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February 28, 2006

Left Eye Lugubrious

I have an appointment to see an ophthalmologist tomorrow. Nothing wrong with my vision; no, my problem is that my left eye is apparently very depressed, as it keeps crying. Every so often, for no apparent reason it will suddenly burst into tears, as though it had been watching Sophie's Choice, or a shamelessly manipulative Kodak commercial. This has been going on for about a week and my right eye is sick of it. "Dude," it says, rolling itself as only an eye can. "Just stop it! You are totally embarrassing me!"

More later.

* * *

I've not spoken of my bow for a while, as there is nothing to report. No class last Saturday (state competition, all the coaches off shooting) and no class next Saturday (national competition, all the coaches off shooting).


Fortunately, all this time spent submitting stories and waiting for editors to get back to me has prepared me well. Dammit.

* * *

Have received the proofs for my part of Twenty Epics, and will be looking them over tonight. Hmm. Perhaps that's why my eye is depressed.

February 27, 2006

The Mind Boggles

Have you heard about that group that wants evangelicals to move to South Carolina, take over the government (lawfully, mind you) and set up some sort of Christian theocracy?

Well, here's a story about the Libertarian equivalent in Texas, albeit on the county level rather than the whole state. Money quote:

The goal, said an e-mail message attributed to a group member, was to move in enough Libertarians "to control the local government and remove oppressive regulations (such as planning and zoning, and building code requirements) and stop enforcement of laws prohibiting victimless acts among consenting adults such as dueling, gambling, incest, price-gouging, cannibalism and drug handling."
Cannibalism? I can't help but feel these guys must throw some really interesting parties.

Reading: Thieves of Baghdad, by Matthew Bogdanos (with William Patrick). Nonfiction about the looting of the Iraq National Museum during the fall of Baghdad and the Marine colonel/NY District Attorney who led the charge in recovering the artifacts (seems they still haven't found them all). An interesting read.

February 25, 2006

International Embarrass Yourself As An Artist Day


Go ahead and post the awfullest, grottiest, ancientest piece of juvenilia you still have a word processor that will open. Then you can congratulate yourself on how far you've come.
Oh, God. Do you remember in my quiz a week or two ago, how I mentioned my first story rejection from MZB? It was for this story, under the cut. It has never seen the light of day since, and is very very bad.

Reading: Lost Stories, by Dashiell Hammett, ironically enough.

Avert Your Eyes, I Beg Of You!

Turning Over A New Leaf

The doorbell rang, and she answered it. At the door was a tall good-looking man elegantly dressed. He smiled warmly at her. "Hi, pretty lady." They kissed.

"Hi, handsome. Have a seat, I'll be ready in a minute." She disappeared into the bedroom. He took a seat in the living room.

"How was your day?" Her voice came, distant down the hall.

He ran a hand through his dark hair. "Fine, fine. One more day for the closing arguments, then all we can do is wait."

"Does it look good?"

"Oh, yeah. Those treehuggers don't stand a chance."

"Really? How come?" She struggled with a zipper.

"Their attorney is a joke! He's some leftover hippie who just babbles on about Mother Earth and how we're all her children, and we should take care of her." He laughed sneeringly. "Totally dodged the issue. The fact remains that they broke into the plant and destroyed over three million dollars worth of equipment. They haven't got a leg to stand on."

"That's nice." She sounded polite but distracted. The doorbell rang again. "Get the door, would you?"

"No problem." He opened the door.

"Floral delivery." Before him was a small man, holding a flower in one outstretched hand. He wore a long robe of green with golden threads running over it in odd patterns.

"What's this?" He said.

"Floral delivery," repeated the deliveryman. "Sign here. Oh, wait, there's a card."

He signed automatically and looked back up. "Who's this from?..." he started to say, but the little man was gone. He shrugged and closed the door.

"Who was that, honey?" She called from the bathroom.

"Floral delivery....or so they said."

"What kind is it?"

He stared at the flower, confused. It was like no flower he had ever seen before. The petals were a bright green and the stem was a deep, deep purple. He stared at it until she called to him again and he answered absently. "A rose, I think.... Who would send this to you?"

She laughed. "It's probably from my husband. He's always doing that sort of thing."

He raised an eyebrow. "I didn't know you were married."

"Separated, actually."

"What's he do for a living?" He laid the flower on the coffee table, still staring at it.

"Oh....nothing, really. His family has a great deal of property off...somewhere and he lives off the rent. He's never worked a day in his life, really. He just sort of hangs around with those activist groups, the kind your firm is suing."

He frowned. "I still don't know what you do for a living. And this is our third date!"

"Nothing worth mentioning. Besides, he sends me a check every month or so."

He smiled. "So, I'm consorting with the enemy. What's his name?"

She leaned around the corner, smiling mysteriously. "Open the card and find out."

"Hold on." He ripped open the envelope and scanned the lines quickly. "That's funny," he muttered.

"Who's it from?"

"Doesn't say. It's a poem, or lines from a play....Say, how did you know there was a card?"

She laughed again, sounding somehow nervous. "Oh, isn't there always?"

"Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, fine, really." She brushed her hair, frowning. "Look, why don't you put that in something?"

"Hmm. Good idea." He walked in the kitchen, filled a glass with water. He placed the flower in it, but suddenly snatched his hand back with a cry. He set the glass down and sucked on his thumb.

"What's the matter?"

"Poked myself on a thorn...Jesus! They must be an inch long!"

"You better wash it, just in case. Need to watch out for germs."

He ran the water again, wincing as he eased his hand under the stream. Two blinking yellow eyes, sleepy, peered out from under the table. "Hey there, kitty. How are you?" A sudden hiss, dark fur moved through his legs like a shot. "Nice to see you, too," he muttered.

"What's with Othello?"

"Othello...the cat? Beats me." His hand felt warm.

"He's never done that before.... Are you all right?" She came down the hallway, a question on her face. Her yellow hair flowed over perfumed red silk. "How's this look?"

"You look great." He shook his head, feeling light-headed. "I'm starting to feel kind of dizzy. Let me sit down for a minute or two."

"Fine," she said. She sat, poised, elegant, every inch the lady.

He looked over at her and smiled faintly. He heard a faint buzzing in his ears. He shivered, suddenly chilled. He strove to maintain control. "Why won't you tell me what you do for a living?"

"Oh, come now. I thought you men of power love mysterious women that appear from nowhere and are irresistibly swept into your arms...."

He snorted. "Swept, my ass. You approached me." His stomach rolled slightly. He winced. "Oh God, I feel horrible. It was food poisoning. Has to be. That damned sushi bar."

She laughed. "No, it isn't."

He stared at her. Sweat beaded on his forehead. "What are you talking about?" His mouth felt full of cotton, stifling his words. His hand began to throb now, surging with his every breath.

She smiles at him, a cold, terrible smile. "You'll see, darling. This won't take long."

"What are you talking about?" He repeated. Then suddenly he stopped. He looked down at his hand, at his thumb where the thorn pricked it. He stared at it, at what was growing there. His eyes bulged slightly. He doubled over, trembling.

Then he screamed. And she sat there, calmly watching him. She continued to smile pleasantly, as though he was telling a joke and she was awaiting the punchline.

His body erupted off the sofa, twisting in agony. His skin grew dark and rough, clothes shredding as his body stretched and thickened. His head lengthed, twisting into a mockery of what it once was. His mouth opened to scream but did not, could not. And his eyes, his eyes sunk into what was no longer his face, becoming deep dark holes that stared at her still, stared at her joyously smiling face.

What was once a man trembled with hate, and it reached out a long branch-arm for her, to crush her, destroy her, destroy that smile. But lightly she moved away, laughing mockingly.

And then she raised her arms and threw back her head and cried aloud, a great shout. The floor surged beneath them and then the room disappeared.

They stood in a great clearing, surrounded by a forest of mighty trees. The air was crisp and clean, and the sun shone down, warm and bright and also clean, somehow. The sunlight struck the tree-man, warming it with its radiance. It reached its great branches towards the light, spreading its dark green leaves wide. The tree-man seemed to tremble, and then grew still.

"Aye, you'll do. You'll do indeed." The little man in the green robe stepped out of the air, nodding in satisfaction.

The tree-man bent slightly, bowing to the little man.

"Hear me well. Once you were a man and mortal, but no more. Now you are my subject bound to me and mine by my power. Go and join your fellows. Soon the signal will be given and we shall march and crush the nations of Man beneath us." He gestured to the forest, and the great treeman shambled forward and joined the other trees. They stood there, like soldiers waiting for a command to be given.

The little man turned back and smiled at the tall woman. The little man laughed with delight, and then changed, growing tall and sweet. The two embraced, kissing. The trees watched them silently.

Finally they separated, smiling still. "How many more, my lord Oberon?" whispered the lady.

The man laughed again. "Titania, my love, are you so anxious to begin our conquest?"

"Not so, my king. I merely want to be with you for a while, before I must take up with another of these rude mortals," she pretended to pout and he laughed again, silvery and ringing.

"Soon, my queen. There remain only a few before we can begin. A general, an ambassador, a head of state." Then the two of them laughed together and began to dance to distant elfin music. They whirled and spun to the swirling music, while the trees stood and stared at them. Waiting.

February 24, 2006

More Things I Now Know

The term "shipping" as applied to fan fiction. In a related note, that there's a fanfiction convention in Atlanta this summer. Go figure.

That Andy's stomach is apparently quite intolerant of Science Diet® Indoor Cat food. And that Oxiclean continues to be the best way to clean up vomit stains in carpet. I look forward to using this knowledge starting in June, by the way.

That Cute Overload continues to be a lovely way to perk myself up. Running a close second, Stuff on my Cat.

That there is a theme song for Glaucoma. Yes, the disease. No, really. It's like something out of Monty Python, a resemblance only increased by the Gilliamesque heads shuffling around top left of the AIG website.

That my parents think my journal entries have an awful lot of links in them. Uh, sorry, guys.

Recently Read: Flashman on the March, by George MacDonald Fraser.

February 19, 2006

Tickery Tockery

94 day form rejection from Intergalactic Medicine Show. Included the amusing line, "you are free to submit it elsewhere."

Why yes, yes I am.

* * *

I have added a Baby Countdown to these pages (to the right, just above the snuggling cats). This will help me panic more efficiently when I think about all that still needs to be done. For example:

Less than ten million seconds to go! Aaahhh!
Yeah, that'll work nicely.

Reading: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman.

February 17, 2006

Curse You, Divinyls

A 9 day rejection from Flesh & Blood. So noted.

This story amused me no end. Best line for me: "libraries are not the hotbed of looking at porn sites." So true. We've got no more than a half-dozen, er, repeat viewers or so, which doesn't make much of a hotbed. They tend to choose the machines in the back facing the reference desk so they can see our approach.

Of course, you can still sneak up on them by threading through reference and taking a sharp left at the New York Times index. Then they've got all of one second before I can see what's on their screen. And when I do, it's truly amazing how many people are staring intently at the library home page. Fascinating, it must be.

(Truly, we don't care if people look at porn, as long as it's not kiddie porn. Oh, and that you're not, y'know, touching yourself in that special way. Ew.)

February 14, 2006

Happy Hallmark Greeting Card Day

Bah, institutionalized romance. Why can't be Valentine's Day be like it used to be?:

Different authorities believe Valentine's Day began in various ways. Some trace it to an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia...The ancient Romans held the festival of Lupercalia on February 15 to ensure protection from wolves. During this celebration, young men struck people with whips of animal hide. Women took the blows because they thought the whipping made them more fertile.
I know, that doesn't fit on a greeting card very easily. Ergo, bah. Or perhaps, feh. At any rate, I'll just wait until tomorrow for one of my favorite days: 50% Off Heart-Shaped Boxes of Chocolates Day.

February 13, 2006

Is That A Train?

Five day pass from Baen's Universe, but they did say I was on the right track.

Still no word on the bow. And in other Saturday backstory, the circus was fun, although I'm not particularly inclined to run away and join it. Just as well. The animals were beautiful and sad, the acrobats & daredevils astounding, the clowns amusing, and the ringmaster, in an attempt to prove his worth, sang. A lot. I question this development. We left a little before the end, because a pregnant lady can only handle so much sitting in a less than completely comfortable chair. We walked out through the CNN center, as it was both cold & windy outside. Kept my eyes peeled for Judy Fortin or some other talking head, but no luck.

Look! Synchronized babies!

Reading: Just completed Doug Lain's collection Last Week's Apocalypse. Doug's got some freaky stuff there; well worth the read, thinks I. Then it was Alan Moore's America's Best Comics antho, and now reading Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit, by Gary K. Wolf, a sequel to both the original book and the movie, at the same time, despite the obvious differences between the two.

February 09, 2006

"He's like a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a vest."

In the interests of assessing my audience (and vice versa) why don't you take the Quiz and check your knowledge of Me.

You give your hand to me and then you say, "Hello,"
and I can hardly speak; my heart is beating so
and anyone can tell you think you know me well,
but you don't know me

No, you don't know the one who dreams of you at night,
and longs to kiss your lips and longs to hold you tight
to you I'm just a friend; that's all I've ever been,
oh, you don't know me.

February 06, 2006

Oh Boy

Lisa returned from Florida bearing gifts of her sister's friend: lots and lots of baby clothes, enough to keep our progeny dressed for a year, I should think. Lisa mentioned in passing that we might be changing our boy three or four times a day. I said, "Why, just because we can?" She then reminded me about the likelihood of him spitting up on himself. To which I say, "Oh. Right."

Clearly I'm in trouble.

* * *

On the downside, Shadows of Saturn has gone the way of so many other short fiction markets. But on the bright side, I can now dispense with future titling woes by using this handy generator.

February 04, 2006

Word No Word

25 day polite rejection from the Fortean Bureau, accompanied by their congratulations on the forthcoming young'un. Thanks, editors!

Still no bow. Will attempt to remain strong.

Currently Reading: Crystal Rain, by Tobias S. Buckell.

Lions And Tigers And Elephants

This fine Thursday morning I'm waiting here for the termite guy to look around the inside of our house and tell us we don't have any termites. At any rate, that's what I'm hoping he'll say. I've no reason to suspect otherwise, but you never know. Our walls could be teeming with the wood-eating vermin, chewing away at our equity. Or they could be filled with pirate gold. One never knows.

[Update: No termites. Also, no pirate gold. Guess everything's a tradeoff.]

Yesterday afternoon Lisa IM'd me from work to say hello. Unsurprisingly, she's been pretty tired lately (helping someone grow a liver and bones and a heart is pretty exhausting), and when she gets home, all she can manage to do is have dinner and then sit quietly, trying not to fall asleep in front of the TV. So she said she wanted to do something fun this weekend, something we've never done before. I resisted the urge to make a few dirty jokes (never, ever, ever antagonize a pregnant woman), and we now have tickets to the circus this weekend. I think the last time I went to the circus, I was in third or fourth grade. Very excited.

Finished Toby's book, and was quite pleased. Looking forward to the sequel, man.

Now Reading: Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, by Gary K. Wolf. It's all part of my new entertainment strategy: see the movie, then eighteen years later, read the book.

February 03, 2006

Buy This Book

Toby's book, Crystal Rain, is out on shelves now. If you're wondering what's in it, he's got some chapters up online to help you make up your mind. And if you like it, why not buy it? I mean, c'mon. It's got aliens, human sacrifice, airships, daring-do, and other kickassness. What's not to love?

In more personal news, a 22 day rejection from F&SF for me. And on we go.

February 01, 2006

Bake Bake Bake

Big doctor's appointment tomorrow: the big ultrasound, where they measure the bun in oven and see how it's doing compared with a standard scale of other buns. If you all promise to be good, I promise I won't convert it to Quicktime and upload it here.

Have paused on the Warlord story for a bit. Needed to work through a couple things.

Lisa's going out of town Friday to visit her sister down in Florida, and so I will be left to my own devices. And how do I prepare for this impending weekend of temporary bachelorhood? How else? I made banana bread. No, really.