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July 2004
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September 2004

lots o' links

It is now official. Documents have been signed by all of the folk who must sign them. Copies have been registered with the appropriate governing bodies. And all is in order. And, so, the skinny:

Hillbilly Gothic, a memoir by yrs trly about families and babies and Appalachia (but funny, in the way that I am funny), will be published by The Free Press , a division of Simon and Schuster, in early '06. The finished manuscript is due May 1, which should make the next few months really interesting. If you see me running about in circles, wearing nothing but some fuzzy bunny slippers and hugging a laptop, know that I have not lost my mind, but am hard at work making the magic happen. Or something like that.

Other bits --

000_0070 Thanks Secret Pal!

Neil Gaiman's "A Writer's Prayer" is online in MP3 form. The last verse is worth the download time.

The Learning Channel has started showing Peep and the Big Wide World at 8 a.m. Not only is the theme song by Taj Mahal and the narration by Joan Cusack, the show is wet-your-pants funny, even if you are not a toddler. Allegedly, it also teaches kids about science, which I can sorta see, but it also teaches them about whimsy, animation and creativity. While those qualities may not be as fundamentally lucrative as science, they also contribute to a nice, well-rounded offspring or, at the very least, one who thinks ducks are amusing.


Synchronized swimming is just freakish, yet I can't turn away.

Classes have begun, which means that my life will tornado-like until the middle of September. We usually have the new routine under control by then. Now, however, it's a little wonky.

In the midst of the wonk, my Secret Pal struck again. Thanks Secret Pal! Pictures on the 'morrow.

This week's Friday Five left me scratching my head, simply because I can really only think of one item that wold be on my list. The question, via Mr Violent:

ou've been given the choice of having 5 memories removed from the world's collective memories. If you forget them, it will be as if they never happened. Which 5 do you choose?

While there have been plenty of things that, at the time, I wish I could wipe from the world's collective memories, in hindsight, they are really all things that we also "character-building," as cliched as that phrase is. There is one, tho.

When I was in high school, I did a lot of summer stock theatre. And, like clockwork, I developed a crush on one of the guys I worked with. My last summer it was Dave Brzozowski, who, I think, has now gone on to a brilliant career in graphic design. He was a few years older and in college. We kept in touch for a bit. I knew the crush was always only on my side, but he is a good guy and humored me.

Eventually, tho, entropy took over and we lost touch. It happens.

I did, however, have to chance to see him again about a year later. He came in to town to visit someone and a bunch of us summer stockers met up at a Dennys. During the intervening year, I'd gained *a lot* of weight, like 50-60 pounds on an already packed frame. (It wasn't a good year and my teen angst was soothed by chocolate and donuts.) So here I am, having coffee with this guy a still harbor a secret thing for, and I drop a spoon. When I bend over to get it, the inseams (note plural) of my pants split.

I am, logically, mortified. Now, of course, I could probably laugh it off and move on. Then, I tried to pretend it hadn't happened at all, blushing furiously and trying to figure out how to get out of the restaurant without standing up. Even thinking about it now, I want to just *die.*

I'd like to say that that moment was some great watershed, where I decided to develop my body to resemble that of Tyra Banks. I'd also like to say that I just solved cold fusion.

For the record, I can say that I've lost all that weight plus more besides. It had more to do with moving out of my mother's house than with the mortification of obesity, still, the end result should count, I think. It's also not something that I tend to think about anymore, for the most part. Life's too short to worry about those last 20 pounds.

That moment, tho, needs to be deleted.

why I vote.

For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food—all of it colorless slops—was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because—why, exactly? We have car pool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?

catching up

Classes start tomorrow and I'm still trying to get syllabi, first week assignments and the rest of the various school-starting what-not together. Of course, rather than do that, I'm sitting here writing a blog entry and watching Olympic beach volleyball. One must have priorities.

A few tidbits --

Ellen Goodman's column column today about the anniversary of women's suffrage, with this eye-opening nugget of information:

It's been 84 years since women won the right to vote and still the only women in the race for White House housing are ladies, as in first lady. This year, Iraqi women, under their brand new constitution, will hold 25 percent of the government seats, but American women, under their venerable old Constitution, will hold only 13.8 percent of the congressional seats.

"Failure is impossible," said Susan B. Anthony. But she forgot to mention how slow success could be.

While this has nothing to do with women and voting, we just got back from Maine, where we visited old college chums and their children, who live near Bath. Gorgeous country.

The first full day, however, was a little rainy and, as a result, buggy. Fortunately, there was a spare almost-Diva-sized slicker around.


We decided the best course of action was lobsters, which also made good playthings, corn and general carnage.


All that remained:


The weather improved, as weather often can -- and we learned why Maine is so popular.


Pretty, eh?

And, now, on to getting some work done. *sigh*


"I wish I could write a beautiful book to break those hearts that are soon to cease to exist: a book of faith and small neat worlds and of people who live by the philosophies of popular songs."

-- Zelda Fitzgerald

How do you spell relief?

Myrna and Charla are no more. While I respect what they were trying to do, I wanted to smack the crap out of the taller one, who may have been Myrna or may have been Charla. But, now, they are gone and I can focus my ire on the twins.

Personally, I'm rooting for the Bowling Moms or Chip and Kim, which means neither team will probably win.

Small complaint, tho: One of the reasons I liked AR so much is that they didn't have that many disgusting food challenges a la Survivior. So this season so far, there have been two. Granted, the foods themselves weren't disgusting but the quantities were. Still, I don't like watching folks fight back vomit. Yeeg. While reality TV isn't the classiest of mediums, AR used to have some. Now, I can see them poised with one foot on a slippery slope.

And if you have no idea what any of that means, sorry. The next post may be more to your liking.

New York in August. Woo.

Just got back from The Big City, which takes longer to get to than I'd thought. We did, however, drive to Croton-Harmon, which was ~4 hours, then took the train in, which was another hour. There has got to be a better way.

Regardless, it was more a business trip than a pleasure trip, although the Hub and the Diva came along. The Diva did quite well -- and the train was the best thing ever, in her eyes. She also pointed out every last bus and fire truck to us during our stay and would wave to passing New Yorkers as we strolled along the city's sidewalks. Surprisingly, most of the folks waved back.

It did, however, drizzle almost the entire time we were there, which scrapped grander plans of romping about Central Park. Walking anywhere was just damp and unpleasant, but we did make it to the Toys 'R Us, where we had a big time watching the Ferris Wheel and staring at the life-style Dora and Boots and Blue. By about 11 a.m., tho, she seemed to just fall into an overload coma. There was no crying or tantrums, just eyes the size of bagels, and the Diva was quiet as a snowstorm.

At noon, I lunch with the Editor and had a big time my own self. It seems like an awesome match, frankly. Contracts went back in the mail today. I am still dumbfounded, frankly -- but thrilled.

While I did take a camera, the battery died after just a few shots. Oooops.

Next weekend, Maine, which promises to be more scenic. And, yes, I plan to buy more batteries.

000_0052 During the day yesterday, my Secret Knitter struck, with the help of a postman. Here is a quick picture of the goods, all with a similar theme. Wonder why SK choose Martinis...

Note the cute kitty card. Note that said kitty is in a typewriter. Awesome choice!

On the knitting front, I'm almost finished with the Diva's Tasia cardie, which is being done in a purple, pink, yellow and blue version of Koigu Kersti, which is soft and springy and good. Pictures when it is done.

Also on the knitting front, the back and fronts of my Peace Fleece cardi are blocking and I'll piece 'em together soonish. Then comes sleeves. Oh, how I loathe sleeves.

And, one last picture: 000_0041

The Diva is unamused.


Me this week -- and I should know better than to do these things to myself:

What are the five Friday Five questions that you hope no one ever asks?

1) What are the five things that you'll lie about, no matter how strenuously you deny that you're lying?

2) What are the five things you do when no one is looking that would most horrified to be observed doing?

3) What are the five mental images that keep you awake and breathless some nights? (Hint: the first one involves coming in to get Maddy in the morining and she's cold and blue.)

4) What are the five things you're going to do when the world finds out you're a talentless hack who really only has a few typing tricks to fall back on once the writerly chips are down and published?

5) What would you do for a Klondike bar?

Other fivers at left.

How ... odd.

The Diva is a bit under the weather today and is home. Currently, her snotty, coughing self has finally fallen into something resembling a nap, and I am trying to catch up. What I am doing instead is posting on the blog and watching the Brini Maxwell show, which is very, very strange. It's part helpful hints, part skewering of Martha Stewart. With a drag queen. And a fabulous costume design. And a segment introduced by name-dropping the Unibomber. Don't know If I'll ever watch it again, but it is worth experiencing once. But just once.

Shameless self promotion: new stuff up at Bookslut: my take on the upcoming Hugos: Hugos and Oblivion.

Also: the divine Miss Melissa has a column up at Austinmama. It's good stuff.