Day 747

Friday, January 30, 2015

Slept in until 7:22, made it to work at 9, then came home and made my Super Bowl chili for Sunday's game. 

I have a tournament I'm playing in all day tomorrow, so most of my prep needs to happen tonight.  So much to do.  I'm going nuts!

Day 746

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Up at 5, Insanity until 6, writing until 9:45, Varinsky until 2, then picked up my friend from 6th grade, Robert Holland, for some catching up and a visit to Chapel of the Chimes.

 Rob took photographs from 2:30-5.  I hadn't been at the Chapel in a few years.  It brought back so many memories of my book.  I hope to write the second and third book one day.

We went for pizza afterward, then I played mixed doubles at Mariner Square in Alameda.  Busy day and night!

Day 745

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Played two games against Steve this morning, splitting one each.  He's playing very well and I'm doing all I can to keep up with him.  Glenn wasn't in, so Tiger, Steve and I played cut throat until it was time to go.

Worked at Varinsky from 8:30-6 today.  It's so busy over there with our upcoming evening focus group and another next weekend when I'm in NYC.  Just trying to take care of everything.

Came home, made dinner, watched a few press conferences on my Seahawks app...

Pete Carroll Press Conference for Wed., 1/28/15

Off to Safeway to buy all I need for Sunday's Super Bowl Party, then gather my prep materials for next week in NYC.

Day 744

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Had my 5:15 match against Kirk this morning and beat him 15-11, 15-12 in a close contest.  I kept the ball up much more than I wanted and have struggling with my concentration lately, perhaps because I'm not getting enough sleep.  I'm too busy right now and keep hitting it hard until 10 p.m.

After racquetball, I got ready for the day, came home, took care of a few things, then worked at Varinsky the entire day until 5 or so.  At home, I ran a load of wash, cleaned up, talked to Chris, then Alice, then went straight to bed at 10:30.  Another exhausting day.

Day 743

Monday, January 26, 2015

A sluggish morning but still up at 4:45 and at the gym by 5.  Steve and I played two singles games to 15 then three doubles games so no Insanity today.  Tomorrow I play my first singles match of the year against Kirk at 5:15.  Should be a good one.

Created business cards this morning and sent them off to be printed through Vista print.  Easy and inexpensive!  

Worked at Varinsky from 10-2, then Wendel from 4-6.  So much to juggle and deal with right now.  I have about 10 days to prepare for my trip to New York.  I have email addresses of all the Bay Area attendees, so I'll probably meet a few of them Thursday night.  Should be lots of fun.

I took care of some writing tasks in the evening, but lacked energy around 8:30.  Cleaned up and prepared my gym bags for tomorrow's match with Kirk. 

Day 742

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Neal and I slept in until 7:30-8, then left for breakfast at 9.  We went to Chop Bar, which I'd been to just last week.  It wasn't too busy at 9 a.m.  I had french toast again because it was so good.

After breakfast, we crossed the Bay Bridge.  Neal hadn't seen the new section yet.

After our drive, we came back to my place and played some cribbage, followed by a nap, followed by Neecha Thai on Grand Ave.

I got what I always get, Curry noodles with good!  After lunch, we walked around Lake Merritt, then came back, packed up and I drove Neal to the airport.  A short visit but oh so sweet!

Day 741

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Woke up at 5:30 and finished taking care of a few things before driving to the airport to pick up Neal.  He's here until tomorrow and the plan is to hang out and catch up, something we haven't done much of lately.  I picked Neal up at 8:15 and we headed back to my place.  We hung out in the neighborhood for an hour, then went to breakfast with Alice at Rolling Dunes.  Alice spent an hour with us, then drove back to the city.  Neal and I walked around Lake Merritt, played cribbage, listened to music, took a long nap, then had dinner at Star Pizza, which never disappoints.  After dinner, we watched Act III of The Valkyrie, one of the 11 Ring DVDs I own but haven't yet watched.  I just haven't had the time, though I sure enjoyed what I saw.  Very impressive.  After an hour of Wagner, we watched an hour of Bill Maher, which was the perfect way to end the day. 

Day 740

Friday, January 23, 2015

Another solid day of work, little chores, and not much writing unfortunately.  This entire week was busy and by the end of it I was wiped out.  Racquetball at 5:20, work from 10-2 and 4-6, then over to Lisa and Richard's for Miles's birthday party. 

Home at 10 and off to bed.

Day 739

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Up at 5 for a grueling Insanity workout plus cardio abs.  Back home at 7 for two hours a tidying up, snyopsis revisions, and getting ready for work.  V and W today, plus mixed doubles racquetball league.  Darlene and I are still No. 1 and plan to keep things that way.  Getting ready for SCBWI NY Conference which is only two weeks away!

Time for some get-up and go music with the Fabulous Fabio!

Day 738

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I can watch this all day long:

I'm slowly coming to believe the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl and that I didn't in fact dream Sunday's come-from-behind victory, even though, several days later, it still feels very much like a hallucination.  I love Norb's reaction after the onside kick.  That's priceless!

Today was completely full with racquetball (5-7), queries (8-9:30), Varinsky (10-3), Wendel (3:30-6), then dinner, cleaning for Neal Fowler's visit this weekend and email responses before bed.  Wow, what a busy day.  Unfortunately, there are more jam-packed days ahead.

Day 737

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Up at 4:30 and at the gym at 5:07.  I completed another Insanity workout, which has already improved my endurance and movement on the court.  I can already feel my legs getting stronger and don't feel as sore and sluggish after a tournament.

Varinsky from 10-3, Wendel until 6, then home to continue work on queries.  Will talk with Chris at 8 and catch up whatever needs taking care of before bed.

Listened to the State of the Union speech tonight.  I had no idea the country was in such great shape.  Hmm.

Day 736

Monday, January 20, 2015

Went to the gym at 5:30, but couldn't play.  My arm was too sore, so I took one of my executive workouts, consisting of a shower, 10 minute jacuzzi, 60 minute nap on a reclining beach chair, followed by another 5 minutes jacuzzi soak.  Oh yeah, that was nice.  I met Dorian and his friend Tom for coffee for an hour, then arrived at Varinsky around 10.  Stayed until 3.  We're very busy there.  I had to pick up the E-Force Demo Bag in Concord, so I drove there at 4, played two quick games, then headed back home.  By 9 I was gone, so I went to bed.  Tomorrow's another busy day and I want to finalize hard copy queries I'm sending out this week.

Before going to bed, I watched Pete Carroll's Monday morning press conference.  I've been watching Coach Carroll and Russell Wilson's press conferences all season long, and they're so inspiring to me. What Coach C says about messaging is so important, especially that tape running through our heads, always mindful of the belief that good things are about to happen.  The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl because they willed it to happen.  There were so many reasons why Green Bay should have won yesterday, and after 6 minutes left in the 4th Quarter, I wasn't able to think of a legitimate scenario that allowed them any hope for victory, but against all odds the tape in their head never let them quit.  It's so inspiring.   

Day 735

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Up at 7, chores until we drove to Oakland for a brunch Rhonda and Biff were hosting for their nephew for his 21st birthday.  Richard and Lisa were there as well.  We ate at Chop Bar, a cool brunch/lunch/dinner place on 4th and Alice.  Good food. 

I missed the first two quarters of the NFC Championship game between the Seahawks and the Packers, and that was a good thing because they were down 0-16 after the first half.  Even though the Hawks are a great second half team, I was still very worried, mainly because it was the Packers, one of the best teams around who know how to hold onto a lead.  It took a trick play to finally put some points on the board, and even then with the score 7-19, it looked pretty hopeless for the Hawks once the Packers got the ball back with 5 minutes left.  The remaining five minutes of the game were totally unreal, but the amazing thing about championship teams is they find a way to win, even when it appears as though there's no way to pull out a victory.  The Packers were the better team today and the Seahawks looked tight and out of synch, but with a few breaks, some gutsy plays and a whole lotta luck, they quickly scored, got a crazy two-point conversion, got the ball back with an onside kick, scored again, won the coin toss and scored their third touchdown to win the game.  I'm still in shock that they pulled this one out.  I feel badly for the TE of the Packers who muffed the onside kick, which would have sealed the fate of the Hawks.  A tough loss for the Packers for sure.  I've had a few of those and they take forever to get out of one's system.  The victories are sweet, but those stinging losses that never should have been seem to linger in the bloodstream forever. 

Seahawks and Patriots, just what I wanted!

Day 734

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Steve and I played in our club doubles tournament against some super stiff competition. 

We finished second in our division, making it to the playoffs.  We beat Marc & Kirk 15-2, then faced Roger and EJ, beating them 15-6, advancing to the finals where we met Freddie and Harold. It was a tight match all the way, but we lost by one point 14-15. 

Me, Freddie, Harold & Steve in the Finals

Champs Freddie and Harold, with Club Pro Robbie

Finalists me and Steve with Club Pro Robbie
Lunch afterward at LaCheval

Great times at our tournament social

Day 733

Friday, January 16, 2015

Slept in until 8!  So nice.  A mellow day at work.  At Richard and Lisa's in the evening for Sophie's 13th birthday.  Bed at 11:15.  I stayed in Oakland tonight because I have our club doubles tournament tomorrow morning.  

Day 732

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Woke up at 4:15 and tweaked a query before heading off to the gym.  I've been hitting the jacuzzi first thing Tuesdays and Thursdays before hitting my Insanity workout and that's been a motivator to get my body going so early in the morning.  I love the fact that the jacuzzi is up and running again.  It makes all the difference in the world, especially on days I don't play racquetball.  I can already tell my legs are getting stronger and my overall core is feeling firmer, just after a week of Insanity.  I do love these exercise tapes.  They really kick my butt and push me harder than I'd like.  I left the gym at 6:30, came home and had my oatmeal, then went over all my query materials for a new round of submissions that include a synopsis, not my favorite thing to compose.  Synopses are hard and seem to limit stories more than generate excitement.  The challenge is to keep them short, snappy, and engaging while hitting all the plotpoints of the storyline.  They're a true pain in the you know what.

I had to return to the auto repair place this morning due to a loose cable that was causing two engine lights to go on.  No problem.  The quick fix allowed me to hang out at Brown Sugar for breakfast. Almost finished with Dave Egger's latest novel, which is getting weirder and less interesting.  Maybe the last 30 pages will bring it all together.

Enjoying The Intercept at  I'm not an anti-government sort of any kind; however, Gleen Greenwald's No Place to Hide is still swirling in my head.  I applaud them for holding accountable those in power and chastising establishment news organizations and celebrity journalists for pushing harder, digging deeper, and exposing abuses of power and outright deceit more quickly.  If we're going to use ourselves as the benchmark for others to follow, we might as well walk the walk and practice what we preach; otherwise, let's just agree that the world's a nasty, aggressive, cutthroat place and we're simply a part of that nastiness, protecting our own self-interest and collecting information without regarding for civil liberties, the Constitution, or personal freedom. I hate hypocrisy.  We can do so much better with our institutional decision making that upholds the ideals we believe in while still protecting ourselves.  Doing anything we want in the name of counter-terrorism seems to lead directly to a place of evil, even for us, I'm afraid. What a world we live in, the world that keeps on giving, the world that always outdoes whatever we can possibly imagine on our own.

Day 731

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Took my MINI in for servicing today and now it's running like a brand new car.  It's amazing what new spark plugs will do to a nine-year-old car.  Another busy work day with little writing.  Hmmm.

Day 730

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Up at 5 for some pure cardio Insanity, which gave me more energy and drive.  Went to Varinsky in the morning/afternoon and had a very good meeting with Howard and Alissa re a couple of issues in the office.  Organized, rested, and talked to my uncle in the evening.  I have a lot to accomplish between now and my conference in NYC next month.  I'm starting to feel the pressure and anxiety of producing quality material that will attract a world class agent.  That's what I really need, someone plugged in to the children's book industry and knows what's going on.  I'm fighting my doubts today.

Day 729

Monday, January 12, 2015

This was a very busy day.  Racquetball, Insanity training, Varinsky for 5 hours, Wendel for 2.5 hours, plus a query, writing for 30 minutes, and finally reading until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  I'll have a longer writing session tomorrow. 

Day 728

Sunday, January 11, 2014

Today was one of those days in which I dropped everything to lose myself in a truly amazing, unbelievable story, a story we all know but I haven't really taken the time to learn the details of until today, when I read Glenn Greenwald's book No Place to Hide, Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State.

Wow.  I could not put this book down.  From morning till night, I read it, absorbing the full impact of what Edward Snowden had done and why.  I remember thinking how odd it was back in June, 2013 that a story of such magnitude about abuse of power from an American government agency had come from The Guardian.  Now I know why.  The book reads like an over-the-top political thriller.  I haven't seen CitizenFour yet, but will, now that I'm fully engaged with all the ramifications of Snowden's whistleblowing and one of our largest, most secretive government agency's egregious abuse of power in the name of terrorist protection.  The NSA plan was complete control of all electronic data on the planet...all of it!  And with no reasonable way to expose this nefarious breach of our constitutional rights, Snowden sought a journalist he could trust.  Two, actually, the film maker Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald.  He chose well.  His life is forever changed.  It will be interesting to see if he remains a traitor in my lifetime, or eventually is seen as a savior of our freedom from government intrusion.  I'm not one of those radical paranoid anti-government ideologues.  Far from it.  But I do know abuse of power when I see it, and the NSA programs represent something as close to Big Brother as anything any government has devised.  I hate when our own officials come up with evil ideas and use them against us.  I hate that.  Evidently, Snowden hated that, too.  One brave soul, he is.  I'm with Greenwald on this one.  And those Evil Genes who allowed this to happen at the NSA.  They are the real villains that I can't imagine our founding fathers would feel any kind of patriotic affinity toward.

Day 727

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Up at 7 a.m., which feels like sleeping in these days.  I'm sending out more queries today, working on Dogs in the Fog, and generally catching up on life.  Neal F. emailed me yesterday wanting to visit for the weekend.  I'm so excited to spend some time with him!  Seahawks game is tonight at 5:15.  I'm pumped for this, but have to watch the game by myself downstairs.  I welcomed Alice to join me, but she quietly brushed aside such ideas.

Go Hawks!

8:15...great game against the Panthers.  Now onto next week and the NFC Championship!

Day 726

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 725

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Day 724

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I heard the horrible news on my way to the gym at 5 a.m.  I've been following Twitter throughout the day.  Targeting cartoonists is the very definition of insanity. 

Day 723

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I left Alice's at 4:35 and made it to the gym by 5:10.  I immediately climbed into the jacuzzi and warmed my body up for 10 minutes or so, then went up to the courts and practiced pinch and passing shots for 25 minutes.  I took my Insanity Fit Test in one of the squash courts and it wasn't as bad as I though it would be, having been away from the videos for over a year.  My numbers were close to where they were 18 months ago.  After the test, I took a shower and left the gym around 7.

At home, I spent the morning updating my finances, then went to work at Varinsky from 10-2:30, wrapping up our latest report and sending it out.  Back home, I cleaned up, read a few documents, put some book lists together and downloaded a couple of apps on my phone before getting into a short session on Dogs in the Fog.  I worked on the book until dinner, then spoke to Chris from 8-9.  We caught each other up on our holidays and planned to share new pages next week.  I was in bed by 9:15.

Day 722

Monday, January 5, 2015

Up at 4, gym at 5, 90 minutes of racquetball followed by 30 minutes of Insanity.  In order to increase my endurance, I'm firing up my old Insanity videos for two months to increase core strength and build my endurance as I prepare for our singles league this month.  I love these tapes and Shaun T.

I worked at Varinsky from 9-2 and Wendel from 3:30-6.  Alice and I bought switched cell phone plans this year.  We'd been using Page Plus for about two years, which was great at only $12 a month for 250 minutes and 250 texts, but the phones themselves were not great, so we switched things up with two iPhone 4 phones on eBay and Ting, which uses a tiered structure in their monthly fees.  My average monthly bill will be around $20.  Alice has had her phone for a couple of weeks now and the coverage has been good.  Page Plus was on the Verizon network and it was the best.  Ting is on the Sprint network, which has improved a million fold since the last time I used Sprint (about 15 years ago).  My iphone arrived today, so I drove over to Alice's after dinner and set it up.  It's nice to have an iphone again.  I haven't owned one since the original back in 2007. 

Day 721

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Today is the last day of a week or so of holiday fun.  I'm ready for the new year and all the work I have to look forward to.  Alice and I spent the day at her place, doing our chores, reading, relaxing, and of course watching the season premier of Downton Abbey.  Never a dull moment there. 

Day 720

Saturday, January 3, 2014

I came over to Alice's around 11, stopping first at the Ortega library to take care of an issue involving a library book I had returned but hadn't cleared my account.  The book was already shelved, so the issue was resolved.  Of course, I couldn't resist checking out a few new books, even though I'm already reading a bunch of other books and have no time for new novels right now.  That didn't stop me from checking out the following:

We Need New Names is a San Francisco library selection for the On The Same Page program where the libraries lend several copies of one book so that readers can discuss it later on.  This is the book for January/February.  Looks interesting.  Lauren Oliver is a genius, so I read everything by her.  And Dave Eggers is also a genius.  His new book looks interesting, too, and so far it is...all dialogue.  Let's see if he can sustain it.  Worse than Witches is a good title.  I'm curious to see if the book's any good.

After the library, I spent the afternoon taking care of tedious things, then helped Alice prepare for her dinner party with a few of her friends (Mark, Ruberto, Jay, Cecilia).  They came over between 4-5 and we had lots of delicious food that Alice had prepared.  They left by 9 and I was in bed by 9:30, totally exhausted for no real reason.  It felt so good to sleep.

Day 719

Friday, January 2, 2014

I started the day with a lot of racquetball, almost five hours of it, with another E-Force player from Livermore, Tracy Leever, who played with me, Tiger, Glenn, Cliff, Steve H., and Mike Cota.  Lots of doubles and a few games of singles at the end.  A nice way to lose a few of those extra pounds I've accumulated this past week.

Afterward, I came home and went about all the tasks on my plate, all the longterm projects going on, beginning with Dogs in the Fog, my seventh novel, though it feels as if it's my eighth since True Colors Detective Agency was written twice.  What I'm discovering is writing from the perspective of a dog is really about writing from the point of view of a very religious person.  Because for Tos, his owner Tim is God.  Tos is Tim's humble servant.  If anyone really wants to be an obedient servant in the eyes of God, just watch how dogs behave. 

I took time in the afternoon to check out the sale at The Gap and read for 90 minutes at Starbucks while listening to Handel.  I'm back into David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks, which I'm enjoying, along with a few short stories by Carol Shields, whom I've loved for almost 30 years now. 

I also read the new SCBWI magazine, taking in all the advice the writers are generous enough to offer.  After Starbucks, I came back home and organized the remaining Christmas/New Year cards I'm planning to send out.  I ran out of stamps last week and have waited for the long lines to calm down. 

I stayed up until 10 checking out more clothing deals online.  I didn't get any new clothes last year, so this year I'm making up for it and the sales are good. 

Day 718

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Alice and I woke up around 7:30, had some oatmeal, then hit Emery Bay for some shopping at Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Barnes & Noble for a new journal.  I bought a cool Brooklyn NY t-shirt for $3.75 and nine pairs of athletic socks for under $10.  Sweet!

We had trouble finding a place that was open for lunch, but eventually walked into Hot Italian at Market Place in Emeryville, which was very good. 

We shared a panini and still couldn't finish it all. 

At 2:30, we drove back to the City, picked up Austin, then hung around the house for a few hours until we went out for dinner at Banana Thai at the West Lake Plaza in Daly City. 

After dinner, we watched a movie Richard and Lisa loaned to us, The Rat Race.  Alice loved Cuba Gooding, Jr., so we gave it a try.  Pretty silly.