They actually still have to approve it at Goodreads. Hopefully it will look less anemic later.
Many years ago, Arthur E and I were driving somewhere, and we saw a spotlight sweeping back and forth across the sky. The following exchange ensued:
You are the final arbiter in the upcoming Universal Declaration of Human Rights! The peoples of the world have chosen various potential rights. You, and you alone, decide which one from each section of rights we all will get. Choose wisely!Poll #1947624
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 10
Some sections are easy!
Side note: Which of these had the most input into the right-choosing process?
Some sections are harder choices for one reason…
Some sections are harder choices for another reason…
Some are harder for a third reason…
Because if you don't, you might confuse North Korea for South Korea.
Also, hearing a congressman admit that he's only asking a question to make himself look good, and that he actively doesn't want an answer, is almost refreshing, in a "Congressional Republicans now look to Councilman Jeremy Jamm as their role model" sense.
This morning, I've been putting the final touches to a new talk, which I'll be giving at the Ocean County College tomorrow.
The whole thing started off as a variation of the 'I are a writer!' presentation I give at school assemblies. Since this talk is primarily for adults (most of whom aren't writers), as opposed to school kids (most of whom aren't writers), I made lots of alterations. In fact, I changed so many things it's become a different presentation completely.
I still have a section on what it's like being a writer in the 21st century, but a good 80% of it is new. I talk about stories in general: how they affect us at a primal level, how they influence our opinions, shape our ambitions and (sometimes) even impact the world. Not that it's particularly serious. I find my talks go down better when I make them lighthearted in tone.
The trouble is, I'm having a spot of bother thinking up a title for the darned thing. The best I can come up with so far is, The Power of Stories, but none of my ideas have me galloping down the street shouting 'Eureka!' - which is probably just as well 'cause it's blooming cold outside today.
How about you?
Care to suggest a title for a talk on the power of stories?
by Caren Gussoff
Note: Part One appears here: Lit Fic Mags for Spec Fic Writers 101
This may seem totally obvious, but is actually worth a deeper dive: if you want to market your speculative fiction to literary markets, it has to be significantly literary. Literary markets, though they may protest that they do not like/accept/read speculative fiction, actually do publish fiction with fantastic and futuristically elements all the time. But these stories are also, usually, highly literary. So, before you start packing up stories and entering them into the slush waiting room, you should really discern whether a literary audience is the appropriate audience for your piece…since this is the single most important thing editors will be subconsciously reading for.
Defining “literary” is slippery. If you search around, writers, teachers, and critics have written countless — often contradictory — descriptions of what makes something literary (verses mainstream or for a general readership/”popular”). They discuss everything from what the fiction looks like on the page to the authorial intent behind the piece as “qualifiers” (there’s also the derogatory saws about lit fic: that it is, by nature, self-indulgent, elitist in language and subject matter, or the cookie-cutter end-result of too many writer’s workshops and MFA programs).
In terms of speculative fiction, the shorthand has often been that anything far on either side of the continuum (sword and sorcery on one side, hard sci fi on the other) is usually not literary, while those in the muddy middle — such as urban fantasy, magical realism and soft sci fi, for instance — can be literary.
After I posted my Convention Harassment Policy Starter Kit, I learned about a study Nicole Stark had done about harassment policies at fan conventions. Stark’s article is available on Google Docs, here. I’ve seen a fair amount of discussion on harassment policies and why we do or don’t need to worry about them, but this is the first example I’ve seen of a more rigorous academic survey and discussion of harassment policies. Stark gave me permission to link to her paper, and to discuss some of the highlights.
From the abstract:
This study uses content analysis to evaluate a sample of 288 fan convention websites. These conventions took place within the United States from March to November 2013. The analysis was used to determine how common sexual harassment policies are and their characteristics. This study examined both frequencies and descriptions of codes of conduct, including promoted and prohibited rules, sanctions, reporting guidelines, and the existence of a sexual harassment or general harassment policy. Less than half of the sample contained any behavioral policy at all. Those behavioral policies that were present were found to be generally informal, unstructured, and devoid of a sexual harassment policy. However, many policies contained rules that could be used in the prevention of sexual harassment. These rules, when made clear and recognizable, may work as effective policy in informal spaces. (Page 2)
Stark opens by discussing an instance of sexual harassment from New York Comic Con, and goes on to note that:
A study on sexual harassment policy in manufacturing firms revealed that an available written policy resulted in a 76 percent reduction in one year’s reports (Moore and Bradley 1997).
In other words, to anyone arguing there’s no need for a sexual harassment policy, there is actual research showing that such a policy can significantly reduce sexual harassment.
I expect some people to protest that a convention isn’t the workplace, and that’s true. There are likely to be some differences in the dynamics and effects of a harassment policy in a convention space vs. a workplace. But the underlying premise and conclusion here is pretty straightforward: “We created a written policy on sexual harassment, and sexual harassment decreased significantly.”
I assume most people would like to see sexual harassment at conventions decrease significantly as well. Ergo, creating a written policy seems like a really basic and obvious first step.
Stark’s sample comes from the costume.org website’s list of upcoming conventions. The cons were all from 2013, all located in the U.S., and included media, anime, literary, gaming, comics, relaxicons, and more. So what did she find in her study?
Of the 288 convention websites, 59.38% had no listed policy on their website in regards to behavior or code of conduct. Less than half of all websites (40.62%) had at bare minimum, a behavioral policy explaining acceptable or unacceptable actions while at the convention. These rules ranged from a basic ‘be polite’ to lengthier explanations and examples of what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Of the total sample, only 3.47% used the phrase ‘sexual harassment’. However, 13.88% used the word ‘harassment’, not detailing readily available distinctions between harassments, whether sexual, bullying, or annoying otherwise.
Fewer than half of conventions have a posted policy about acceptable behavior, let alone harassment. And the policy is only the starting point; what about instructions on reporting harassment and other unacceptable behavior?
Only 15.27% (44) of the 288 convention websites contained guidelines on reporting. Of the three conventions participating in Project: Women Back Each Other Up, only one employed the use of purple ribbons to indicate female staff members who were prepared to intervene and handle potential sexual harassment. Several policies listed that if there were emergencies, to dial 911 or building security. This left 84.72% (244) of the convention websites devoid of response or guidance to potential victims.
Stark goes on to recommend:
…in evidence of the language and audience in these informal spaces, the following are suggestions for a comprehensive policy at fan conventions. The policies need to be recognizable and readily available (Moore & Bradley 1997), properly enforced, include and define sanctions, train employees for prevention and response, (Harmus & Niblock 2000), detail complaint procedure (Fowler 1996), and define sexual harassment in terms that the audience understands. (Emphasis added)
I have very little to add beyond Yes. That.
I recommend anyone interested in the ongoing conversation about sexual harassment in fandom read the full study. And my thanks to Nicole Stark for letting me link to and chat about her research here.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
(Deals from yesterday that are still active include lots of magazine subscriptions, CSI, MP3s, Professor Layton, kitchen stuff, and more. Monday deals that are still active include Kindle books, Stargate, Disney Blu-Ray deals, M*A*S*H, TV Westerns, Batman: Arkham City, and more,)
Not a lot of great ones today (although the continuing ones are just fine). The fact that I'm posting these this late should give you a sense of how my day's going.
The Deal of the Day offers 37-42% off Little Giant Velocity Ladder Systems. I'm sure that's a great deal, but I just don't find ladders as exciting as, well, anything else Amazon's been promoting recently (especially as a holiday gift).
The Kindle Daily Deal is on Books for Foodies, with Tony Bourdain, Jacques Pepin, Shauna Niequist, and others. Also at the daily deal link: Elizabeth Peters's Night Train to Memphis, Stanislaw Lem's Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, and Michael Grant's Gone for $1.99 each.
Other Kindle Deals: Veronica Roth's Divergent is $3.99, and Dom DiLillo's Underworld is back down to $1.99. Also $1.99: Elmore Leonard's collection Fire in the Hole and The Stories of Paul Bowles.
The All American 15.5 Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner is $169.99 (49% off, about $50 off other deals). If you prefer the electronic option, the Cuisinart 1000-Watt 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker is $69.99 (62% off, about $30 less than at other places). A pressure cooker once nearly burned off the face of a former co-worker, and yet I still find myself wanting one. To cook with, not to burn people's faces off with. There are better options there.
The Cuisinart TOB-40 Custom Classic Toaster Oven Broiler is $67.78 (53% off, about $9 off common retail).
There's a sale on sports-themed games, including dartboards, checkers sets (Yankees vs Red Sox, etc), and domino sets. This deal also includes, in the "I can't believe this shit is real" category, a Cowboys vs the Racist-termed Team from Washington checkers set. Seriously.
The Imaginext DC Super Friends Superman Playset is $11.99 (52% off, about $10 off other sellers). This is a good time to get this, as by the time any kids in the target audience are old enough to read standard comics, DC probably will have stopped sucking.
The Apples to Apples Party Box is $14.79 (45% off, and about a $5 savings). The fact that Amazon says it's frequently sold with Cards Against Humanity amuses me to no end.
In video games, if you've got an Xbox 360 and an XBone, you can nab the NBA 2K14 Super Fan Pack-Xbox (with both versions) for $69.96 (30% off). If you've just got the 360 (or a PS3), the game is $39.99 (33% off).
Scribblenauts Unlimited for the 3DS is $11.99 (40% off), while the new Scribblenauts Unmasked (with DC Super Heroes) is $29.99 (25% off), but backordered.
In books, apparently the For Dummies books are still a thing. And on sale for up to 50% off.
And finally, for those who missed it the last time, the Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection is $59.42 (40% off) on Blu-Ray and $39.99 (49% off) on DVD. That's under $8 a film on Blu-Ray and $5 a film on DVD.
I just sent in my most recent round of edits to my editor. They were edits for The Golden City.
Wait!, you say, That's already published!
I thought the same. But -this- was a round of edits between the Trade Paperback and the Mass Market version that comes out in June '14.
And there were errors. I asked for readers to tell me if they've seen any errors, and I did hear back from one. (There was a sentence that had 'on' where it needed 'in'....Thanks, Rosemary!)
There was also a word that looked like it had a space in the middle, a word that got left out of an italics group, a couple of places where the English word was used rather than the Portuguese, and one place where I'd made a continuity error. One sentence that was clearly anachronistic. All in all, 10 tiny changes will occur between the Trade and the MM.
I would like to believe that one day I will turn in a manuscript that has NO errors. The Golden City was clearly not that manuscript. I shall just have to try harder on the next.
Also, it's really hard not to change things. (At this point, it's better not to mess with the typesetting too much, so you have to hold yourself back.) But I noted in two places that Duilio's waistcoat was forgotten. In one scene he undressed and I didn't mention his waistcoat in that process--it just kinda disappeared the way they do in romance novels. In another scene, I don't have him wearing one (it's almost buyable since he's out on a boat, but not really.) Yeesh!
The real question? How could I have missed that in the gazillion earlier edit passes????
Anyhow, I know no book will ever be perfect, but I try....I try....
In other news, I'm running another giveaway on Goodreads.
This one is open to US, UK, Canada, Australia, Portugal, and Brazil. Weirdly, the last time I did one worldwide, not a single winner was from outside the US. This makes me suspect I entered it incorrectly. I hope I got it right this time.
Also, SFSignal put up a list of books that deserve more attention at the Mind Meld, which includes The Golden City (and Martha Well's excellentThe Cloud Roads too, among many others.)
Finally, I wanted to note here that I'm part of an author group called Novelocity. (Lawrence M. Schoen, Beth Cato, J.Kathleen Cheney, M.K. Hutchins, Elaine Isaak, Michael R. Underwood, Steve Bein, Fran Wilde, Tex Thompson, & Tina Connolly)
We've all got books coming out this next year. At this point, we're not posting anything (we start Jan 1) but if you're interested in following us, you can find us at:
Our Nascent Website
Our Empty Facebook
And Our Blank Twitter Feed
My publisher tells me that Barnes & Noble is having a special sale today on the ebook of Slow Surrender, making it a Nook Daily Find, for $1.99! (Normally $3.99). I believe it’s today only. (Not sure when B&N counts “today” as ending!)
Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.
Welcome to the Post-Icemeggedon Wednesday Writer Post. It’s been a week, let me tell ya. After not seeing the sun for days on end – and having the gray skies blend with the bright white sleet/ice/snow mixture, it’s nice to see blue skies again. I feel for every event organizer who had to cancel or reschedule events, but after so many We’re All Gonna DIE Winter Weather predictions that haven’t ever come true – this one made up for it.
It was rather nice – for a time – to have an unscheduled three-day weekend. However, there is a distinct difference in choosing to hermit up in your house and read, watch movies, and nap and doing all those things because it would be extremely dangerous to venture forth. We did one venture for one specific thing, and then didn’t do that again. But I was safe and (mostly) warm with my husband and dogs.
But I did read while I was housebound – also did a revision on the play for church in February, and worked a bit on my novel. But there’s a question I have, and hopefully someone’s read down this far to answer it… How much description do you like in a book – not a short story, a novel. Do you want every detail painted for you? Do you want to know what color every curtain is? Or do you just want the story to get on with it and let you paint the scene yourself?
I come from a very minimalist background. I know this. I grew up thinking I wanted to write screenplays (still do, and plays, and comics maybe if I can learn that scripting technique – basically ALL THE THINGS). Screenplays – and plays – are the ultimate of minimalist. You don’t tell your actors how to do their jobs (or the directors), you tell them enough to get the scene down and you get out of the way. As a professor said, if you mention in a script that someone has blue eyes, there better be a good reason for it. And I’ve taken that to my prose writing – but that does tend to make things short…
I ask because what I read this weekend are two very different books – each good on their own merits. One a fast-paced military-ish hard SF. One a thick, what I would call “dense” media tie-in. The density in the media tie-in is important, but there’s a LOT there. Is it a preference thing or is there something else going on? I want opinions on what you guys – readers and other writers – like/feel on the subject. There are no wrong answers – as long as they are reasoned and civil.
Yesterday evening I lost it again. There are pressures on my life I don't talk about in public, because they are not my story to tell, but they are running very high. Plus my luggage is still missing, even though it was supposed to be delivered yesterday. Plus I lost my phone under weird circumstances, which even though I found it again left me feeling very foolish and incompetent. Plus a productive but sobering discussion about clinical trials with a research oncologist yesterday. Plus a missed meal (due to a fasting glucose check in lab) which put me off for the day. Plus the whole dying of cancer thing. Plus plus plus plus.
So, yeah, some days the hamster wheel in my head breaks loose and rattles down the highway, carrying me with it screaming all the way.
Lisa Costello held me and put up with snot everywhere and us going without sleep because naturally all this occurred (relatively) late in the evening.
I'm still here, but it's a damned hard life, even on the best days. Yesterday was not one of the best days.
Your Wednesday moment of zen.
Some frozen dude for sale at the Star Wars Shop in Aberdeen, WA.
Photo © 2012, 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.
This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Dementia: Terry Pratchett 'angry' with government
Meet Your Body’s Death Eaters — From brain to blood to bone, macrophages take out our cellular trash. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)
Calvin and Hobbes on ebooks — Hahahah.
Twitter’s World — Languages and Twitter.
Prosthetic Arm Found in Second-Hand Shop — Ah, headlines.
Irrefutable Proof that Santa is Odin — (Via
'Get me off this plane': Man locked in dark cabin in worst layover ever — Wow. (Via RWN.)
Fat Flag — Food, art, nationalism. (Via
Europe's rarest orchid rediscovered in the Azores
Blistering exposé prompts Johns Hopkins to suspend black-lung screenings — Coal companies paid the Baltimore-based university handsome sums to screen the claimants for the disease. After reviewing chest X-rays, the university’s scientists almost always concluded that the scans did not show black lung — a conclusion which often overwhelmed any other medical opinion in the case. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)
What Names are Normal? Shifting the Center of the World — Culture and names.
Online Dating Shows Us the Cold, Hard Facts — Fascinating article, although it makes a couple of logical leaps.
"She Said 'This Is a Gun.' I Said No, It's a Prop for My Monkey." — Ah, TSA, we hardly knew ye.
At Least 194 Children Have Been Shot to Death Since Newtown — The NRA says arming more adults will protect kids—but most are killed at home, our investigation shows, often with unsecured guns. Yep. Definitely safer dead by those guns than they would have been remaining alive in a gun-free household. Ask any gun owner.
The Heartland Institute and the American Meteorological Society — If climate science really is in such disarray as the deniers claims, then why do so many resort to misleading tactics so often? Why post misleading graphs, why cherry pick data, why engage in egregious ad hominems, why send out emails about papers that say the opposite of what the paper actually concludes? If their claims are correct, then why even risk the perception of impropriety? It might seem as if they're more interested in scoring political and ideological points rather than scientific ones. But then, the evidence is solidly against them. So are 97 percent of the scientists who actually do research in climate science, as are the data, the science, and the reality of global warming. As with virtually all conservative causes, bearing false witness is far more productive than providing evidence, given that evidence-based reality almost never favors the conservative viewpoint.
Dear Pres. Obama: Dissent isn’t Possible in a Surveillance State — Sigh.
?otD: Does your staff have a knob on the end?
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)
...I participate in the latest SF Mind Meld:
The NaHaiWriMo prompt for December 9th is "mass"
However, I ended up writing about tangles.
I finished my final project for college tonight. All I have to do now is do a presentation in Advanced Composition tomorrow and this semester is over.
So, to celebrate, I dragged out one of my writing projects and began editing and adding some new scenes. It turned into a very nice evening spent writing, listening to Old Time Radio (mainly Rocky Jordan and Speed Gibson), and sipping on a nice dollop of Auchentoshan Select Single Malt. Almost 1000 new words on the document tonight and I’m making some big plans for a writing weekend (well, when I’m not listening to the Chiefs/Raiders game on Sunday).
As much as I’m enjoying my Master’s program, it’s good to be back working on my own writing projects. Going to be a very busy December/January for me.
Next semester, I’m taking a seminar in African literature and beginning the research portion of my thesis. When not working on those, I’ll be finishing up a few other projects I’m either committed to, or hope will be accepted, and doing my best to clear my slate for Fall 2014, when the only class I will have is Thesis II, which means lots of writing and rewriting to get the thesis ready to go to committee and then to defense.
Keep your fingers crossed.
This one is actually pretty good. It's a prequel about a pivotal scene between Dumbledore, Aberforth, Grindelwold and Arianna.
This entry was originally posted at http://pegkerr.dreamwidth.org/1687993.h
Today I have a tired. Actually I have enough for two, if anybody wants to split off some of my tired and take it away for me and still leave me with a tired. It is December, it is so very much December, and I spent most of last week being sick, and despite having made epic strides in Christmas shopping online in the last two days, I am behind. I am so behind.
And my brain, dear sweet wacky brain, keeps making me behind-er.
Brain: “let’s not work on the new novel just now” does not map to “let’s work on a brand new short story instead!” That is not what that means, brain.
Anyway, someone on FB asked a question about how she should spell a character name, because she was afraid that readers would mispronounce it. And I went, “Ooh ooh! I know this one, pick me pick me!” The answer is: they will. I mean, ideally not all of them. Ideally not even most of them. But if you write a perfectly normal name like Zhang, there will be readers who are twelve years old or from the sticks or some other explanation and will pronounce it Zuh-hang. You cannot let yourself get upset by this. You do your best and move on, and when someone has questions for you about your character Zuh-hang, you tell yourself, “I am so lucky, people read and care about my characters.” (And maybe you politely correct them.) But honestly, people cannot pronounce the names of actual other human beings they have reason to interact with. Ask Mr. Hjalmarsson of the Chicago Blackhawks. So the ones in your head? They’re going to get mispronounced. It is so far down the list of things for you to worry about.
Someone on the internet is wrong. Someone reading your fiction is wrong. Channel your inner Norwegian farmer uncle, say, “Ayeh, that’ll happen,” and get back to milking the metaphorical cows. (Really, not everybody has an inner Norwegian farmer uncle? Hmm. I will have to think on this.)
Certainly thirty years since I last read this, and I'm old enough to remember the 1977 BBC adaptation with Patrick Troughton as Israel Hands. A total Bechdel fail, with precisely no named female characters (I suppose Jim's mother is Mrs Hawkins, but we're never actually told that); note also that Long John Silver gives, as the reason for his wanting to leave Bristol, that his wife is a black woman, and is believed. And surely the bloke who actually found and dug up the treasure might have been entitled to a larger share of it? Or was he bought out with a block of cheese?
However, it's still a jolly good adventure story, with plucky young hero having the good fortune to save the day for his elders and betters on several occasions. Long John Silver is actually quite a fascinating character and successfully plays several games at once, deceiving absolutely everyone (except, possibly, his wife; in retrospect, it's clear that he is lying about his motivations for leaving Bristol). The shifting geography of power in the temporary human community of the island is well portrayed. I can see why this one has lasted.
One of the earlier Virgin Missing Adventures, which piqued my interest when I realised that a substantial chunk of the plot revolves around a conflict bordering Morocco and Algeria, a situation to which I have a professional connection. However there's one important difference - Leonard's fictional country of Kebiria is on the Mediterranean coast rather than the Atlantic. The plot is actually rather similar to the last Eighth Doctor novel I read, in that actors in a local conflict find that they have potential alien allies, but those alien allies actually have their own agenda. But I liked it a lot more, partly because setting a story like this in the firm anchorage of the Third Doctor and Jo Grant UNIT era gives Leonard a good stock cast for this sort of thing, all of whom he does well by (apart from Yates who is unsalvageable anyway), and also partly because his aliens do a neat line in dopplegangers, which I always enjoy, and body-horror, which I like when it's done right. Last month's set of vintage Who novels didn't really do it for me, but this month's are off to a good start.
Back in the hotel, she called around and found a slightly shady nurse agency who didn’t ask too many questions. While we waited for the nurse, we read the paper.
“Oh, clawrasps! How can I get them to correct that? It’s not rape! I paid for sex with you!” I hissed.
She giggled, and said “Haven’t gotten it. That makes it larceny too, on my part.” She put the paper down to move her useless right arm into a more comfortable position, then resumed reading.
“So far I can’t argue. Not only didn’t they detect me, I looted them a bit,” I said.
“You’re a horrible monster? ”
“They’re remarkably accurate. I did rip off your upper garments.”
“Hmph! They were very delicate claws.”
“Well, I didn’t want to do major surgery while they were shooting at me,” I mumbled. It did look like I had run off.
“I’m not calling you coward! You’re as brave as anything as far as I’m concerned.”
“Focussed, maybe. Devoted.”
“Is that true?” Tarcuna asked me shakily.
“Probably, they’ve been pretty good so far,” I said.
“You blasted a fighter plane?”
“Yes, of course.”
“You killed three soldiers?”
“That’s what the paper says. I was more trying to keep you from dying than paying much attention.”
“You killed three people to save my life?” She didn’t sound very happy.
“Yes. They were going to be shooting at me. I didn’t think I could finish the surgery while they were shooting. It was hard enough as it was.”
“You killed three brave soldiers who were trying to rescue me, a wormridden whore.”
I hissed at her. “Exactly. You understand. Could you be a proper hireable biddable whore and do your job and read me the rest of the article?” That at least reminded her of her position, and she went back to reading. Her voice was terrible, between the leftover brain damage and the considerable distress.
“Did you kill anyone else?”
“I don’t know! Finish reading the thing!”
“There’s not much more.”
“Why would I hide in a sewer? I can’t feel, but I can sure smell!”
“They’ll get their noble blue-green monster when he’s good and ready to fetch me,” I said.
Tarcuna wasn’t listening. She climbed into the bed and was crying into a pillow, mumbling about how her life wasn’t worth that price. I told her that I didn’t kill them because of her, just because they were going to attack me, and besides I didn’t mean to kill them, just cripple the plane, it’s their stupid for keeping explosives in the wings of their jet. That turned out not to be a very comforting thing to say to a hoven. I was quite tired of comforting her by then, so I read more of the paper, all the editorials urging better defense against me.
After a while the nurse came, a tall shaggy red-furred sort of hoven man, and I rather snappishly explained a bit and handed him a couple thousand thurnies. I left him to take care of Tarcuna, and went stomping around in the city. Well, walking around trying to enjoy some of the sights. And watching the fighter planes zoom around overhead looking for the real me. And being cross. It wasn’t nearly as much fun to do it alone.
When I got back to the hotel, the tall shaggy nurse had arranged a sling for Tarcuna, and was working on voice exercises. She didn’t sound much better to me, but the nurse said that she’d made some progress in just a few hours and would probably recover most of her speech. Tarcuna was back to being cheerful and optimistic for her own reasons. Or, maybe, she was being cheerful and optimistic for the first time since she had been taken by the worm.
Now for just a moment, let us ponder this lovely FB meme that has been going around like the plague. Who could ever have a problem with a meme telling people to be nice? I mean, isn't that just awful?
Ok. Loading the deck. In the fake "war on Xmas", this is the soft weapon of defense -
And look at how inclusive it is. It's not just a defense of people wishing other people "Merry Xmas", it also takes into account people wishing you a "Happy Hanukkah", a "Seasons Greetings", a "Happy New Year" - because THOSE are also problematic - if you stand on one foot, twisting your arms around and squinting really hard. When RJ Cavender posted it on his wall, he really meant to defend all the Jews running around going "Happy Hanukkah and getting attitude from their goyish friends. Fun fact - Jews getting a lecture for saying "Happy Hanukkah" is absolutely the WORST thing to ever happen to Jews ever in the history of Judaism.
Apparently "Happy Pagan Tree Festival" and "Fuck Jesus" are not on the list of holiday greetings that you should take well. So if someone wishes you a "Fuck Jesus" you are perfectly allowed to punch them in the face.
Ok. Now let's back up so I don't entirely look like a Christ Killing Jew (if the motherfucker ever showed his face, I would totally kill him though. Because that's what you do with zombies). I don't think that people wishing me a Merry Christmas are doing anything that isn't automatic. I don't think that they intend to convert me to their pagan ways. Nor do I think that they are taking 2000 years of pogroms, genocides and enforced oppression into account when they invite me to celebrate the birth of their favorite cult leader of all time. I just think that they are trying to be nice. As an individual, I am not going to embody the stereotype of the Rude Jew That Hated Xmas. Nor do I have much pride in ever getting annoyed with people assuming that I as Xian when I was converting to Judaism.
But I don't see this thing being posted by non-Christians. Christians are posting it because in America, they got the privilege. They bore us with their Xmas specials. They send missionaries to New York City to convert the Jews. They can freak out over a mosque or a Muslim Community Center being built anywhere and they are taken seriously. They can cry about someone not necessarily being Xian who doesn't want to hear Xmas music all the fucking time.
Hell, Xians even bitch about Xmas not being Xian ENOUGH. Seriously, what the fuck does society have to do to please you fucking Xians? Everyone puts on a big party and works overtime to allow you to celebrate a holiday and for months before the holiday, our economy is based on you celebrating it. And then you claim that it's TOO COMMERCIALIZED. Suddenly, all of you guys are Marxists bitching about the excesses of capitalism because someone stuck a Baby Jesus on your beer ad. And then you talk about how Santa Claus is evil and you find all those Christmas Carols written by Jews to be suspect because we decided to write about snow and bells and fantasies about flying reindeer.
But we let you bitch about it. We let you "enjoy" your holiday in the only way you know how - by bitching about how it's commercialized and driving out to see your family so you can get into your annual fight with your sister/cousin/uncle about whatever the fuck you're fighting about. There's also a lot of sweaters being passed around. We even listen to your re-gifted fruit cake jokes without punching you in the face.
Is that good enough for you? NOOOOO - not in the slightest. You also want everyone to be happy when you wish them a Merry Xmas because if something makes you happy, why shouldn't it make everyone else in the world happy as well.
Gosh, Xians. I'm so sorry that it's such a burden to consider the perspective of non-Xians who are not necessarily enamored with your holiday. Or at least your god. If this gets out of hand, you won't be able to hold the door open for women without them slapping you for being a sexist pig (a scenario that has happened exactly never in real life, but quite frequently in the minds of douchey college dudes who are trying to tell you what women are like)
So why should people actually sort of tepidly point out that not everyone is Xian and doesn't want to hear "Merry Christmas"? Why can't people be nice when they call Vox Day out for his racism? Don't you know that when your cousin says that President Obama is a Muslim Communist who is trying to sell guns to Mexican drug lords in order to take away your guns that she means it sincerely?
Gosh. I don't know. Maybe it could possibly be a good idea to consider other people for a change - and realize that your words are not going to be accepted by everyone and chill the fuck out. Maybe instead of lecturing the recipients of "Merry Xmas" on what THEIR attitude should be, you can take stock of YOUR attitude that expects everyone to love you when you remind them that they are the minority in this country and that you have the privilege (at least in this regard).
Or is that too complicated for a meme?
Eric and I have been busy beavers during the last couple of months:
I've been a big baby about the temperatures lately, so haven't yet tried to start the Hot-Rod Newport since rebuilding the valvetrain. With temps in the teens and single digits, MY digits simply don't want to hold metal tools and parts outside... where the car rests beneath its carport. Last week, though, I made some progress: Finished pulling apart the valvetrain, replaced a total of three pushrods, replaced one pair of roller lifters, ground smooth two banged-up rocker arms, adjusted every single lifter-pushrod-rocker team to 1/4-turn of preload (the best I could identify for how my Comp Cams roller lifters should be adjusted), reinstalled a new valley-pan and intake manifold and associated hoses and wires, and replaced the valve covers. ALMOST READY TO START. Here's some of the carnage (those pushrods should be straight, and the loose bits should be attached):
Aaargh, it's painful being so close, yet.... Oh, and I bought a really nice-looking, waterproof, fleece-lined, 7-layer car cover to protect the machine until spring... assuming I can get the thing started, drive it to the car-wash, wax the hell out of it, then drive it home (I really don't want to turn my driveway into an ice-rink). Soon, soon.
Now to put "cold" into perspective: Check out the coldest place on Earth, a ridge high atop Antarctica's East Plateau, where temperatures can dip below -133° F (-92° C) on a clear winter night. Yes, that's NEGATIVE ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE DEGREES, aka NEARLY ONE HUNDRED DEGREES BELOW FREEZING in either temp scale:
Of course, that's a balmy-sounding 181° Kelvin. Which would make me sweat just thinking about it. IF MY FINGERTIPS WEREN'T FREEZING OFF.
Maybe this place is what Dante was thinking about when he planted ol' Lucifer in ice he couldn't escape.
Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center made the discovery while analyzing the most-detailed global surface temperature maps to date, gathered using remote-sensing satellites like NASA's Aqua satellite and Landsat 8.
They need to use this level of sensor equipment because thermometers won't even work at such temperatures.
Neither do human beings. Heck, I bet even ice falls apart at temps like that.
Speaking of cold humans, a plug for clevermanka's Etsy shop:
Are you or those you love suffering from chilly legs during this cold snap? Looking for the perfect Xmas gift for your skirt- (or kilt!) wearing friends? Then check out the Bloomershop Etsy shop, which is having a 20% off sale right now! Use the code "TOASTIES" to get the special discount. Lydia makes custom bloomers, too, if you prefer different fabric or trim, or need a special size. Support independent makers for your gifting needs! Plus they're just plain fun.
Forgot to say: for those of you who have wads of cash lying around, for this fundraiser I'm attempting a first: a Tuckerization. My head usually doesn't work that way, but I think I could make it happen this time. Anyone who wants to be Tuckerized will end up a cackling bat!
Also, critique offer. That can include novel length.
Click the pic if your wallet is just too weighed down with simoleons, and you need to lighten the load!
Aka, yipee, the snakelet let me write! Still no headspace for a novel, though I’m slowly getting back into my research and wrote a whole new scene in my chapter 5 (aka, all Hell breaks loose for one particular character, who really has no luck whatsoever).
Temp title “What the Sea Holds no Sway”. Snippet:
Sent it off to a couple readers, and meanwhile will go see what the %%% is wrong with our hot water supply…
Cross-posted from Aliette de Bodard
Leave a comment at original post, or comment here.
Майер, добавил он, готов свидетельствовать под присягой.
Он назвал Майера своим «номером три» и сказал, что будет натаскивать боязливого швейцарского банкира до тех пор, пока тот не будет казаться прожженным биржевым игроком.
Ему пришлось аналогичным образом умиротворять еще одну жертву жесткой тактики отдела высокодоходных облигаций – WinnDixie, обширную сеть гастрономических магазинов на Юге.
This is a French steampunk-infleunced film set in 1910 by Luc Besson, from 2010 but now available in DVD. Adele has a badly injured sister, a friend with a pterodactyl, a mummy and a lot of attitude. Needless to say, I like most things about Adele. The movie is weirdly fabulous in most respects, replete with oddball characters, dinosaurs, talking mummies, amazing sets (I particularly like the gearwork mummy embalming engine) and the general stuff of pulp fiction. I had a few cringes over the colonialist stuff from the first part of the film, when she's in Egypt, and during the section where she blames herself for her sister's entirely accidental injury, but apart from that, this was just plain fun and like almost everyone else who's seen it, I want a sequel to its cliff-hanger ending.
There's no real way to make a coherent blog post out of this, so you'll have to settle for a bit of narrative.
Getting home from Omaha yesterday was an epic effort, but I made it. My luggage did not. My irreplaceable Mongolian camel fur hat apparently did not, though there's some hope I absent mindedly packed it into my luggage (which I never do on purpose).
I had five different flight itineraries yesterday. That is to say, at different points in the process, I was booked on five different flights out of Omaha before I finally managed to leave. American cancelled my original route through DFW on Sunday, the day before I was to fly, due to extreme weather in DFW more or less crashing their operations. I was rescheduled to a Monday flight through ORD.
When I got to the airport in Omaha early, they rescheduled me again at the check-in desk to an earlier flight through ORD, to help me make my connection to PDX. That flight began posting later and later, until was both later than the flight that came after it which I had been previously scheduled on, and late enough to make me miss my connection at ORD. It was also clear the later flight was going to be postponed.
I went to the American Airlines counter agent and said, "Look, I'm a terminal cancer patient. I have two oncology appointments tomorrow. I have to get home tonight. Can you reschedule me through Denver on another airline, since both Dallas and Chicago are such a mess?"
They're not really supposed to do that when they still have available seats in their own system, but he poked around and was very helpful, placing me on a set of Frontier Airlines flights that went OMA-DEN, then DEN-PDX. Since I'd already checked in, he called down to the American baggage room and had my bag transferred to Frontier.
The earlier Frontier flight was full, so I wasn't leaving til that evening. Then Lisa Costello texted me that the evening flight had posted a two-hour delay, which would again make me miss my PDX connection, stranding me in DEN. I went up to the Frontier gate agent and told him the same thing I'd told the American agent. He put me on stand-by, then got me on the plane in their 'stretch seating', which is what Frontier has instead of First Class. I'm pretty sure they're not really supposed to do that, either, especially since I wasn't even a Frontier customer in the first place.
I finally got on a plane leaving Omaha, my fifth scheduled flight out. I have no idea what happened to my bag at that point. My connection in Denver going to Portland was almost two hours late, but I got out of Denver and home last night. Frontier has no idea where my bag is, because I do not have a Frontier Airlines bag check tag, due to the interairline transfer back in Omaha, and they can't trace it through the American Airlines bag check tag. We're hoping it came in overnight from Omaha via Denver, but given the other delays, it may still be languishing in Omaha or in Denver. As me getting home was the critical issue, I am not grumpy about this. I would like to see my bag again sooner or later.
At any rate, on a day when well over a 1,000 flights were cancelled, thanks to the flexibility of two gate agents, one for American Airlines and one for Frontier Airlines, I got home. My first oncology appointment is at 8 am this morning, my second is this afternoon. I will make them.
So my thanks to both airlines.
Now I'm off this morning for some bloodwork preparatory to tomorrow's monthly consultation with my medical oncologist. This afternoon I have a screening and intake appointment for one of the clinical trials I am trying to engage with. Overnight has brought the Portland area radically unseasonal snow and ice, which will make getting around today a lot more exciting than it should be.
But I'm here, and I can make it in to my appointments. Thank you American, and thank you Frontier.
So, the Clayton Memorial Medical Fund has been a big presence in my life these past few years, helping me financially at times of great need. (I did not need them this year, as it happens, thanks to all your generosity with the Sequence a Science Fiction Writer fundraiser back at the beginning of the year.) Their reserve funds are running low, and they have asked me to try to boost the signal on a much-needed year-end fundraiser.
Here’s what my friends at the Clayton fund have to say about themselves:
I’ll be donating from my surplusage from this year’s fund raising for my benefit. If you’ve got a few extra bucks this season looking for a tax deduction, why not join me? It’s an excellent cause helping writers who often have run out of financial lifelines. It's an organization that has been of great help to me personally. That's two fantastic reasons right there.
Your Tuesday moment of zen.
Photo © 2012, 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.
This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Walmart Called – Your Christmas Photos Are ready — My eyes!!! Not exactly work-safe.
Mars lake 'much like early Earth' — The ancient lake environment found in Mars' Gale Crater could have supported microbes called chemolithoautotrophs - if they had been present. Remember when the question of whether there had ever been open water on Mars was highly debatable? I love science.
“Its (sic) not bigorty (sic), its (sic) biology” — Ah, conservatives. Incompetent as well as bigoted.
Oregon Campaign For Gay Marriage Hits Signature Goal — Another breath of sanity against the winds of conservative religious bigotry.
The NSA Has Been Spying On World Of Warcraft — Wow, do I feel safer. And this without Moat GunZ!!!™ even.
South Carolina Sheriff Deletes Facebook Post About Refusing To Lower Flags For Mandela — Huh. Wonder why he backed down. It’s not like Republican officials in the American south ever pay any kind of penalty for their racism. The opposite, really.
There’s Now A Coloring Book To Teach Your Children To Love Ted Cruz — Wow. Just wow. I guess stunting their children’s (and everyone else’s children’s) minds with evolution denial and a refusal to teach critical thinking isn’t good enough for conservatives. Now this cult of personality shit?
Washington Doomsday Prophecy — Hahahah.
Republican to-do list — Hahahah. Yeah.
No soul-searching for Virginia GOP after losses — Mullins mocked post-election analysis that said Cuccinelli was too conservative for a changing state. “This is false narrative by false prophets,” he said. Because, uh, yeah. You know what? Keep it up, GOP. Your Angry White Men are dying out, and pretty much everyone who isn’t an older white man or a member of some deeply politicized church is soooo done with you. All the better for the entire country, your party members included, if you hurtle into irrelevancy guns ablazing.
The Punishment Cure — Now, the G.O.P.’s desire to punish the unemployed doesn’t arise solely from bad economics; it’s part of a general pattern of afflicting the afflicted while comforting the comfortable (no to food stamps, yes to farm subsidies). That’s actually an excellent précis of most of the Republican party platform. Which arises logically enough from their Angry White Men strategy, itself an impassioned, no-compromise defense of established privilege (or at least perception of established privilege), proudly and self-consciously at the expense of the rights and opportunities of others. (Not to mention more subtly at the expense of their own rights and opportunities.)
?otD: Got oncology?
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)