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July 30, 1999

F&SF Alas

A 9 day 'alas' from Mr. Van Gelder, as a team of wood chippers reduce the lightning-struck tree to mulch.

July 29, 1999

No News Is Good News

It's been a quiet week, letters to myself-wise speaking (I handwrite my address on the SASEs I include with my submissions, so when I hear back from an editor Lisa always calls it "a letter to myself." Speaking in a Freudian way, this is interesting as these letters usually contain bad news. Hmm). Oh, we've gotten mail, all right. Generally speaking, this boiled down to:

  • Bills

  • Credit card offers, from both the biggies (Visa, MC) to the more obscure (Discover, American Express, Diner's Club)

  • One package from Amazon.co.uk, containing the third J. K. Rowling book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Took four days to get to Iowa from the day I ordered it, it cost about the same as it would've if I'd bought the American edition, and I got it six weeks before it comes out here in the States. Ha!

  • A message from god. Zeus, I think. Apparentally he wants me dead. Two nights ago a badass t-storm rolled through in the middle of the night. We were awake, Lisa watching the weather channel to see what the radar looked like and I finishing a Howard Waldrop collection, when there was a bright flash and a loud KABOOM that sounded like someone had cracked open the earth. In short, lightning hit the tree across the street. End result was several largish shards of wood scattered about the street (a particularly cool one is now in Lisa's office at work, acting as a paperweight) and a dead TV. Everything else was fine. Thank goodness ever since Zeus went into retirement his aim has gone downhill.
Later: As I sat in the house this afternoon, escaping the heat (118 degree heat index. Ouch), I heard a crack-crack-crack-boom. I glance out the window. Sure enuf, the Zeus-touched tree finally collapsed under its own weight and split in half (and is now blocking the road, incidentally). The tree is dead. Long live the tree.

July 21, 1999

In case you're wondering where I've been, I, Lisa, my brother, and my parents went on ten days vacation in the mining Black Hills of South Dakota (and parts surrounding), home of Rocky Raccoon. Oh, the things we did. A sampling includes:

  • Visiting De Smet, SD, the Little Town on the Prairie and home of Laura Ingalls Wilder

  • Eating popcorn at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

  • Souvenir acquisition at Wall Drug (including my purchase, a replica 1856 Volcanic Repeater pistol. Very funky)

  • Gaping at the weird and unearthly landscape of the Badlands, and getting a suntan in the process

  • Taking pictures of very, very large carvings. In this case, Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument (which is still being created, but damn impressive all the same)

  • Driving through Spearfish Canyon, not far from the Lown House, the B&B we stayed in for much of our stay.

  • Jockeying the nickle slot machines in Deadwood, SD

  • Photographing the buffalo in Custer National Park

  • Looking at the mammoth excavation site in Hot Springs, SD

  • Peering down (and down) into the Home Stake gold mining pit in Lead, SD

  • Gazing up (and up and up) at the Devil's Tower in Wyoming

  • Driving across the Montana state line, just so we could say we'd been there

  • Stretching our credit cards to new and exciting lengths at the Mall of America

  • Doing more damage to the credit line at DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis. My new favorite bookstore, edging out The Stars My Destination in Chicago. Damn shame it be a four hour drive away.
In writing news, I returned to find four letters to myself: form rejections from Aboriginal Science Fiction, Science Fiction Age, Pirate Writings, and Playboy. Pooh.

July 09, 1999

MZB Payment

Today in the mail, my payment from Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, for my forthcoming story, "Conqueror." Huzzah! Just in time for the weekend!

July 08, 1999

Alas, Poor Odyssey

For those of you who haven't heard, the UK sf mag Odyssey, edited by Liz Holliday, has bitten the dust. I had a story out to Liz which is now in need of a new market. Time to fire up the printer...

July 03, 1999

F&SF Pass

An 8 day pass from GVG. Sigh. He obviously reads my stuff (at least a little ways), 'cause he always puts a little one sentence summary of the general theme in his rejection letter. Still, they never win him over or grab him.

July 01, 1999

Halfway Point

It's the first of July, halfway point of the year! And while I have you all here, I'd like to take a moment to say congratulations to my friend, Abbie Brown. Abbie just successfully defended his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology. He's got a few revisions to make, but they signed the papers, so I can now officially call him Doc Brown. He's also accepted an assistant professor gig out in eastern Washington, right near the Washington-Idaho border. Kudos to him!