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Fighting Crime with a Giant Dandelion Since 2013's Journal
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Fighting Crime with a Giant Dandelion Since 2013's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, August 27th, 2015
12:51 pm
You want to dress in black and lose your heart beyond recall
Because something went amiss with the audio recording of the Cats Laughing reunion concert at Minicon earlier this year, they decided to have another concert, record it excellently, and use that for the CD portion of the Kickstarter rewards. The concert happened last night, at the Phoenix Theater, which I had never heard of but turned out to be the old Dudley Riggs location, and had vegan brownies for sale along with a lot of things more tasty to people who are not me.

The Minicon concert was unique, the first live concert from the Cats in decades, with an audience full of Cats fans who had been coming to Minicon all along and more who had not attended in ten years or fifteen or twenty but came back for this, and one of Richard Tatge's signature light shows. It was entirely magical and it kept making me cry.

This was a shorter concert with a slightly different set list. Sister Tree opened with three songs, including, to my profound delight, "The Witch of the Westmerlands." There was a minor confusion over the lyrics, but it was resolved, and it's a long song. I've seen professional musicians at major European tours mess up songs with two verses and some spiraling choruses, getting into the wrong spiral and having a heck of a time getting out again, so I don't think this was really an issue. If you were there for sound check, you got to hear Sister Tree do an additional song, so that was all very lovely and a grand introduction.

The band were in great spirits, which meant they had to make a lot of bad jokes and Emma had to roll her eyes at them a lot. I suspect there were some bad musical jokes later on, but I'm not skilled enough to be sure. The music was insanely good. They did a profoundly satisfying "Black Knight's Work" and they did songs I'm not really all that fond of like "Big Boss Man" with such verve and style that I liked them. They did a somehow particularly irony-laden "Tellers of Tales," Adam being very good at layering irony. My favorite piece was a long, long stretch that started with an exceptionally sharp and snarky take on Emma's "Wear My Face," diverted into a song sung splendidly by Lojo that I know and like and loved then, but cannot at the moment remember; and then returned to Emma with "Signal to Noise" and "For It All" with so much verve and energy and poetry that they could have stopped there and left me happy. But they didn't. They did a haunting "Gloomy Sunday" and then they did "Elijah," and Lojo put her bass away and made story-telling gestures, building and taking down the wall and exhorting the people and shaping bread and flesh. You could see ravens in the shadows by the end. As an encore they played a teasing version of "Not Fade Away" (NOT MY FAVORITE SONG) that kept you thinking it was going to be another song that I knew at the time but have also forgotten. It's a good thing I'm not a music reviewer. When skzbrust saw me afterwards he said, "I didn't know you were here! I'd have told them not to do 'Not Fade Away.'" They'd have done it anyway, of course, and it was actually fine. Nostalgia has its place.

I'm glad I didn't have to choose between the Minicon concert and this one. But this one just sparked and shone and shot off fireworks and did cartwheels.

I sat with arkuat andlydy (dd_b was taking photographs (1500, he said, by the end), and got to briefly greet minnehaha K and Fred and Susan and Alis who are not effectively on LJ, and my goddaughter Toni and Jen and fgherman. I saw many, many more people in the audience whom I knew, and that was part of the huge charm and excitement as well.

Pamela
Friday, August 21st, 2015
4:45 pm
Answer for question 4489.
Edited to Add: Wow, I thought I was commenting on a friend's journal; I had no idea this would happen. I guess I'll leave it up. I didn't get into cats and how they can enhance or interrupt sleep, sometimes both in the same night.

Anyway, anecdotes about sleep or the lack thereof are welcome. However, please, please, please do not recommend sleep hygiene to me, not even just to note that it works for you. I don't want to hear about it. That kind of fanatical regimentation is absolutely guaranteed to stress me out and make whatever I am trying to accomplish much more difficult, maybe impossible.


Do you ever have problems sleeping? What do you do in order to fall back to sleep? What sleep aid products do you find most helpful, if any?
Yes, I have trouble getting to sleep and also, no matter how easily I fell asleep earlier, I wake up five or six hours in and am awake for one to three hours; then, if there's time, I can go back to sleep and get a reasonable amount.

I have found ways to make falling asleep harder, so I avoid them. If I avoid caffeine within 8 hours of bedtime, using a computer or phone or watching TV within in an hour of bedtime, and eating within three hours of bedtime, I can go to sleep much more easily. I don't have any solution for the waking up and being restless for a while. Valerian, chamomile, melatonin, none of them works for that, and the people who say melatonin causes weird dreams are entirely right. I'd rather be awake, honestly.

Pamela
Thursday, July 30th, 2015
11:32 pm
6:55 pm
Brain and Brain, What Is Brain? (International Bad Cat Day, Special Edition)
We got an extension on filing our taxes this year. I had very good intentions of dealing with them much sooner than now, but didn't get to actually sorting papers and finding vital information until last week. I ended up with seven or eight file folders with stuff in them, a brown paper bag of papers for recycling, and an as-yet-unsorted mass, mostly of medical information, but with a leavening of charitable contributions and so on. I put the file folders, with all the W2 and other income forms, and the sorted household expenses and rental income information, back into the brown paper bag that said 2014 TAXES in large friendly letters, and then just slid the folders with sorted stuff in them down one side of the bag. I left the recycling in my bedroom, where I had been using the bed for sorting because my desk is a horror show; and I brought the bag of actual tax information, sorted and not, back into my office, because I was still discovering random credit-card statements and receipts for prescription medication and technicians' invoices for fixing dishwashers, and so on. Then I spent about a week and a half avoiding more sorting, though the deadline is approaching pretty quickly. At some point in this interval, I took out several brown paper bags of papers for recycling, labeled RECYCLING in large friendly letters.

Do not lecture me about this system. I know it is stupid. However, it has got me through catching up on *mumble* years of late taxes. Let me tell you, a brown paper bag for the year in question is a huge improvement over my previous method, which I don't intend to discuss because nobody could refrain from lecturing me about that one.

This afternoon, the internet went down. Well, I thought, I guess I'll sort some more of that stuff for taxes, and maybe get all the utility bills entered properly, because that's very tedious and I won't do it if I can do something more interesting. I picked up the brown paper bag from the location where I had left the one that said 2014 TAXES in large friendly letters. It said 2015 TAXES in letters superficially just as large but noticeably less friendly.

There are really too many brown paper bags in my office. It is okay, in my opinion, and do not start on me because I will not listen to you, to have bags of both useful paper and recycling. However, having the lovely shimmery moon and stars mobile that Eileen gave us as a housewarming present, which we recently had to take off the library light fixture but hope to hang elsewhere, in a brown paper bag is confusing; and having extra copies of the reissued Secret Country trilogy in a brown paper bag is confusing, and having a bag of brown sugar, a lidless refrigerator dish and a recipe for scones in a brown paper bag is DEEPLY CONFUSING. It's also less than helpful to have bags saying 2009 NON-TAX. They raise hope only to squash it flat again.

I spent a short time whimpering and emptying out bags of recycling. Then I thought, okay, I really do not think that that is the mistake that I made. I always read the bag and go through it before I recycle it. Always. Because I know my system is stupid.

I looked through every brown paper bag in the upstairs. We also have cat toys in paper bags. And sometimes actual cats.

I searched around and discovered that the IRS, grudgingly, has a way to get you a replacement copy of your W2 or other tax form, but it takes a long time. They prefer you to remember everything you need to about your employment, or have actual pay stubs, which seem to be going out of fashion quite fast, and reconstruct an estimate of your income and file that instead. I really didn't want to do that. One can also apply to the employers in question; how long that takes will of course vary with employer. I made about $26 in royalties last year, and the other income was made by David, with at least three different employers.

I decided to sleep on it, since I did not actually believe I had taken all the tax information and recycled it. Then I would have to email the accountants and hope that they would not also recommend the reconstruction of the income stream, not to mention the household expenses. At least the rental income is consistent, and one can get copies of bank and credit-card statements from the respective providers, though they tend to cut off abruptly at the date you want and demand compensation for sending you anything. Still, it could be done, one way or another.

The internet came back up. I started making vegan jambalaya. (NO, really, stop it. Nobody is making you eat it.) I went into my office, and Saffron was sprawled on the desk cushion. I reached out to rub her belly, and my brain said to me, "File drawer." I looked in the empty file drawer. Yes, yes, yes, it's empty because everything is in brown paper bags. It was not empty. In it was my bag with the folders and the unsorted receipts and statements, with 2014 TAXES in large friendly letters.

I now recalled quite clearly that Saffron had kept pawing at the bag of tax papers until it fell onto the floor, whereupon Cassie licked some of the bank statements. I have no idea; they were not visibly stained, nor did anything in the bag smell of anything but paper and dust. After three iterations of this behavior, I put the bag in the file drawer. Then, while procrastinating, I forgot all about it.

But now there is vegan jambalaya simmering on the stove, and it seems possible that sorting the damn papers won't be so tedious. At least they are there to be sorted.

Pamela
Saturday, July 18th, 2015
4:23 pm
The whirligig of time
The most common remark I seem to be making, possibly excluding, "Aren't you cute!" or "I hate this kitchen" seems to be, "I don't know how it got to be [whatever day/month/year it may be at that moment]." Theoretically, I know how it probably did, but my journey through time seems to be quick and irregular.

Last Sunday, when it was brutally hot, Eric and I had just brought Lydy's car home after running some very necessary errands. B, for Behemoth, has a perfectly good air conditioner, but it was not keeping up with the heat index at all. We had collapsed in the media room air conditioning with an attendant young black cat (Ninja, who is very fond of Eric) when my phone tweedled. Raphael had sent a simple message, "Dishwasher just died."

Collapse )</lj-cut The new dishwasher seems to work fine, and it uses less water and less energy than the old one. I am also pleased to have a cleaner staircase and a good light at the top of it so that I don't feel either than I'm losing my vision or that something is going to reach out and grab my ankle as I go downstairs. But this all happened in very hot and/or humid weather and seems to have taken a long time. I now simultaneously want to Clean All the Things and work on my short story. The Things are probably more cooperative. The story thinks it is a novel and keeps putting guns on the mantelpiece, and I keep taking them off again and sequestering them in a notes file for use later on. Pamela
Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
3:58 pm
Launching and re-launching
Hi, you guys. I'm sorry that I haven't posted in so long. There's no particular excuse other than general harriedness.

The weather has been of the sort that makes mowing the lawn difficult to schedule. It will rain a lot and be very hot and sticky; then there will be a nice day when the grass gradually dries out, but then either it will rain again, or there will be another nice day and Raphael and I will go hiking; and then it will rain some more. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that I don't really want to mow the lawn at all. It's not that the task is so very onerous in itself, but I find lawns boring and am much more interested in seeing what comes up and blooms if I leave them alone. Sadly, the city of Minneapolis, while willing to permit prairie meadows, is not on board with simply neglecting one's lawn, however experimental the spirit in which it is done. And it's true that one would need to scythe down or burn volunteer trees, and that it is useful to be able to make one's way from the house to the garage with trash or recycling, and even to sit in the yard to watch for bats or chimney swifts or swallowtail butterflies.

Today is not great for dragonflies because it's too cloudy, so we did not go hiking; and I decided I'd actually mow the front lawn. I had taken the lawn mower around from the back and was eying the fallen branch of the neighbors' pea-bush hedge with disfavor when I noticed a bright eye in the grass. A little stripey bird stared at me, bits of gray fluff protruding from its stripes and vibrating with its breathing. It did not gape for food or make any sound at all, and no parent bird clicked or chirped or shrieked at me. I got the pruning shears and did some haphazard reduction of the volunteer trees in the side gardens and the back yard. When I was tired of that, I went back around. The bird was still there. I came into the house and grumpily told Raphael, who suggested looking up what one was recommended to do. I was pretty sure we both knew, but I looked it up. Sure enough, fledglings of most species spend two to five days on the ground being taught important life experiences by their parents. One is strongly advised by the Audubon Society and other similar organizations to leave the babies alone and let them get on with life.

It's very sad, but I cannot mow the front lawn. Raphael said that the city (which, in addition to its lack of enthusiasm for unplanned spontaneous meadows, also dislikes grass and weeds higher than eight inches in one's yard -- there is simply no pleasing some people) would surely understand this situation. I said I looked forward to explaining it to them.

Both appearance and statistics suggest that the baby bird is a house sparrow, but I am not going to mess with it even so. It can't help being part of an imported rapacious species, any more than I can.

In other news, David and I are working on re-issuing my 1998 novel Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary as an ebook and a POD. I'm about three-quarters of the way through reading the OCR and checking it against the previously published version. I remember writing it well enough, but it's been long enough that I keep reacting to it as if someone else had written it. This means that sometimes I enjoy it so much that I stay up late to keep reading, and other times I address the author in exasperated terms.

It is an odd sideways book in some ways. I still feel that my actual point was overstated and obvious, but this has not been the experience of most readers. I don't plan to rewrite anything, though. The people who love the book do love it a lot, and I have plenty of new stuff to write. But JG&R probably didn't even reach all of the small audience it should have, because it was published right around the time that the mass-market distribution system broke down, so that it had no mass-market paperback edition and people were not yet resigned to trade paperbacks. So I hope to at least remedy that.

We hope to reissue "Owlswater" and The Dubious Hills as well.

Pamela

P.S. Parental chipping and high fledgling eeeeeings are now coming from the front yard. I'm glad someone is on the job.

ETA: I saw the parent. It might be a chipping sparrow, or maybe an American tree sparrow, only I didn't see a chest spot. I didn't want to stare too long, since the bird was busy and not best pleased with my arrival.
Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
5:34 pm
Tomato-based analog to chutney
I want to put down at least a few brief notes about things I had hoped to write about at length when my memory was fresh.

First, Minicon 50. As mle292 so clearly explained at Opening Ceremonies, Minicon 50 did not mark the fiftieth year of there being Minicons, and nor was it actually the fiftieth Minicon. However, we were celebrating anyway. The three co-chairs had worked very hard to build up membership and guest-of-honor goodwill, all to culminate in this convention. I complained a lot about how it was a day longer than most recent Minicons. In the days of the huge Minicons, were you so inclined, you could attend a party every night for eight or nine days, beginning on the weekend before the convention and spilling over at least onto the Tuesday following it. I've become sufficiently hermitic that I don't even go to the work party or the first party at the hotel, so that my usual Minicon runs from Friday afternoon through, if you count post-convention sushi and ice cream, Monday afternoon. This year we checked into the hotel on Thursday. I still skipped the Tuesday work party and the Wednesday party at the hotel.

Eric was the at con head of the Volunteers Department and a responder for the Code of Conduct Committee, so he got talked into coming to the Wednesday party, which he said was great, but it made him feel anti-social on Thursday. We ended up borrowing Lydy's car and slipping off for dinner on our own. We went, somewhat at random, to the Malt Shop, and got caught up on one another's news. We ordinarily have a date on Friday or Saturday, but of course at a convention it all has to be fitted around other events. We had one other meal together because our timing didn't suit anybody else's. Other meals were properly conventional: sheerly by accident, we ran into Lois who is not on LJ and Jon Singer, and had lunch with them in the hotel restaurant, with very pleasant and wide-ranging conversation.

On Sunday after Closing Ceremonies we slipped away to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden for an hour or so. The weather was threatening rain, but we did manage a walk around. There were snow trillium. All the tamaracks were still buttoned up as tightly as could be; of the understory, only a few dogwoods showed the fantastical beginnings of leaves, but there were recognizable rosettes of thistle, false rue anemone, wild ginger, and trillium

We came back to a dinner with Ctein and Jon again. We went to Peninsula and had excellent food. I also ate one Dairy Queen meal in the room on the day that I had my reading; and Eric and I had a lovely meal both for food and conversation with eileenlufkin, mrissa, and alecaustin at whatever the Sofitel has become -- maybe a Sheraton. I refuse to keep track. They were remodelling their actual restaurant, so they guided us through wide shadowy spaces to their temporary restaurant. It was a bit like eating in a spaceport, but the menu, while limited, had very good things on it. No blue food, however.

I usually get in at least one meal with David, but he was busy with the Cats Laughing concert on Friday night and with hosting room parties other nights. He does sometimes complain about going out for meals at conventions with people he lives with, so I trust this was more satisfactory in any case.

The dreaded 11:30 a.m. panels were both extremely good. I believe that the Scribblies (minus, sadly, Kara Dalkey) managed to keep Jane Yolen entertained while we interviewed her; and the Fairy Tale panel was by far the best one I've ever been on. Everybody was very insightful and intelligent, and there was also a running joke from I have no idea where, in which one put up one's hand if one felt uncomfortable. This came in very handy when people began complimenting one another and when Jane Yolen told family anecdotes about Adam Stemple.

On Saturday afternoon before and after my reading I spent most of my time listening to a really fine lineup of other people read -- Naomi Kritzer, Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, Marissa Lingen and Alec Austin, Michael Merriam.

I had never heard Naomi read and, though I like her writing very much and already knew that she is funny, I didn't realize how much theatrical skill she put into reading her work aloud. She read a time-travel story that was a lot like an anxiety dream in its repetitive failures, but much funnier and better structured.

Marissa and Alec are a very good team both for writing and reading, with a nice contrast in manner and in particular flavor of humor; Marissa also read a work of her own that did what most of her short work tends to do to me, which is to proceed stealthily towards a point that perhaps should not be surprising but generally is. (If not surprising, or sometimes while also being surprising, this moment tends to knock the metaphorical breath out of you for other reasons, mostly the logical coming-together of disparate and intense elements.)

Jane and Adam also did a mix of collaborative and individual reading, passing scenes back and forth like, um, some kind of ball in some kind of sport I'd think of if I knew any sports. Jane's poems are often not unlike Marissa's short stories, only more compressed -- one moment you are laughing, the next your eyes sting with tears. I mostly hate war stories, but Adam read a very good one.

Michael has done a lot of spoken-word work and it informs his reading very pleasantly, insofar as that's a good word to use about rather grim subject matter. But I liked the touches of humor and the local settings.

I missed Scott Lynch and Bear reading, again, and will need to put that at the top of my list for next year because this is getting ridiculous.

My own reading went well enough, but I need to find some better solution to the fact that I always overrun a half-hour slot but cannot really fill an hour before my voice gives out. Pat Wrede came in just as I'd finished and was somewhat frustrated, since she knew I would be reading a few passages from our joint story in Points of Departure. The "print ARCs" had arrived over the weekend, and she kindly handed me hers (she commutes to the convention, we don't) to show off and read from. My own was awaiting me when I got home.

I didn't get to as much other programming as I would have liked, but I got to hear matociquala and other fine people talk about artistic bravery.

And of course there was the Cats Laughing concert. A spreading fear that the room provided would not be large enough caused a lot of people to line up well in advance of the starting time. I myself got in line maybe half an hour before then and had good conversation with laurel, Jon, and Mike Pins, who I think is not on LJ. We ended up sitting in a row with ckd and aedifica, which was pleasing. Eric didn't stand in line because he didn't want to be trapped in the middle of a crowd rather than being able to come and go. As it turned out, there was room and a little to spare, and he came and sat behind us about two-thirds of the way through the concert, having been in and out and sometimes dancing before that.

The opening act was Sister Tree, whom I had not heard before; but David had, and told me they were very good. They are, and in a way that I particularly like. They did a number of traditional folk songs in their American versions, and each of them did a version of "Cruel Sister" that arrived from and ended up at a very different place from the other's -- with footnotes. I have seldom had such a rollicking academic time.

The Cats opened with "See How the Sparrow Flies," which I had been playing a lot because of the Kickstarter extras. I loved it but remained fairly calm. However, the next song they did was Mike Ford's "Black Knight's Work," and I immediately got extremely teary and felt profoundly moved and nostalgic for the rest of the evening. The Cats sounded excellent. I kept flashing on an alternate history where they had stayed together and evolved into this form -- "So yeah, Steven decided to ditch the trap set because... " and "Scott came in about five years ago when... " They didn't sound the same any more than any of us really looks the same after 25 years -- but they sounded like themselves.

I missed far too many concerts, some because of scheduling conflicts and some because I was too scatterbrained to organize myself. But I did get to attend a room party or two with music, and also to listen to the music circle on Sunday night.

This is far from a full account. I was very happy to see Star and Pooch, as well as everybody mentioned above and quite a few I do not at all mean to leave out.

I think this will have to do, though I'm hoping that having recalled so much will shake up my brains so that I start out of bed at four a.m. remembering entire events that must be committed to writing at once.

Pamela
Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
12:48 pm
It's here, it's here! (Points of Departure)
Points of Departure, Pat Wrede's and my Liavek collection, comprising all of our original Liavek stories plus a new one from Pat and a new collaboration from both of us, is officially out! Or, as the kids apparently say these days, Live for Sale! If you have already pre-ordered, you should be seeing your book soon. If you haven't but want the book, here's the link to the Diversion Books page, which in turn contains links to other retailers:

https://ganxy.com/i/102292

If you want a paper book rather than an e-book, both Barnes and Noble and Amazon can oblige you with one.

I am seriously impressed and deeply pleased with Diversion Books, which did a stupendous job at every stage.

ETA: In comments, Brooks says that his local independent bookstore is able to order it for him, so if you prefer to support local independent stores, ask them about it.

This is my first publication since 2008, which should give me pause for serious reflection; but, on beginning to reflect, I think I'll go clean the bathroom instead.

Pamela
Monday, April 27th, 2015
5:08 pm
OUT OF ALL HOOPING
I have, not exactly in my hand right now, but very near by, and honestly I think I might sleep with it under my pillow, the termination paperwork for The Dubious Hills AND the cancelled and as-yet unpublished sequel to Hills, that is, the work sometimes known as Going North.

This has been imminent for some weeks now and I have been trying to figure out what to do. I will let you guys know as soon as I have.

What I can say is that Going North needs to be re-expanded, not to its former two-volume length, but by perhaps 20,000 words; that probably not all of them will be words that I have already written; and that I am very well, indeed painfully, aware that people have been waiting for far, far too long for this book; so I will do my best to be expeditious.

One might well ask why I didn't do the revisions while I was awaiting the paperwork, but I can only say that they had not come properly into focus, and in fact I needed to write a short story first to get things to line up or clear up or whatever this analogy thinks it is doing just now. I would apologize for my creative process, but that wouldn't make it any less annoying.

Pamela
Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
4:55 pm
Gobsmacked with Delight
Diversion Books just sent Pat and me an email to say that Points of Departure has a starred review from Publishers Weekly. I will spare you the phonetic rendition of what I uttered when I read the review. It was rather high-pitched and most of the words were somewhat random. Not only is the review enthusiastic, the reviewer truly gets what we were doing.

I feel that some of the praise at the end of the review should go to everyone who worked to create, expand, and edit Liavek, and I hope that any of you other Liavek writers and contributors, particularly Will Shetterly and Emma Bull, who may be reading this, will take a glow of credit to yourselves as well. I personally am especially indebted to John M. Ford, who immensely complicated the history of the House of Responsible Life and very kindly critiqued "A Necessary End," providing in some cases more insight into my characters than I had myself.

Here is the link:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-62681-555-1

Pamela
Monday, April 20th, 2015
12:51 pm
Signal Boost -- Con or Bust
Auctions for Con or Bust are live now. You can get signed prints by Terri Windling, handmade scarves and shawls in gorgeous colors, a set of Sherwood Smith's Inda books, dozens more books of all sorts, from ARCs to old paperbacks, a critique of your fiction from a professional, and, though I don't happen to have seen any in my first pass, probably cookies.

Here is where:

http://con-or-bust.org/

And this is what:

"Con or Bust is administered by the Carl Brandon Society, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. Con or Bust isn't a scholarship and isn't limited by geography, type of con-goer, or con; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves."

I am hoping to put a couple of books up myself, but feel it would be better to locate them first and then offer them. If I manage to put an auction together, I'll post here to let you guys know. In the meantime, there is no shortage at all of amazing things to bid on.

Pamela
Saturday, April 18th, 2015
2:47 pm
Scilla are here, what happened to Charybdis?
When I tried to get the photos off my phone, the laptop told me that my old device didn't work with USB 3.0, try a USB 2 port. David, applied to for a sanity check, said that was nonsense. When he tried to get the photos off my phone, they came right off meekly. The phone used to be his; perhaps it has some attachment issues.

It's the time of year when one wants to visit the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden as often as possible. Photos below the cut.

Collapse )
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
8:07 pm
Snowdrops and robins
I had to go downtown today for the very mundane reason that I was almost out of Peridex and had to pick up another bottle from the dentist's office. I came home through the brown back yard, strewn with all the leaves last November's snow covered before I could mow them up; and glanced, by sheer habit, at the crumpled sodden leaves of one of last year's peonies. The snowdrops were up and blooming. They were not visible at all yesterday but today, there they were.

When I came upstairs I opened a lot of windows, and immediately heard the robins singing their evening song. The Cornell Ornithological Lab calls it their dawn song, and if Cornell says they sing it at dawn, then they do; but they also sing it in the evening, and sometimes when the sky darkens suddenly before a storm. In support of Cornell, I will add that they also sing it when the sun comes out after the storm is over.

I wish Minicon were earlier or later. Spring has come, and I don't want to sit around in a hotel. At least rain is forecast for part of the weekend.

Right now it's almost entirely clear except for some of those long, dark-gray clouds like islands, with Venus brightening above them.

Pamela
Monday, March 30th, 2015
2:32 pm
Minicon Schedule
Somewhat belatedly, here's my Minicon programming schedule:

Friday, 11:30 AM (ugh) Krushenko's: The Scribblies Interview of GoH Jane Yolen. Emma Bull, Jane Yolen, Nate Bucklin, Pamela Dean, Patricia C. Wrede, Steven Brust.

Saturday, 11:30 AM (UGH), Krushenko's: Recreating the Fairy Tale

Fairy tales are in their own quirky way more prominent now than in past years. They are simply everywhere - they have infiltrated poetry, novellas, novels, musicals, TV, advertising, movies, music... and there seems no stopping them. They are imagined, re-imagined, stood on their heads, flung into outer space, moved into the twenty-first century and beyond. What is it about the fairy tale that makes it so compelling? Where will we take them (or they take us) next? Adam Stemple, Elise A. Matthesen, Emma Bull, Jane Yolen, Pamela Dean, Will Alexander.

Saturday, 4:30 PM (YAY), Veranda 1/2, Pamela Dean Reading.


All of these, but particularly the reading, are up against some heavy competition from other interesting programming.

I will probably be reading from a short story that a few people will have heard me read a snippet of at Wiscon several years ago. It is not, alas, finished yet, because it keeps throwing out novel-like tendrils from its rootstock and I have to keep cutting them back. It is about Con and Beldi in the city of the astronomical werewolves. There is a lot more of it than there was, and Minicon audiences are extremely kind and long-suffering and let me use them as guinea pigs for works in progress.

Hope to see some of you there.

Pamela

ETA: Editorial commentary on the times provided by yours truly; there is no arcane system of acronyms employed by Minicon that I am aware of.

Pamela
Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
4:45 pm
Points of Departure is available for pre-order
Here's the link for pre-ordering Points of Departure, Patricia Wrede's and my Liavek collection (all of our old stories reprinted with a few corrections; a new story, "Of Fish and Fools," by Pat; and a new story, "Shards," by both of us), coming from Diversion Books in May. It looks as if, should you want a paper book rather than an e-book, Amazon is your only option. [Edited to add: This is incorrect! Barnes and Noble is also offering the chance to pre-order a paperback. Thanks to sovay in comments for pointing this out.]

https://ganxy.com/i/102292

In less exciting news, I finally got a Twitter account. My name in many variations was taken already (about what you might expect if you waited until 2015 to get a Twitter account), so I ended up as pamelacdean. This has led to enough thoughts like, "Pamelac! A cooking spray AND an infant formula!" that I may need to change it. I have not posted anything and am following people as they pop up, so very desultory all around, but I hope to get up to speed eventually.

Pamela
Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
4:54 pm
A clarification (good news!) about Points of Departure
A number of people have asked whether Points of Departure, the collection of my and Pat Wrede's Liavek stories forthcoming from Diversion Books, will be available only as an e-book, or also in paper form. I have been answering "only as an e-book," but this is wrong. There will also be a POD version available, so that people who want paper can have it.

This is particularly pleasing because the cover is profoundly gorgeous and deserves to be wrapped around a paper version of the collection.

Last time I checked, the book was supposed to come out in May. I'll keep you posted.

Pamela
Saturday, March 7th, 2015
6:40 pm
Sunset and evening star
My office, in an upstairs sunroom, has two windows facing south, two north, and three west. The upstairs living room, which we have crammed with books to the point that there is room for only one chair, and even that has to be moved aside if we want to get at the hardcover short-story collections, has a big window over the front porch that also faces west.

After a dark and extensively cloudy beginning to winter, we've been having cold, clear evenings, or mostly clear evenings with thin wandering clouds. I am finally in the habit of looking out at sunset. There have been spectacular ones that turned all the clouds pink; blazing striped ones with a band of red, a band of hot pink, a band of orange, then green, then palest blue, green, medium blue, dark dark blue with pink clouds in it; unassuming ones with a band of orange fading to yellow fading to dark gray clouds.

Venus is the evening star. I can see it from the most southerly of the west-facing office windows, just between the neighbors' evergreen and the Norway maple on the boulevard. Tonight, in a subdued sunset of orange and yellow and pink, I couldn't find it. I went to the big library window. No Venus. There was a band of gray clouds above the pink of the horizon, but Venus should have been much higher than that. I got out my phone to check Google Sky Map. Eric texted me just then to say that he was on his way over. I answered him, and then looked at the sky again, raising the phone so that it would show me all the invisible stars and planets, and where the horizon was. Venus shone out, a pinprick to what it would be in full dark, but very much there. "Oh, there you are!" I said. I looked down at the phone to see how close Mars was to Venus, and when I looked back, Venus was gone again. Searching once more, I realized that the faintest of long stretchy clouds reached out from the horizon like ghost rays of the vanished sun. They were moving in the wind, and they hid and revealed Venus as they went, looking almost like an aurora.

The trees looked less stark than they had a few weeks ago. Buds might be starting.

Pamela

Edited to remove extraneous "window" from the text, as there are quite enough windows in the house already.
Sunday, March 1st, 2015
1:45 pm
I have been and always shall be
Sometime in my forties, I vaguely realized that my gender role when I was a teenager had been, not a girl (funny-looking by the standards of the time, hated makeup and girl clothing), nor a tomboy (clumsy, hated sports), nor a nerd or geek (bad at math after geometry, bad at physics, see above, clumsy), but rather, an intellectual. I imagine that I must have been pretty annoying, but if you give people a few very ill-thought-out, badly designed but very well-made boxes to cram themselves into, it serves you right if they instead construct weird lumpy things out of stone knives and bearskins and bump into your shins with them afterwards.

Anyway, I was not a geek or a nerd, but both of my best friends in high school were. I never called them names or made fun of their eschewing of ordinary feelings; in fact, having read quite a lot of science fiction by then, I held them in considerable awe. We all watched the original "Star Trek". They both identified strongly with Spock. I felt that I could never live up to Spock's standards, and might possibly have a talent or two that he did not. I was certainly not able to identify with Kirk, whom I tried to love because Spock and McCoy did. Among the women Uhura (whom I adored) was intimidatingly feminine, Chapel very ill-served by the few scripts that featured her, everyone else mostly just a prop, except for the guest stars, who, well. The one thing I never, ever forgave Gene Roddenberry was his extremely twisted notions of what women were like and where they fitted into stories. But watching McCoy learn to love Spock, as I loved my friends, had a profound and lasting impact on me.

I did not follow Leonard Nimoy assiduously in his career outside of "Star Trek." I do recall reading that he had performed the part of the psychiatrist in a production of "Equus." I had seen the play in London when I was in college, and eerily, when I read this tidbit of news, I could hear Nimoy's voice saying some of the lines that had stayed with me from the play. Much, much later, just last year, Raphael and I watched all of "Fringe." Nimoy's character in that show is a marvel, appealing and appalling at once, a thinker and inventor who never grew up, both in the good sense of having an unlimited zest for life and for any situation in which he found himself, and in the bad sense of having no clear idea that other people (to lift a term from The Just City, where I most recently encountered it) have equal significance.

I loved knowing that he was there, that Spock, in some sense, was there. And now he is gone.

Pamela
Monday, February 23rd, 2015
10:08 pm
10:02 pm
Signal Boost -- Claire Cooney's Brimstone Rhine
"So often in the classics we grew up with, women are peripheral players in some hero's journey. What I wanted to do with the Alecto! Alecto! EP is write love songs to gorgons and sorceresses, furies and queens, infamous leaders, monsters, nymphs, and to Circe, the awesomest witch in the western world. I wanted to celebrate their power, swoon over their cleverness, and retell their myths with all the sexy, gritty, cheeky modernity at my disposal."

The wildly versatile and talented csecooney is running an Indiegogo campaign to produce two albums by an imaginary rock star. What I've quoted above was enough for me, but here is the link for more information.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brimstone-rhine

Pamela
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