Archive | September 2013

(Un)conventional solution

Close up of otter appearing to smile while holding his paws together.

Sometimes, only an otter will do!

I only got about 4400 words worth of new scenes written for the novel over the course of my weekend at RainFurrest, but I made more progress than the word count implies.

I’d written recently about a big plot hole problem which has been stalling the book for a while. Late on Friday night, while I was futzing with a new scene that wasn’t quite working, I had an idea. I revised a couple of lines of dialog, and suddenly the rest of the scene just flowed. Because I’d figured out the solution to the plot hole, and once I’d made the choice to go with it, a bunch of other things starting falling into place…

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Conventionally speaking

A toy dog, fanzines, and toy ponies.

This adorable corgi plushie is my table mascot this year.

I’m having a good time at the convention. I haven’t slept in very much, but I seldom do when running a dealer’s table at a con.

This year, in addition to the usual copies of fanzines full of anthropomorphic science fiction, we are also selling an anthology of fiction produced by another publisher, My Little Pony blind bags, buttons designed by my husband, satirical bumper stickers designed by me, trading cards based on the fanzine project, badge ribbons, and t-shirts.

Though it would be more accurate to say we are offering all of those things for sale. As there hasn’t been a lot of actual purchasing happening at the table this year.

Thursday I sold mostly blind bag ponies and buttons. Friday the big mover was the badge ribbons. Oh! And all the My Little Pony coloring books (I only had three left after Everfree NW) also went on Thursday.

I’ve had good traffic at the table, and a few interesting conversations. I also got a decent amount of writing done Friday.

I’ve been having more fun, as usual, hanging out with friends for meals or up in our hotel room after the dealer’s den closes.

I did have a surprise visit from Julie. She and her mother had returned from a trip to London and Paris, and after Julie dropped her mom off at the airport, she came over to the convention hotel. Someone from con staff sent someone into the dealer’s den to tell me Julie was out at the door. She dropped off Lucky Tuppence coins for several of us, and showed me a tiny fraction of the photos she took on the trip.

I should grab some breakfast…!

Friday Links!

Since I’m at RainFurrest, this edition of Friday Links was collected earlier in the week.

NOM’s Brian Brown, the ‘Bigocrite’ – Brian Brown claims to be the victim, but he and his organization have bullied so many people in the past.

Lip Sync Battle with Joseph Gordon Levitt, Stephen Merchant and Jimmy Fallon (Joseph is awesome both times)
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Black Rhino Standoff
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Stephen King Fans Get Duped Into Buying a Seven-Page Review of a Stephen King Book

Former President George H.W. Bush was an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends.

Texas Voter ID Law May End Octogenarian’s 60-Year Voting Streak.

Ex-gay confused proudly rejected books with banned books.

Speaking of which, this is Banned Books Week. Go see what you can do to protect the freedom to read. Or at least what other people are doing.

Don’t forget to check out Deer Me for a new comic strip.

And, of course, Mr Cow.

Justin Timberlake covers the Jacksons’ Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) on BBC’s Live Lounge:
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This music video is a chilling commentary on oppression:
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And for something a bit more uplifting, this is an awesome cover:
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Finally, too awesome for words (Thanks to Seashellseller for the link!):
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Running off to a con

The car is very nearly packed. I still need to pack the computer, make a final run through the house to get everything turned off, et cetera, and I may hop in the shower one more time before I go.

I go to conventions because I enjoy hanging and goofing off with my friends, enjoy seeing people I don’t see except at fannish events, also to people watch, get some writing done, and (it is hoped) sell some books and things. It’s my version of a vacation.

There is a point (or, to be honest, several points) before I get on the road where I’m stressed out about almost everything: Have I packed everything? Is the inventory ready and in an order where I can find everything? Are my display materials ready? Did I remember to back up my computer before I left? Do I have my medications? Did I remember this, that, and the other?

Then during the drive and/or flight at least half of those questions keep coming up again, along with a lot of others: Did I double-check that the stove was turned off? Did we get the windows locked? Did I start the dishwasher before we left? Did I take the trash out? Did I let the responsible neighbors know we would be gone for a few days? Did I make sure no leftovers that won’t last are sitting in the fridge? Am I sure I locked the door?

When I write them out, it sounds like I’m a complete mess. Which is usually a slight exaggeration. Don’t get me wrong, each question wells up from my subconscious delivered in a voice of utter panic (usually sounding like Don Knotts’ character, Luther Heggs, in the movie The Ghost and Mr. Chicken). But the more rational part of my brain will sigh and say, “Yes, yes we took care of that.”

On trips where I’m experiencing a bit more of the worry than usual (such as, say, during times near the anniversary of Ray’s death, or his birthday, when I’m been working a lot of extra hours at work…), Michael has to intervene and remind me that if something is wrong or missing or forgotten, we’ll deal with it, “We always do.”

Which is great when he’s with me.

Unfortunately, he forgot that this was a Thursday through Sunday con, so he didn’t arrange to take today off from work. He helped did most of the loading of the car before he left. He’s going to come home after work, change, grab a few things, then take the train down to the hotel to join me this evening. As he reminded me just before he left, I can call him if I realize I forgot something, and he’ll check the house once before I go.

He’s always so calm, and capable, and endures my worry attacks with the patience of a saint.

I don’t deserve him.

Anyway, time for me to do those last few things and hit the road. If you happen to be attending RainFurrest, come to the dealer’s den, find the Tai-Pan table, and say “howdy!”

You might get a free badge ribbon or something out of it!

Being prime

Last year my age was divisible by 2 (more than once) and 13. The year before that by 3 and 17. The year before that by 5 (more than once) and 2. I could keep going, but I know if I do I will give some of you flashbacks to failed algebra quizzes.

The upshot is, that it has been six years since my age was a prime number.

It’s good to be prime, again.

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Tumbling

The last several weeks have not been good on the mood front.

At all.

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Disentangling

I’ve been having trouble making progress on my current novel in progress. There are always glitches in these things. Usually if I get hung up on something for too long, I switch to another project for a while and then when I come back to it I can make some headway.

That hasn’t worked.

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Not the best way to be remembered

This ought to be the last post about Mr Drunk and Ms Drunker, the former neighbors.

Friday night, our landlady had a party, to which she had invited everyone in our building, plus everyone in the building (not owned by her) in which Drunk and Drunker had lived, and a few other people to celebrate (or commemorate or maybe just commiserate) the leaving of Drunk and Drunker…

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Loving condemnation

So everyone was quoting some statements that the newish Pope made in a very long interview this week, where he said that “we” shouldn’t focus only on fighting gay rights, stopping abortion, and stopping people from having access to birth control.

The shallow media reported it as a huge shift away from the church being politically active. The liberal blogosphere touted it as an admonishment of groups such as the Catholic League and the National Organization for Marriage who spend 99% of their time harping on those three subjects. The pseudo-liberal blogosphere touted it as a significant shift in both tone and objectives. And the various forces on the right, including those anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights organization all insisted that the Pope wasn’t changing anything at all.

Folks like the blustering jerk from the Catholic League, Bill Donahue, took the statements as encouragement to double-down on the hate and denial. He insisted, in fact, that organizations like his aren’t obsessed with only being anti-gay, anti-abortion, and anti-women. No, according to him it’s the liberal media and the Obama administration who somehow make it seem as if all the Catholic League cares about is gays, abortions, and birth control. Those things are still wrong, and they need to be fought, but the fight needs to continue as part of the overall mission of the church to love everyone, no matter how sinful.

And the thing is, the rightwing anti-gay catholic spokespeople are correct. That is much closer to what the Pope said. Maybe he is admonishing the most vocal political action organizations to soften their tone a bit, but the very best spin you can put on his words is still, “hate the sin, love the sinner.”

It reminds me of a sequence from the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. There’s one long story line which involved the Devil resigning, kicking all the lost souls and demons out of hell, locking the gates of hell, and then handing the key over to Dream, who does not want it. At the end of the story, two angels receive a message from God to take the key, re-open hell, call all the souls and demons back, and start running it again.

There’s a scene after that where some souls are being tortured by a demon, and one of the two angels now in charge interrupts to admonish the demon. He explains to both the demon and the tortured soul that all of this is part of the creator’s plan. The souls sent to hell aren’t being tortured out of cruelty and hatred, but out of love. The demon will continue to torture the souls exactly the same way that they always have, except now they are doing it out of love. Because god loves everyone, even the souls he has condemned to an eternity of torment in hell. So the torture isn’t being administered for cruel reasons, but out of love.

As the angel departs and the demon resumes the torture, one of the souls says, “Actually, that makes it worse.”

Yes. Yes it does.


Update: This post rounds up more of the details in case you don’t understand just how anti-gay the pope’s position still is: Pope Francis Says More Nice Words About LGBTs, Changes Nothing


Friday Links!

This is an (almost) all-video edition of Friday Links. Enjoy!

Better This Way:
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Ralph Bear, Father of the Video Game Console, still inventing at 90:
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Maru has a younger sister:
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A Capella Science – Bohemian Gravity!
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You don’t have to understand the lyrics to enjoy this music video (the dancing alone is worth it). The title translates into English as, “Dad, where are you?”
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Don’t forgot to check for a new comic at Deerme.net.
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And what week would be complete without a Mr. Cow strip?

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