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February 28, 2005

Screwed

Had to change a flat (flat, flat, flat) tire first thing this morning, as I discovered I'd run over a screw on the way home yesterday. Proves the old adage that everything old is new again. Swell. At least they were able to patch it this time.

Here, some historical trivia.

The following strange announcement appears in the Morning Post :-- "Matrimony.--A young nobleman, with large expectations, and at present with a moderate income, wishes, through the present medium of an advertisement, to meet with a lady of fortune, who would be elevated to a high rank, and also meet with a young and kind partner for life. Letters addressed, pre-paid, to Coronet, 42, Upper Berkeley-street, Connaught-square, will meet with immediate attention."

From "Latest Intelligence". The Anglo American, a Journal of Literature, News, Politics, the Drama, Fine Arts, etc., 11 May 1843, 3(3): 65.

As near as I can tell, it appears to be a sighting of one of the very first personal ads, and was unusual enough to be mentioned in the equivalent of the AP Wire. And I like the language: from that to "SM seeks SF" in a century and a half. That's evolution.

[Update: fixed a couple of weird typos.]

The Irish Love Me

Oh dear lord, some positive news to report. I'm chuffed to announce that my story, "Twelvepenny Weather," that appeared in Albedo One last year was picked as Best Story for that particular issue. To which I say: holy crap. They didn't even tell me.

Furthermore, the editors have put the complete story text up online so it can be considered for the Hugo. I bear no illusions whatsoever that'd happen, but who am I to say? Go ahead, take a look at it. Nominate it, if you think it's good enough (and are eligible to do so). Force me to seriously consider buying a plane ticket to Glasgow.

There, that's definitely enough shameless self-promotion for today.

Two In One

Hey, a rejection in the email this evening. 179 days from TTA Press, who apologized for the outrageous delay in getting back to me (small glitch, won't happen again, etc.) and then said they've considered my story for both The Third Alternative and Interzone and found it right for neither. See how efficiently I cross off markets?

All Hail Astro Cat!

Astro Cat! And I thought moving across the country was hard; outer space presents these challenges on a completely different level, er, so to speak. Frankly, I can't even imagine trying to get Andy into one of these things. Be easier just to get a pressurized cat carrier and toss him into that. Oh sure, he wouldn't have as much freedom to wander about the ship, poking his nose into things, but he'd be able to groom himself. And that's all a cat really wants.

Reading: Lords of Rainbow, by Vera Nazarian.

February 26, 2005

Never Too Late To Not Offend

This just in: the FCC has ruled that the now-canceled Angel was not "patently offensive." Hmm. If it had been, do you think they might not have canceled it? Well, at least the reruns are safe from these nitwits. And another thing: don't they realize that, if they're offended by adult themes on TV, it isn't such a smart thing to post the naughty bits up on their website where people have a second chance to see them & be offended?

My evening entertainment? Oh, quite wholesome. Lisa and I went out to dinner, then saw a play. A medieval farce about the manufacturing of fake saints. Best line: "We could sell him off for parts!" I think it did offend some folks in the audience. The people sitting in front of us got up at intermission and didn't come back. And I am grateful for that, since one of them was obviously a star volleyball player.

February 24, 2005

To The Bidder Go The Spoils

Got a package in the mail today: Mike Jasper's story collection, Gunning for the Buddha, which I won in the "support Clarion lest it be devoured by the Cruel, Cruel World" auction. Whee! Very pleased. Handsome looking book, has words on all pages which spell out many amusing & entertaining tales, etc. Also learned something new about Mike. On his dustjacket bio it says he was once a secret shopper. I had no idea. I guess it really was a secret.

February 22, 2005

Up Comma What

Had dinner with my brother tonight. His Powers That Be have him working in the Atlanta area this week, so he and Lisa and I got together at Houlihans (an upscale dinner chain, like TGIFridays or Bennigans, but with better food and metal plated menus) to catch up about stuff and things and future events, such as his upcoming nuptials. Also: mmm, mustard encrusted salmon.

In other news, at last the secrets of my cats' brains revealed! Hmm. They seem to have left off the "Imitate sheep by chewing on the carpet" gland.

Oh, this made me laugh. And it worked, too! Shame I can't do it on my Mac at home.

February 20, 2005

Ten Things I've Done Which You Probably Haven't

Who am I to resist a good meme?

1) Laid delirious in a hotel bed in Amsterdam for two days.

2) Rolled a pickup truck, ending up in a ditch with its cab almost completely crushed in. Then crawled out with only a scratch on my elbow.

3) Received an email from Pat Cadigan, complimenting me on a story I wrote.

4) Picked up a shell casing in Times Square while there watching Macy's New York City Thanksgiving Day parade. A .32, I think it was.

5) Burned a book. Literally.

6) Applied for a job with Harvard for the hell of it, then actually got called to fly out for an interview.

7) Was the sole reader on 1,440 short reaction papers from students simply to keep grading consistent, and catch anyone "sharing" their work (it worked, too.)

8) Poked several holes in my bedroom wall with a pocket knife, just because I liked the sound it made the first time I did it.

9) Ground down a large tree stump by hand. Not literally; I mean, I did it with an axe and a sledgehammer, not a motorized grinder.

10) Chopped a pumpkin in two with a broadsword. Research. Yes, that's it. Research.

Reading: Waking the Moon, by Elizabeth Hand.

February 18, 2005

Knock, Knock

Very rarely do I open my front door. In fact, the only time (usually) is when someone rings the doorbell. Unsurprisingly, most people who do that are trying to sell me something: magazines, girl scout cookies, cheese in stoneware crocks, bottled brains. Or they want something: Halloween candy, charitable donations, human contact. Whatever. At any rate, last night as I was getting ready to close up for the night, I flipped on the outside light and peeked out the door. To my surprise, sitting there was a box from Amazon. I brought it in and cracked it open. Turns out Jenn Reese sent me Marvels and Kingdom Come, apparently for no reason other than I mentioned on her website that I hadn't read them.

Thank you, Jenn. That was astonishingly cool of you. Oh, and I'm going to be very sure to mention titles of other books I've never read before to you. All the time. So be ready.

Reading: What do you think? Have you not been paying attention? Oh, never mind.

February 17, 2005

Hazards In The Library

Susan had her wallet swiped in her university library after getting up for two minutes. By comparison, I was sitting in my office not half an hour ago with the door open, idly minding my own business, when a toddler walked right in. She gave me a rubber band. She tugged at the Curious George magnets stuck to the front of my desk. She sat in my chair so she could see what was on my desk. Her only answer to every question I posed to her was to shake her head no, N-O, no.

Eventually her dad appeared and saved me from her adorableness, which is, I think, a good thing.

I now have my door closed against future toddler assaults.

February 16, 2005

Canadians Reject My Work

Came home to find a rejection in the mail: a 34 day model from On Spec. Same as the others I've gotten from them, the standard form with additional comments, remarks, &tc. added at the bottom.

Need to decide if I want to send it back out again. It hasn't been to all that many markets yet, so it's still fairly shiny, and it's fairly amusing.

The chief obstacles to it are that it's a short-short (an issue for some markets), and that it's built on the "three wishes" cliche. This isn't always a problem, of course, but does present an extra challenge in finding it a home. Plus, it puts me in jeopardy of violating the oath I swore.

Reading: An R. A. Lafferty collection, Strange Doings.

February 15, 2005

Memesque

It's the iTunes meme! Run for your lives!

How many total songs?
4,053 songs. 10.4 days.

Sort by song title - first and last?
"'85 Radio Special Thank You" -- They Might Be Giants, Then: The Earlier Years
"Zoot Suit Riot" -- Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Zoot Suit Riot

Sort by time - first and last?
"Who's Knockin' on the Wall?" -- They Might Be Giants, Apollo 18 (0:04)
"War of the Worlds" -- H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds Radio Adaptation (59:17)

Sort by Album - first and last?
The Strokes - 12:51 EP
Cherry Poppin' Daddies - Zoot Suit Riot

Top five played songs?
"March of the Sinister Ducks" - Sinister Ducks, Old Gangsters Never Die
"You're Boring" - Will Ferrell & Jack Black, The 76th Annual Academy Awards
"When You're Next to Me" - Mitch & Mickey, A Mighty Wind Soundtrack
"The FCC Song" - Eric Idle, internet single
"Life During Wartime" - Billie Joe Armstrong, internet single

Find "sex," how many songs show up?
3

Find "death," how many songs show up?

16

Find "love," how many songs show up?
172

Find "pie," how many songs show up?
53

Ah, What An Age

I've been thoroughly sick, thanks to the cold that crept up behind me Friday and sucker punched me. Damn thing took my weekend and everything. About the only good thing to come from this has been Lisa finding and providing me with Afrin®, a decongestant nasal spray that: a) actually works for 12 hours b) without knocking me unconscious. True, the first hour I spent tasting it trickle down the back of my throat, but as far as side effects go, I can live with that.

Since I've been uninclined to move around much, I've spent the immobile time cleaning up old entries that didn't convert quite as well as hoped. My apologies to anyone who decided to hook this thing up to a RSS reader and got hit with my doings from way back when.

Reading: Have also been reading some. Specifically, the first James Triptree Award Anthology; Michael Bishop's Philip K. Dick is Dead, Alas, and Holder of Lightning by S. L. Farrell, the first book of Cloudmages, his Celtic BFF trilogy. I was particularly impressed by Holder (Steve, you're very mean to your characters) and am going to make a point of getting the second book as soon as I feel up to leaving the house.

February 10, 2005

Viscera, Interpreted

I've brought some of my older entries for this year into the system, just to see how well importing works. Answer: pretty well, if everything is formatted properly.

Well, that's the case for pretty much everything, isn't it? Lost the dates on about half of them, and the other half were formatted incorrectly. Agh. This could take a while.

Mail brought me a 13 day rejection from F&SF; I was actually in danger of getting my hopes up on this one, but I managed to ruthlessly suppress them by saying to myself from time to time, "I'll come home today and the rejection letter will be in the mail." Been saying it all week. Today it was true.

Now, it was the nicest rejection letter I've ever gotten from F&SF. 'Twas signed by the man himself. He said he liked the closing line. Not the non-specific "didn't grab," which often suggests a flabby story, but specific reasons why. In this case, tone (thought not quite right for high fantasy) and plot (didn't quite work for him). Hey, I'll take my encouragement where I can get it.

Reading: Blowing My Cover: My Life As A CIA Spy, And Other Misadventures, by Lindsay Moran. Among the shocking revelations within, it seems real-life spying isn't as interesting as Alias makes it seem. I'm stunned.

Time To Redecorate

I'll be fiddling here on and off today. And possibly tomorrow, depending. The older stuff won't go back up until I get the look I want, because everytime you change anything, you have to rebuild the site. More pages = longer rebuild time. And my patience tends to be a bit thin when it comes to computers and all their electronic ilk.

In the meantime, why not have a cup of tea?

February 09, 2005

It Works! Thank God!

Phew. I've gotten this thing up online, which means I'm not a complete bonehead. Always nice to have that confirmed.

Next up: I figure out how to change things so it doesn't look like every other single MT blog out there. For starters, I'm going to have to insist on calling it a journal.

Testing, Testing

Is this thing on?

February 06, 2005

iawap:)

iawap:) = "I am well at present" (from McSweeney's E-mail shorthand that Civil War soldiers would likely have used in letters home, had the technology been available to them, via Making Light). This will remain the case, although my journal may disappear for a bit. Nothing to fear: I've finally decided to update from handcrafting my HTML to the snazzier automated version of Moveable Type. Cue the opening theme to the educational film "March of Progress."

I've accomplished steps one and two in this task: upgrade the webhosting account to support the system requirements, and recruit a (relatively) local subject matter expert to pester if and when I screw this up.

Until then, I do have one piece of writing news: got an email from an editor about a trio of poems. She passed on two, but would like to hold onto the third for further (read: other) editorial review.





Behold, the comments of old, now frozen in time.

February 02, 2005

WHOOO Is It?

"It's the plumber. I've come to fix the, er, toliet." Sadly, this is true. Ah, the joys of home ownership. Our downstairs toliet, she rocks, she rolls, she leaks a bit at the bottom.

I'll stop right there before this turns into a dirty joke.

Update: All finished. Expensive, but I'll pay. For any given job, you always want good, fast, and cheap. Unfortunately, you only get to pick two of them.

Reading: Just picked up Zoran Zivkovic's The Fourth Circle, which sounds action packed. From the back flap:

What could a computer wizard self-exiled in an abandoned Buddhist temple possibly have in common with the humble servant of a medieval fresco painter? What is the link between the enigmatic mission of a giant radio-telescope and a tribe of spherical beings who dwell in a world full of unearthly scents and herbs? What will bring four great scientists from various centuries, Archimedes, Ludolph van Ceulen, Nikola Tesla and Stephen Hawking, to the same spot in time? What has this got to do with Rama, a female computer program, impregnated by a strange ape? And, above all, why is it necessary for Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty to join forces so that the Fourth Circle can finally be closed?
And this is not a long book. 252 pages.