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April 30, 2005

Misty Mountain Hopped Away

Driving back from the movies (Hitchhiker's Guide, which successfully amused) this evening, we noticed that Kennesaw Mountain had disappeared. Nothing but low-hanging clouds in its place, edging up against very wet trees. It does that on rainy days, and I wonder where it goes. Lisa thinks it's on vacation. A fine idea.

Still raining outside, the kind of light mist that you don't notice until you're standing in it for a while.

Reading: Mr. Gaiman's Stardust, a lovely little fairy tale.

April 28, 2005

The First Amendawhozit?

A 5 day rejection from ASIM for a brace of poems.

Oh, and here's another politician giving the South a bad name. Sigh. At least it wasn't Georgia again. I'd dearly love to see a constitutional amendment requiring that before any lawmaker, state or federal, can take office, they have to be able to recite the complete Bill of Rights without a teleprompter before a live studio audience of ACLU lawyers. Is that so much to ask?

[Update: It's been asserted that the ACLU isn't so enthusiastic about gun rights as the other rights. Fine. Throw in a few NRA lawyers too, just to round things out.]

(via S. L. Viehl)

Reading: Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan. Far future noir and winner of the 2003 Philip K. Dick award. Zippy. And messy.

April 26, 2005

Lone Star Fantastique

Payment arrived today from Lone Star Stories. Fabulous. May the gods smile kindly upon every publication that pays on acceptance.

Reading: Got a graphic novel from the library (yes, libraries carry graphic novels). It's Conan Volume 1: The Frost Giant's Daughter And Other Stories, penned by Kurt Busiek of Astro City fame. It's a clear improvement for Conan; he started out well with Frazetta, but sank somewhat during the Marvel years before hitting rock bottom by the '90s. Busiek's version is clearly a move in the right direction for the moody Cimmerian.

Update: edited to make it slightly more legible.

April 25, 2005

Wanted: New Gatekeeper

Hm. Interesting news: I see that Carina has resigned her position as slush reader for Realms of Fantasy. My guess is that it might be best not to send them anything until they hire someone else.

April 24, 2005

Nobody Expects The Antish Inquisition

Abyss & Apex coughs up the dough for "Erin and the Dinosaurs." Woo! I sing tra la la about the room. Carefully, of course. If there's one thing my cats are good at, it's tripping me when I'm trying to sing and dance. You'd think they were music critics.

Also: here's a cheerful little story from the BBC. It's about a species of ant in the Amazon that "builds elaborate traps on which hapless prey are stretched like medieval torture victims, before being slowly hacked to pieces." Wonder what Intelligent Design proponents would say about that?

Reading: The Marriage of Sticks, by Jonathan Carroll.

April 23, 2005

Zoom

19 minute rejection on a poem from Flesh & Blood. Boy, when the editor's sitting right there, eh?

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

Yesterday brought a 22 day personal rejection from Talebones for a couple poems. "Fun, but not for us."

Yesterday also brought much needed rain, along with plenty of thunder & lightning, sturmunddrang that would've made a nice backdrop to any Victorian mystery. Lisa and I sat in her upstairs office, watching the show through the window as we waited for the traditional follow thru: power goes out, shots fired, maid screams, lights come back up to reveal the Lord of the Manor sprawled dead in his dressing gown.

Hmm. That's technically me, so I guess it's a good thing it didn't happen.

Reading: Was The Book of Fritz Leiber, now is The Wanderer, by Fritz Leiber.

April 22, 2005

"Throw Our Lives Away, Listening to Things That Never Were"

Louie Armstrong's 'Oops! I Did It Again'

Oh, dear God. Here's a bit of alternate history for ya: Louis Armstrong's original recording of "Oops! I Did It Again".

"Oops! I Did It Again" was recorded in April, 1932 in a Chicago Studio, most likely Nearlie's or West and Fourth. Cut for the Decca label by Louis Armstrong and elements of Zilner Randolph's touring group, "Oops!" failed to make the chart impact of "All of Me," another side recorded in the same session, and soon fell out of print.

The song remained all-but-forgotten until sixty years later when a young Britney Spears sent her interpretation of the Armstrong tune all the way to the top of the charts.

Yeah, that's going on the 'pod.

(via By The Way...)

Generic Post

Another editor doesn't buy my work, unless they do. Something bizarre and amusing from the news or the internet is linked to, and I end with a world-weary observation about the day job. Oh, and here's the five books I read this week.

Now go update your journal/blog/lj/etc. with a generic post that fits the tenor of your journal.

(via Tim)

April 20, 2005

Bright Lone Star

Oh, a sale to report. I'm very pleased to announce that Lone Star Stories has accepted my flash piece, "No Mosquito Is A God." It'll be in their June/July ish. Whee!

And in other news, a public service is now available for you webheads. Is your monitor dirty, making it hard to read? This service will clean your screen for you, free of charge. If there's trouble connecting, wait a bit and then try again. I'm sure it'll soon be quite popular.

April 19, 2005

He Says They've Already Got One

Greg's been writing flash fiction roughly every day, simply as a writing warmup. If you're not reading his little exercises, you are a foolish, foolish person and no one can help you. Words so far to date are "vortex," "recidivism," "oasis," and "moonlight," with more to follow.

Seven day rejection from GvG at F&SF. Among the usual "didn't grab," he also says he's already got a Zeus story in his inventory. Curse you, Jaye Lawrence, for getting there first!

Oh, and this got some mention at work today: the Landmark Citation Machine. When fed the particulars (title, author, type of work, etc.), it'll produce a correctly formatted citation. APA or MLA style. Normally this might produce a "back in my day..." Grumpy Old Man response, but not this time. Stupid citation formats always were a nuisance, back when I had to worry about them.

Reading: Just finished Strange Eons, by Robert Bloch, which I had bought for a quarter at the library booksort. Am now going to have a look at Men and Cartoons: Stories, by Jonathan Lethem.

April 17, 2005

Reservoir Rabbits

I'm not sure what's up with these two bunnies, but they clearly appear to be leading the Tarantino lifestyle. Music's cool, too.

Update: For those of you wondering about the music in this little number. It's a song called "Bossa Astoria," originally done by the Hungarian band ZAGAR and remixed by Eric Sumo, a member of Euro DJ group the Crate Soul Brothers. Here: links to mp3 versions of Zagar's original and Sumo's remix. The differences are interesting. The original sounds like the theme song to a East European James Bond movie from 1978.

April 16, 2005

Considered Good

16 day personal rejection from Ideomancer. Apparently I made the first readers giggle, but they still didn't bite. Back out it goes.

Went to meet the in-laws for breakfast over in Sandy Springs, and found ourselves caught by a parade two blocks from the cafe. Not sure what the parade was about; but the people walking in it were all carrying big bunches of green balloons.

Might've been a Yay Spring! parade. Might've been a Yay Balloons! parade. So hard to say.

But soon they let us go, and we met Lisa's folks. Breakfast was fine. My father-in-law is apparently flying to Korea tomorrow for a three-hour meeting. Have I mentioned I'm how glad I am that I don't work for Corporate America? No? Consider it mentioned.

I spent the rest of the day doing house stuff, and consider it a good day.

Reading: Eric Idle's The Greedy Bastard Diary, the travel diary of his recent North American tour.

April 15, 2005

Roar, Y'all

A new dinosaur has been discovered in south Alabama and Georgia. It's a smaller cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, tho' presumably with a fondness for sweet tea to wash down that barbecued herbivore.

Best part, I think, is the name: Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis, which means, "the Appalachian lizard from Montgomery County."

What's The Problem With IRS?

Today's the day that traditionally everyone complains about the IRS. I don't see why. For a record company, they're not so bad. They gave us all sorts of good music: the Police, R.E.M., Oingo Boingo, XTC, and more. That stuff was pretty much the soundtrack of my youth. I think their artists deserved all the money we spent on them. Besides, they're out of business now, so what's the big deal?

Oh, wait. You mean these guys. Yeah, they're hardasses. My bad. Never mind.

April 14, 2005

Zounds

Oy. Just got rejected from Vestal Review. Time elapsed from submission: one hour, five minutes, eight seconds.

Very, um, efficient.

Wi-Fi In The Sky

13 day rejection from the folks at Café Irreal.

It's a gorgeous, simply gorgeous day outside. The sun is shining and not a cloud in that blue, blue sky. It's the kind of day where in the not-too-distant future we'll look up and say, "hey, I think I can see the stratellite™!"

Best of all, the rain came through this morning and washed a lot of the pollen away. If you've never been in these parts in the spring, pine pollen covers everything, giving it a nice yellow sheen. But the rain has cleaned off a fair amount of it. And good. Now my car's not looking quite so jaundiced, and a good thing, says I.

Reading: Some stuff. Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast, by Jane Yolen, and now A Conflagration Artist by Bradley Denton.

April 12, 2005

Free, But For How Long?

28 day response from Strange Horizons on a poem. And so it goes.

The Era of Free Printing continues. The missing piece has arrived from Arizona, carried on the wings of FedEx. As soon as they can get it installed, that'll be it. Of course, they've been working on it for about four hours now, so it's clearly not an easy fix.

Truly, these are the glory days of Documents Unrestrained, of Dissemination Uncontrolled. And some day we will look back on them with pride and say, "The legends are true. I was there. I saw it happen."

Long live Free Print!

April 11, 2005

Free, Free, Set Me Free

33 day rejection from Fortean Times. And so forth.

Back to work today. 'Twasn't too bad regarding jet lag, but we were pretty busy. Turns out Sunday something happened with the printing system on campus; specifically, something happened to the part that handles exchanging money for printouts. It went kablooey, and the closest place a replacement can be found is Arizona.

And, since this is prime printing time what with the papers and researching and the approaching end of the semester, the university decided what they'd have to do is make printing and copying free.

Free. Documents long and short, in black & white or color, on letter-size or legal-size or 11"x17" paper. Free, all free, until the part comes in from Arizona.

We were told not to say anything, but naturally, most folks notice immediately if they don't get charged for that sixty page powerpoint presentation from Econ. So people have been, well, printing. A lot.

Clearly this would've been the day for me to make eighteen copies of my five hundred page manuscript to send out to agents. 'Cept I don't have such a manuscript. Ah well.

Reading: Why, a book of poetry. The Last Oblivion: Best Fantastic Poetry of Clark Ashton Smith. Fantastic indeed. Here, the opening of his eleventy-jillion line opus, "The Hashish Eater; Or, the Apocalypse of Evil":

Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-colored sun
Of secret worlds incredible, and take
Their trailing skies for vestment when I soar,
Throned on the mounting zenith, and illume
The spaceward-flown horizon infinite.
Catchy.

April 10, 2005

Tropism Asks, I Answer

The interview meme has come round again, and I, for one, welcome it. Last time Jason interviewed me, and now Tim does me the honor:

1.) Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress? Why?

Ah, Library of Congress. No question.

My official librarian reason is that Dewey Decimal does a poor job in handling large collections, never mind the fact that it doesn't do fiction.

My unofficial librarian reason is that I greatly enjoy the look on the students' faces in my bib instruction sessions when I tell them, "Unlike Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress uses letters and numbers. Don't worry about what the letters stand for, because they don't mean a damn thing." It's the one point when I'm guaranteed a laugh.

2.) One morning: Poof! Your cats can talk! What's the first thing they say to you?

By an amazing coincidence, my brother did this exact question as a presentation in elementary school. My dad took pictures, Paul wrote a script, and we taped narration to go along with a slideshow. As I recall, I played the voice of our cat Franklin, providing all sorts of factual information about the lives of cats from the encyclopedia and elsewhere. Sadly, none of it was really insider stuff, like the best techniques to picking sunny spots, or how to run down a rabbit larger than you, or how to dash across the street in front of the mail truck without spending another life.

Having said that, I'd like to think my cats would offer such useful insights, but probably it'd be more along the lines of, "If you leave the lid off the food bucket tonight, we promise not to wake you up at 5am for breakfast any more."

3.) If you had to give up reading fiction, or give up writing fiction, which would you choose?

Clearly, as if I want to be a Serious Artiste, my answer should be that I'd give up reading fiction. But that would be such a blatant and shameless lie I won't even attempt it. I'd give up writing first.

4.) You have unimpeachable evidence that a high-ranking US government official (not the president, but say a Cabinet position) is actually a hideous alien monster from beyond the stars, with uncertain motives, in human disguise. What, if anything, do you do with this information?

It's Donald Rumsfeld. Isn't it? It would explain a lot. C'mon, you can tell me.

Many things come to mind. One would be to write a novel fictionalizing the event, then get it in front of an agent right at the same time the media finds out about Secretary Kodos. With luck a publishing house bidding war would break out, and I'd get to save the world and get a best-seller at the same time.

The one thing I'd really want to do, however, would be to try and figure out some way to make sure that, when it finally does come out, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, & the rest can't pin responsibility for it on liberals.

5.) Would you rather be blind, deaf, or have a neurological disorder that made it impossible for you differentiate one face from another but that otherwise left your vision unchanged?

Frankly, I think I'm already starting to suffer from the last two. People keep coming up to the reference desk, greeting me like old pals and talking like I've helped them many times before. Whole time I'm thinking, "Have we met?" And then I have to ask them to repeat themselves because I can't hear a thing they're saying. Mumblers, the lot of them. But if I can only pick one, I'll go with deafness, because I could still read (probably be a lot easier to concentrate, actually), and I could always get a cochlear implant.

Rules to be included if you want to play:

  1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
  2. I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
  3. You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
  4. You'll include this explanation.
  5. You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

So, Portland

Had an interesting time, with highs most high and lows quite low. Lisa attended a conference for work, and I got to tag along, as much of the other expenses were paid for.

It rained every day we were there. Not unexpected, but startling after years of drought in Georgia. Also, moss grows on everything, as far as I could tell, which makes it all look extremely old, no matter its actual age.

I got to see Powell's, bookstore to end all bookstores. Ah, heaven. Sadly, I was not permitted to sign the famed writers' post (here Tim Powers shakes his fist, warning the unworthy away). I was also surprised to not see signatures by local writers, such as Jay Lake. And he won the Campbell last year! Truly, no respect. Or, I am unobservant and missed his signature. Otherwise, I bought a ridiculous number of books.

We also drove around a lot, inside the city and out. We drove west to Seaside, and ate in a restaurant as we watched people fly giant lobster kites on the beach. We drove east through the Columbia Gorge (please excuse the raindrop on the lens. did I mention it rained a lot?) and saw Multnomah Falls. We drove north into Washington to see Mount St. Helens in its "constant eruptive state." Here, a picture of me standing in front of the mountain, doing my best to uphold the tourist tradition of driving many miles to see some landmark, then standing in front of said landmark and being photographed. "Standing in front of" being a relative term, of course. I'm about five, six feet from Lisa with the camera. The volcano is about twenty-four miles behind me. Oh, it's some pretty country out there, let me tell you.

The lows I won't get so much into, except to say that the Doubletree at the Lloyd Center was easily, hands down, bar none, the worst hotel I've ever stayed at. Possibly my views are colored by the fact that Tuesday night I got food poisoning from an order of appetizers from the hotel bar, and spent the night convulsing quite painfully. Fortunately, I was able to recover by spending Wednesday in a semi-conscious state. So if you do decide to stay there, don't get the chicken nachos in the bar. Oh, and there's no wi-fi access, and it costs $10 a day to use the room internet hookup.

Otherwise, we had a good time. I'd like to go back without being poisoned. Perhaps in the summer when it's a bit dryer. Winter might be interesting as well. I bet they get a fair bit of snow.

Reading: After visiting Powell's, are you surprised to hear this? Books included Mention My Name in Atlantis by John Jakes, Terry Pratchett's The Bromeliad Trilogy, and a bit of airplane fluff called The Second Assistant, by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare.

April 09, 2005

Rains A Lot There, Doesn't It?

I'm back.

If you're wondering where I was, the answer: Portland.

Details later, after I sleep the sleep of the sleepy.

April 02, 2005

Feeling Writerly

There's three times when I feel most like a writer. Curiously, none of them are when I'm actually, y'know, putting words on paper, be it real or virtual. No, those points are:

1) When I have completed a first draft of something and have not yet started to go over it to check for suckage.
2) When I have everything deemed fit for market, out to market.
3) When I something I sold first comes out in print.

Currently I'm in state #2, having gotten everything back out there (plus a short-short I'd forgotten I'd spruced up and had all ready to go. Think I was waiting on the right market for that one).

Also, as regards to writerly appearances: I will not, sadly, be attending WisCon or either of Toby's Writing Jams. The first because I'm going to Illinois to see my sister-in-law do the graduation thing, the second because I'm going to Los Angeles to see my brother get married. Also, I'm the best man, so there might be some trouble if I didn't show up. For one thing, my mom would hurt me.

It's also not that these events all conflict on the calendar, but there are costs involved. Plane fare, hotels, and so forth (I'm not made of money, people!).

Haven't made up my mind about World Fantasy this year in the wilds of Wisconsin. I'd like to go. Had a blast last year. The only place in Wisconsin I've ever been before is Oshkosh, which to be honest, didn't do a lot for me.

Possibly I could be induced by hearing about other people who will be there. I can be enticed, after all.

Reading: I have now finished all those books I borrowed from other libraries. Now I can sleep at night.