Twelve Quick Updates from a Whirlwind of a Month

What an interesting — and busy! — few weeks it’s been.

  1. Las Vegas trip. I got back this past Monday from a two-night trek to Sin City to meet up with friends surrounding the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic event. VIMFP is an annual confab featuring Vegas-focused podcasters and bloggers. Lots of attendees. Lots of fun. You can listen to me and Tony discuss my trip report on episode 290 of The Vice Lounge Online.
  2. Nicole’s wedding. My cousin Nicole married Corey on the 14th. Lovely wedding and reception. I wish them the very best for many years of wedded bliss!
  3. Horseshoe Hammond excursion. Tony and I trekked to Hammond, Indiana for a day trip to this lovely Caesars Entertainment casino on the outskirts of Chicago. Everything I touched seemed to turn to gold! You can hear the highlights in VLO’s episode 289.
  4. Essay contracted.  I’m pleased to announce that I’ve recently signed a publication agreement for a short essay, “A Moment of Clarity,” intended for publication in a volume titled Staying Catholic When You’ve Been Hurt in the Church. The book — edited by Eve Tushnet and published by Wipf and Stock Publishers — is currently in early production status.
  5. Brewed Awakenings 2 released. I’m delighted to share that Brewed Awakenings 2, the annual house anthology of Caffeinated Press, is now on the market. Buy your copy today to support local literary excellence! This collection features 15 stories by 14 different authors, ranging from just a few hundred words to more than 20k words; the stories cross genres and styles.
  6. Grayson Rising released. And speaking of releases, Grayson Rising also hit the market this month. This delightful YA novel, partially set in Grand Rapids, is the first major fiction release by local author AJ Powell. In fact, AJ hosted a small launch event at his place of employment that was well-attended and greatly enjoyed by those who dropped by.
  7. The 3288 Review, Vol. 2, Issue 1, released. And now the trifecta: We recently printed the fifth iteration of our quarterly journal of arts and letters. It’s a flourishing property that is already drawing attention across the state. Quite proud of it!
  8. NaNoWriMo is coming. November looms, and with it, National Novel Writing Month. I will participate again. I will also continue to host my Saturday-morning write-ins. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to write, a point I’ll expound upon in greater detail over the next few days. Let it suffice that I’ve developed a good skeleton for a literary novel augmented by some detective-genre conventions. The working title is The Catfish in the Shallows. Do not expect to see/hear much of me between 10/31 and 12/1!
  9. Site5 shenanigans. Although it didn’t affect this site, I had a world of trouble — as in, five days of unexpected downtime — with my longtime Web host, Site5. Outmigration is on the near-term horizon, unfortunately.
  10. Health quality glossary. Spent a fair amount of time recently as a subject-matter expert for NAHQ as we fine-tuned a comprehensive glossary of terms specific to quality improvement in healthcare. Much of this work entailed the alignment of definitions across existing products. Good intellectual exercise.
  11. SIP lines for Caffeinated Press. For years, the CafPress toll-free phone number (888-809-1686) went straight to a voice-mail box. I’ve now set us up with a SIP provider (i.e., a voice-over-Internet phone service) so our toll-free number actually rings in the office. I even have a desk phone, now, with my own extension and local number. Not that I actually use the phone much. But still. Progress.
  12. Outdoor kitties. A pair of felines have been lurking around my house. One of them has a home, and I’ve ensured that she’s been returned to it. The other — a fluffy black tabby, neutered, and sweet as molasses — keeps visiting. He likes it when I give him some Meow Mix. So I do. So far, he looks like he’s in good shape: his coat is fine, he looks well cared-for, his weight seems constant. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for signs of neglect as the cold-weather season sets in. I get the feeling he’s someone’s cat and that he might be an indoor/outdoor dude.

All for now.

A Wee Bit of Catch-Up

Wow. Six weeks without a post? Where does the time go?
Oh, wait. I know. I goes into the giant pile of crap I have to work on — a pile that’s grown so large that even my ironclad weekly routines fell by the wayside. At least Abbi noticed.
Here’s a quick recap, in no particular order.

  • It’s October 27. That means we’re a scant five days away from the start of National Novel Writing Month. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m working on a murder-mystery set in Grand Rapids. With cults, even. (Er, um, affinity groups … sorry, Lianne.) I’m hosting a weekly Saturday morning write-in in lovely downtown G-Rap. If you join NaNoWriMo and click on the Ottawa County/Grand Rapids forums, you can get the details.
  • Last week was spent in Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Exclusively downtown, this time. Tony and I flew out of DTW on the 17th and returned on the 20th. Our major adventure: The Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic, an annual community event hosted by the VegasTripping crowd and the Five Hundy by Midnight and Vegas Gang podcasts. We had a great time — stayed at The D Las Vegas and never even ventured onto the Strip. It helped that our good friends from Denton, Texas, were present to enliven the festivities. And we finally connected with some folks we heretofore had only known through The Twitter.
  • In early October I trekked to Louisville, Kentucky, for the annual educational conference of the National Association for Healthcare Quality. The conference was pretty good, and I networked with a lot of leaders in the industry. Met up with the Michigan delegation and spent some time getting a different take on how other organizations implement clinical improvement programs.
  • I do feel like the grim reaper at work. Dominoes three and four have fallen since my arrival. One guy is transferring to the I.T. department and another left to pursue a solo entrepreneurial project. Good for them both. Last week I had my annual review and it went well — best review I’ve had in 13 years with the company.
  • A contract client has been sending me several small but urgent projects that have thrown my schedule out of whack. I’m happy to do the work but, geez. Now y’all know why it’s been six weeks since my last blog entry.
  • I’m eagerly anticipating the coming holiday season. I’m taking two full weeks off at the Christmas holiday and I have a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving. Already planning the list of projects I’ll undertake on my 16 consecutive days off in December. Yay.
  • Looks like my dear PPQ is hosting a Halloween party next Saturday. I am already planning my costume.
  • One of my cats has taken to napping on me. It’s sweet, and fuzzy warm, but she only does it when I’m in my office, trying to type. Your words-per-minute plummet sharply when you have a pudgy orange ninja laying across your forearms.
  • I’m digging the cooler autumn air. It’s been getting into the 30s at night, so the blankets have come out.

OK, all for now. I’ll try to get back on the blogging wagon.