Monday, November 27, 2006

Life List

I like lists. Coming to the United States, I read a lot of lists - particularly sporting lists - by way of a crash course education.

So, it follows that I write lists. The first thing I do every day is write a list of what needs to be done. That's not to say any of it gets done, but it helps me prioritize - which means at least the important stuff gets done.

I keep a list of the states I've stopped in long enough to buy a cup of coffee (12). I keep a list of how many soccer stadiums I saw matches at while in England (38). And I keep a life list - a list of things I want to do before I die. And this Sunday, quite out of the blue, I ticked off the first one.

It seemed as far-fetched as any of the others on the optimistic list when, more than a year ago, I wrote "Score five goals in one game on a Sunday morning". For those of you who don't know, I play every Sunday in an over-30s game. For those of you that have seen me play, you will see how optimistic the idea of my scoring five goals is.

I am a very mediocre player, but as a forward I usually get a goal a game. Most are tap-ins from about three inches out. But as I stuck in the third this past Sunday, I still wasn't thinking about the life list.

The relevance is this - also on the list (and most of the contents I will not elaborate on, but one involves Natalie Portman and a pot of honey) is "Write a book and get it published." Now, before Sunday, I would have thought it more likely to get the book published than score five times in a single game (which we won 7-3 incidentally). But... I've finished the book, and I'm trying to get it published right now. So, pessimism be damned. If I can score five times, twice with my LEFT FOOT!!!, landing a publishing deal is going to be a snap.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I was left home alone this past weekend, with nothing on the agenda but to finish a re-draft of TWIMCT.

This was the fourth time I've redrafted it, and while there were lots of minor changes (including a spelling mistake on the first page - a page I must have looked at a conservative 200 times), the bulk remained the same. So, I now I can genuinely say I have finished writing a 66,000 word novel. Hooray for me.

Everyone who has read the book in its various drafts has told me how funny it is. No offense to them, but I hope when someone who is prepared to pay me reads it sometime in the next week or two, they agree.

I am excellent at getting ahead of myself, and sometimes it's ridiculous (see the t-shirt story) but sometimes it's great. I read the magnificent Three Martini Playdate a few months ago, and it is hands-down the best parenting book I've ever read. I liked it so much I contacted the author, the multi-talented Christie Mellor, and she kindly agreed to read TWIMCT when it's done and lavish me with a quote for the back cover. That made me feel like a real writer for the first time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I, Robot

Will Smith found himself in a world of trouble in the semi-good "I, Robot" movie. My own recent "I, Robot" experience has been life-changing and a lot less perilous... To be precise, it was an iRobot experience.

Another of the distractions preventing the final draft of TWIMCT from ever getting finished has been some work offered to me that actually resulted in financial gain. Obviously too hard to pass up, this work for a realty office took priority and resulted in some tidy little paychecks. One of these checks was spent on an iRobot brand Roomba robotic vacuum, the real version of the thing we were supposed to all have by the 1980s. We opened the box with low expectations, but I wanted it to work very, very much - what with all the work I had put in and time I had sacrificed to earn the money to buy the darn thing on the off chance it would help maintain a degree of cleanliness in the house.

And by golly, it's great. Better than great.

You must understand, with two young children and a cat in the house no matter how hard you vacuum or scrub and wash the floor, within seconds of finishing you will be walking on a coating of Cheerios, disregarded Graham Crackers and cat litter. It's soul-destroying to finish cleaning up, then hear that familiar crunch of a misplaced breakfast cereal nugget as you go to put the cleaner back in the cupboard.

We are never going to rid the house of food scraps as long as we continue to allow the children to eat. And the cat litter is far more pleasant than the alternative - ie. cat shit. So, the Roomba has become our dog of sorts; it rids the floor of unpleasant food scraps, does what it's told to, and draws praise and loving looks from anyone watching it for a few minutes as it does its thing.

This morning I fired it up to clean the dining room while I went out to buy more food that would eventually end up crumbed on the floor. By the time I got back, my Roomba was blinking at me with a full tank of dust and enough Cheerios for a bowl to satisfy a hungry giant.

In short - it's better than a pet, and does crap I find the most depressing of tasks with a cheery beep. I am in love with a robot, a bit like Harrison Ford in Bladerunner. A very little bit.