Tag Archives: wifi

Weekend writing

Today was a little odd, in that I didn’t get to write in the pre-dawn hours. My wife and I are both off, and this usually kills my schedule. It did today, too, but if I don’t adapt a little, I can’t get anything done.

I went to another room in the house, which required me to move a bit of equipment around, but it was that or nothing. There was a little distraction in that the light on the ceiling fan is hanging down by a wire.

This kind of thing irritates me. I got out the step stool and monkeyed with it for an hour, until my arms ached. I have to twist it until the threads catch, and you wouldn’t think it would be that hard. All I can say is the size of the piece prevents me from seeing, and working overhead doesn’t help either. It was something I had to feel. In this project, I failed. I have a better ladder, so I might try again tomorrow.

As far as word count, it feels like about 2000. Not my best day by a long shot, but not awful either. In one more critique sized chunk I’ll break 30,000 words. This scene doesn’t lead to rapid word count either. I just finished an action packed section, and Lanternfish escaped to the open sea. As captain, James needs to think about his next move.

This is important stuff, because he has a balance to maintain. Open seas are relatively safe, but the war torn coast where he’s headed is dangerous. Privateers loot enemy ships to supply their own country. Pirates don’t want uniforms and boots. They want something more valuable. He also needs intelligence and needs to decide how best to gain it. Between strategic moves, keeping his crew motivated, the ship supplied, and more, the captain has a lot to keep track of.

This works in the scope of a book, because it can’t be all action and/or humor all the time. Readers need a breather, too. It isn’t like I don’t know what James is going to do, but I want to make sure I sell it correctly.

James is one of the more serious characters aboard the ship. I’ll have to delve into something more colorful as they set their course.

I’m once again noticing the value of a large cast. Lanternfish tales never seem to have me worried about the word count. I can always dip into something the crew is doing to add a bit of color.

If I can hit 2000 words per day, I’ll break 30K before the weekend is over.

In another part of my life, the wifi in this house improved when CableOne finally decided to replace their ancient router. However, the new one came with dead spaces, one of which is where I work. I was looking into various pieces of equipment to boost the signal, then decided to talk about it with my son. He’s been looking into the same thing, so he was well versed.

He pointed out the new routers come with two signals. He suggested I try the other one before buying any equipment. I didn’t even know what he was talking about. It seems the router is identified twice in searches, the only difference is that one ends in 5G. Not every bit of equipment is functional on 5G, certainly not this old iPad. I made the switch and all is well in wifi land.

I point this out, because some of you might not know this either. If you’re having wifi troubles you might try this simple trick before spending more money.

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Camp Research

Lisa* and I arrived a few hours before sunset. True to their word, the service pitched our tents near an old hand pump for fresh water. They'd brought in a supply of mopane wood and built a sizeable fire ring. A 50 gallon drum with another hand pump was our source of gasoline.

Lisa set about getting the generator started and hooked her umbilical up to recharge. I grabbed my copy of Death in the Long Grass and started to browse.

“Really? A paper book? What's next a windup assistant that isn't dependent upon electricity?” She asked.

I folded my book shut and looked up from my camp chair. “I'm a modern guy, but the paper copy is the one I own. I also don't believe in discarding last year's technology when it still works well.”

She stood a little bit straighter. Apparently robot girls are also worried about being replaced by a newer model. The generator hummed along, but was remarkably quiet compared to the ones I'm used to. Loud grunts came from the river.

Lisa's mouth dropped open. She froze in place, and scanned toward the river.

“We don't-have-any-wifi out here! What am I supposed to do without wifi? I want to know what's making those sounds?”

“Those are hippos.”

“Says you. I know how you are, and your fantasy world has tyranosaurs and dragons in it. I want to Google those sounds and I don't have any wifi.”

“Relax, think of it like a working vacation. Look at the scenery, watch for animals.”

“But I'm basically a walking computer. I gather data and repeat it back. Software lets me make some conclusions.”

“You'll just have to gather data with your eyes and ears. See that wet canvas bag hanging on the tree branch beside the kitchen tent?”

She put her hands on her hips. “Yeah.”

“That is an evaporative beer cooler. Do you remember how to get me a beer?”

“Sorry, that data is saved to the cloud. The same cloud I can't access without wifi.”

I swiveled my feet to the ground and looked at her. This was a point of contention I'd have to address.

She flicked the little cable that ran from her belly button to the generator. “I'm tethered to the generator for another hour.”

I sat my book down and retrieved a beer with no label. I don't know whether the Anurans left me something from outer space, dwarven ale, or tshwala the native beer that basically leaves you in a coma for the night. I rummaged through the kitchen tent, but couldn't find an opener. Sheepishly, I approached Lisa with my treasure.

She flicked the cap off with two fingers. “Hmph!”

“See, plenty of uses.” I retreated to my chair.

I found myself actually re-reading Capstick. He was a good author. By today's standards there are a few too many descriptive words, but they were all unique and not simple “ly” modifiers. His graveyard humor about burying the lion victim in a coffee can was pretty well described.

This is the danger of research. It becomes an entity unto itself. I wasn't so enthralled that I failed to make notes. I used my Stipula Gladiator fountain pen to make a list. This is the same pen I bought when I outlined The Cock of the South. Here is a partial list:

  • Sausage trees
  • Mopane wood
  • Fever trees
  • Pan = pond
  • Tshwala beer
  • Castle Pilsner?
  • Dambo = flat
  • Abercrombie & Fitch (originally started as safari outfitters)
  • Rowland Ward
  • Marula fruit

I don't know if all these exist in the time of my African adventure, or in the location I have picked out. I'm glad I don't have wifi or I'd be tempted to find out. This trip is all about immersing myself into the environment. I can get details later.

Oooorgh oooorgh, ugh, ugh ugh! A deep baritone roaring broke the quiet of our little camp. I sat up straight and twisted my bottle in the dirt so it wouldn't tip over. The lion sounded like he was about a half mile away.

Oooorgh! Sounded right behind me. I snapped my head around as Lisa answered him. She'd recorded him and played his own call back.

“What are you doing?”

“You told me to enjoy the wildlife.”

The lion answered back. Closer this time.

“Now he's coming here, he thinks you have a date tonight. Stop encouraging him.”

She patted her hip. “I brought the B.A.G. if he gets fresh.”

I raised up my book. “It's a pistol. This book is filled with references to rifles like .470 Nitro Express, .500 Magnums and the like. Do you understand the difference?”

“No, want to know why?” She crossed her arms and shifted to one side. “Because there's no wifi!”

“Okay, keep the lion calls down and maybe he'll go away.” I found an old board and a pocket knife to give her. “You wanted to make a sign for Camp Research, try that while I read and look constantly over my shoulder.”

I started reading a lovely bit about how elephants like to pound their victims against termite mounds until they are the consistency of a bota bag.

Lisa snatched up my list and scanned it. “You'll just lose it, and I have enough onboard memory to keep a copy.”

*Lisa Burton is the main character in Wild Concept, and is a robot. Since her story ended, she works as my personal assistant. B.A.G. is our term for her Big Assed Gun.

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