Thursday, 19 January 2017

11:01 – It was 34.4F (1.3C) when I took Colin out this morning. He decided to go off on a mole-hunting expedition. We have lots of moles in our yard. Maybe we should get an outdoor cat. I assume they eat moles.

Yesterday, MTD kit revenue exceeded 100% of January 2016 revenue. Of course, 1/16 revenue was only about 65% of 1/15 revenue, so we still have ways to go to match 1/15. But with 12 days left to do it, I suspect we’ll make it.

Yesterday, I asked Lori, our USPS carrier, if she was still prepping or if Trump’s win had allayed her concerns. She said she’d not done much prepping recently, but not because she thought Trump as president meant happy days were here again. She’s just been very busy with life. She works full-time for USPS, and has a second full-time job running her cattle ranch.

Months ago, we were talking about possible serious emergencies. Lori said she felt pretty well prepared for most things, but that what worried her was that she and her daughter, 18, were on their own in a house with no nearby neighbors. I told Lori that if things ever got untenable at her place, she and Casey were welcome over here. She said that she hoped they never needed to take us up on that offer, but it was comforting to know they could stay with us if it became necessary. And, of course, she said that if the situation were reversed Barbara and I were welcome to stay at her place for however long it was necessary.

Yesterday, I told Lori I was working on a draft of a PA novel and gave her a 30-second summary of the plot. I told her that I planned to use her and her daughter as significant characters, and that I’d need her knowledge of farming and a lot of other things that she knew and I didn’t. She said to call or email her any time, and that she didn’t mind being pestered.

I’ll strive for realism in the novel, assuming it turns out I can actually write fiction. Last night, I was reading Peter Lovesey’s latest Peter Diamond police procedural when I came across the kind of minor error that I want to avoid. The detectives believed there was critical evidence on a digital camera’s memory card, but it turned out that the card was unreadable because of water damage. I knew that was crap, because years ago I accidentally ran a USB memory stick through a full washer cycle and then dried it on high. When was putting away the clean clothes, I found the memory stick in my jeans’ pocket. I figured it was probably deader than King Tut, but it turned out to have survived the experience without losing even a byte of data. So, Lovesey’s assumption was a reasonable one, but still ans assumption, and one that turned out to be bogus. An avoidable error.

Similarly, Franklin Horton’s most recent book has an alcoholic character who’s reduced to drinking Lysol. Franklin describes in painful detail what happens when the character chugs a shot of the diluted Lysol, which got me to thinking. We didn’t have any lemon-flavored Lysol, so I couldn’t reproduce the scene exactly, but we do keep a spray bottle of the diluted original-flavored Lysol on the kitchen counter, so I poured a shot of it, swished it around my mouth, spit it out, and rinsed with several changes of water.

I emailed Franklin to tell him the results of my test. In short, the Lysol just had a distinct chemical taste. Not disgusting, but not something one would drink by choice. I’ve tasted OTC medications that were worse. I told Franklin that the immediate effects of drinking diluted Lysol would probably be less dramatic than chugging 80-proof liquor.

Franklin’s reply started, “Boy, you ARE a scientist.” He said he almost sprayed his coffee out through his nose. But that’s the level of accuracy I strive for, whether I’m writing non-fiction or fiction. Obviously, I won’t always get it right, but there’s no excuse for making avoidable errors.