 makes that proposition a little trickier than it should be, but not for the reason you might suspect.  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t mind Windows 8; the 8.1 update has made it much more usable with a keyboard and mouse (TIP: On the Start Screen, click the arrow pointing down to easily find all of your programs).

My issue is that I kinda want a touch screen.  The Metro/Modern user interface is made for touch and having (literally!) poked at Windows 8 on Windows tablets I’ve grown to appreciate it for what it is.  The issue is that touchscreen monitors are expensive and ‘all in one’ computers generally don’t have as much horsepower as a tower.  While I am not a big gamer, when I’m rendering a video it would be nice to not have to wait a half hour for it to finish.  There’s also something about having some  BIG IRON sitting under my desk chugging away at Important Stuff.

I’m tempted to build a new PC from scratch, but part of me says ‘I don’t have the time’ and the cost savings isn’t quite as dramatic as it used to be.  In the end, I may end up going to Ye Olde Eletronics Store to plunk down a few c-notes for a tower.  While I may lose nerd points for that, I’m pretty sure I don’t have many left after buying that iMac in the first place. 😉

More Than Words

writingI have two projects that I haven’t been looking forward to working on, but carry on I must.  The first is a fiction story that involves the death of a character and the second is the follow-up to “The Rules of Tech Support.”

The reason I haven’t been looking forward to working on those projects is that working on stories that hit a little too close to home or that are sad can have an effect on me.  It may have happened before without my noticing it, but while working on a short story named “The Best Job In The World” for “Nine To Five Lives,” I noticed that I began feeling increasingly angsty at work.  I was even more angry and bitter than usual and it wasn’t until I finished the first draft of the story that I got over it.

I talked to a psychologist friend about it after the fact.  I asked him:  if reading fiction affects people in some way, wouldn’t writing it have an effect on those that write it as well?  He agreed, saying that something similar had happened to him when he was writing.

In all honesty, I think I am going to have a harder time writing the second tech support book.  While I can easily disconnect myself from a fictional character, I live tech support forty hours a week, which means I can probably look forward to being full of piss and vinegar for the next few weeks.  I could stop writing about work, but the insanity that the general public brings to the table is too rich of a vein of material to ignore.  I guess I’m stuck!

34 Things I Noticed During Wild Nights 2014

robinhood
Robin Hood!

I spent the weekend at Oklahoma’s other outdoor furry convention, Wild Nights, and as is always the case, I noticed a few things…

  1. After two false starts trying to go to this convention, itlooks like the third time’s a charm!
  2. Introduced my co-pilot to slot machines at a gas station casino; many apologies in advance if he becomes a gambling addict!
  3. Cell service is zip at the park, luckily I saved the camp maps to my tablet.
  4. At first, I listened in horror as the only FM stations my radio picked up played country music and then luckily stumbled upon a classic rock station…whew
  5. Looks like they got off to a late start with dinner, I hope everyone had a big lunch.
  6. The park is awesome, and even has real trees!
  7. Feels odd to not be wearing my rings, I keep reaching to take them off before I walk to the restroom…TMI, maybe?
  8. Old tech is better #1: LED lights have come a long way, but I’ll take my trusty 2-mantle Coleman lantern for lighting up camp any day.
  9. I thought I was going to be attached to my backpack for the weekend but I surprisingly did okay without it.
  10. Thing I forgot: a handkerchief, its driving me nuts because I keep reaching for it when I cough, but it isn’t there!
  11. Last year, I wrote a story at Oklacon about my own withdrawal from the Internet.  This year, I may scribe a similar story about a friend descending into madness.
  12. The blooping noise the tap makes when getting water is the COOLEST THING EVAR.
  13. I didn’t go to the hat-making panel and spent the rest of the con wishing that I had one!
  14. Idea: Glow in the dark zippers for tents.
  15. Temps were in the fifties outside on Thursday night, WHY were the a/c units on at the cabins?
  16. Robber’s Cave State Park took a little looking for, didn’t help that I took the scenic route.  Stupid Apple Maps
  17. The cave itself took some hunting to find, too, but then again, we went off the beaten path.
  18. Apparently the NOAA weather computer saying ‘shitstorm’ on the radio is the funniest thing ever.
  19. Crepes for breakfast, potato soup for lunch; seems like someone in the kitchen knows what they’re doing!
  20. Didn’t bring the car key for passenger, came to regret it after being asked ‘is it locked?’ every hour or so.
  21. We got caught by the grocery stores in the nearby town being closed early twice, once at 9 and then at 8. I wanted to ask if dancing was also forbidden and that’s because I’m from a small town in Texas.
  22. Nothing like hearing a gust of wind come from the trees then seeing a cloud of pollen descend. Crap.
  23. Scheduling seems to be an issue for Wild Nights, and registration also took a little while. Don’t forget to bring some patience along!
  24. Comparing the two OK outdoor cons: Wild Nights has the better venue, but Oklacon seems to be better organized. Balance of the universe and all that.
  25. Also: At Oklacon, I took home red dirt in the Excelsior as a souvenir. This time, it’s POLLEN. POLLEN EVERYWHERE. *cough cough*
  26. Saturday afternoon turned into siesta time at the con, there was very little going on. Works for me.
  27. Wore my bear ears into town for no good reason. Oh yeah, because I felt like it. That’s a good reason.
  28. Had my first s’more ever, yum!
  29. Once the weather forecast started mentioning thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes, it quickly lost its comedy value.
  30. Old tech is better #2: While most smartphones were useless, my radio worked just fine.
  31. There appeared to be an exodus of people Saturday as word got around about the impending weather. We hung around, but put everything away just in case we had to make a quick exit.
  32. I don’t think I have ever slept in a top bunk, and after spending a restless night in one, I still haven’t.
  33. This felt more like a camping trip at a furry convention than a convention that involved camping.
  34. Drove into some hail after leaving the event, apparently we just missed the bad weather.  There but for the grace of God we go.

RANDOM REVIEW: 2013 A.D.

2013As the final hours of the year tick away, I have to say that 2013 was a really good one for me.

After years of dealing with apartments and all that malarkey, I broke down and bought a house.  Home ownership has been pretty awesome so far: I went from one-bedroom apartments to a two-bedroom house with a garage and a huge backyard and rabbits and I can barbeque and have friends over and I love it.  Given the age of the house, home repairs and replacing things will eventually come but for now its been smooth sailing.

On the e-book front, I decided to try to sell printed copies of my work at a few conventions and events and failed spectacularly, at least from a business standpoint.  I can count my total sales on my hands.  People just don’t read much anymore, or at least not the types of folks that go to anime or furry conventions.  On the plus side, I did get to talk to lots of folks, present some panels and if nothing else, hopefully inspire some folks to ‘go it alone’ themselves.  I only published one new e-book (should have been two, but life and all that) and definitely need to up my output next year.

2013 was a fun year of conventions, camping, writing, video games, furries, cookies, home maintenance and most importantly, friends and family. I am optimistic that 2014 will be even better; my goal is to compete at least two story collections as well as the follow-up to “The Rules of Tech Support,” which is my best-seller so far.  I am also hoping to attend some new conventions, make new friends, and well, get some work done on the house.  So without any further ado:

MISSION START!