All posts by Richard S. Crawford

Locus of Control

Frankenstein Stamp
This is me at the beginning of the year

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. I think I’ve said that already in this blog, but I’ll say it again. It’s just that January 1 is such an arbitrary date to decide that you’re going to improve yourself. I used to make March 25 resolutions for reasons that are no longer relevant, but I don’t do that anymore either. But this year, I do have some goals, and I have decided to focus on various areas of my life — loci, because I like to use fancy words — that need attention and improvement. I’m listing them here to keep myself accountable, but you’re welcome to read them as well and comment just in case you want to.

Loci/Goals:

  • Writing: I want to focus even more on my writing and make it a larger priority. I want to end the year with at least fifty submissions; one hundred was manageable, but I think I’ve run out of market/manuscript combinations. I want to write some more stories so I can send different stuff out there. And finish one novel and at least start another.
    • Goal: To end the year with 182,500 words written. That’s a minimum of 500 words per day, which is easily done as long as I make it a priority. Those don’t count words on my blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
  • Daikaijuzine: My main goal for Daikaijuzine for the year is to switch platforms, from Drupal to WordPress. Drupal has issues that WordPress does not, and I know I can make it look better with WordPress. Also, I know WordPress a lot better than I know Drupal. Fortunately, there is a good Drupal → WordPress migration tool that I can use to help with this.
  • Health: Physical and mental. I’ve been doing pretty well with this already; Jennifer and I both signed up for Noom, and it’s helped quite a bit. We also signed up for The Outbreak Challenge, and that’s gotten us moving around a lot, and that also helps. My blood pressure is down, my resting heart rate is down, and I’ve lost ten pounds so far. Yay me. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on.
  • Church and Community: I plan on attending church more regularly, at least online. I haven’t for over two years now, primarily because of the pandemic (ugh, so much because of the pandemic), and I always feel better on a Sunday morning after going. I also want to get more involved in the community by doing some volunteering. I lump these two together since giving of oneself to the community is part of the Episcopal Church’s primary teachings. Love God, love your neighbor, change the world, and all that.
  • Learning: I already go to library school, and I enjoy that, and I aim to continue. Jennifer offered me a Master Class annual membership for my birthday, but after a lot of consideration I turned it down. I would like one, but I know that between work, school, and writing, I simply wouldn’t have time to devote to it. And that would make me sad. I should also read more nonfiction. Maybe write some nonfiction, too, but let’s not get too crazy.
  • Friends/Family: Reach out more often. I have many good friends (some I’ve known for thirty years or more), and that makes me happy.  I’ve always known this, and I cherish them, celebrate their accomplishments (and try to minimize my own sense of envy or jealousy if it comes up), and so on. I want to reach out to my friends more, especially my long-distance friends who make an effort to contact me from time to time. And family, too. I’ve been lax in calling my parents and sisters over the past couple of years. Let’s fix that, shall we?

Then there are some other areas of my life that need constant attention: the household (note: clean more), the cats (note: pet more), and so on. No specific goals come to mind for these, but I don’t want to ignore them.

And that, I think, is it. That’s a lot. I’ll keep on keeping on, and that’s a great thing to do. May the new year bring you peace, prosperity, and love.


That’s it for Holidailies!

I Should Write These Things Down

Dinosaur eating gnomes
My parents gave me this gnome-eating dinosaur

I have a terrible memory. I barely remember anything that happened this past year, save that I submitted one hundred manuscripts to various markets and received exactly one acceptance. I think that the whole sea shanty thing was this year as well? I don’t know. What else happened this year? I should write these things down, I suppose. I have a journal, but mostly it’s just things I have to do on a daily basis, priorities, and meetings, and not things that I’ve done. And this blog is an unreliable source of memories, as well; mostly I just blogged about writing and minor things.

Oh, and there was school. I won’t talk about school here, even though I have been enjoying it. Perhaps in my next blog post.

I am the unreliable narrator of my own life. When I finally do write my memoirs (tentatively titled An Unauthorized Autobiography Inspired by True Events), people will complain about that. Too bad for them, because unreliable narrators are all the rage in literary fiction.

So anyway. Today is my birthday, and I’m turning 54. I don’t mind that at all. It’s not as momentous a year as 50, of course, but I’m not mad about it. My fifties have been good to me — though, of course, there has been that inconvenient pandemic thing. I’ve gotten some great presents, including the above-pictured yard decoration. Jennifer and I won’t be putting it in our front yard, since things in our front yard tend to disappear (we used to have two really cool dragon statues that vanished from our front yard the very day we put them out). I got a desktop cell phone holder so I can have my phone next to me when I’m working. It’s pretty cool. And, of course, I got a BUNCH of books, including Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League, which I’ve been wanting to read ever since I heard it was coming out. I loved The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension and, like millions of fans across the world, was so disappointed when the promised sequel film never happened.

I also got several science books, a couple of horror books, and a science fiction novel. Oh, and my mother-in-law gave me the LEGO Space Station kit, and I’m planning on assembling that tomorrow. Oh, and a DVD collection of the British comedy series Mrs. Brown’s Boys, which I’m very much looking forward to watching.

As for 2022. I’m still processing the fact that we live in the 2000s; when I was a kid, the future seemed so far away. I was so anxious as a kid, and I was constantly scared of what the future might bring; and now that it’s here, it’s not so bad.

Anyway. Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.


And Happy Holidailies to you!

Eye’ll Be Home For Christmas

Ever ones for tradition around here, Jennifer and I put up our Christmas tree very recently. I know, older tradition recommends putting up the tree on Christmas Eve itself, but we’re not that traditional. Partly it was procrastination, party we just aren’t all that into the Christmas spirit this year (see an earlier post I wrote where I discussed my feelings about the season), and partly we just weren’t sure we wanted the hassle of continually picking up ornaments that the cats had liberated from the tree to the floor.

But then we saw a show on Discovery+ (which we got specifically for the holiday baking shows). I forget the name of the show, but they did mention that “theme trees” are all the rage right now, the latest craze, the “in” thing. One tree that a pair of decorators came up with was particularly of interest to us, so we decided to replicate it.

So here you go:

Eyeball Tree
Can you feel its eyes on you?

(click to embiggen)

Yes, we put eyeballs on the tree. It wasn’t entirely like the tree we saw on television — that one had larger eyeballs, hand painted, and some of them were on servos so they could spin about. If I were engineeringly inclined, I’d do the same, but I’m not.

Turns out you can buy lots of things on Amazon, and even though I don’t trust or like Amazon, I do a lot of shopping there. You can get a package of 150 table tennis balls and a package of 300 small googly eyes for less than $30 total, and a bunch of ornament hooks at your local CVS for less than $2. So we put up the tree one evening, then spent another evening gluing googly eyes to table tennis balls and installing hooks. The above is the result.

Need a closer look?

Eyes in the tree
Eye See You

Jennifer has dubbed this tree “Eye’ll Be Home for Christmas”, and I like it. I couldn’t think of anything cosmic horror-ish to name the tree, so I’m going with Jennifer’s suggestion. I do like the idea that it’s a tree Santa would approve of, since he could probably install a wireless hotspot in the tree and add receivers and transmitters to each eyeball, et viola, the ultimate Santa Spy Tree.

You’re welcome.

And Merry Christmas.


Deck Those Halls with Holidailies

FORE!arm

Golfer's Elbow Happens Here
This diagram shows EXACTLY where my arm pain is! Astounding!

A couple of days ago I mentioned that pain in my right arm. Today I went to the doctor to have it looked at. My regular physician is on maternity leave, so I saw one of her colleagues, a new member of the practice. He was about an hour and a quarter late to the appointment, because everyone else in the practice was late and traffic in Sacramento was weird because water was falling from the sky and when that happens everyone freaks out. Nurses came in at twenty minute intervals to reassure me that I hadn’t been forgotten and when the doctor finally showed up he apologized profusely and frequently for his tardiness.

He looked over my chart, saw that I’m losing weight, that I’m exercising more, that my blood pressure is down and that my resting heart rate is down, made the appropriate “good job” noises, and then got to talking about my arm. The first thing he asked was whether I’d noticed any shortness of breath or chest pains or heart palpitations in addition to the arm pain. I told him I hadn’t noticed any, and that since this was my right arm and not my left I wasn’t particularly worried (until he mentioned it). He listened my heart, more to reassure me I think than himself.

After several tests which involved squeezing my arm with his gloved hand, rotating my wrists, and even a little arm-wrestling (I won) he was baffled. Until he saw the way I was sitting on the end of the bed.

“You’re double-jointed, aren’t you?” he said.

“Why yes,” I said. It hadn’t occurred to me to mention that detail. I keep forgetting about it because it’s not something that comes up in conversation that often.

Eventually after some more investigation he concluded that I have “golfer’s elbow”. It’s like tennis elbow, but on the inside instead of the outside, and you don’t have to golf to get it any more than you need to play tennis to get tennis elbow. I used to play golf when I was a teen, though, so it made sense to me.

Anyway. No new drugs, except to take some ibuprofen when it gets really bad, and some exercises including stretches and some resistance exercises. So my arm and I should be just fine.

Side note: Of course I avoided checking up on Google and WebMD for my symptoms. I’m under standing orders from my wife, my physician and my mother to never look up symptoms on those sites. That never ends well for anyone.

That’s all I have for today. Tonight we shall be putting up our Christmas tree with decorations planned to amuse the cats and ourselves. That’ll be fun. Pictures will follow.


Holidailies doesn’t hurt as much as my elbow

Time for some politics!

I promise, this one will be brief.

I used to describe myself as a “generally appalled liberal”, but now that the word “liberal” is disliked on the left just as surely as it is on the right, I have to figure out what to call myself next.

That existential issue aside, I have to wonder a bit about Joe Manchin. Why doesn’t he just swap allegiances from the Democrats to the Trumpist Death Cult that is shambling zombie remains of the GOP? He’s already demonstrated that he does not care about his voters or the welfare of the country. Plus, I bet right-wing lobbyist payouts are better than he’s getting as a Democrat. He’d simply make more money.

Some other things that bug me:

  • Anti-science politicians. Did you know that the climate is changing? You didn’t? WELL IT IS. The changing climate is driving more and bigger storms, it’s contributing to the drought in the western United States, and more. It’s driven by carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, and the vast majority of those gases come from the oil industry. Many municipalities and counties throughout the nation have divested entirely from the oil industry, and so as the Episcopal Church. Now, in some states, no one cares, and in some this divestment is applauded. In Florida and Texas, however, it’s illegal. You can be hit with a fine in Florida if you are a business or a city and you divest from fossil fuels. The problem is that science, not political opinions, drives our understanding of global warming, which is agnostic of politics. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you’re still in danger when the new and stronger hurricanes hit in an ever-expanding hurricane season.
  • Speaking of anti-science, I’m also bugged by anti-vaxxers and covid-19 conspiracy theory mongers slithering their way into the national discourse and positions of responsibility within the US government.
  • Anti-education forces. For example: Did you know that Critical Race Theory is a real, existential, horrific, evil, terrifying, awful thing that exists? That it’s teaching white children to hate themselves and worship their Black classmates? Etc.? No? That’s because it’s not true. CRT is not taught in elementary schools, junior high schools, or even high schools. You can pass all the laws  you want against teaching CRT, it just won’t change reality.
  • That applies to library censorship too. Anti-democratic and enti-education..
  • Anti-health forces. Sure, antivaxxers fall into this category, but so do politicians who think outlawing abortion will stop abortion from happening. It won’t, of course, it will just stop safe abortions for poor people. Now, I’m not a big fan of abortion — I believe in preventing abortions by providing comprehensive sex education at an early age and handing out prophylatic measures like candy — but I do believe that a woman’s reproductive choices are her own. Plus, once you outlaw one medical procedure, you’re well on your way to outlawing others, and that’s no good.

That’s all that’s got my ire up right now (though I could also go on about how much I hate laws that affect LGBT+ folks). Have a good day.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that brief.

Cute Cat Picture Alert!

I’m not much of a photographer, even with the plethora of tools and equipment available to us these days (e.g., a phone with a camera in it), but today I snapped this picture of our foster fails Timmie and Guffaw snuggling together on our loveseat in our living room:

Timmie and Guffaw
Timmie and Guffaw, both foster fails in our home, snuggle together on our loveseat.

I showed it to Jennifer and she said it was ridiculously cute, so I have to post it. So here it is, on my blog.

Timmie is the first of our foster fails. She was found in a water feature in a park in Sacramento, and brought to Happy Tails, the organization we foster through. Because she was found “in a well” she was dubbed Timmie (as in, “What’s that Lassie? Timmy fell down the well again?” and if you don’t understand that reference, that’s okay, I just need to wait until the pain in my back goes away). She has some mild movement issues, but on the whole she is a very healthy and friendly and chonky cat. Guffaw is a more recent foster fail that we adopted because he seems to have chosen me as his person, a rarity. Almost all of our foster kitties glom on to Jennifer, and I haven’t had a cat glom on to me since Tangerine, so this makes my heart warm.

In other news, the contracts have all been signed, so I can officially spread the word that my short story “Arkham House Rules” will be published in an upcoming issue of Sci-Fi Lampoon. I don’t know what the details are, but I’m pleased with this turn of events.

Also, I have developed a pain in my tendon in my right arm, descending from my elbow to my wrist. No injuries occurred. It just sort of started about five days ago. Whee. I’m going to go to the doctor in a couple of days to have it checked out. Fun times.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for today.


And a very Happy Holidailies to you!

Random Sampling

Christmas is coming! Huzzah! Hooray! Etc.! I don’t know. I don’t really get as excited about the holidays as I used to when I was a kid. The spiritual meaning of Christmas is not lost on me, of course, but the rampant consumerism and cultural baggage tend to leave me cold, and the right-wing talking points about a so-called “war on Christmas” make me cynical about the whole thing. The latest craze is to blame President Joe Biden for the supply chain problems the world has been having instead of the pandemic and the fiasco with the Ever Given in the Suez Canal earlier this year (yes, that was this year). Christmas is threatened because toys and other material goods might not make it into the stores? I suspect the true meaning of Christmas really is getting lost, but the right-wing folks are the ones who are losing it.

Of course, if you DO want to buy me a present, you can find my wishlist here on Giftster. It’s a wish list sharing site that my family uses instead of the ancient home-brewed one that I wrote in 2001 and never updated since.


Last night I wrote 500 words on And the Devil Will Drag You Under, and also jotted down some ideas for two short stories. This is the most productive I’ve been in weeks. Well, aside from stuff around the house and at work, of course. And even though I feel like the novel is basically stagnating right now, I’m excited to be moving forward on it again. And those two stories —  one is straight science fiction while the other is a mystery with a science fiction twist — are going to be BLAMMO when I finish them

BLAMMO. It’s a word now.


I don’t really have much to say that’s blog-worthy these days. In years past, I see, I used to complain a lot on this blog. Not so much these days, or at least I don’t think so. I mean, I have some complaints — like, new cat Guffaw gets excitable and jumps up on the kitchen counter too often —but it’s no longer a permanent state of mind. See, I’m growing as a person. Jennifer says I should post a picture a day as my blogging process, and maybe I’ll do that. Starting tomorrow, assuming I get my rear in gear and start taking pictures.

Looking over the first couple of paragraphs of this entry again, though, I do see some complaining going on. Ah, well. I’m not complaining constantly about my job these days, and that’s nice.


No more story acceptances since the last time I wrote about my story submission process, but I got a fresh rejection. I still have eight stories on submission right now, some with markets that can take nearly a full year to respond, so we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks and months. I think that I will try again in 2022 for one hundred submissions, but I do need to get some new stories written first.


I haven’t been reading as much as I should be; you can see what I’m currently reading in the handy-dandy widget from Library Thing to the right of this entry. It shows that currently I’m reading a couple of novels that my friends Andrea Stewart and Megan O’Keefe have written, as well as a couple of books about the craft of writing and a book about pirates. But I’m also reading a couple of books for my novel-writing critique group, so I need to concentrate on those as well.

The Bone Shard Daughter was an excellent book by an excellent writer. I’m only one chapter in to the sequel, The Bone Shard Emperor, and it’s just as well-written. Andrea Stewart did not win the Hugo Award for these novels (wasn’t even nominated, from what I can tell). She was robbed. And Megan’s Protectorate Trilogy didn’t make it either. She was robbed too.


I leave you with my favorite Christmas song, which I post every year to my blog and to Facebook and Twitter, but what the heck, it’s a great song: “The Season’s Upon Us” by Dropkick Murphys, my favorite Boston-based Irish punk band.

Merry Christmas to you all, and in case I don’t blog again, Happy New Year as well! May 2022 be a better one for us all.


Happy Holidailies to us all!

School Stuff

School this past semester wasn’t too bad, actually. As usual, I only took one class (financial and dayjob reasons), and for fall semester I took Reference and Information Services. This is the class that teaches librarians how to be reference librarians. There were readings in the text book each week, of course, and some assignments. There were search assignments, which called for us students to search out specific topics in different sorts of reference materials, including biographical sources, encyclopedias, medical journals, and so on. Exciting stuff!

There were also discussion posts each week that had us examine some deeper aspect of reference librarianship: the ethics of librarianship, for example, or the dangers of censorship, or the problem of the digital divide (a topic I am growing more and more interested in).

And for the Big Project, we had to do something… well, big. Some students took on the task of developing reference services for incarcerated persons, some did videos about some aspect of the field, and some did research guides for a specific topic. I chose to do a research guide for parents of children with asthma (you can see the final result here). It’s not that exciting, but I got 29/30 on it (one point deducted because I did not put my name on it). If I’d had more time, I would have created an actual LibGuide for the topic. Unfortunately, I misread the due date of the project; I had thought it was due on December 7, but it was actually due November 7. I did that research guide in two weeks, so I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, and pleased with the grade I got.

All in all, library school is going really well. I feel… competent. Do  you know how good a feeling that is? Feeling that you can master the material, and work well with instructors and other students to present a product that is well-written, well-organized, and well put together? Yeah, it’s a pretty good feeling.

However, it’s going to get tougher as it goes on. There will be internships to consider. Resumes to put together. Side projects. A big honkin’ spreadsheet with all my school accomplishments and evidences of competencies understood. And then, of course, there will come the process of actually finding a job in the library field. For now, that seems like it’s very far away. But the day is coming, and it’s looming ahead of me. There are plenty of different types of jobs that people with MLIS degrees can get besides just being reference librarians in public libraries. There are academic librarian jobs, special libraries (law, medicine, business, and so forth), not to mention technical jobs. I’m a wee bit petrified by all this; I’m going to graduate closer to retirement age than not, and that may impact my job hunt. Like it or not, ageism is a thing, even in this progressive field.

But still… I’m definitely looking forward to learning more, and to facing the challenges up ahead.


Holidailies Ahoy!

Almost missed November

Apparently, it’s been November for awhile as well.

Not that much to report, though, except that in the middle of this month I reached my goal of one hundred manuscript submissions for the year. That’s more than I’ve done any year ever! My previous record was sixty-nine submissions in the year 2017. Here are my stats for the year:

Submissions: 100

Acceptances: 1

Withdrawals: 2

Form rejections: 74

Personal rejections: 10

Outstanding submissions: 13

One story I withdrew from a market because it had apparently died but no one knew. No confirmation from the market that I had withdrawn it, but that’s irrelevant. I withdrew another story because I had a crisis of confidence and wanted to rework it. I did, submitted it to another market, and it was promptly rejected.

I had one story accepted, but until the contracts are signed by both parties, I can’t reveal the details. That’s annoying, but standard practice.

To be honest I was hoping for more acceptances, especially to pro markets, but I guess my skill isn’t there yet. Or those markets are not ready for me yet. Who knows.

Anyway, now that I’ve reached one hundred submissions, what’s next? I’m going to take a break from submitting until 2022 and work on some new stories. I have a couple that I’m revising, and a solid idea for a third.

But what of National Novel Writing Month? I hear you cry.

Well, I sort of participated this year. For a bit. I worked on The Afghan Code, but got (at this point) no farther than 3,471 words. Which is a bummer, but it is what it is. Work, school, and life got in the way. I’ll continue to work on this one, though, because it’s a fun story and I hope to share it with all of you when it’s done. And after that (or while I’m working on it) I plan to dive back into And the Devil Will Drag You Under.

I’m also going to try to commit to Holidailies, a month of daily blogging starting December 1. Why don’t you sign up for it as well? Ought to be fun.

That’s it for now. Be excellent to each other. And party on!

Here it is… October… Again…

National Novel Writing Month 2021 LogoAs my professor this semester put it, “How did it get to be October? And can you believe the semester is already half over?” I’m having a hard time believing it myself, even given the Halloween decorations that are springing up around the neighborhood. I will try to get some pictures of some of the more elaborate displays, such as the River Styx setup in the yard of a house around the corner from us.

Meanwhile, let’s look at how I did in September writing-wise…

I ended up putting And the Devil Will Drag You Under aside, with a restart date of December 6. I did this because I was having troubles with the characterizations and the plot, but mostly the characterizations because of couple of them are decidedly problematic, falling into harmful tropes that I need to figure out how to avoid. I’m giving myself space to think about this some. I have some ideas already, which I’m happy about. But since I’m not under any contractual obligations with this novel, I can set it aside for a bit and work on something else.

And work on something else I did. I am currently revising “Zombie Processes” (it’s a slow, meandering process), and outlining my next novel, The X of Doom. It’s the pirate novel I’ve been working on, on and off, for a few years now. I’m happy about the concepts, but the outline is not quite coming together. I have time to work on it though, so I’m not feeling all that rushed.

And I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time in a few years! (Strangely, I had a dream the other night about participating, in which I was the Municipal Liaison for Sacramento again, and we held our kickoff meeting in a grocery store.)

Strange dreams aside, I’m going to be writing a novel tentatively titled The Afghan Code, about a group of “murder grannies” (old women who murder — it’s a thing!) involved in a centuries-old global conspiracy. I don’t know what the nature of the conspiracy is, or who it involves, but I’m looking forward to finding out. It’s inspired by The Da Vinci Code, of course, but it will be better. My wife also provided the initial germ of the idea, and will be consulting on this novel since it will involve lots of knitting. However, it was writer Mur Lafferty who found the idea delightful enough to task me to write it.

A prototype of the novel’s prologue can be found here.

That’s all for now. Enjoy this month-long celebration of all things macabre and morbid, but stay safe and healthy as you do so. And some day I will have something more interesting to post here on my blog.