Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Killer Robots Never Work

... And don't turn into a snake. It never helps.

The first piece of wise advice above is the name of my as-yet-unpublished science fiction novel. I just submitted a synopsis and the first four chapters of "Killer Robots Never Work" to a contest, and the effort inspired me to start a writing blog. There are a lot of writing blogs out there, all of them so earnest, with writing goals and Muses and much fretting about the moral Core of their writing. My writing, of course, doesn't have much of a moral Core. I subscribe to the "This guy's boring, let's give him purple eyebrows and a shovel collection" style of character development.

So now I have a third blog, called "Killer Robots Never Work." There I maintain that every story needs a killer robot. Life is hard enough without taking your writing seriously.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Benny's 6th Birthday Party

Well, we threw a 6th birthday party for Benny at a neighborhood park on Saturday and lived to tell the tale.

The planning was pretty intense, involving multiple trips to Target, repeated phone calls to a nearby Asian bakery emphasizing "DARK green frosting", and online ordering and delivery angst.

In keeping with the football theme, I decorated the cake to look like a football field. Cakes are a lot easier to decorate than cupcakes. Ron's idea to line the edges with colored sprinkles to represent the spectators was pure genius.

The timing of the event was a little tricky — I reserved the park clubhouse from 1-4 PM and set the party time for 1:30. So I packed all the party supplies in labeled plastic bins except for the cake, ice cream, tables and chairs. (One of our friends brought the bunches of balloons, thank heavens.) I fit almost everything in the car, although Benny had to ride to the park with a card table on his head. Then Ron and I carried the first load to the door of the clubhouse and he and Benny stood guard while I went back for the second load. I struck gold with a nearby parking space and arrived with the cake at 1:05. Yay!

After all that, the party itself was a breeze. My ritual goat sacrifices to the weather god at dawn obviously paid off, because after spitting rain on and off all morning, the skies cleared on cue at 1:00 and the sun shone down. Benny and his friends played on the playground, ate cake and ice cream, threw footballs and batted balloons.

We broke with San Francisco tradition and had Benny open his presents at the party. People don't do that here, probably because kids' birthday parties in this town average 20-70 children. But we had a small group, so I told Benny to go for it.

Happy Birthday Benny!