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Home again home again.

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Back home in Atlanta. The house is still standing and all is well. I'm too wired to sleep, which is why I'm awake at . . . 5AM. Five in the morning?? *facepalm* I've got much to do, mail--both e and snail--to catch up on, and Dragon*Con and Tangent work that needs my attention. But generally, I'm just glad to be home. My domicile is my sanctuary and my retreat; it's where I recharge my soul. No matter how much I enjoy going out and doing things with people I love, I'm always relieved to get back and sleep in my own bed, surrounded by familiar things. Assuming I can get to sleep . . .

Our flight in was delayed by a couple hours due to a rogue t-storm, but at least it wasn't canceled like our flight out. There's a certain irony to being delayed by a thunderstorm during a drought. Their first rainfall in weeks and we brought it with us from Atlanta. Probably about as much rain as we could have fit into our suitcase too.

fosteronfilm's folks hired a limousine to pick us up and take us to the airport. The first limo was a white stretch. It sported champagne glasses (that we didn't drink anything out of), soda and beer in little refrigerated compartments (that we didn't partake of), and a set of televisions with attached VCRs (that we didn't watch anything on.) It also had a moon roof--which I did peer out of--and sun roof, which I didn't. Pretty swank. Apparently the cost of hiring a limo to get to the airport from Matthew's folk's house is pretty comparable to hiring a taxi, so my in-folks think, what the hey, why not travel in style? The second limo was much less ostentatious. It was just a regular Grand Marquis, no stretch. But the second limo driver took us through the winding back ways to avoid traffic congestion due to a couple accidents, and also through secret "service vehicle only" entry roads to O'Hare. He got us to our gate in plenty of time, but then we had to wait around anyway because of the delays. There were a lot of cross-looking people at the airport all harried and anxious. Airports really aren't conducive to soothing.

Once the flight back to Atlanta got underway, it was absolutely lovely. There were some gorgeous clouds we flew through and over. Our flight timing was such that we took off just as the sun was setting and were treated to the sight of fluffy monolith clouds shading gold and silver by turns. I just knew there was a fairy city in them if I only looked hard enough, where fey creatures with huge feathered wings soared. After I spent some time peering out my window in delight, I grabbed my camera and started clicking. Didn't see any of the cloud city denizens, though.







Once we landed, we had some trouble with MARTA. First we discovered we only had a $20 and the fare booths were shut down, so we had no choice but to use a token machine. We traded our crisp twenty-dollar bill for eleven tokens and three quarters. Sigh. But, we did indeed get on the train. However, we got off on the wrong side of the platform upon arrival and found ourselves having to walk around the outside of the station to get to the transit counter so we could retrieve our car. Ooof. The travel gods were not pleased with us. Next time I will not skimp on the blood sacrifice.

The trip itself was delightful. I absolutely adore my in-laws, although their Luddite tendencies can be a bit flustering. They hadn't used the digital camera we gave them for Christmas at all. We once again had to show them how it works. Matthew's mother seems to have the most trouble with the battery door. And the concept of viewing and deleting pictures. But, despite our, I fear, futile efforts at dragging them into the digital age, they remain firmly entrenched in the paper and ink one. They're huge movie buffs--where Matthew gets it, I presume--and we've shown them the IMDB every single time we see them in the hopes of enticing them to surf the Interweb. I've even bookmarked it on their computer. And yet every time we bring it up, they go "oh what a wonderful site, why don't we write down where that is." Every. Single. Time. Of course, they never use it when we're not there. I do love them, but I don't think they really "get" the computer age, and I don't think they're ever going to. It's a shame. There's so much they'd truly enjoy of it, and so much that would be so useful to them.

I miss Hobkin terribly. I was having fuzzy skunk nose withdrawal by Sunday and since our flight was so late, we can't pick him up until tomorrow (this) morning from his godmother's. The plan is to wake up bright and early to retrieve him, although at this rate I'm debating whether I should just stay awake. He probably had so much fun at skunk summer camp, playing with his godmother's skunks and getting into mischief, that he won't want to come home.

I didn't read much of my flist while I was on holiday, so if something momentous happened, someone shoot me an email or drop me a comment.


Writing Stuff

No new words, but that's okay. I allow myself holidays off. I mailed out the Sword Review contract before we left--on the way to the airport, actually--but I got the Escape Pod acceptance while out of town, so I haven't mailed that back yet. I'm really looking forward to "The Life and Times of Penguin" read out loud. I downloaded the last few podcasts before we left, and played them at night after Matthew's folks had gone to sleep and he was working on their computer (with the pokey dial-up). Very soothing. I love having stories read to me. I remember falling asleep to recordings of fairy tales on tape when I was a little girl. Escape Pod's podcasts bring back that lovely storytelling feel.

I expected to come home to a number of rejections, but there were zero in the accumulated pile o' mail. Hunh. Instead, I received the edits for "The Raven's Brocade" and "The Tanuki-Kettle" from my Cricket editor to approve. Much nicer indeed than what I was anticipating. And she thought my blackberry pie looked yummy too! So I will bow to the consensus. It was not a fugly pie. I plan to make another one this week before our blackberries go bad.

And finally, there is once again some moaning about the quality and caliber of Tangent's reviews on its newsgroup, by the same party as was gripping about them before. It's enough to make a humble managing editor roll her eyes, it is. At first I was feeling a bit distressed by the vague, aggressively disparaging, and unhelpful comments. But having a slew of editors and writers jump to my and Tangent's defense alleviated my mood to no end. If Ellen Datlow and John O'Neill think I'm headed in the right direction with Tangent, then I think I can feel pretty good about what I've managed to accomplish thus far.
I'm feeling:
tired tired
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On July 21st, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC), terracinque commented:
Are your in-laws academics? From the description in this post and from knowing Matthew, I bet they're academics.
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On July 23rd, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC), eugie replied:
Yep. They're both retired teachers. His dad taught English, his mom, grades 1-3. Actually, his mom still teaches, post-retirement, at a sweet little private school.
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On July 21st, 2005 01:22 pm (UTC), aimeempayne commented:
Yeah, the Tangent has crappy reviews issue is depressing. I found it interesting that someone finally called the "interested party" on his naming of who he thought were good reviewers, but unwillingness to name his poor reviewers.

I get the feeling that helping the supposed "poor" reviewers improve is not his goal. It almost seems as though he doesn't believe that it is possible for a reviewer to improve their skills.
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On July 21st, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC), sartorias commented:
I love the cloud city pix!

As for TO, I'm hoping the party will offer some specifics--I know we all have room for improvement, but it doesn't help to say "You suck!" and not offer why he thinks so.
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On July 21st, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC), mtfay commented:
I think that most of us are not particularly impressed with Monseuir Wallace or his opinions. He's vague and intentionally insulting.
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On July 21st, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC), merebrillante commented:
Tangent
You're not going to please everyone, no matter what you do. Always, somewhere, there will be someone who gets a bug up his arse about something you've written or you haven't written but he thinks you should have written. It's always been that way and it always will. What makes it more galling for modern writers is that the internet provides an easy and immediate broadcast system. As a couple of fictional critters said yesterday, "Those who cannot do, teach, and those who cannot teach, criticize. Those who cannot cook, make blueberry crabcakes."
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On July 21st, 2005 03:58 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Oh, ugh. Anytime someone pulls the word "banal" out of their [bleep], my eyes automatically roll so far back I see wormy gray matter. Bleh.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But...if concerned parties are sooo concerned about the state of reviewing, perhaps they should anti-up and try editing a review zine.

What that sound? The silence of no one stepping up to the plate.

Don't sweat it, Eugie. I've perused Tangent. Well-organized, well-laid out (yes, that does matter) and well-written site.

But then, I'm a un-edumacated literary Luddite who doesn't much care if the story echoes some faint theme of some dense literary classic. I'm just interested in knowing if "thar be good stories, therein." [shrugs.]

Cloud pictures were so good that they set off my fear of flying response: white knuckle, grabbing ahold of the desk.

Pat Kirby
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On July 21st, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC), keesa_renee commented:
Welcome back, Eugie! Is Hobkin cuddled safely in his mummy's arms again? I know how much you must have missed him!

The cloud pictures are [i]awesome[/i]. I think if you look veeeeery hard at the middle one, you can just catch a glimpse of some magical being passing behind the cloud to the right...it's even clearer if you stand on your head and squint your eyes! ;-)

As far as Tangent goes, you're doing a great job, and don't let any whiney, complaining nut tell you otherwise.
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On July 22nd, 2005 01:31 am (UTC), ex_benpayne119 commented:
Re: Tangent, ignore it, it's all nonsense...

it's simple; if you like the reviewer, you read their reviews. If you don't like the reviewer you either don't read them or you read them and then do the opposite. no one gets hurt either way.

i find it hard to imagine that "poor" reviews (as opposed to unncessarily visciuos reviews) could be harmful to the scene... particularly compared to the ominous silence that generally greets small press publications...

some people just have a low tolerance for opinions which differ from their own, i guess...

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