Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cemetery Dance Rejection

Had a short story returned from Cemetery Dance Magazine. They rejected my submission but encouraged me to try again. As horror magazines go, they are on the high end, publishing the likes of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and, hopefully, me some day.

Back to work.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

TNT SGV Marathon Team Kick Off!

Summer TNT officially began today. Teams from all over the greater LA area met in Culver City. Great bunch of folks. When I first encountered TNT last July they were so upbeat and positive I thought they were cult members planning on marrying all the new comers to each other in a ball park. However I learned that the outgoing attitude necessary to fund-raise coupled with massive running endorphins helps to produce such positive people. And they reinforce each other in goal setting and goal reaching. A far cry from many of my bitter, sarcastic writing friends.

As I've mentioned, the first San Gabriel Valley team run is next Saturday. But since my knees are hurting a bit, I'm planning on icing until Wednesday, running my three miles solo, then icing again until the half-marathon on Sunday.

Oh, and start fund-raising too.

Also, I should get a job at some point.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Novel Idea

As soon as I think I've seen it all, something happens to remind me otherwise. The company that I passed on has made yet another unconventional financial offer. The offer has good points and bad. However production starts the week after next and many other issues remain unresolved. I'll make a decision Monday. Meanwhile I'm pressing ahead on an outline for a young adult novel. It's about a teenage guy who must confront an ancient evil that his relatives helped unleash.
The novel features a big tree, monsters, Indian lore and lots of jokes about California people. Events span 3 centuries, so I'm writing a time line listing story points in chronological order. Afterwards I'll play with the order as I build an outline.

There's a sense of urgency here. My agent likes the story and is willing to shop it around. That means it's up to me to write the outline plus the first four chapters. No excuses — like having to make money. I've leaned on that one a lot over the years. If I could finish the marathon, I can write the book.

As soon as I'm done blogging.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

That's A Wrap!

When I posted about the job offer last week I was on the brink of flying back to Chicago to meet the client. However we couldn't agree on various financial matters. So this morning, after talking with my agent, I pulled the plug. It's tough to let work go, especially since we're eating the seed corn around here. But I think it's the right call.

Ran a hard three miles yesterday without walk breaks. Thought I'd see how things felt before next Saturday's time trials. My pace was erratic and I need to focus on consistency.

That's the upside of turning down work: more time to run. I'll be the fastest man in the unemployment line.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Story Editor Gig

E-mails from my agent pile up. I'm in line for a story editing job on a new animated show. She's scrapping with the client for additional money. I tell her the more the merrier since her agency takes 10% off the top and taxes will nab another 40%. Of course, TV animation salaries, in general, tend to be far lower than what live-action TV commands. If you think of Hollywood, California as the entertainment industry hub, TV animation would fall somewhere in West Virginia. Such is the way of things. Still, a job would be nice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bad Teeth and Track Intervals

Back again today for my first root canal of the new year. (I'm running out of nerves to remove.) This latest one stems from an ancient root canal — my very first back in 1977 — that finally grew infected. We're heading it off before the thing balloons out my jaw in a big pain bubble. Perhaps I'll get a new Flinstone's toothbrush.

Tomorrow night I start interval training on a track. (Intervals are a series of short fast runs that build stamina and speed.) I'm preparing for the first workout of Summer Team in Training in February. There's a timed 3 mile run around the Rose Bowl that determines what pace groups we'll train with. I'd like to make a good showing.

When training begins, we'll do long runs with the Team on Saturdays. The Saturday pace is slow, two minutes slower than you'd normally run. This relaxed pace builds up aerobic capacity and endurance. Eventually you work up to 20 miles, then taper off toward the marathon.

Our Winter Team members ran well at the P.F. Chang Marathon. Phoenix is flatter than a billiard table which surely helped. But hard training did the real work and I congratulate them.

And now, time for dental fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another Round of TNT for Me

Turned in an exacting script last Friday: a half-hour animated show crammed with characters and gags. Fitting everything into three acts proved tedious — like writing a thick technical manual. I'm delighted to be finished.

Yesterday I attended the summer Team in Training info meeting at our local library. Of the twelve San Gabriel Valley Winter teammates who ran Hawaii, five are returning to fundraise and run the San Diego marathon in June. We'll have a veteran team by any measure. Practice starts the first week in February — the same weekend four of us, plus Katie, our summer coach, are running the Pacific Shoreline Half-Marathon.

My best to our P.F. Chang marathoners, running today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Phoenix Marathoners Depart

Bid farewell and good running to the last members of our Winter Team. They're off to run the P.F. Chang Marathon/Half-Marathon in Phoenix this Sunday. It was a mini-reunion with members present from the other Team in Training winter events: Santa Barbara Half-Marathon in November and the Honolulu Marathon last month. I almost signed up for Phoenix, but my wife wanted to go to Hawaii. And so we did.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Half-Marathon Moments

A fun day at the Orange County Marathon last Sunday. Our Winter Team coach, Jimmy, ran to break three hours. Meanwhile, some Hawaii chums and a few current members of TNT ran the half-marathon. Not a big field; several thousand runners; nothing like the mass of humanity stuffed onto Ala Moana Street in Honolulu. Other Hawaii chums showed up to cheer us on.

My times were a pleasant surprise. I set out to hit consistent splits. For the first five miles, they fluctuated greatly. But at six, I hit a stride. For the next seven miles my splits rarely varied more than 16 seconds. I finished at a pace a minute faster than planned and felt great.

My main drawback was a lack of oomph. I wanted to push the last 3.1 miles. But every time I sped up, my body tightened so I had to slow. It's all part of the rebuilding process. Plenty of time for oomph training before San Diego.

Jimmy failed to meet his goal. But he rallied from disappointment, saying it was his best marathon of 2006.

Afterwards, there were blueberry pancakes and bacon for all.

Friday, January 06, 2006

OC Half Marathon and Writing

Very excited. The Orange County Half-Marathon is this Sunday. I'm looking forward to my longest run since Honolulu.

Busy doing notes on another animated script—very dense, overpopulated thing. Keeping track of the characters and business consumes great chunks of time. I'm experimenting with twenty minute increments. Each hour, spend 20 minutes on notes and the rest on other important projects such as downloading songs from iTunes.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Last Practice TNT '05

Flickering lights, heavy wind gusts, mist and rain. Our first big winter storm. Two days are about enough for rain. By day three overfamiliarity sets in. The Rose Parade takes place nearby. I wish all marching bands and equestrian units the best in this soup.

Last practice on Saturday with Team in Training, San Gabriel Valley, Winter 2005. The coaches wore paper "Happy New Year" hats and sounded horns and party favors as Team members returned from their runs. They also served Martinelli's apple cider which looks very much like champagne. I ran four miles, my longest distance since the marathon. Felt good running for the first time in awhile.

Looking forward to the Orange County Marathon . Several of the Honolulu team will be there. Two of us are running the half marathon and the rest are there to cheer one of our coaches, Jimmy. He's running the full 26.2 mile marathon, keen to break three hours. My only goal is to run an even pace for 13.1 miles.

Then eat bagels and French toast.