Boat fixed! And adventure.

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:27 pm
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
[personal profile] nosrednayduj
We hope it's fixed, anyway. We called them about the overtemp alarm and they could take it yesterday, and they were able to fix it by today! So, I went and got it. Unfortunately while they were hooking it up to the van, apparently the mechanism didn't catch around the hitch ball, and so when I drove out of the driveway and there was a little bump entering the road, it DETACHED from the van! There was some yanking and noise and I could see it skewing around wildly behind the van. I pulled over immediately and went out to investigate and sure enough, no longer attached. First time those safety chains have been invoked!

I ran back to get someone to help, because although probably I could have lifted the trailer while I was running on adrenaline, I didn't want to do it alone in case I slipped or something. I also kind of wanted to show them their screwup... Three guys came over to help and they quadruple checked that it was connected before I went on my way.

No damage to boat or trailer, minor damage to the bumper of the van -- which I'd slammed into with the Leaf two years prior so it's not like it was any great loss. I decided not to make a claim against their insurance -- it was their fault, because they are the ones who actually did the hookup. Maybe it was also my fault for not checking that it was hooked, but I figured they do this every day. I've had the mechanism not catch before, and I could always tell it wasn't working so I would try to re-seat it until it was solid. But, like, the van's 11 years old and I don't care what it looks like. Cosmetic damage is great: it keeps thieves away.

It's still in the driveway because we're being cheap and waiting til the boat ramp police go home at 7 so we can launch for free.
davidlevine: (Default)
[personal profile] davidlevine

IMG 7163
My second novel,
Arabella and the Battle of Venus
, sequel to the Andre Norton Award winning
Arabella of Mars
, comes out this week! The official release date is July 18, but I have seen copies in two bookstores already. You can buy it from Powell's, University Book Store, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Your Local Independent Book Store, or Amazon.

Is there an ebook? An audiobook?

The ebook of Arabella and the Battle of Venus should release simultaneously with the hardback, from all the major ebook vendors, without DRM. I haven't seen any sign of the audiobook yet, but for the previous book it followed the hardback release by a few weeks.

Are you planning a book tour?

Yes! Here are the planned stops:

If any of these events is local to you, please come if you can. There will be music, costumes, and giveaways! Come in costume! Tell your friends!

What's the book about?

From the publisher: The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in Arabella and the Battle of Venus, the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine’s swashbuckling sci-fi, alternate history series!

Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.

To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.

Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire solar system if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.

What can I do to help?

You should buy the book, of course. Buying it on the release date is helpful but not necessary. If you can't buy it, borrow it from the library. If you can't find it at your local library or bookseller, ask them to carry the book. Also, it's extremely helpful if you post a review on Goodreads, Amazon, your own blog, or anywhere else people might see it. It's okay if you don't like the book! Even a negative review can be helpful if you say why you didn't like it. (Reviewer: "I hated this book! It has Martians and airships and girls dressing as boys! Yuck!" Reader: "Cool, that's just what I love!") And please mention the book to your friends online and off. 

Where should I buy the book? Is paper better than ebook?

Wherever and in whatever format you like to buy books. I get the same money wherever you buy it, and I don't care whether you read it on paper or on screen. There are benefits to me if you buy it on Amazon, but personally I'd prefer it if you would support your local independent book store. Or you could get it from Powell's, which is my local independent book store. You can even order a signed edition from Powell's, which I will sign for you at my reading on July 18.

How is Arabella of Mars doing?

Very well, thank you! It won the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy and was nominated for the Oregon Book Award, Locus Award, and Compton Crook Award. Sales have been quite satisfactory, and the mass market paperback was released on May 30.

Will there be a book 3?

Yes! I just submitted the first draft last week, and it should be out about the same time next year. This third book, which is currently titled Arabella and the Winds of Phobos but might be called Arabella the Traitor of Mars, concludes Arabella's story, but there are more tales which could be told about other people in other times and places of Arabella's world.

How are you doing?

As you know, the last year has been an extremely difficult one for me. But I am doing better, and Arabella's success has been a great comfort. I thank all of you for your support of me and of the book.

"Squirrel" day

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:44 pm
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
[personal profile] nosrednayduj
Today I did many things. Most of them were interruptions for another thing I was in the middle of. "Let's see, I'll just do this and ..." "Squirrel!" "Well, guess THAT didn't happen!" Or, "3 hours later...." I think I popped the stack enough times. But there were things I wished to get done that did not happen.

The boat is fixed! Housemates went and got it yesterday, and we launched it, but it was really windy and boat-wake-y, and the waterskiing was pretty random yesterday afternoon (plus I was really tired from my bike ride). This morning we tried again, though it was hard to get people interested. Unfortunately it was slightly windy then too, and there were some boats, I guess 10am isn't early enough. The wind dropped during the day, and I noticed a few times that there happened not to be a bunch of boats churning it up, but no doubt by the time I interested enough people it would have become churny again.

Unfortunately the boat may have yet another problem, because we got an overtemp warning, so maybe the water pump is flaky or the water system is clogged. We checked the intake, and it was clean, so we don't know. If it happens again we have another thing to try.

Quite the Week! Not quiet!

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:26 pm
mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Default)
[personal profile] mrdreamjeans
This has been quite the week for events and activity!

On Monday, my friends Coy and JohnPaul welcomed their daughter Meredith Grace. JohnPaul's sister, Chastity, was the loving surrogate for the guys. I will be Uncle Neil to Meredith!

On Tuesday, as previously stated, I passed the Minnesota Driver's Exam.

Wednesday was my niece Caitlin and her husband Danny's third anniversary. My sister babysat Jordan so the couple could celebrate their anniversary with a night on the town. I also received a big box on Wednesday, an unexpected housewarming gift from Colleen. It's a stepping stone for my garden. (My mother loved her garden.)

On Thursday, my friend Tom Ruter came over to see my house for the first time. I made dinner. (This brief statement holds more import than the simple words:) All through dinner, Tom was texting with the governor's office about the closing of a key suicide prevention hotline. Tom is CFO of Canvass Health, a non-profit that runs the hotline. It was due to shutdown on Friday. At the last minute funds were allocated, keeping the suicide hotline open through the end of September. Tom was relieved and delighted over the news. He lost a partner to suicide; mental healthcare is an issue understandably dear to his heart.

Friday's goal was to get exercise and reading materials. Both were accomplished by walking to the new Hennepin County Webber Park Library. It's a half mile from my house there and a half mile back. I picked up two novels and have two on hold. It's a start.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended a fundraiser for a former co-worker at Associa Minnesota (formerly Community Development). Debbie's left her position as a Community Manager for HOAs for treatment for liver and bile duct cancer. It was an opportunity to see former colleagues, many of whom no longer work for Associa ... and to contribute to Debbie's cause. Debbie told me she thought no one would come. There were over 200 people in attendance for the spaghetti dinner/beer bust/ silent and live auctions and bake sale. I was highest bidder on two items, both baby gift baskets. The funds raised will help Debbie and her family pay off medical bills.

Incidentally, I received an email yesterday letting me know about an opening for a leasing manager at Huntington Place Apartments. It's the apartment community where I previously held the position for three years. I wonder what that's all about!

Today's a quiet day. Only country dancing is on the agenda and that isn't until 7pm. Starting on Tuesday this coming week my friend Steve from Little Rock will be staying with me for four days. He's completing a road trip to Wyoming and Canada and is driving out of his way to see me on his return home. Steve was my travel companion to Italy. During the road trip, he attended Longmire Days in Wyoming with a group of friends and then the Calgary Stampede! I'm excited for his visit!

Bike adventure

Jul. 15th, 2017 04:30 pm
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
[personal profile] nosrednayduj
There was a rally about climate change in Providence today, outside the convention center, where there was a Governor's meeting going on. It was small, only about 150-200 by my quick estimate. There were some speakers, and some chanting ("No more pipelines! No more fracking! Send the oil barons packing!"); the whole thing lasted about an hour.

Valerie and I went down on the train (seems wrong to drive to a rally about climate change...), and I brought my bicycle! I had printed a set of maps and directions, plus I had my phone. It was hard to get settled onto the route, though, the roads never seem to match the map and directions. So there was a lot of stopping and pushing the "find me" button on the phone. Plus a stop at dunkin' donuts for lunch. All in all it took about 3 hours elapsed (I didn't look exactly when I left the rally). I picked up some speed at the end, when I'd gotten back into familiar territory and there wasn't so much stopping.

26.45 in 2:23 for an average of 11.0, which isn't too bad. Not much in the way of hills except at the very beginning, and even those were mild. And don't forget the 2.2 mile jaunt to the train station at the start!


Question thread #54

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:47 pm
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's time for another question thread!

The rules:

- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.

Fish cooler

Jul. 12th, 2017 10:42 pm
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
[personal profile] nosrednayduj
We keep our house warmer than average in the summer. Partly this is because our downstairs A/C broke last year and we chose not to fix it. But mostly it's because we're green.

Unfortunately, we learned the first year we had fish that "tropical" doesn't mean "82" and there was a huge fish die-off during a heat wave. The next year we kept an eye on the temp and changed out water sometimes when it was getting too warm, and then we stuck a small fan on top of the tank to evaporate water and cool it that way, but it was a pain to get it in position. This year we have upgraded that solution. Ken took three small fans from a computer, and wired them up with a 3-way switch so we can have any amount of cooling we need, and screwed it to the lid so it was aimed in the right place all the time.

Refresher Course

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:58 pm
mrdreamjeans: (EYES have it)
[personal profile] mrdreamjeans
One of the items I hadn’t yet checked off of list of things to do following my move was getting my MN drivers license back. It’s not as easy as you would think. When I moved back to Texas for two years I went to the Texas DMV office, filled out the application and received my Texas drivers license in the mail a couple of weeks later. Texas assigned the same drivers license number I’d had since I started driving when I was 15 years old. No written exam was required.

Both times in Minnesota there was more to the process. As I did a few years ago, I had to take the written portion of the drivers exam. This time, I knew to study for it! Over the past few days, I've taken six practice tests and read the MN drivers manual. My scores on the practice tests ranged from 60 to 93. I failed two and passed four. It's not a bad thing to take a refresher course and remind yourself of driving rules and regulations.

As I drove to the testing station, I was driving with fresh eyes. I was aware of keeping my hands on the steering wheel at 8 and 4 or 9 and 3, not 10 and 2. I paid attention to the colors of the lane lines and especially focused on the signage. There are lots of questions about signage, colors and distances. For instance, do you know (or remember) when you’re driving with your high beam lights on, you’re to switch to low beam lights when approaching traffic is within 1000 feet of your vehicle? Every potential traffic situation seemed to have a different distance.

On the way to the exam station in Plymouth, I passed an elderly lady weaving in and out of her lane. When I looked over, she had both hands on the wheel and was reading a newspaper! She was also under the minimum speed. A few miles beyond this example of poor driving, I pulled up to a stop light next to a young woman who was texting one handed, cell phone clearly in view. When the light turned green, she pulled away, still texting, her focus clearly not on the road. (I see that all the time and the MN manual clearly states it is illegal.

I was nervous standing in line. Behind me in line was a 15 year old with his mother. I told him my entire wardrobe was older than him:) He told me not to worry, I would do well. Sweet kid. Sooo young! After I missed one of the first two questions, (The minimum speed limit on MN roads when unmarked is 30MPH. I over-thought the question and chose 35MPH.) I told myself to trust my preparation and go with my gut. I passed with a score of 91%, higher than all but one of my practice tests. It was silly to be nervous, but I wanted my MN license back. By the way, they gave me the same MN driver’s license number as before! I’ll receive it in the mail in three weeks. What a relief!

Upcoming Appearances

Jul. 11th, 2017 10:20 am
davidlevine: (Default)
[personal profile] davidlevine
I have finally gotten around to updating the Upcoming Appearances page on my website, and boy howdy do I have a lot of them!

With the release of Arabella and the Battle of Venus coming on July 18, I will be doing readings in Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco that week. Come and hear a new song, get new swag, hear a new reading, and see the same old writer in the same old costume!

Immediately after that I will be off to Europe for the Writing Excuses cruise and Worldcon. In November there's World Fantasy, Wordstock, SFWA readings in Seattle and Portland, and OryCon, and in December there's Writers with Drinks in San Francisco. It's going to be a busy year. And that isn't counting square dances, travel to visit family and friends, and non-public events!

I hope to see you at one or more of the following events. Click the links for more details.

(no subject)

Jul. 10th, 2017 09:02 pm
tdjohnsn: (Default)
[personal profile] tdjohnsn
Why do Swedish warships have bar codes on the sides?

So that when they return to port, they can Scandinavian.

A plan-free day

Jul. 8th, 2017 03:48 pm
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
[personal profile] nosrednayduj
Nothing was on the calendar for today! So, Ken and I went bicycling. We went up Blue Hill. 10 miles to get there, one mile straight up, one mile back down, 10 miles back home. Before the ascent my average was 12.6. After it was 10.5. Strangely, it was 10.6 when I returned home. I thought the base of the hill was the same elevation as home, so my average should have improved a little, I'd think. But, the down is not really very fast because it is littered with potholes, parents, kids, dogs, horses, horse poop, other bicycles... And there was some dorking around because we stopped at the hardware store on the way home and the parking lot is large and slow. So, that's my excuse.

Turns out we actually had plans, because some of our many guests from last weekend are stopping back here after a camping expedition and before their airplane tomorrow, so we need to feed them. So I made vast food for dinner (which now just needs to bake for an hour), and also plan to make vast food for dessert because tomorrow there's a square dance and I want to bring some snacks. So I need to have decoy snacks by making a double batch or there won't be any for tomorrow.

Food and bicycling, my default hobbies :-)

Boat is in the shop

Jul. 7th, 2017 08:47 pm
nosrednayduj: pink hair (Default)
[personal profile] nosrednayduj
I drove it a bunch this weekend, towing many children on a tube, who all had a good time, and the elder of whom kept asking for "faster", but there wasn't any faster to be had. I tried to waterski, got up on two but not one, and when I thought about dropping the 2nd ski, seemed like I was kind of sinking a lot and might not have stayed up. Jocelyn got up on one, but said that the ride was more work because she was plowing through the water so much.

The shop had said it was fine to drive it in this "running rough and not giving all power" state, even said it might be good for it, blow out crap that was in the carbs. But, no go. I ran through about 8 gallons of gas, I'd say. Put in the gas conditioner they'd given me last time, even. Hope they're done by the 23rd! I told him about the party and he seemed to think there would be no problem having it ready.