Star Lines
Saturday, March 30, 2002

Happy Easter!

Easter Basket  
  Tired but Chugging Along: Welcome to Insomnia Central. First floor, books to be written, second floor, books to be plotted, third floor, proposals to be composed, fourth floor, ladies lingerie . . . while I may soon start to resemble Droopy Dog in a lift operator's uniform and pillbox hat, we had a wonderful think tank session at Holly's tonight, after which I got a much-needed phone call from a friend back from overseas duty. She's okay, one more name to take off the prayer list on the fridge. Ten more to go. I finished my Easter projects for the children a few minutes ago, and now I'm going to pretend to sleep for a few hours while I try to figure out how to propose the new book, tentatively titled DreamSnake.

Friday, March 29, 2002
  ohmigodRUN! I never could watch the old SF/Teen cult classic movie "The Blob" because, well, it was stupid and gross, and I can only handle one at a time. Now it appears we have our own black blob floating off the southweat coast of Florida. Some kind of algae similar to the red tide but that apparently isn't killing anything . . . yet . . .  
  It's Frivolous! No, it's not! It's a Wickerman! No, it's not! It's a... Bit tiring, if you ask me, but I blog, and therefore, I must link. So if you're interested in watching another bunch of SF afficionados bash Gregory Benford and each other over science fiction versus mainstream, the meaning of genre, the importance of genre, and indulge in some hair-pulling and other, not so nice high school Prom Queen contest tactics, check out the online Letters to Locus. If you're lazy and don't feel like hitting the link, here are some of the more memorable gems:

"...we should realize there has been a long campaign to knock down the credentials of all genres (ask the mystery guys). Why? Because we're the rising competition. Harper's and Atlantic Monthly don't repeat their attacks out of the blue every five years or so for no reason." --Gregory Benford

Aha! So it's a conspiracy, like the Kennedy thing.

"People are entitled to their reading preferences (as a good libertarian like Benford ought to know), and SF writers and readers and critics cast as many slings and arrows at "the mainstream" without reading it as "the mainstream" does at SF — also without reading it." -- Alex Irvine

Or not.

"Synchronicity? Conspiracy? Either way or neither way it's a reminder, and one that comes in the month of the equally neglected R. A. Lafferty's death, that occasionally some readers on the outer side of the divide do honor to sf's best and most ambitious writers and works, just as critics on either side continue to focus on the divide itself." -- Keith Ferrell

Or let's worship the sacred cows of SF and ignore all those icky people.

"Why can't SF publishing sustain a similar class of writers? Why the constant reliance on hackneyed genre images as a selling point? SF fans and pros invariably insist that the genre is about more than "spaceships and rayguns," but the fact remains that every other SF paperback cover has a spaceship or a raygun on it. (And every other fantasy novel has bad Tolkien calendar art on the cover.) I can't help but feel that most publishers unconsciously (or consciously) reinforce the genre's image as frivolous escapism, irrelevant to all but a small clique of closeted obsessives, and hostile to idiosyncrasy and invention." -- Lucius Cook

Translation: I am a quality writer, the rest of you are a bunch of hacks."

"There are people on both sides — genre and mainstream — who don't like it, but while they waste energy arguing about it, there are plenty of other readers and writers who rightly ignore the debate and the division as a false one. As a writer who happens to write mostly fantasy, for example, I'm going to steal and use as many techniques and ideas as I can — from every book I encounter: mainstream, genre, genre disguised as mainstream, mainstream disguised as genre, slipstream, cyberfunk, steamjunk, polypunk, flapjack, scrapplemech — whatever crazy-ass sub-category someone cares to invent next to straitjacket fiction..." -- Jeff VanderMeer

You don't hear a writer admit to this kind of plagerism every day, you know. Jeff, you bad boy.

  Quote for the Day: "What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth ? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad." -- Dave Barry.

Reason #9999 why Dave Barry should be running NASA.

Medical Fact for the Day: Chemical Skin Peeling is a cosmetic procedure, generally performed on the face, to remove dermal blemishes, freckles, or mild wrinkles. A paste containing phenol (carbolic acid) or some other caustic agent is applied to the skin for a short period of time, usually thirty minutes, then scraped away. The outer layers of derma are removed along with the paste, leaving behind raw, unbemlished skin. New skin layers must develop before the patient can tolerate sunlight, and permanent discoloration of the derma is common.
Thursday, March 28, 2002
  Indulging the Senses: I bought a pair of black velvet slacks to cut them up for a crazy quilt I'm restoring, but out of curiosity, tried them on first. Wow. I thought velvet would be hot, but these are actually very thin and comfortable, and the cats are treating me like I've shape shifted into one of them. Not something I can wear grocery shopping, but it's kind of neat to wear velvet around the house. I certainly impressed the UPS guy.

Fabric and I have had a fifteen year love affair, and while my heart belongs to the simple calicos I used for patchwork, I am flirting with silk now. Working in silk can be tricky, depending on the age, the quality, and weave. Old silk is like tissue paper and shatters or tears at the slightest pressure. American silk is just plain flimsy, no matter what age it is. Chinese silk is the most durable, and the most intricately brocaded, but the least color fast. I prefer Japanese silk above all, they seem to have conquered the weave and dye problems, and their patterned silks are a delight. If you want to work with silk, save yourself some headaches and invest in silk thread -- cotton, polyester, blends or even the old boilfast just don't have the right texture. Your hands must be scrupulously clean and trim back your nails, most silks snag easily. Is everyone yawning now? I need to go hang out with some sewers . . .  
  The really really late Quote for the Day: "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." -- John A. Shedd

I want that engraved on my tombstone.

Not-Exactly Medical Quote for the Day: "A psychiatrist is a man who goes to a strip club and watches the audience." -- Merv Stockwood.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. :)  
Wednesday, March 27, 2002
  Blahgged: Everyone is inventing blog-related terms, so this one is mine. It's the bloated, apathetic feeling bestowed by reading a blog entry by a writer who has nothing to say but writes anyway. And won't stop. The reader becomes convinced by the middle of paragraph nineteen that the blahgged entry will never end. It is possible that if you keep reading, the blahgged entry will suck your brain dry and next year someone will find your dead, cobwebby body hunched in front of the terminal, empty eye sockets still staring at the screen. So -- beware the blahgged.  
  Quote for the Day: "There is no coordinated war on genres; there are just people who profess a distaste for them. Big deal." Reader Alex Irvine, in a letter to Locus

Let's put this guy in charge of SF for awhile, let him clean house.

Semi-Medical Fact for the Day: If there is a nail, screw, or any other sharp object sticking up within a fifteen foot radius of my feet, I will step on it when I'm trying to hurry or avoid stomping on a cat. I won't notice the blood until someone with a white face calls my attention to it (always with a small- to medium-sized shriek.) The resulting wound will require sutures.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
  It is to Laugh...or Not: I've never sought the company of malicious people, but every so often one strays into my life, and has to be dealt with. Not forcefully or unkindly, but as you would deal with a small child having an extended, unpleasant tantrum -- you remove them to a place where they can exercise their spleen in relative privacy, then you politely send them on their way. Once they're gone, then you have a good laugh about it, or if you're truly forgiving, you don't laugh, because you understand how pathetic people like this are. Because you can see how frightened and small and miserable they are, that they must attack a person who has what they will never acquire, or becomes what they will never be. They desperately seek the power to control or even punish someone whose only crime is making them feel inadequate. Inevitably, the malicious hatred backlashes and causes them to self-destruct, and if they survive that, they are forever broken by it.

I am watching one such person self-destruct right now, and as much as I wish I could stop it -- and I have tried -- I can't. I can't laugh about it either, because it's a terrible thing to see. All I can do is light a candle, and pray, and be grateful I never caught the malice bug. 
  Love Canal: Spring has arrived with a vengeance, and sitting on the balcony in the morning is like being in the front row of an animal porn theater. The local ducks (of which we have about 200 residing in and around my complex) seem to be dispensing with courtship altogether and mating whenever and wherever they like -- on the grass by the canal, but also the parking lot, the stairwell, in front of the mail boxes and yesterday, on the hood of my neighbor's beautifully polished Corolla. Less demonstrative blue jays and what looks like crows or starlings are nesting in my pines, and Kathy and I discovered dense colonies of tadpoles hemming the banks behind my building. Possums and racoons are out in force after dark around the dumpster, but management put up a security camera to catch people dumping their trash outside the container, so they're going hungry this year. The homo sapiens aren't doing much better; everyone I know is either infatuated or agonizing because they're not. With all this love in the air, I'm more inclined to invest in some pepper spray, stay inside and bolt the doors. 
Monday, March 25, 2002
  Quote for the Day: "There is no prison in any world into which Love cannot force an entrance." Oscar Wilde, 1854 - 1900, from De Profundis

It's dragging the prisoners out that takes some doing.

Medical Fact for the Day: Os is an anatomical term for a bone, i.e. os coxae for the hip bone. The plural of os is ossa, i.e. ossa cranii for the skull bones. The term is also used to refer to openings within the body, usually the cervical os (entrance to the uterus).  
  Want to find out what kind of dragon you are? Here's how I scored:

A COPPER Dragon Lies Beneath!

I took the Inner Dragon online quiz and found out I am a Copper Dragon on the inside. My Inner Dragon is the mighty warrior of dragon-kind. It's just that simple. Coppers show up when someone's about to die. Coppers don't mess around, and they don't play evil games like Red Dragons. They don't bother with magic, like Gold Dragons. They exist for a purpose, and they serve it well.

But what sort of a dragon would I be if that really was the whole story? I also like to stomp my enemies, start the occasional war, and spend lazy hours preening my battle aura. My favorable attributes are strength, physical abilities, thriftiness, warmth, and longevity in battle. Just in case some puny human (or conniving Red Dragon) thinks they can get the drop on me, I've got a concealed breath weapon - gigantic masses of Fire. Hey, it's the tried and true way to cook a cow in 0.75 seconds.

Sunday, March 24, 2002
  In searching for material for Onyx book three, I've discovered a lot of nastiness in general toward the Irish (even by the Irish.) Why are we so despised? There is a theory insult that I heard once that states "You're either Irish, or pissed that you're not."

Ten More Interesting Insults to the Irish

1. Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis. -- Brendan Behan, Irish writer and playwright

2. If one could teach the English to talk and the Irish to listen, society would be quite civilised. -- Oscar Wilde

3. Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he's a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it, but whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him. -- Mark Twain

4. No wonder you're a terrible writer. You're Irish. -- JK, e-mail commenting on Shockball

5. The Irishman is never at peace except when he is fighting. -- Irish saying

6. The Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of one another. -- Dr Samuel Johnson

7. Ireland is the sow that eats her farrow. -- James Joyce, Irish author, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1914

8. The problem with Ireland is that it's a country full of genius, but with absolutely no talent. -- Hugh Leonard, Irish writer

9. An Irish queer is a fellow who prefers women to drink. -- Scan O'Faolain, Irish novelist

10. Put an Irishman on a spit and you can always find another one to turn him. -- Bernard Shaw
  Quote for the Day: "Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good." -- William Faulkner 1897-1962

Amazing how many short, smart-mouthed failed poets say stuff like that, huh?

Semi-Medical Fact for the Day: Any object weighing more than thirty pounds carried up three flights of stairs will either be unbalanced or have a loose handle, always drops, and never lands next to your foot.  
Adventures at the KeyBoard

10/28/2001 - 11/04/2001 / 11/04/2001 - 11/11/2001 / 11/11/2001 - 11/18/2001 / 11/18/2001 - 11/25/2001 / 11/25/2001 - 12/02/2001 / 12/02/2001 - 12/09/2001 / 12/09/2001 - 12/16/2001 / 12/16/2001 - 12/23/2001 / 12/23/2001 - 12/30/2001 / 12/30/2001 - 01/06/2002 / 01/06/2002 - 01/13/2002 / 01/13/2002 - 01/20/2002 / 01/20/2002 - 01/27/2002 / 01/27/2002 - 02/03/2002 / 02/03/2002 - 02/10/2002 / 02/10/2002 - 02/17/2002 / 02/17/2002 - 02/24/2002 / 02/24/2002 - 03/03/2002 / 03/03/2002 - 03/10/2002 / 03/10/2002 - 03/17/2002 / 03/17/2002 - 03/24/2002 / 03/24/2002 - 03/31/2002 / 03/31/2002 - 04/07/2002 / 04/07/2002 - 04/14/2002 / 04/14/2002 - 04/21/2002 / 04/21/2002 - 04/28/2002 / 04/28/2002 - 05/05/2002 / 05/05/2002 - 05/12/2002 / 05/12/2002 - 05/19/2002 / 05/19/2002 - 05/26/2002 / 05/26/2002 - 06/02/2002 / 06/02/2002 - 06/09/2002 / 06/09/2002 - 06/16/2002 / 06/16/2002 - 06/23/2002 / 06/23/2002 - 06/30/2002 / 06/30/2002 - 07/07/2002 / 07/07/2002 - 07/14/2002 / 07/14/2002 - 07/21/2002 / 07/21/2002 - 07/28/2002 / 07/28/2002 - 08/04/2002 / 08/04/2002 - 08/11/2002 / 08/11/2002 - 08/18/2002 / 08/18/2002 - 08/25/2002 / 08/25/2002 - 09/01/2002 / 09/01/2002 - 09/08/2002 / 09/08/2002 - 09/15/2002 / 09/15/2002 - 09/22/2002 / 09/22/2002 - 09/29/2002 / 09/29/2002 - 10/06/2002 / 10/06/2002 - 10/13/2002 / 10/13/2002 - 10/20/2002 / 10/20/2002 - 10/27/2002 / 10/27/2002 - 11/03/2002 / 11/03/2002 - 11/10/2002 / 11/10/2002 - 11/17/2002 / 11/17/2002 - 11/24/2002 / 11/24/2002 - 12/01/2002 / 12/01/2002 - 12/08/2002 / 12/08/2002 - 12/15/2002 / 12/15/2002 - 12/22/2002 / 12/22/2002 - 12/29/2002 / 12/29/2002 - 01/05/2003 / 01/05/2003 - 01/12/2003 / 01/12/2003 - 01/19/2003 / 01/19/2003 - 01/26/2003 / 01/26/2003 - 02/02/2003 / 02/02/2003 - 02/09/2003 / 02/09/2003 - 02/16/2003 / 02/16/2003 - 02/23/2003 / 02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003 / 03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003 / 03/09/2003 - 03/16/2003 / 03/16/2003 - 03/23/2003 / 03/23/2003 - 03/30/2003 / 03/30/2003 - 04/06/2003 / 04/06/2003 - 04/13/2003 / 04/13/2003 - 04/20/2003 / 04/20/2003 - 04/27/2003 / 04/27/2003 - 05/04/2003 / 05/04/2003 - 05/11/2003 / 05/11/2003 - 05/18/2003 / 05/18/2003 - 05/25/2003 / 05/25/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 06/08/2003 / 06/08/2003 - 06/15/2003 / 06/15/2003 - 06/22/2003 / 06/22/2003 - 06/29/2003 / 06/29/2003 - 07/06/2003 / 07/06/2003 - 07/13/2003 / 07/13/2003 - 07/20/2003 / 07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003 / 07/27/2003 - 08/03/2003 / 08/03/2003 - 08/10/2003 / 08/10/2003 - 08/17/2003 / 08/17/2003 - 08/24/2003 / 08/24/2003 - 08/31/2003 / 08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003 / 09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003 / 09/14/2003 - 09/21/2003 / 09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003 / 09/28/2003 - 10/05/2003 / 10/05/2003 - 10/12/2003 / 10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003 / 10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003 / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / 11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003 / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 /

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