Monday, March 13, 2006

I'm Back (more or less)

Things are starting to settle down a bit (though that's about to change, see below), so I'm going to try to start posting quasi-regularly again. I've decided that I'm not going to try to post every day, though, but I think once or twice a week is pretty reasonable. I want to keep this blog focused on writing, to the greatest extent possible, and sometimes there's just not much more to say other than, "Yep, wrote some today." I know some writers post their daily word counts, but I've always found that rather dull. I am planning on trying out the Write Way Pro software, so I'll post a review of that later on.

The big news, however, is that we found out my wife is pregnant! The baby is due around Halloween. We're cautiously excited. We don't have a terribly good track record with this, as we've lost two out of three babies, so anything could happen. She goes to the OB for the first time on the 27th, so we really won't know much more until then. It's a huge change for our family, but we're well and truly pleased. Here's hoping!

In other news, as of 1 March, I'm officially a free agent and no longer employed by NASA or Arizona State University. That's a huge relief to have that particular monkey off of my back. Sadly, my boss at ASU and I have some pretty serious disagreements as to the level of the last activity I wrote for her. She seems convinced that most teachers are incompetent (she doesn't put it quite that way, of course, she calls them "beta teachers", as opposed to the good "alpha teachers") and so couldn't handle anything other than a mindless cookbook-style activity. I like to give teachers a lot more credit than that -- my experience has been that with only a very few exceptions, most teachers are highly-trained, highly-motivated professionals. You have to be to want to teach in today's educational climate. Ultimately, since she is the customer and I'm the consultant, she can do what she wants with the activity, but one would think that as a consultant, she's paying me for my expertise (something she lacks, though she is loathe to admit that). We'll see how they make the final product turn out, but if they change it too much from my original, I may ask that my name be taken off of it. We'll see.

And the last bit of news, my computer apparently got a virus (I assume -- neither Norton nor McAfee ever detected anything) that made the machine no longer recognize .exe, .bat, or .com files. Pretty hard to troubleshoot in that case! I was able to access the hard drive over the network, and backed most things up, but I realized this morning I did not get my archived writing folder. That hurts pretty bad. I have hard copies of everything (NEVER rely solely on electronic backups), but that still means a lot of retyping if I ever need that material. One of the pieces I lost is an article I've sent off to a magazine that includes three maps -- each of which took me several days to make. I have the hard copies of those as well, but if the editor decides he wants changes to the maps, I've got a lot of fast work ahead of me. If he does, I'll have to decide whether to ask him to send me electronic copies back. While I realize these happen -- and so does he, I'm sure -- it does seem very unprofessional to me. I'll have to check my old CD-ROM backups to see if I have these, but I doubt I do. My older stuff should be there, though. My current work in progress is safely on my Neo (including my research notes), so I didn't lose anything there, thank goodness. I hate machines. :)

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