Painting With Shotguns XXXIII

Today’s Painting With Shotguns features lots of little updates. They are the equivalent of birdshot arriving not en masse, but separately — little BB’s punching holes in your brain-slab. Sidenote about birdshot? Whenever I think of birdshot, I think of eating pheasant or geese. Always with the “careful chewing, lest you crunch down hard on a little steel ball, thus shattering one of your molars.”

Anyway.

Here it is.

The steel spray of itty-bitty updates.

My Moms, Yo

Too Cool For School Thanks everybody for the kind wishes regarding my mother. She went to the hospital on Sunday, which was of course holy shit terrifying, and she’s got a whole host of little problems that are making her life hell, but none of them come with a ticking clock, and the one good thing is that they did the array of tests (X-Ray, ct-scan, ultrasound) and found nothing concerning. My motto going in was, “It’s always cancer,” because in the past, it’s always been cancer. Dad thinks he has a hernia? Cancer. Aunt thinks she has hip or leg problems? Cancer. Other aunt? Grandmother? Friends? Cancer, all around, a tall frosty glass of tumor juice. So, this was not cancer, and for that, we are all relieved.

Aphids Can Choke On Tiny Penises And Die

Fat Little Assholes Aphids are little dirty plant-fuckers.

Seriously. One day, plants look good. Next day, leaves are curling inward, and the aphids are everywhere.

Oh, and how do they get everywhere?

Ants. Little dirty aphid-farming ants. The ants bring the eggs and the baby aphids to the best parts of the plant. They’re like taxi-cabs. They bring the aphids to the juicy stems, the aphids drink, and then the ants milk the aphids. It’s a lovely piece of ecology, I just want it happening on someone else’s plant.

I have green aphids in the rear, and black aphids up front.

That is not a sexual reference.

I asked the Human Google (aka Twitter), and got back some good answers, but also some conflicting answers. I’m thinking of just going and seeing if I can’t buy a fistful of ladybugs or lacewings somewhere around here locally, as I hear having ones sent to you is not the best way to get the bugs (they don’t always arrive hungry). I’ve tried the “soap + water” thing and that never works. Can’t blast the aphids off with a hose. (Also: not a sexual reference.) I haven’t tried insecticidal soap. Last year, I did a highly toxic genocidal chemical in a bottle that attaches to the hose — that worked, that worked well. It also killed like, every other bug in a five mile radius, and also demands that I wash my clothes after because it’s the same thing Saddam used to kill the Kuwaitis, I think.

So, my preference is not to go using some highly volatile bioweapon.

Am now taking final solicitations for advice.

The Alton Brown Not-A-Diet

Kona Kampachi at Sansei I’ve slowly been working my way toward the very loosely defined “Alton Brown Eating Plan” (not a diet). That plan, found here, comes from his episode “Live And Let Diet,” and is responsible for his 50 lb. weight loss.

Mostly, it’s a pretty good plan, and I think very doable. Best thing about it is that it still leaves room for me to eat most of the things I want to eat, while keeping out the things I already don’t want to eat (soda, processed foods, diet anything).

A few tricky bits, though, far as I can see.

Daily leafy greens, not that tricky, since the world is home to a mighty host of leafy greens.

Broccoli and sweet potatoes three times a week? A little specific. I’d like to think that “broccoli or asparagus or cabbage/brussel sprouts/cauliflower” would be good. And sweet potatoes — yeah, they’re yummy and all, but I don’t want to eat them three times a week. This is where his “eating plan” starts to close in on a “fad diet.” So. Foodheads. What represent good “broccoli” replacements since, while I love the stuff, I don’t want to eat it three times a week? Farmer’s market demands I buy what’s fresh, and soon, I will go back to buying only from farmer’s markets.

Then comes the conundrum of “oily fish.”

I tried his one recipe for sardines on toast, and it was… good? But the sardines are still pretty goddamn fishy. Not “briny,” but “fishy.” Maybe I’m eating the wrong sardines? I also have a tin of anchovies I have yet to crack. What else constitutes oily fish? Tuna looks good if it’s fresh. Salmon, too, I can do, because I love both tuna and salmon — salmon raw or smoked rather than cooked. I tried mackerel sushi once and about threw up all over myself — not a pleasant eating experience, though that may have just been the sushi joint. I do like eel sushi, though, but apparently it’s rarely fresh? I dunno. Help a brother out.

Give me some oily fish advice. Anything you got.

The Wire The Wire The Wire Eeeee! The Wire!

We are now watching the third season of The Wire.

Holy hell. Shit just got real.

This season’s been incredible. The first two seasons? A little slow to start. Actually, the second season is slower than the first — kind of crawls into the light very slowly in this strange deviation from the streets (it moves to the docks) with a whole new host of characters. It’s a necessary deviation for the entire story, and once it gets moving, it’s goddamn incredible.

But, you gotta believe:

Third season doesn’t dick around. It jumps like a rat with a thumbtack in its ass.

Almost done the season now, but I should ask: anybody want me to go back to Weekly Wire “school’s in session” posts? The last one didn’t seem to do so well, and further, some seemed to want to use it as a referendum on quality rather than an examination of quality (thou shalt not slag The Wire or thou shalt get my boot to your trachea!), so I kind of stopped doing it — but, if there’s a round call to bring it back, I’ll do so. And we can all take a look at the things that work or don’t work in given scenes.

Men At Work

Drawing in Circles Work progresses. Actually, work does more than progress this week — work is kicking my ass up and down the block.

That’s good, though.

Got a heavy development gig with fast turnaround.

Got some light word count for a new, unannounced RPG.

I’m rounding the bend on this Alpha Omega assignment, about which I’m excited. (Though, because it’s a new system — and a complex one, at that — the word count at times was like pulling teeth from an angry dog.)

The HiM script continues to get tiny nibble-changes (bite bite bite), a tweak here, a twist there, but it all adds up to the same: the script has jumped up to the next level and the whole process is now bolting like a horse out of the barn. We’ve also gotten comments back from some of our advisors, including this most excellent gentleman right here, and the comments have been great. Very exciting stuff, and I look forward to updating you with more robust news when the time is proper.

Oh, and speaking of script stuff — I get a lot of people coming here by searching for Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab, and I see now that the deadline is up-and-coming for the summer session. First, we are not taking our project to the Director’s Lab, much as we’d like to, because we don’t qualify. Second, if you’re looking for good advice, hey, I don’t have any. Write a good script, I guess? Doesn’t need to be perfect, but its potential should be very clear. We turned in a script I never thought would make it to the lab, but it did, so — anything goes. Just put your heart in it, but even more, put your craft in it. Also: bribes. Suitcase full of money. You can send those right to me. I’ll handle the transaction.

Okay, no, fine, don’t send me money. I don’t have squat to do with it. Dang.

Greasy Sausage Links For Your Mind Tongue

I am reading Jonathan Maberry’s Patient Zero. It’s a popping good time. I don’t know Maberry, but he’s local, and he can write a damn fun horror-adventure.

Speaking of awesome writers: Jeff Vandermeer actually stopped by this loverly site yesterday, which is awesome. I am in awe of the man’s talent, and must contain my most fannish urges when someone of his caliber pops his head in. If you love me, and you love great writing, go buy Finch.

Speak-a-awesome-writers — if you head on to Robert McCammon’s site you’ll find a book trailer for Mister Slaughter, and the most-excellent news that Wolf’s Hour is getting a new edition with a fresh Michael Gallatin novella. My giddy excitement will not be contained.

The annual “wife + alcohol + Flickr = a birthday miracle!” pictures are coming in. I dunno why it is, but most of the images of my wife on Flickr are of her with alcohol. She’s not actually an alcoholic or anything. You can find many “drunken wife” shots in this Flickr set.

Lots of hot fresh novel excerpts coming from Team Decker, by the way. Steve Weddle. Dan O’Shea. John Hornor. [Edit: Can’t find his chapter anymore. Instead, I placate you with THIS MAP. Mmm. Mappy apocalyptic goodness.] Chris Holm. I’d post a chapter from mine, but I’m not sure I’m supposed to. Do you even want that from me? You probably don’t. I don’t blame you.

Oh, speaking of DMLA: Seth Harwood’s got a new project, and you should check it out. Young Junius, baby. Go, look, love.

JA Konrath: Newbie’s Guide To Publishing. Do it.

And that is all, my little squirrels.