mmerriam: (Coffee)
Edwin Jagger DE with Astra Platinum Blade
Escali Badger Hair Brush
Dapper Dragon Shaving Soap in Strawberry Lemonade
LadySea Creations Shaving Scuttle
Clubman Pinaud Aftershave

IMAG1298

As some of you know, I've stopped shaving with expensive multi-blade cartridges, going back to the way I was taught by my grandfather and the way I shaved until my early 20s, using a double-edged safety razor. I don't often do these "Shave of the Day" things because once I find a razor, blades, shaving soap, and aftershave I like, I tend to stick with them, but I've been trying a lot of different products lately, so I thought I'd post a review of some of the new things I'm trying from time to time.

The Jagger DE is a loaner from a friend, but I'm thinking I want to buy this one. I liked the control of the shorter handle and heavier weight over my lighter long-handled workhouse Lord L6. The Astra is my usual blade, though I'm always willing to experiment.

What really made this shave was the Dapper Dragon Strawberry Lemonade, which is a seasonal, but I'm sure still available at their Etsy store. It whipped up super easy with great foam (I just traded up from a boar brush to a badger brush and the difference in how well and quickly soaps whip is significant). The shaving soap smelled delicious and left my skin feeling a nice tingle. The razor went over it smooth and easy and I only needed two passes to get a good close shave instead of the traditional three. I highly recommend this shaving soap.

On a personal note, I like using the scuttle instead of just a bowl because it keeps everything warm, which I find makes the shave more pleasant, and the LadySea Scuttle is just a lovely piece.

Finished off with the Clubman Pinaud because this is pretty much the aftershave my grandfather used and if it works for me, why switch?
mmerriam: (Default)
Line edits on Last Car to Annwn Station are finished and returned to Editor Melissa at Carina Press. It should be a couple of weeks before the CEM arrives. I have a week to finish that, then the manuscript will be complete and delivered. There will be a final proof galley, then at last a book. I can’t wait.

My reading at DreamHaven Books was a success. I started off reading too fast, but got my footing and by the time I read from Last Car to Annwn Station I had settled in. Everyone seemed to enjoy the reading, and several folks said they are looking forward to the novel coming out this summer. We had a great crowd, 41 people by our count.

Super Bowl party was fun, with about 20 people at my house, some of whom cared about the game, many of whom did not, and everyone having fun. There was lots a good food and great company.

Had a nice night out with some other local writer folks. Good conversation, goods people, and a smashing beer and scotch selection at The Muddy Pig in St. Paul.

Speaking of food, we have a new Japanese restaurant in Hopkins, Aji. There is nice review here: http://www.weeklynews.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=8267&SectionID=49&SubSectionID=110&S=1

We went with some friends and found everything cooked to perfection and the sushi bar well presented, with a good selection of excellent and flavorful sushi.

We went to see Bill W. and Dr. Bob (http://www.illusiontheater.org/events/bill-w-dr-bob) at the Illusion Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. This show is well worth seeing, and the discussion after the show with the director and actors was great fun.

The MinnSpec meeting today was a presentation about giving presentations and being on panels. There was some really good stuff, though I feel like we focused a little too much on PowerPoint stuff. I know some people really dig the PowerPoint, but I don’t use it. There was also good discussion about what to do in difficult situations (a cellphone goes off, crying children, that one person in the audience who tries to hijack the panel, that one expert in the audience who asks you the one question you don’t know the answer to, that sort of thing). We talked about different things you can do the make your public speaking better, including joining Toastmaster and taking some basic acting and voice classes. Over all a very positive meeting, plus we figured out the topics for the next couple of meetings.

Getting gear up for Con of the North this weekend. I will be spending my birthday at the Con.

I sent in my panel picks for CONvergence. We shall see what happens.

Speaking of panels, I have my schedule for MarsCon:

Friday, March 4:
6:00-6:45 PM--Krushenko's/Concierge (Room 1332)
Fiction Reading: Michael Merriam

Saturday, March 5:
6:00-6:45 PM--Re(a)d Mars/Taylor (2nd Floor)
Panel: The Woods Are Lovely
How do we create modern fairytales and myths? How do we tap into the primal emotions of fairytales in a modern era?
Michael Merriam, mod.; PMF Johnson, Naomi Kritzer

Sunday, March 6:
11:00-11:45 AM--Re(a)d Mars
Panel: Ask a Writer
Always wanted to know how a novel is born? How does a writer structure their day? Is it all glittering parties and intelligent company? Come ask a panel of working writers anything!
Michael Merriam, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Catherine Lundoff, Anna Waltz

1:00-1:45 PM--Krushenko's
Panel: The Western as Fantasy
Myths about the Old West began before the West was old, making it one of the first shared worlds in American culture. We'll discuss the rise and fall of the Old West mythology, and how it has influenced and lent its energy to current genres including fantasy and science fiction.
David Christenson, mod.; Eric M. Heideman, Michael Merriam

2:00-2:45 PM--Krushenko's
Panel: Writing in a Series: Harmonies and Discords
Writers who have done multiple novels or stories about continuing characters and/or a linked world share their experiences, positive or negative, and their advice to aspiring series writers.
Michael Merriam, mod.; Lois McMaster Bujold, Naomi Kritzer

I’ve acquired shooting scripts from several televisions shows and one from a motion picture. I plan to read and study these, watch several episodes of Being Human, Eureka and Warehouse 13, and then create spec scripts. I am also outlining a feature movie script.

My counselor at State Services for the Blind has, in support of my quest for a part-time job, hooked me up with Lifetracks in St. Paul. My worker there has already sent out my resume to a potential employer that looks to be a good fit for me, except it might be too much travel by bus. Still, if they can find me a possible position before I’ve ever had a meeting with them, I’m impressed.

Tomorrow night I will cook Valentine dinner for my Bunnee. We stay in and avoid the crowds on Valentine's Day. There will be good food and small gifts.

Also, still sick. This is the start of week three. I suppose I should go see a doctor.
mmerriam: (Default)
Line edits on Last Car to Annwn Station are finished and returned to Editor Melissa at Carina Press. It should be a couple of weeks before the CEM arrives. I have a week to finish that, then the manuscript will be complete and delivered. There will be a final proof galley, then at last a book. I can’t wait.

My reading at DreamHaven Books was a success. I started off reading too fast, but got my footing and by the time I read from Last Car to Annwn Station I had settled in. Everyone seemed to enjoy the reading, and several folks said they are looking forward to the novel coming out this summer. We had a great crowd, 41 people by our count.

Super Bowl party was fun, with about 20 people at my house, some of whom cared about the game, many of whom did not, and everyone having fun. There was lots a good food and great company.

Had a nice night out with some other local writer folks. Good conversation, goods people, and a smashing beer and scotch selection at The Muddy Pig in St. Paul.

Speaking of food, we have a new Japanese restaurant in Hopkins, Aji. There is nice review here: http://www.weeklynews.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=8267&SectionID=49&SubSectionID=110&S=1

We went with some friends and found everything cooked to perfection and the sushi bar well presented, with a good selection of excellent and flavorful sushi.

We went to see Bill W. and Dr. Bob (http://www.illusiontheater.org/events/bill-w-dr-bob) at the Illusion Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. This show is well worth seeing, and the discussion after the show with the director and actors was great fun.

The MinnSpec meeting today was a presentation about giving presentations and being on panels. There was some really good stuff, though I feel like we focused a little too much on PowerPoint stuff. I know some people really dig the PowerPoint, but I don’t use it. There was also good discussion about what to do in difficult situations (a cellphone goes off, crying children, that one person in the audience who tries to hijack the panel, that one expert in the audience who asks you the one question you don’t know the answer to, that sort of thing). We talked about different things you can do the make your public speaking better, including joining Toastmaster and taking some basic acting and voice classes. Over all a very positive meeting, plus we figured out the topics for the next couple of meetings.

Getting gear up for Con of the North this weekend. I will be spending my birthday at the Con.

I sent in my panel picks for CONvergence. We shall see what happens.

Speaking of panels, I have my schedule for MarsCon:

Friday, March 4:
6:00-6:45 PM--Krushenko's/Concierge (Room 1332)
Fiction Reading: Michael Merriam

Saturday, March 5:
6:00-6:45 PM--Re(a)d Mars/Taylor (2nd Floor)
Panel: The Woods Are Lovely
How do we create modern fairytales and myths? How do we tap into the primal emotions of fairytales in a modern era?
Michael Merriam, mod.; PMF Johnson, Naomi Kritzer

Sunday, March 6:
11:00-11:45 AM--Re(a)d Mars
Panel: Ask a Writer
Always wanted to know how a novel is born? How does a writer structure their day? Is it all glittering parties and intelligent company? Come ask a panel of working writers anything!
Michael Merriam, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Catherine Lundoff, Anna Waltz

1:00-1:45 PM--Krushenko's
Panel: The Western as Fantasy
Myths about the Old West began before the West was old, making it one of the first shared worlds in American culture. We'll discuss the rise and fall of the Old West mythology, and how it has influenced and lent its energy to current genres including fantasy and science fiction.
David Christenson, mod.; Eric M. Heideman, Michael Merriam

2:00-2:45 PM--Krushenko's
Panel: Writing in a Series: Harmonies and Discords
Writers who have done multiple novels or stories about continuing characters and/or a linked world share their experiences, positive or negative, and their advice to aspiring series writers.
Michael Merriam, mod.; Lois McMaster Bujold, Naomi Kritzer

I’ve acquired shooting scripts from several televisions shows and one from a motion picture. I plan to read and study these, watch several episodes of Being Human, Eureka and Warehouse 13, and then create spec scripts. I am also outlining a feature movie script.

My counselor at State Services for the Blind has, in support of my quest for a part-time job, hooked me up with Lifetracks in St. Paul. My worker there has already sent out my resume to a potential employer that looks to be a good fit for me, except it might be too much travel by bus. Still, if they can find me a possible position before I’ve ever had a meeting with them, I’m impressed.

Tomorrow night I will cook Valentine dinner for my Bunnee. We stay in and avoid the crowds on Valentine's Day. There will be good food and small gifts.

Also, still sick. This is the start of week three. I suppose I should go see a doctor.
mmerriam: (Default)
Yesterday, we received fresh snow in Minnesota. It came down in a thick beautiful white cloud, covering the snow that had become dirty with car exhaust and road crud. It was pleasant to look at, though less so when we had to go out and drive in it. Not that there was anything wrong with the snow, just the other drivers. Winter is Minnesota is gorgeous, if a bit treacherous. That said, autumn is still my favorite season in Minnesota.

I have finished the first round of edits on Last Car to Annwn Station, topping them off on Wednesday. I could have charged right into the second round, but I have two more weeks to finish the edits, and this first round is always the hardest and most draining. I have several things planned this weekend, a birthday party, a convention meeting, a Minnspec meeting, and gaming with the regular group My plan is to go to these events and recharge myself for the next rounds of edits, which I will jump into first thing on Monday. I will be reviewing my notes over the weekend and letting my brain stew on what to do. I know I will be writing a couple of new scenes, doing heavy rewrites on a couple more, and cutting one or two, which will involve continuity clean-up. There are several places where I've made notes to myself in the document to fix this or add this scene or explain this better. It looks daunting from here, but I am ever hopeful it will go smoothly in the execution.

We are still having some health issues with the various residents of Merriam Manor, but hopefully things are on the upswing. Right now I think we all need a couple of solid night's worth of sleep. Lack of sleep has been one of our biggest problems lately.

I received a lovely letter from a reader and reviewer, pointing me to her review of Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep: (http://tammys1.blogspot.com/2011/01/should-we-drown-in-feathered-sleep-by.html) Also, I received my postcards for Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep this week. They are gorgeous and act as a coupon should you want to order the book. I will have them to giveaway and sign during this years appearances.

And now I need to go find us all some lunch, finish my laundry, do my homework for the Minnspec meeting, and prepare to run errands this afternoon.
mmerriam: (Default)
Yesterday, we received fresh snow in Minnesota. It came down in a thick beautiful white cloud, covering the snow that had become dirty with car exhaust and road crud. It was pleasant to look at, though less so when we had to gout and drive in it. Not that there was anything wrong with the snow, just the other drivers. Winter is Minnesota is gorgeous, if a bit treacherous. That said, autumn is still my favorite season in Minnesota.

I have finished the first round of edits on Last Car to Annwn Station, topping them off on Wednesday. I could have charged right into the second round, but I have two more weeks to finish the edits, and this first round is always the hardest and most draining. I have several things planned this weekend, a birthday party, a convention meeting, a Minnspec meeting, and gaming with the regular group My plan is to go to these events and recharge myself for the next rounds of edits, which I will jump into first thing on Monday. I will be reviewing my notes over the weekend and letting my brain stew on what to do. I know I will be writing a couple of new scenes, doing heavy rewrites on a couple more, and cutting one or two, which will involve continuity clean-up. There are several places where I've made notes to myself in the document to fix this or add this scene or explain this better. It looks daunting from here, but I am ever hopeful it will go smoothly in the execution.

We are still having some health issues with the various residents of Merriam Manor, but hopefully things are on the upswing. Right now I think we all need a couple of solid night's worth of sleep. Lack of sleep has been one of our biggest problems lately.

I received a lovely letter from a reader and reviewer, pointing me to her review of Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep: (http://tammys1.blogspot.com/2011/01/should-we-drown-in-feathered-sleep-by.html) Also, I received my postcards for Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep this week. They are gorgeous and act as a coupon should you want to order the book. I will have them to giveaway and sign during this years appearances.

And now I need to go find us all some lunch, finish my laundry, do my homework for the Minnspec meeting, and prepare to run errands this afternoon.
mmerriam: (Default)
I am plugging away on the developmental edits. I should be done with this first pass by this weekend. I've hit a string of scenes that are on the chopping block. Some of them are going to be condensed and rolled together, a couple might get cut completely because neither I nor the editor are sure how they advance the story, and a couple look to be made obsolete during the next pass.

I sold a short story, "Memory," to Ray Gun Revival. It's another bit of space opera, something I write from time-to-time. I'm always pleased to find a home for these stories. For any of my stories, actually. I am always a bit amazed that when someone wants to pay me money for the things I write.

Though it was a tough day, with a household member being terribly sick, we all got through it. The snow outside was just enough to make everything pretty again, covering up the dirty muck. I have brownies in the oven and coffee at hand. I'm recording the BCS Championship game, and plan to start watching it in an hour or so. For the record, I will be cheering for the Oregon Ducks.
mmerriam: (Default)
I am plugging away on the developmental edits. I should be done with this first pass by this weekend. I've hit a string of scenes that are on the chopping block. Some of them are going to be condensed and rolled together, a couple might get cut completely because neither I nor the editor are sure how they advance the story, and a couple look to be made obsolete during the next pass.

I sold a short story, "Memory," to Ray Gun Revival. It's another bit of space opera, something I write from time-to-time. I'm always pleased to find a home for these stories. For any of my stories, actually. I am always a bit amazed that when someone wants to pay me money for the things I write.

Though it was a tough day, with a household member being terribly sick, we all got through it. The snow outside was just enough to make everything pretty again, covering up the dirty muck. I have brownies in the oven and coffee at hand. I'm recording the BCS Championship game, and plan to start watching it in an hour or so. For the record, I will be cheering for the Oregon Ducks.
mmerriam: (Default)
It went quickly. Was a bit strange being awake, alert, and able to see while someone operated in my eye. Lots of interesting lights, colors, and shadows.
mmerriam: (Default)
It went quickly. Was a bit strange being awake, alert, and able to see while someone operated in my eye. Lots of interesting lights, colors, and shadows.
mmerriam: (Coffee)
It's not that there has not been things I've wanted to post about, it's that I've been a little overwhelmed lately, struggling for time and focus.

In Which Michael Yammers On About Everything On His Mind )
mmerriam: (Coffee)
It's not that there has not been things I've wanted to post about, it's that I've been a little overwhelmed lately, struggling for time and focus.

In Which Michael Yammers On About Everything On His Mind )
mmerriam: (Default)
And tomorrow will be a better day.

It was rough sledding at Merriam Manor today.

[livejournal.com profile] careswen had a terrible migraine last night after class, so she stumbled in and simply tossed her contacts, knowing we had just received a new shipment of contact lens a few days ago. Except I had ordered the wrong prescription, getting "+" contacts instead of "–" contacts. Her glasses are way out-of-date, and she has a final exam tonight. Fortunately, we were able to get her a sample pair of contacts in her strength and brand. New contacts are on order, as are new glasses.

Speaking of [livejournal.com profile] careswen having a final tonight, we are not at 4th Street Fantasy Convention. Yet. We had planned to go to the work party and play reading tonight, but that was before we knew when her final was scheduled. We will probably arrive tomorrow sometime around opening ceremonies.

If you are at the convention, please come up and say hello. I'm the six foot, two inch, 270 pound blind guy with a 58 inch white cane. I may or may not be wearing a patch over my right eye, which is having issues at the moment. I'll be with the cute graduate student.

In other news, Reverend Selena is clingy and full of hairballs. Yeah.
mmerriam: (Default)
And tomorrow will be a better day.

It was rough sledding at Merriam Manor today.

[livejournal.com profile] careswen had a terrible migraine last night after class, so she stumbled in and simply tossed her contacts, knowing we had just received a new shipment of contact lens a few days ago. Except I had ordered the wrong prescription, getting "+" contacts instead of "–" contacts. Her glasses are way out-of-date, and she has a final exam tonight. Fortunately, we were able to get her a sample pair of contacts in her strength and brand. New contacts are on order, as are new glasses.

Speaking of [livejournal.com profile] careswen having a final tonight, we are not at 4th Street Fantasy Convention. Yet. We had planned to go to the work party and play reading tonight, but that was before we knew when her final was scheduled. We will probably arrive tomorrow sometime around opening ceremonies.

If you are at the convention, please come up and say hello. I'm the six foot, two inch, 270 pound blind guy with a 58 inch white cane. I may or may not be wearing a patch over my right eye, which is having issues at the moment. I'll be with the cute graduate student.

In other news, Reverend Selena is clingy and full of hairballs. Yeah.
mmerriam: (Rev. Selena)
is home. I now know how to give insulin shots to my cat, as well as the signs of hyper and hypoglycemia, and what to do about each. The vet also changed her diet, and she is switching from being a grazer to a set feeding schedule. I'll still be giving her antibiotics and pain meds for the next couple of weeks for her bad tooth, since we can't extract it until her blood glucose stabilizes. She seems happy to be home.
mmerriam: (Rev. Selena)
The Reverend Selena will not be having surgery today to remove the abscessed tooth. They did her blood work, and her blood sugar was twice what it should be. The Reverend is apparently diabetic, and they will need to start her on insulin and stabilize her blood sugar before they can operate on her tooth. She will be staying overnight at Hopkins Pet Hospital for observation.
mmerriam: (Default)
I have been invited to be the guest speaker at a teleconference for a group of blind fiction writers and poets. One of the members read the piece I have up at Breath and Shadow and sent me an email, asking if I'd like to take part in a discussion session with their moderator, followed by Q&A with their members. The moderator said it follows a format similar to the one on Inside the Actors Studio. Of course I agreed! I am both honored and boggled.

I've settled on the conventions I'll be attending this year. I'll at Con of the North (gaming con), Minicon, 4th Street Fantasy Convention, CONvergence, and Diversicon.

Since all these conventions are local, [livejournal.com profile] careswen and I will only be staying at the hotel for Con of the North (because we need someplace to change into costumes for the nightly LARPs) and CONvergence, (because I always end up on too many programming items and because the con is super-frantic, making it important to have someplace quiet to retreat to). We'll be driving back and forth to Minicon and 4th Street (both of which are close to our home) and I suspect I'll only be at Diversicon on Saturday.

Finally, I'm thinking of taking an internet sabbatical in February. I would only be checking email twice a day, and staying off the internet and all the networking sights I frequent for one month. Unless, you know, I sold a book and needed to make an announcement.

I take sabbaticals from the news from time-to-time where I won't watch news, listen to news, or read news, because honestly, it depresses me. I've feeling that way about the internet in general and blogs in particular for the last couple of months. There just seems to be an awful lot of doom and gloom and bitching and fighting and anger out there right now, and while I know it's always been there (because I've been on the net for a long damned time) I find myself just--out of energy for trolling, internet slapfights, flame-wars, and even heated-if-polite discussions. This has begun to affect both my mood and my writing negatively, and it needs to stop. I'm thinking I need to step away for a while, hit the reset button, and get myself pointed back in the right direction again.
mmerriam: (Default)
I have been invited to be the guest speaker at a teleconference for a group of blind fiction writers and poets. One of the members read the piece I have up at Breath and Shadow and sent me an email, asking if I'd like to take part in a discussion session with their moderator, followed by Q&A with their members. The moderator said it follows a format similar to the one on Inside the Actors Studio. Of course I agreed! I am both honored and boggled.

I've settled on the conventions I'll be attending this year. I'll at Con of the North (gaming con), Minicon, 4th Street Fantasy Convention, CONvergence, and Diversicon.

Since all these conventions are local, [livejournal.com profile] careswen and I will only be staying at the hotel for Con of the North (because we need someplace to change into costumes for the nightly LARPs) and CONvergence, (because I always end up on too many programming items and because the con is super-frantic, making it important to have someplace quiet to retreat to). We'll be driving back and forth to Minicon and 4th Street (both of which are close to our home) and I suspect I'll only be at Diversicon on Saturday.

Finally, I'm thinking of taking an internet sabbatical in February. I would only be checking email twice a day, and staying off the internet and all the networking sights I frequent for one month. Unless, you know, I sold a book and needed to make an announcement.

I take sabbaticals from the news from time-to-time where I won't watch news, listen to news, or read news, because honestly, it depresses me. I've feeling that way about the internet in general and blogs in particular for the last couple of months. There just seems to be an awful lot of doom and gloom and bitching and fighting and anger out there right now, and while I know it's always been there (because I've been on the net for a long damned time) I find myself just--out of energy for trolling, internet slapfights, flame-wars, and even heated-if-polite discussions. This has begun to affect both my mood and my writing negatively, and it needs to stop. I'm thinking I need to step away for a while, hit the reset button, and get myself pointed back in the right direction again.
mmerriam: (Devil Skwerl)
So...

I've known for several months that I've developed an allergy to shrimp.
Cut for Health TMI )
mmerriam: (Devil Skwerl)
So...

I've known for several months that I've developed an allergy to shrimp.
Cut for Health TMI )
mmerriam: (Hide)
And now the anxiety about tomorrow night's reading is hitting me full force...

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