I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Dining Room/Office/Tribute to Dad

The dining room/office was radically transformed with the assistance of my Dad. In one of the white cinder block photos, you'll see a chimney. This is now enclosed by the closet Dad is standing in front of in the photo below. The house had no closets except for the bedrooms, so having a place to stash stuff is immensely helpful. Also, the closet hides the exposed gas line that ran across that corner.

With Cheryl's help, I painted the room red. I wanted a red room because my writers group meets at a place called Fuse in Chapel Hill that has a red room, and I liked the vibe there. The red and orange rooms go well together. Moving from one to the other is a pleasant visual experience. I also think I was pushed toward the bright red and orange scheme of the house by the prison starkness that had been there when all the walls were white cinderblock. Before, the place had an institutional vibe. Now it's very warm and energetic.

The floor was laid by me with the help of Greg, Dona, and Jesse. I don't have photos of the bathroom (I do, but the room is so small I couldn't really get far enough away to photograph things with any kind of context), but Greg deserves recognition for helping me lay real tile in there. The bathroom is actually very nice, despite being smaller than the one in my old apartment. Dad wired me another socket in there... I'm thinking of doing something funky with the lighting eventually, maybe rope lights hidden around the edges of the medicine cabinet that would glow blue. It would feel like I was shaving in the future! Or maybe not.

I've mentioned Dad a couple of times now, but I don't think I can overstate how important he was to this project. He turned out to be a font of knowledge on drywall, wiring, framing, and other stuff. And, he also has proven to always have the right tool for the job at hand. So, hats off to Sidney W. Maxey, Jr., master carpenter, font of wisdom, and terrific father.

Living room transformation

I'm having some frustrations getting my photos to appear in the sequence I want them to on the page for some reason. But, below are before and after photos of the living room. The "after" is the orange wall, the "before" is the white cinterblock. I've put drywall over the cinderblock ot hide the exposed conduits. The old ratty AC unit has been carted off (I'll worry about what to replace it with in May or June). The drywall was painted orange and trimmed in white. The floor was covered with linoleum planks that do a very convincing imitation of wood.

You can't see it much, but Dad built out boxes above both windows that give the room a little extra flare. And, the effect is tough to capture on a camera phone, but the room looks much bigger in orange than it did in white. I was advised to go with orange by Dona, Cheryl, and Becky, and their advice proved worthwhile. My mom, dad, and brother all pitched in and helped with this room. Kudos all around.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Magnetic poem by Laura

I bought Laura's refridgerator from her parents. It had three or four magnetic poems she had composed on the side. I didn't have the heart to take them down, but they were on the side of the fridge next to the stove and that side of the fridge was greasy and spattered. My brother's girlfriend Becky volunteered to clean the fridge on moving day. I told her I didn't have the heart to take down the poetry, but I had taken pictures with my phone, so it was okay if she had to remove it. She didn't... she very sweetly and carefully cleaned all the little gaps around the poetry.

This poem strikes me as particularly representing Laura's take on life:

In case the picture is grainy, the poem reads,

girl you are it
not to ask why
but do life day in & out
& I will trudge and
for you

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

House blahs

I am so exhausted. Drywall is exhausting stuff to work with. It's heavy and dusty and crumbles with the slightest bump on a corner. But, I finally got the last of it on the walls tonight. Now, I'm left with sanding the mudding in the living room and mudding from scratch the dining room. I also have a patch of wall I'm planning to stucco. I did a little test patch the other night on a tiny sliver of wall behind a door. Results were promising. I may wind up using stucco for the bedroom, the last room in the house with exposed cinder block.

With luck, I'll be at a point where I have paint on the walls this Saturday, and fake wood on the floor by Sunday. Then, it's all detail work, and, of course, moving in.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Kitchen before, kitchen after

This is a before and after photo of the kitchen. I took my "before" pictures of the house before I bought it, during the home inspection. Sadly, I thought I had a better picture of the kitchen. The inspector kind of set up shop in there and I never told him to get out. So, I just snapped this one photo.

Basically, before, everything in the kitchen was brown wood and gray floor tile. I've now put black and white vinyl tiles on the floor, painted the walls white and the cabinets and trim black. The only thing I haven't tackled is the countertop, which is a yellowish cream color. Eventually, I'd like to cover it with white tile, but that would mean I'd have to raise the sink up to the level of the tile, and I don't know that I want to deal with that just now.

A big shout out to my friend Cheryl for pitching in and helping me paint and lay tile. She rocks!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

All me, all the time

I'm spending crazy hours at the new house, but making good progress. The paint job in the kitchen is probably the nicest paint job I've ever done in a room. It's also been the most time consuming... and I still have the rest of the house to go! I started putting down the new floor tonight in the kitchen. It says I should only apply it to floors at least 65 degrees warm... so, of course, they are calling for a cold snap tomorrow with a high of only 60. I'll probably press ahead anyway.

Since it will be a while before I put up a long blog post, anyone wanting more of me should check out two recent eruptions of my words upon the internet. First, Mur Lafferty interviewed me for her popular podcast "I Should Be Writing." Check it out here: http://shouldwrite.blogspot.com/

I just found it live ten minutes ago... I haven't listened to it yet. I hope I didn't say anything embarassing. We met and talked over dinner and the conversation was so natural I sort of forgot she had the recorder going.

Next, if you check out the link on the side of the page for Ed Shubert's IGMS blog, you'll find a link that will take you to the latest online edition of Intergalactic Medicine Show, where my story "To Know All Things That Are In The Earth" is now live. I wrote this story for the Codexian Idol contest last February. I think it's the first time I've ever written a story and had it appear in print in the same year. It's also one of the best stories I've written to date in my opinion. Again, this issue of IGMS just went live, so I haven't read any of the other stories, but fellow Codexians are well represented in the table of contents, so I have confidence in the quality of the issue. And, hey, Tim Pratt!

Finally, a few posts back I mentioned taking out the bathroom sink. I am pleased to report that I put a new bathroom sink back in with very little effort. An hour, tops. Now all I need to do is slap some tile down, put up a shower curtain, and I'll actually have a functional bathroom.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Face O' Jesus?

There's a place in the living room where I think a lamp once sat that has left an interesting pattern on the wall. It looks a bit like a human face with long hair. I wonder if I should leave it and open myself up as a pilgrimage site? Of course, it looks about as much like a Star Wars Storm Trooper as it does the face of Jesus, so I'm worried I'd get the house filled with Star Wars geeks.

Manly Moments

So, not to brag or anything, but I felt particularly manly for a moment yesterday as I removed my grungy old bathroom sink using nothing but an adjustable wrench and my own two hands. I stared at the gutted remains as they sat in my dining room with the same sense of satisfaction that cavemen must have felt staring the the spear-riddled corpse of a sabretooth.

Now, I just hope I can have the corresponding feeling of being able to put the new one back in.