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August 30, 2006

Oh Boy, Sleep!

Last night a heavy duty thunderstorm rolled through about 2am. Lots of sturm und drang, bright lights, big kabooms, and so forth. Lisa went down the hall to check on Ian. I'd woken him up that evening assembling a recent IKEA purchase Lisa had made, and we were all worried he'd be lying in his crib, eyes like saucers, or some kind of dishware.

Nope. Sound asleep.

* * *

Saw that Mike Simanoff, the mind behind Little Toy Robot, passed away recently. He had linked to me way back when, seemingly for no other reason than he thought I was amusing. Never got the chance to meet him, even tho' he was an Atlanta blogger for a long time before moving to Chicago. Sigh. Vaya con Dios, little robot.

* * *

Finally, Greg's chapbook, Show and Tell and Other Stories, is out! Have you gotten your own copy yet? Have you read it? Have you devoured it? Have you stalked Greg incessantly until he made you a doodle of your own, to have and to hold forever and ever?

You haven't?

You sad, sad fool. How I pity you.

Reading: Show and Tell and Other Stories, by Greg van Eekhout; Twice in Time, by Manly Wade Wellman; In Lands That Never Were: Tales of Swords and Sorcery from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Gordon Van Gelder. That last was mentioned to me in a rejection letter I'd gotten from him a year or two ago.

August 26, 2006

Everyday Is BabyCon

Most everyone's at WorldCon this weekend, it seems. But not me. I'm at BabyCon. Whee! Here we can see the GOH wearing his nametag. Programming looks good, too. Eating, changing, napping, smiling & gurgling, tummy time, bathing, and so forth. I'm especially looking forward to the napping.


* * *

Finished the Prydain Chronicles. I'm pleased to see they held up pretty well, although I was surprised at how dark the last book was. Killing off minor but lovable characters will do that, I guess. But otherwise, I think Ian will enjoy them, once he gets a little older. I'm thinking six months or so.

In a related note, according to Wiki, the Disney version of "The Black Cauldron" was a flop. Partially because it was so very dark (Army of the Dead, woo!) as well as it not being a musical. Considering one of the characters was a bard, they had a perfect excuse to insert some songs, but chose not to. Now it languishes in obscurity. Ah well.

* * *

Found a pencil on the sidewalk outside the library yesterday morning. In all ways it's a perfectly good pencil. I mention it only because it says on it, "Proud to be Catholic" and then has a addy under it that takes you to the Archdiocese of Atlanta's web presence.

I didn't know pencils could have a religion. Do you think this applies to other writing utensils? Do I have Lutheran pens? A Buddhist word processor? Scientologist magic markers?

It's a complicated world.

Reading: Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, by Alan DeNiro. Also, in a skimming kind of way, The Book of Lost Books, by Stuart Kelly. Hey, it got a blurb from China MiƩville.

August 22, 2006

Memeormous

From out of the heart of the Internet, I am tagged for a meme by the redoubtable Ms. Ling. Ergo:

1. One book that changed your life?
Considering the makeup of the Internet, I wonder how many people put down The Player's Handbook or Dungeon Master's Guide? As for me, I'm thinking I'm going to have to go with The Lord of the Rings, as that and The Hobbit were the first real books I remember reading, and certainly sent me on the path I'm on today. See also #2.

2. One book you have read more than once?
There have been a lot of those. The earliest example would have been The Lord of the Rings, which I read obsessively as a child (see #1), until my mom took me to the library in a (successful) attempt to get me to read something else for a change.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
The Collected Works of Danielle Steele. Hey, I'll need toliet paper.

4. One book that made you laugh?
Would almost certainly have been written by Terry Pratchett.

5. One book that made you cry?
None come to mind, unless you count the time when I was eight and dropped a dictionary on my foot.

6. One book you wish had been written?
Sanditon, by Jane Austen. Started, never finished, as she died first. But it's supposed to be witty, like all Austen, and about hypochondria. My grandmother was a hypochondriac, so I have some interest in that.

7. One book you wish had never had been written?
You got me. I'm more likely to stop reading a book if it's not working for me on some level. So...My Plan To Kill Jon Hansen, by Arch Nemesis?

8. One book you are currently reading?
Currently it's Lloyd Alexander's The High King. I rather enjoyed the Prydain Chronicles as a lad, and as a newly minted father, I find myself thinking about books I enjoyed then.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
Only one? I've got a lot of books on my shelves I've been meaning to read. Fortunately, the read outnumber the unread at this point. One of them is A Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin. I keep hearing wonderful things about this book, but the last time I tried to read it several years ago I got a couple pages in, got distracted, and set it aside. It's still on the shelf, however.

10. Now tag five people.
No! I will not be a plague vector!

August 20, 2006

Fanservice

For Ian fans, that is. Behold! He's in jeans for the first time! Jeans that completely unbutton all along the inside of the legs, but still!


Reading: More Lloyd Alexander. The Castle of Llyr, and now Taran Wanderer.

August 18, 2006

I Just Like The Word

Signed up for an account on Writely.com. It's an online word processor, basically, letting you create documents without access to MS Word or any other word processing program. The company was apparently bought by Google not too long ago; I think they're going to implement a version of it alongside their online spreadsheets system (yes, you can make spreadsheets online; it's an option with your Google account, up in the top left corner). Clearly Google is looking to corner the online office system market. First step, I s'pose, is creating said market.

It's a pretty cool little system. Looks just like a word processor, with the standard formatting options: spacing, justification, fonts, and so forth. Plus it autosaves your work every ten seconds, which is handy. You can also upload Word or OpenOffice files, open and work on them online, then save them back to your machine. I can see this being popular with the students in the library: our computers don't have MS Word on them (campus computer labs for that), but this would be a good workaround in a pinch. Not that I'm planning on telling them this, of course. Let them find out about it themselves! Crazy plugged-in kids, with the MySpace this and the text messenging that! In my day, we coded our HTML by hand and we liked it!

Ahem.

Anyhoo, Writely also lets you share documents for the purposes of collaboration. You get one going, then send emails to people inviting them to, well, collaborate. I'm not sure how that part works, as yet. First, I'd need some collaborators. And then, well, something to collaborate on. Perhaps a plot, or a coup.

Reading: The Black Cauldron, by Lloyd Alexander.

August 17, 2006

Quite A Character

Oh my God, I am so there for this movie. So very, very, very there.

August 16, 2006

Woo, Cauldron-Born

Not one but two rejections recently: a 36 day pass from the anthology Horror Library II (I seem to have missed Horror Library I, more's the pity) and a smokin' hot 5 hour rejection yesterday from high-paying-new-market-that-gets-all-my-crap-from-now-on, Clarkesworld Magazine. Which is, incidentally, edited by Mr. Personality. I liked his list of his rejection ticks as well. I'll let you guess which one I got (it wasn't the "Hold").

Reading: After a brief scouring of used bookstores to acquire all five volumes, I'm starting a childhood favorite, The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, starring Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper. First up, The Book of Three.

August 15, 2006

Who Says Romance Is Dead?

Today is my and Lisa's anniversary! Our fourteenth, to be precise. So how are we celebrating? Why, we took Ian to get his very first set of vaccinations! That's right, we watched a medical professional jab our baby in the legs with needles. DTaP, Hep B, HiB, Polio, Prevnar, and the ever exciting Rotavirus. Whoo! Truly, we know how to live.

Despite his indignant protests, it went pretty well. Or rather, it went as well as could be expected. Right now he's sitting next to me in the office, sleeping off some grape flavored Children's Tylenol. He is, I mean. I wish I was.

In writerly news, got an 18 day rejection from Fantasy Magazine.

Reading: About to be Galaxies, by Barry Malzberg.

August 13, 2006

Aye Yam Cahming Fahr You, Rickee Bobbee

New word for Ian the other day: google!

If we'd had him seven years ago, it would've been yahoo, I have no doubt.

* * *

Back in May I attended the local hospital's edition of "Boot Camp for Dads." A requirement was to promise to come back with your baby and share your wisdom with other future dads. Thursday I got the call, asking me to come on Saturday. So I did.

Went pretty well, I think. There's nothing more amusing than bringing a baby into a room full of guys who are all about to become dads. They watch the babies like they're small bombs, or deadly cobras. Or possibly both: cobra bombs that explode into crying, vomiting fits. Fortunately, that didn't happen, for the most part. There was some fussing, but once I opened my bottle of Coke and had a few swigs, I was fine.

I think I even did well enough that they'll ask me back. They don't with everyone. The class moderator told the story of one new dad who was not asked to return. He told how he "put the baby on the sofa and went and got a beer. When I came back, the baby was on the floor. So I put him back on the sofa and got another beer. And wouldn't you know it, when I came back, the baby was back on the floor!"

To him, the moral of his story was get two beers the first time.

* * *

Today the grandparents (my folks) came over and watched Ian while Lisa and I went to the movies. Ah, babysitting. Went and saw Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, a movie recommended for fans of Will Ferrell, NASCAR, old Burt Reynolds car chase movies, comedy, and Sacha Cohen. Who, incidentally, steals the movie from Mr. Ferrell, I think. His Ali G. routine never worked for me, but he was friggin' hilarious. I'm now very interested in seeing his new movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

* * *

Finally: do the treadmill dance!

Reading: You're All Alone, by Fritz Leiber. I am?

August 11, 2006

Icebergs, Not Terrorists

My mother-in-law is flying to the UK tonight for her work. With the new travel restrictions in place, she'll be at the mercy of the British cosmetics industry. Lucky her. But on the bright side, I'm guessing her flight won't be that crowded.

Personally I think trans-Atlantic cruises should come back into fashion. No one ever hijacked a ship to crash it into a building. Although there is the risk of icebergs, piloted by polar bears upset over global warming.

August 08, 2006

Channeling Haley Joel Osment

This morning I went with my fellow librarians on our bi-annual excursion. Altho' I'm only working a couple days a week right now, due to our wee one's arrival, and one of those days isn't today, I agreed to come along and drive one of the vans. I'm just a nice guy that way.

This time it was to see Bodies: The Exhibition (warning: links to disconcerting pictures), a display of human anatomy in all its wonder using real human cadavers. Yes, that's correct. They've been put through some kind of futuristic process using polymers and silicone and vacuums and whatnot that keep them perfectly preserved. No doubt the technique would've interested the ancient Egyptians quite a bit. It's an impressive display of the glory of the human body. It's also rather...disturbing to look at.

After it was over I went to the gift shop and bought a pair of socks showing the various bones in the appropriate places. They also glow in the dark, which will come in handy at 3am feedings while walking down darkened hallways.

Reading: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. Also Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach.

August 07, 2006

Ambiguity

While struggling on the floor doing tummy time, Ian spoke his first word: "Elf!" Or possibly "Alf!" There's a bit of a difference, y'see.

Okay, it's possible we're reading too much into this.

Reading: Had been Feeling Very Strange, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel. Now? Hm.

August 03, 2006

Hmm

Sorting through the metric half-ton of papers in my bag. I often write longhand when sitting at the reference desk, and in the last five years have collected a remarkable amount of paper. It's all sorts of stuff: early drafts of stories, scenes, random openings and middles, titles, as well as a lot of stream of consciousness. Basically talking to myself on paper.

Attached to a list of possible titles for a story I sold to Inhuman is a sticky note. It says,

'Work in phrase "pink and fuckin' sparkly"'
I have no idea what I meant by that.

* * *

In the mail today got a copy of Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, sent to me by the illustrious James Patrick Kelly, who edited it along with John Kessel. It's a contributor's copy of sorts, as they quoted numerous folks from a conversation on Mr. Moles's blog. As one of the participants so quoted, I got a copy.

Of course, other people like Ben Rosenbaum and Hal Duncan and David Schwartz all made thoughtful and insightful comments, while my remarks were mostly of the snarky nature. Go with your strengths, I guess.

August 02, 2006

Strangers With Wireless

A service announcement: posting may be light here for a little while. During last night's (admitedly rare in these days of drought) thunderstorm, it appear our DSL modem got zapped in some way. At any rate, it's not getting power. And yes, it's plugged in.

Either way, until I figure it out what needs to be done, I'll have less to say. I'm having to post using Lisa's laptop and the unsecured wireless setup provided by our neighbors. I don't know if they're altruistic or ignorant, but it's mighty appreciated all the same.

Reading: Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen, and Conan, Vol. 3: The Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories, the Kurt Busiek graphic novel. A study in contrasts.