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July 2009
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September 2009

many things make a post

* You, too, can sleep in the World's Largest Beagle. Also, hotels with a sense of place (and I'm thrilled to see the Roxbury make the cut.)

* Even sheep have lousy days.

* Words to live by.

* Thank you Captain Obvious.

* I'm pretty vanilla when it comes to knitting socks but these (sottopassaggio from Twist Collective) are making me itchy to try something more challenging. I even have the perfect yarn in the stash. Must. resist.

* Kali Meister's piece on being obese and auditioning for The Biggest Loser is amazing and brave.

* Further proof that it is all about the spaces in between.

* Susan Cheever answers the "How Could She?" question in Salon.

* Further proof that The Backyardigans is one of the best kids' shows ever. The Pie Samurai is one of my particular faves.

* The next time I take a batch of books to Popeks, I'll need to stick some stuff between the pages for Mike to find.

another weekend away

This weekend was Scott's 20th high school reunion up in the ROC. Yes, he is old.*

For all practical purposes, what that meant was that The Diva spent almost the entire weekend with G'ma Char and The Boy hung out with Grandpa D. at night while Scott and I flitted from place to place. Scott seems to have enjoyed the weekend's events but did mention that the whole thing was "surreal." 

The Diva and Char went to the Walnut Hill Horse and Carriage show, which I have no pictures of but imagine they'd look a lot like ljc's.

We puttered around with the Boy on Saturday morning and wound up in a local dining establishment that we'd been trying to get to for well over a year.





It was really dang good. Not Texas Rib Kings good (what is, really), but very very good.

At breakfast with all of the grands on Sunday, the Boy amused himself with my camera because that seems to be the one thing that keeps him busy during longer waits.



This was taken shortly after he kept putting the camera's flash up against his eye, then pushing the button. No, we don't know what goes on in there, either.

A relatively uneventful drive was capped off by about 30 minutes worth of meltdowns by pretty much every human in the house once we got back home. All in all, a good trip. But I am looking forward to not packing up the van for a few days.

 * I will now point out that this year also marks my 20th h.s. reunion -- but it's not until November so I can be Ms Smuggie-McSmuggerson for a few months.

except for all of the sex

Because I still have no brain, I took myself to see Julie and Julia. The short review: it's cute and worth the price of admission for the onion chopping scene alone. Because who hasn't been there.

That's not what I wanted to tell you, tho. What I wanted to tell you was this --

As the credits were rolling, the woman behind me turned to her friend, who was maybe in her mid-40s. She said to her friend,  "Wasn't that lovely? There was no violence!" And the friend said, "Why did they have to put in all of the sex." 

No, she wasn't kidding. 

Which really makes me wonder what movie she saw. You never see any of the actors naughty bits. There is one brief scene with Amy Adams in her very chaste underwear. There are allusions that, yes, sex might have occurred but nothing graphic at all. I mean. I mean...Is the idea that married people have sex every now and again that abhorrent? 

Which just goes to show you that some people just look for things to piss them off.


One of the many things that came out of WorldCon conversations is that I'll be posting weekly (I hope) dispatches on the Locus blog about SF/F-related stuff. And, look, my first post is live. It's about cats and wings and cliches.

But there is no sex, not even implied. So you'll have to get upset about something else.

anticipation, a first attempt

I'm not sure where to start. And, so, I'll start with food, which is always a good place to start.

Chinatown ia $2 coin's throw from the convention center (Palais) in Montreal. Through a strange-but-not-that interesting series of steps, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman and I found ourselves in Little Sheep.

What first hits you at Little Sheep is the smell. It's heady and spice- ily floral, with an undernote of raw meat. It's an odor that lingers. My pillow and bra smelled like Little Sheep all weekend. That's not a bad thing. Just unusual.

You are given a bowl of broth, which is full of garlic and spices. You walk past a series of cases that are full of mushrooms and fungi, leafy greens and fish balls, the exotic and the mundane. You come back and cook your choices in your broth, along with the thinly sliced lamb or beef the waiter brings.


Good only begins to describe it. 


This is the only spice in my broth that I couldn't figure out. It's not nutmeg. It also appears to be hollow inside. When you take it out of the broth, it collapses in on itself, like a balloon that's losing air. It re-inflates when you put it back in the soup. Anyone?

When I first got to Montreal, I did what I usually do, which is walk out of the hotel and walk several blocks in the wrong direction. I asked a guy who was wearing a convention badge which way I needed to go. Three blocks that way, he said. It's the building that looks like a rainbow. 

My hope was that it looked like a rainbow to everyone and not just to weary con-goers. It does.


Below is Walter Jon Williams, whose books I love. 


I scored the last seat at his Kaffeeklatsch, where I felt very young and very female. 


I never did figure out what the display of ties was for.


On Saturday night, I went to the Masquerade, which is where fans build their own costumes that celebrate the fantastic. While the quality varied (and I, admittedly, skipped out about halfway in because I was falling asleep (not the performers' fault)), there's something fulfilling about seeing people doing something that they are truly passionate about, even if you are not. I suspect that's also why I like curling. 

Neil Gaiman during his reading. *squee!*


There was a lot of outside media around. Gaiman himself has CBS' Sunday Morning and a reporter from The New Yorker (really) in his entourage, which isn't overly surprising. But there were other TV crews and radio folk gathering info. I'm sure a few of those stories were of the "hey, look at the geeks!" sort. But that coverage seems to be less prevalent than it once was. 


There were, of course, fans in costumes. Not as many as you'd see at ComicCon, mind. (And for a really amazing set of shots of SF/F fans, go here. Kyle Cassidy's photos are gorgeous. In a perfect world, I know who I want to take my picture from now on.) (Oh, and Cassidy hits on a fundamental truth of fandom in his LJ

At one point I looked up and a smiling woman handed me her model release and said "Hi, I'm Connie Willis." There was a long pause and I said "Hi. I'm a bit speechless." and after Connie Willis a lot more of the rich and famous swam through with the streams of fandom and I realized that one thing about f&sf which doesn't seem to be true of many other genres is that the authors, the best ones, every one, not only started out as fans but they still are.) 

One last food thought: Did I eat this little lemon cupcake from Cafe Momus in Old Montreal ? You betcha. And it was good. 


many things make a post

* Two great tastes that go great together: Garrison Keillor and state fairs.

* How traveling with kids is like being back inside a child's thought processes, in a good way.

* What kind of racist are you? (Stolen from Scalzi)

* How to make an origami koi. Worth watching for the animation alone.

* Space is just cool.

* One good use for a watermelon.

* Two from Ms Anj: Food grows in unexpected places like Detroit and truck beds.

* Whedonisms in cross stitch. I might have to whip up a design for my favorite Whedonverse quote. Anyone wanna guess what it is?

* It's entirely likely that I'm the last person on the internets to see this Weird Al tribute to Charles Nelson Reilly. 

* This piece about cover design and killing your darlings is especially interesting to me right now, as the cover for Sweater Quest is being wrangled. One day, I'd like to have enough clout to dictate the layout and art. Or maybe I don't, seeing what a fraught, hazard-filled process it is.

Bonus cute kid story, provided mostly for the grandparents:

During a call to the kids while I was away I asked The Boy if he was being good for Daddy. His response, "not really." 

You have to admire his honesty.

eyes closing

And so I am home again. And very, very sleepy - not because I partied like a rock star but because the guest who had the room above mine showered at 6 a.m. each morning and the plumbing was very loud. I am, indeed, a delicate flower.

Busy weekend. Much to tell. But not yet. 

Two things, tho: 

I need to remember for the next solo trip I take to a city I do not know that it is imperative to both buy a map and *look* at the damn thing before driving in. Only doing the first part of that process is foolish and leads to one being incredibly surprised by where one ends up, especially when the signs are mostly in French.

There are few people that I would squee over. I shook the hand of Neil Gaiman this weekend and it was all I could do to not fall over dead. His hair, btw, is remarkable. 

qotd, next time you need a character name

Nonpollinating Apple Varieties
Arkansas Black
Belle de Boskoop
Blenheim Orange
Canada Reinette
Freiherr von Berlepsch
Karmijn de Sonnaville
Red Gravenstein
Sir Prize
Summer Rambo
Tompkins County King
Turley Winesap
Zabergau Reinette

English Cider Varieties (triploids)
Bulmer's Norman
Genet Moyle
Morgan Sweet

-- from Cider Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions and Making Your Own by Ben Watson


Rachel (a.k.a. Yarn-a-Go-Go) is in that blessed honeymoon phase between finishing a book and publishing a book. *

Mazel tov, I say.  I also say: when you see a good idea, steal it. 

Rachel has polled her hive mind for inexpensive promo giveaways that she can hand out at signings and various whatnot. I've been thinking about doing something similar for Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously** and Rachel's post gave me a shove.

Do you lot have any suggestions? The operative words are "inexpensive," since I'll most likely be doing this on my own dime, and "not overly labor intensive." It'd be ideal if it's something I can make/order a couple hundred of just to give away willy-nilly. I do have a bag full of scraps and skeins leftover from The Sweater that I'd happily donate to the cause. Thoughts?

Any input would be swell and appreciated.

I am also planning to do a much larger auction item, made out of the skeins of yarn I picked up as souvenirs from the journey. But more on that later...


* Eliza's Cottage (Spring 2010, Avon). Buy as many as you are able.***

** I'm not sure when I signed off on the new subtitle (I suspect I did but lost track of it in my own head) but I love it. Makes me sound all badass and ninja-y.

*** There's one coming out before that one: How to Knit a Love Song. Again, buy as many as you are able.