Sunday, January 24, 2016

#Snowzilla edition.

This past week, my attention has been consumed mostly by snow and threats of snow.

Washington, D.C., where I live (or near enough, anyway), has always considered itself a Southern city. Which means that local officials kid themselves about the region's need for snow removal equipment. Sure, there are some years when we don't get any snow -- but most years, we get a snowstorm or two. When the first hint of snow enters the weather forecast here, people lose their minds and run to the grocery store for bread, milk, and toilet paper. Why? I got nuthin'. I've heard that the bread and milk are for making French toast -- but why don't people buy eggs, then, too? And what's the deal with the toilet paper? How much do you use, if you need to stock up when you're going to be stuck at home for two days, max?


The drumbeat began last weekend about this weekend's big storm. As the week progressed, forecasts called for ever-increasing amounts of snow -- to the point where the forecast for the little clipper system that came through Wednesday was largely ignored. Local transportation departments blew it off, and didn't bother to pre-treat the roads with chemicals. What they forgot was that the ground was cold, the roads were cold, and every flake of the inch of snow that fell, stuck. It caused a commuting nightmare. Some people spent six hours getting home. It made all of us wonder how bad Friday's commute was going to be. Although maybe Wednesday's rehearsal helped the powers-that-be focus, because by noon Friday, governments and businesses were shutting down and sending their employees home.

The Weather Channel has decided big winter storms need names, just like hurricanes have. So they dubbed our weekend storm Jonas. Jonas? Seriously? The Capital Weather Gang here in D.C. had their own contest and came up with a much better name: Snowzilla.

Better, and more appropriate. By the time Snowzilla moved north to hassle New York City, it had dumped between 18 and 30 inches of snow in the immediate DC area. (We got about 22 inches here.) It also spawned this GIF, which I wish I could take credit for:

The storm ended Saturday night here, so now we get to dig out. I will skip my usual and customary rant about how pathetic Mid-Atlantic snow removal efforts are. Instead, I will simply say that when I heard Metro would operate tomorrow, but with service so limited as to be nearly useless, I knew it was a matter of time before the whole region surrendered and decided to close for at least one more day.

Snow days give us time to relax and get to some things we don't normally have time to do. I made soup yesterday, and I also sorted through the clothes in the back of my closet. Today, I made brownies from scratch. The brownies were a bit of a fail; I tried to use up some leftover peppermint-candy chips by sprinkling them on top of the brownies before putting them in the microwave. (Yes, the microwave. They bake in seven minutes in a square glass pan -- perfect for when you need brownies right now.) Instead of nestling in, the chips melted, joined together, and even made craters in the brownies. The brownies taste fine, but I won't be doing that again.

My latest editing pass on Spider's Lifeline turned out much better than the brownies. I finished it today, and so the book will be going to my editors shortly. I'm aiming for publication in March. Stay tuned...

Other news: 

* I had a great time staying up past my bedtime Thursday night to be a guest on the Deadly Reads podcast. I appeared together with Indies Unlimited administrator K.S. Brooks and my fellow minions Laurie Boris, Shawn Inmon, Gordon Long, and Martin Crosbie, chatting about IU and indie publishing. You can listen to the show at the link. Warning: it's two hours long.

* The latest 559 Publishing anthology is out. It's called I Heard It on the Radio, and I'm pleased to have a story in it. Each author used a song title as a springboard, so the resulting story may not have anything to do with the song (mine doesn't). But it makes for interesting and engaging reading. Plus the cover is awesome. 

These moments of snowbound blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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