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Jab the First!

I got my first vaccine shot today! (Yes, it was at the location I thought it was. Only took four contacts to confirm that....) It's the Pfizer vaccine. Procedure was pretty straightforward: show up at store, fill out the usual stupid medical forms, wait a very few minutes, get called in, get shot, wait 15 minutes, go free.

Arm's a little sore, but I've done worse to myself working in the yard. Flexing it occasionally seems to help. Otherwise, no side effects; I'm a little tired, but that could just as well be from getting up early to take the car to the shop & drop the housemate off at work.

(I wore my I-got-vaccinated sticker afterward; I wish there was somewhere I could go to show it off properly. Lookee! Whee!)

In more good news, the car is back; local shop was able to weld a patch to repair the broken catalytic converter neck. I think it may be a smidge louder than it was pre-break, but it's definitely way, way better than pre-repair. Certainly driveable for the foreseeable, and for very little moolah.


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I can haz vaccine appointment?

I may have a vaccine appointment next week. Actually, I definitely do.

Somewhere.

The fact that most vaccine venues only let you sign up online or through apps has become An Issue for me. We've just spent a year in this country discovering that a sizeable swath of the population does not have regular internet access, and that "Just do everything online!" leaves a lot of people out in the cold. So now we get to the actual life-saving vaccine part of the process, and the option for people who can't sign up online is...?

For my mother (who has neither computer nor smartphone), I was willing to jump through those hoops. (Though I find it significant that for the local hospital where she finally got her shots, I spent half an hour fighting with their terrible web site only to ultimately be unable to schedule the appointment, and had to phone up and talk to a human being anyway. Said human being was polite and helpful and when I mentioned the web site, she said "Yeah, it's terrible.") But for myself (who has both computer and smartphone, but really hates doing that sort of thing on crappy web sites and really really hates doing anything via the smartphone interface), I'm willing to make something of a cause of it.

Meijer will let you sign up in person... if you can find a pharmacy staffer who knows how to do it. I had to go through three of them, and only persevered because my mom had signed up there on her own, and I knew she hadn't done it through the smartphone app they kept pushing at me. Rite Aid has only the online and app options, and when I asked the staffer there what people without access were supposed to do, I stopped existing for her; she literally ceased even acknowledging that I was standing there. (I guess Rite Aid figures people without internet access can just die.) Lansing Urgent Care also has only online sign-ups, but at least the person I spoke to there was apologetic about it, and agreed it was not cool and said she'd forward the issue up the food chain. (Whether it will do any good is another matter, but at least it's something.)

Walgreens, bless 'em, has an automated voice-phone thingy where you can sign up for vaccine appointments. And it's pretty well designed: their general store voicemail offers it as the first option, and while it starts by telling you the wonders of signing up online or via app, it does so fairly quickly and then gets on to business. It doesn't collect any more information than it needs (ZIP, phone number, date of birth, and name). I had to spell my full first name three times before it finally got it right, but we got there in the end. (Amusingly, I had resisted saying "zed" instead of "zee" because I didn't want to confuse it. That still seemed to be the sticking point, and when it finally spelled my name back to me correctly, it said "zed". Apparently it was programmed by a Canadian, which perhaps explains why it was remarkably polite and pleasant for a voicemail thing.) It was a bit tedious, but I ended up with an appointment for Tuesday. Whee! Except...

The address it told me does not exist. The street address is on the main drag that runs all the way through the metropolitan area, so it could refer to a store on the other side of town, but it very clearly said the barnacle-city where the store I thought I was calling is located. I tried googling the address provided; according to Google Maps, that address is a tree.

Probably it's just a mistake for the address of the store in question; it's only a difference of one digit. But I have a thing about getting to appointments at the right place & time anyway, so I wanted to make sure. So I went to the store in person last night. Unfortunately, by that hour the pharmacy was closed, and the regular staff have no access to pharmacy information. (Also, the cashier I started with was rude and stupid. "You just have to look it up. Just look it up." Uh, the point is that it's obviously a mistake; I just need to know whether the mistake is the number or the city. Your precious smartphone is not going to tell you that, child.) The best the manager could tell me was that the pharmacy opened at ten today.

So I called after ten today. And I waded through their regular voicemail system (which was evidently programmed by different people, as it mispronounced the city it's in), and got to a live human pharmacist... who agreed that it's probably a mistake for their address, but can't tell me for sure because they don't get the printouts of their schedule for the week until Monday morning. So I should call back then.

Thank goodness I don't have an appointment first thing Monday, is all I can say.

Monday morning was already going to be devoted to calling mechanics, because the exhaust pipe on the car broke right behind the engine yesterday (on the way to Walgreens, in fact), and I need to find out if it's going to be an expensive repair or an it's-time-to-junk-the-car repair. So I'll just add calling Walgreens to the list. And it'll probably all be fine, but the number of things I have to hurry up and wait to deal with has officially reached the red line, and I just want to get something settled, dammit!


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Not Funny, Universe

There's a certain anthology that opens up around this time every year. I have an unbroken six-year track record of getting rejected by these folks, so when I realized the annual sub window was approaching and I didn't have something suitable on hand, I sat down and wrote a new story specifically for them.

(I've even been fighting myself on the title, because the obvious-to-me choice is a pun and this market's not overly keen on puns. (They're also not keen on vampires, which you'd think I'd've remembered from previous years before writing a... yeah, it's a vampire story. But I think it's a good vampire story, and we work with what we have.))

All that... and they don't seem to be doing the anthology this year. There's nothing about it on the website, and no mention in any social media that I can find. I have enquired, but no response as of yet.

And I am seriously bummed out about it. Why so difficult, universe?


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25 Days of Writing: Day 19 - Things You Repeat

19. Is there something you always find yourself repeating in your writing? (favourite verb, something you describe 'too often', trope you can’t get enough of?)

I think the phrase "sheer force of will" has turned up in at least three of the four novels I've finished. And likely will again.

Seriously, though, I'm not one of those writers who gets bent about frequently-used words; to be honest, I tend to look a bit askance at the whole issue. Certainly there are words I use a lot; "just", for example, gets a fairly big typeface in a wordle. But it's a very useful word, and I'm not going to go hunting it down with extreme prejudice just because (see what I mean?) some people have taken an entirely arbitrary and unjustified dislike to it.

On a more meta level, loyalty, and its mirror image betrayal, are themes that turn up frequently in my work. This is fine by me; there's a lot of mileage to be gotten out of that concept, and you can do all sorts of fun character things with it. You can tell a lot about a character (or a person) by what they won't compromise, who is automatically a priority when there's no way to satisfy everything, what they expect from others and themself when things get tight.

And of course, taking the thing they would give their life and their soul for and having it turn on them is a great way to screw up their world. /*insert evil writer cackle*/


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Why Writing?

Randomly web surfing, and this hit me so hard I wanted to put it here so I could find it again.

"I want every day to be different and unpredictable: some days writing, some days researching, some days touring, some days doing things I could’ve never imagined."
     - Maggie Stiefvater


This is one of the reasons she chose to be a writer, and, yes, it's one of the things that makes it the right choice for me.


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25 Days of Writing: Day 11 - Envy

(No, I haven't forgotten about this; I've just been busy with other things.)

11. What do you envy in other writers?

Speed. I'm a very slow writer. On the plus side, almost all of what I write tends to stay, so the case could be made that it's time well spent. On the minus side, it takes me forever to finish things. I look at writers who churn out short stories in one sitting, or a novel in a matter of months, and start wondering if I powdered their bones and added it to my breakfast cereal if I could absorb some of that productivity. (Not really. Bones are best gnawed whole.)

It's generally regarded, and wisely so, as a bad idea to compare yourself to other writers. And I'm not "comparing" myself, exactly. But the fact that other people produce stories -- some of them quite good -- at a pace that I can't hit even on my best days proves that it is possible to write that fast, and write well. And if it's possible, then it ought to be possible for me to do it, or at least come closer than I do. And yet here I plod along, at the pace of an unusually literate snail. I do get faster if I'm in practice, but my version of "faster" is still pretty slow.

I'd rather write 300 good words in a day than 1000 crappy ones, no doubt about it. But given the option, I'd prefer to write 1000 good ones.


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*boing*

There's nothing like writing a story and thinking you really hit the mark, and getting feedback on it and buffing it up nice and shiny, and sending it off to the market you're sure it's right for -- and having it rejected in less time than it took you to write it.

Writing, professional: the chronic recurring delusion that this time, it's going to work.


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That whooshing noise is *not* a deadline going by....

I just finished a 2500-word story.

In two days.

This is, if not unprecedented for me, certainly damned unusual. That's half a month's output, by my typical standard! And even when I've written that many words, I don't think I've ever finished an entire work that quickly.

It still needs a title; yeah, this is that definition of "finished". But it's printed out and awaiting the housemate's opinion, as soon as she gets home. That's pretty damn cool, in my world.


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The thing is done, and I was only up until 3:30 am doing it.

The "creepy fae thing" (a.k.a. "Going Home") is now in the hands of my alpha reader.

Writing challenge: Write what basically amounts to a 1500-word torture scene without overusing the word "pain" to the point that it ceases to have any meaning.


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