Our day started bright and early as programming began at 9 AM. So, arise in time to be pressed and polished with moderately open eyes, and at least not tripping over our feet. Muffin and tea for each of us and off to the first program item.

Zombies as a Crisis of the Ecosystem

9:00 AM – Zombies as a Crisis of the Ecosystem: A Holistic Perspective.
Panelists: John Benson, LJ Cohen, Meriah Crawford, Catt Kingsgrave, and Gwendolyn Clare.
Description: Zombie plagues, like all pandemics, are ecosystem crises. What aspects of the human ecosystem make it possible for such a plague to spread? (Long distance air travel, say, or science fiction conventions.) What would its effects be on agriculture, infrastructure, labor availability, public health (aside from the plague itself), telecommunications, and other elements of human civilization? Where most disaster novels zoom in on the struggles of a few people to survive such a crisis, we will zoom out and consider large-scale, long-term questions.

Each of the panelists had some knowledge of the topic and could add their own bits of knowledge to the conversation. Basically, the discussion among the panelists was fairly free-ranging regarding the interconnectedness of our infrastructure and its vulnerability to disruption.

We, as humans, have come to rely on our technology. If a zombie outbreak occurred we would rapidly lose our transportation, GPS, electricity, water, and thus most of our food supply. In times past there would be storage facilities, but now we rely on ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing and delivery so the slimmer stockpiles of food and replacement parts would run out pretty quickly.

Depending on how the contagion would spread, rate of transmission, time between infection and showing the symptoms, things could happen over a very quick period. First responders would probably be the hardest hit and then people would be without general medical care personnel.

Then how would people react — bond together to survive, or every person for themselves? Would people panic and violate quarantine? If it was nationwide or worldwide how could you quarantine anyone? How would it end? Would the disease run its course? If it was a virus would it just start up again as those who survived came out of hiding?

This raised the question of how would civilization be re-established. If the outbreak lasted long enough, who would know how to grow crops, butcher a pig (or other edible animal, and would they be infected also), fuel would run out (how would people access what was in storage tanks). We’re on the cusp where most books are electronic; would the libraries survive the chaos and would they have the reference and how-to books needed to learn survival skills. What about medications? They’d run out and you’d need people who knew herbs and how to use them.

Most stories don’t deal with the psychological effects of the outbreak on those who survive. What happens after is rife with story possibilities.

10:00 AM – The Bookstore.
We decided to spend the next hour in the bookstore. We got to talk to a few friends while checking out the books. As usual we bought way too many books from Larry Smith since Paul remembered to bring his list of his already owned Girl Genius books so he could pick up what he was missing. I picked up a book that struck me as being different and interesting (aren’t they all) — even though it is volume two of a Steampunk series.

Wen Should We Argue with Reviews

11:00 AM – When Should We Argue with Reviews?
Panelists: Amal El-Mohtar (leader), Adam Golaski, Michael Dirda, Resa Nelson, Vinnie Tesla.
Description: When is it appropriate to argue with reviews of your own work? The usual rule is “never”—but that “never” is a one-size-fits-all solution to an increasingly complex issue, especially when the categories of reviewer, reader, and writer are increasingly blurred. Is “appropriate” the same as “advisable”? What are the limits and ethics of responding to or arguing with reviews?

The general rule is that an author should never argue with a review. The panel thought this was a good guideline, but that no one rule covers all cases. One of the panelists said that a bad review was used as a blurb on the back of the panelist’s book because, to his mind, it stressed the factor that most people would find to actually be a good reason to read the book. Another panelist mentioned seeing a negative review of a book the panelist had read, and commented on the negative review in the panelists own review of the book because the panelist felt the review was more about the reviewer than the story.

In an age of social media the edges between reviewer, author, and readers have gotten fuzzy. Twitter, Facebook, and others allow people to read all about a person and their life without actually meeting them. Does that knowledge impact expectation when a reader picks up a book — whether that reader is a fan or reviewer. What if the reviewer is a ‘friend’? Mention was made of an author who didn’t like a review of the book that the author wrote, who then posted the reviewer’s name and phone number and asked fans to act in the author’s defense. Does that cross a line?

Personally, unless there’s a factual error in the review, it is probably best to just let it go.

At noon, Paul and I decided to go to different panels. I attended Insider Tips and Tough Truths of the Publishing Industry. Paul attended and will add his comments about the panel he attended, Our Panel of Experts….

Insider Tips and Tough Truths of Publishing

12:00 PM – Insider Tips and Tough Truths of the Publishing Business.
Panelists: Neil Clarke, Brett Savory, Gordon Van Gelder, Sheila Williams, and David G. Hartwell.
Description: SF/F publishing can seem intimidating and shadowy from the outside. This panel of experienced professionals in the field—authors, editors, agents, and others—will shed light on some of those dark corners and share insider secrets and other key information about the current state of the industry.

I’m going to just list some of the items the panel mentioned. Many of these items have been mentioned in books on writing but they really do need repeating.

* When submitting a story or book to an editor, mention that you’ve looked at other books/stories edited by this editor/press and feel it would be a good fit. Make sure that you actually did your research and that it does match with other things that have been published by this editor/press.
* Make your cover letter or pitch specific to the editor not ‘to whom it may concern’
* Don’t list all your previous rejections in your cover letter.
* Know your market. Don’t send a short story to a book publisher. Don’t send a novel to a short story publication.
* Real excellence will trump everything else but don’t count on it because it may not be as good as your friends and relatives tell you it is.
* Don’t resend a story that has been rejected to the same market unless you’ve been specifically asked by the editor to fix ‘x’ and then resend. If it is not clear, they didn’t ask.
* When sending a cover letter, keep it short. Include your name, mailing address, and correct email address.
* Editors share stories, so if you do or say something negative/awful/insulting about an editor or press they will hear about it. Same thing goes if you post it online.
* No agent is necessary for short stories, but are very, very helpful for novels.
* Most of the editors on the panel don’t like to get short stories that got rejected for an anthology — and they usually know about the anthologies that are collecting stories and can tell which one your stories might have been rejected from.
* Every editor wants to be the one to publish a new author. If your story is well written and interesting it has a chance provided you’re also professional in how you approach the business end of submitting your story.

Our Panel of Experts

12:00 PM – Our Panel of Experts….
Panelists: Chad Orzel, Scott Andrews (leader), Gwendolyn Clare, John O’Neil, Bud Sparhawk.
Description: Having trouble creating your world? Are there social complexities or changes in scientific laws that are confounding you? Bring your very specific questions about worldbuilding in your current project, and polymath scientists will do their best to answer. No advance sign-ups; five minutes of answering per question.

As stated in the description, this panel was more of a question and answer session, with people in the audience explaining problems they’d run into in their writing, and getting some suggestions on how to get over them. Naturally, being put on the spot did not exactly result in in-depth or rigorous answers, but the panelists managed to do a good job of pointing people in, if not the right direction, at least a direction they could work from.

Questions ranged from:
* Passing on knowledge from one generation to another, when there are no teachers available to hold the knowledge.
* Physical ways to actually make bizarre nano-tech aliens seem real enough to be believable.
* How to fix problem with 0g in asteroid mining.
* Time travel paradoxes.

The last one was interesting, given that the panelists, in general, believed that paradoxes in time travel weren’t really a problem. That almost all the time (you can create real ones if you try hard enough), paradoxes get resolved if you just look at them from a different frame of reference.

Programming from 1 pm to 3 pm didn’t really catch our interest that much. After that it was interviews with the guests of honor but we decided to go eat lunch. Then do some walking at the mall since we’d been sitting all day. By the time we got back it was the dinner break and there wasn’t any panels scheduled for the evening. From 8:30 – 9:30 there’s a Most Readerconnish Miscellany but it also didn’t grab us. We decided to write up the day, read for a while and make an early night.

Tomorrow is the last day of the convention and once we leave to head home we’re looking at a 10-12 hour drive. An early night is looking pretty good from here.

0 comments   Comments


Thursday evening, Readercon has a few program items that are available to anyone who shows up whether they are members of the convention or not. It’s sort of a come and get a taste of the convention. Those who enjoy themselves and then want to attend can purchase a membership on Friday when registration opens. So, far, even though we always plan to arrive in time to attend a few of these items, we’ve never made it in time or, by the time we finally get in, we’re so tired we just check-in and sleep. Didn’t manage to break our missing Thursday events streak yet.

We got up this morning, checked registration hours, and found they didn’t open until 10 am (programming beginning at 11 am). So we managed to get in line while it was quite short (since we’d pre-registered last year before we left). We picked up our registration packet and name tags and sat down to figure out what we’d like to go to.

This is the first year in a while that I have not been on programming, so it was nice to be able to just attend panels for a change. There were, as usual, a few times when there were two things I’d like to see at the same time but then that’s life.

NOTE: Panelists are listed in order, left to right as they appear in the panel photo.

SF Mystery Crossover Panelists

11:00 AM – Mystery and Speculative Crossovers.
Panelists: Meriah Crawford, Chris Gerwel, Greer Gilman, Nicholas Kaufmann, and Adam Lipkin (leader)
Description: There are many books that draw from both the speculative fiction and mystery toolboxes, in both macro ways (China Miéville’s The City & the City and Peter F. Hamilton’s Great North Road are catalyzed by hard-boiled murder investigations) and micro ways (urban fantasy was initially defined by its relationship to noir, now often more evident in tone than in plot). Where is this crossover most satisfying? How do magic and advanced technology open up new avenues of investigation or methods of befuddling the detectives? How have trends, tropes, and developments in each genre influenced crossover works?

Since I’m an avid reader (and reviewer) of speculative fiction and mysteries, I was looking forward to hearing what this panel thought of the crossovers. Speculative fiction and mysteries each have many subgenres and one thread of the discussion was on whether some areas overlap more/easier then others. Urban fantasy seems a natural crossover since usually the main character in urban fantasy fits in very well with the role of the noir mystery main character.

When you think about it, most stories have a mystery of one sort or another at their core, so crossovers would seem natural in many cases.

I think it was Greer Gilman who said something like, speculative fiction elements can make the similes real. It stuck with me because it seemed such a potentially interesting idea for writers.

SF and challenge of Climate Change Panelists

12:00 PM – Writing in the Anthropocene: SF and the Challenge of Climate Change.
Panelists: Vandana Singh, Michael J. Daley, Max Gladstone, Gwendolyn Clare, and Michael J. Deluca (leader)
Description: Science fiction and fantasy have often dealt with fictional apocalyptic scenarios, but what about the real-world scenario unfolding right now? Climate change, or climate disruption, is the most challenging problem faced by humankind, and some have called it a problem of the imagination, as much as economics and environment. In the wake of the latest scientific reports on what is happening and what might be in store for us, we’ll examine how imaginative fiction conveys the reality, the immediacy, and the alternative scenarios of the climate problem.

Most of the panelists felt that the problems were those of the conflict between Science and Culture. Science is conclusive, but the culture is one of ignoring the problem. We need to change the culture in order to begin to deal with the problems. Regardless of how we got to this state, we need to address the ramifications of climate change and how it is going to impact life as we know it.

There are many interconnected issues that need to be dealt with. But we need to realize that change is coming and whether it is apocalyptic, or only mostly so, or would we as a species choose to act to see that we change enough to mostly adapt to the changing environment.

The basic question is what do you do when the culture doesn’t want to listen to or believe in the science?

Ethics in Reviews Panelists

1:00 PM – It’s Actually About Ethics: Reviewing the Work of Colleagues and Friends.
Panelists: Kathryn Morrow, Jason Heller, Liza Groen Trombi (leader), Elizabeth Hand, Jonathan Crowe.
Description: How do we develop a culture of reviewing and criticizing writing within genre communities where everyone knows everyone else to varying degrees? What are the ethics of engagement when we’ve shared ToCs with the people we’re reviewing, or been published in the venue we’re reviewing? What about when we’re friends with the authors, editors, and publishers whose work we’re reviewing? At what point is it appropriate to disclose relationships, and at what point is it appropriate to recuse oneself from reviewing? Is full disclosure enough of an assurance of good practice? How full is full? What other considerations should we include?

Basically, it seemed to come down to the fact that no one rule fits every situation that could arise. Whether or not to recuse oneself from reviewing an item is always something that reviewers deal with.

Panelists said that the focus should be on the text and that a grounding the journalism ethics would be helpful. (I’m leaving out names of who said what since I don’t have exact quotes so the above is my memory of what was said.)

Future of SF Magazines Panelists

2: 00 PM -The Future of Speculative Magazines, Part 3.
Panelists: John Benson, Neil Clarke, Leah Bobet, Scott Andrews (leader), Ellen Datlow, and Sheila Williams.
Desciption: At Readercon 20, there were two very well-attended panels that looked at the future of magazines: “The Future of Speculative Fiction Magazines, Part 1: Print Magazines,” and “Part 2: Online Magazines.” Six years later, we return to this issue to discover what worked, what didn’t, whether magazines are any better off, and what the near future might hold.

I didn’t attend the previous two panels on this topic but managed to catch this one.

* Things that didn’t work were usually those that weren’t adaptable.
* Making money from donations or advertising is problematic.
* Pay walls don’t seem to wok.
* Pay for convenience models do seem to work.
* Kickstarter as a business model doesn’t seem to work but for a single project it does much better.

By 3:00 pm, I couldn’t stand sitting any more so my husband and I decided to go to the mall and walk for a while to loosen up my cramping leg muscle and get something to eat. So, the next panel we attended was at 6 pm.

Solarpunk Panelists

6:00 PM – Solarpunk and Eco-Futurism.
Panelists: Rob Kilhefer, Michael J. Daley, Michael J. Deluca, Jeff Hecht, Romie Stott (leader).
Description: In August 2014, Miss Olivia Louise wrote a Tumblr post proposing the creation of a new subgenre: solarpunk. Solarpunk, sometimes called eco-futurism, would be set in a semi-utopian future visually influenced by Art Nouveau and Hayao Miyazaki, and built according to principles of new urbanism and environmental sustainability—an “earthy” handmade version of futuretech, in opposition to the slick, white, spacebound surfaces of 1980s futurism. Solarpunk blogs have since proliferated, as Tumblr users like SunAndSilicon create and aggregate concept art and brainstorm solarpunk’s technological and societal shifts, enthusiastically building a shared-world fandom with no single owner or defining central text. For some, building solarpunk is an escapist fantasy. Meanwhile, in San Francisco there have been meatspace conventions to develop some kind of manifesto, with the hope of eventually moving realworld society in a solarpunk direction. What, if any, are the precursors to this kind of grassroots genre creation? Is it an inevitable outgrowth of fan-funded niche publishing through crowdfunding? Is solarpunk’s locavore pro-tech optimism in the face of climate change a distinctly Millenial backlash to Gen-X dystopias? And can the inevitable contradictions of a crowdsourced utopia survive the rigors of critical reading?

More discussion of climate change and culture. Is solarpunk a movement similar to cyberpunk? Will it be able to show us more than just a post-apocalyptic future or a hopeful one where people come together to solve the problems we’re facing now.

Lots of discussion with plenty of ideas but no real (not should there be) answers to what will grow out of this literary (political) movement.

How intelligent are we Panelists

7:00 PM – How Intelligent Are We, Anyway?
Panelists: Judith Berman, Ted Chiang, Gwendolyn Clare, Alex Jablokow (leader), John O’Neil.
Description: Countless science fiction novels include intelligent beings, whether aliens from another planet, artificial intelligences, or uplifted animals from Earth. But what does it really mean to be intelligent? Will reason and self-awareness automatically emerge in a sufficiently complex mind? Or is there something unique to humans that makes us different? How have different authors and novels answered this question in the past?

This panel was a lot of fun — mostly for the play of ideas among the panelists. Some random statements:
* Humans learn from what has gone before rather than starting from scratch every time.
* Intelligence feeds adaptability.
* Physiological differences between animals and humans may have had an impact on development of intelligence.
* Short discussion of relationship between intelligence and consciousness.

There’s a lot of think about in this topic and the panel only touched the surface but it was stimulating to the audience judging from my reaction and the questions from the audience.

By this time I was in too much pain from my cramping leg to go on to the next item we wanted to see. So, retired to our room for a soak of the muscle and to write up the day. There’s a good selection of panels to attend tomorrow and I really look forward to them.

0 comments   Comments


Those of you who read my blog know that I’m a sucker for anything Jane Austen. I happened to stuble across this — new to me — movie of Austen’s Pride & Prejudice updated to modern times. It takes place in Utah and manages to keep true to all the character with a twist here and there in the plot. The link is to the full movie on Youtube.

Pride & Prejudice — Comedy, Romance full movie

0 comments   Comments


It seems that for the last several months every weekend was taken up with chores, meetings of one type or another, running errands, or dealing with some problem or inconvenience. Anyway, this weekend we ran all our errands yesterday. So, today I’m catching up on database entry, email checking/clearing/answering/sorting by priority, and updating my next week’s To Do list.

Four days ago, our ‘new’ rescue cat, Simba, went out to get some fresh air and didn’t come back. We’d been calling for him every few hours, and getting more and more worried for him. As of this morning, we were finally admitting to one another that we probably weren’t going to see him again. Temperatures had been pretty low during the night so we hoped he’d found an emergency back-up family (as cats often do). But it’s been fairly warm the last couple of days, so if he was snoozing on someone else’s hearthrug, we figured he’d come around to see to his food bowl. So, reluctantly, we figured he was just gone. So, not expecting to see him again after four days, this afternoon, he came back. Our older cat, Emnot, isn’t too happy with Simba’s reappearance though.

Simba has a medical condition and so he’d been four days without his meds. His left eye was dripping like a faucet (his medical problem) and he was starving or so he said/indicated (you know what I mean). He seemed healthy (except for the dripping eye) and very happy to see us. Can’t help but wonder where he was while he was missing. So, the first thing we did was put the extra collar on him (he came back without one). Before you ask — yes, he’s chipped. But we get him break-away collars and the one we put on him today is his fifth. And we put collars on the grocery list to pick up a couple more spares. I’m sure he’ll be needing them.

We’re watching a Season 3 marathon of Dr. Who. We just bought Season 4 but will finish 3 first.

Today was household chores and baking day. Wash is already done, folded, and put away. We baked Chocolate Coconut Scones, and Banana Nut Muffins. For the first time in a what seems like ages, I’m warm since the oven has been on most of today. Now that we’ve got goodies to eat, I’ll have to be careful, because hubby and I are back on calorie watch. But we will be indulging in an ignore-the-calories day for Valentines.

I’ve dug out my sock in progress and need to figure out where I am on the heel and work on it once we sit to watch another episode of Dr. Who. Also, got Divergent from Netflix so need to watch that soon too.

Except for the insomnia, or was it the headache, that woke me up at 4 this morning, and having to play catching up on work stuff it’s looking like a good restful day. The crazy starts again tomorrow.

0 comments   Comments


Manga Classics: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; Adapted by Crystal Silvermoon. Illustrated by SunNeko Lee. ISBN: 978-1927925164, Udon Entertainment (August 19, 2014). List Price $19.99 / Amazon $16.57.

I should confess that I’ve never actually read the original version of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I always thought I knew the gist of it. It was about the the revolution in France in the time of Napoleon. There were two lovers. A corrupt officer of the government had a vendetta against a man somehow related to the lovers — or one of them. And a miserable time was had by all.

So, I read through this manga and was totally surprised at the details of the story. Like any modern person I turned to Wikipedia to read the summary of the story and found that it matched the Manga. Maybe now I’ll skip the movie — though I do love the music.

Basically, Napoleon Bonaparte has been defeated and the economy is crappy. People don’t have enough to eat, jobs are scarce, and the law is extremely strict. France had a guilty until proven innocent view of justice. Since it is very difficult to prove a negative, many, especially the poor, found themselves in prison.

The story follows several different people and moves forward and backward in time to bring each of them into the story and up to where the threads of their story weave into the main story line. This makes for some odd disconnects until you realize the story isn’t continuing, but going off on a tangent to come back to the point you were at later.

Jean Valjean had been released from prison but since all his papers labeled him a convict his chances of getting work were slim. He was even refused to be allowed to purchase food or lodgings with what little money he had out of fear that being involved with him would get them in trouble with the law.

Through a series of convenient events, he manages to gain some funding to pass himself off as a wealthy man. Then to pay things forward, he sets about to do good for those who live in his community and work in his businesses.

Fantine had been dumped by her lover when she had a daughter, Cosette. And so she was unable to find work because of her loose morals. She sought work, and found people who she thought would take good care of Cosette for her while she worked. It was expensive, but she thought it was a better life for Cosette.

Javert, a police office/military-type, hated convicts and felt that they could never be reformed, and therefore must always be returned to prison, whether they did anything wrong or not. He’d once been Valjena’s jailer and when he thought he recognized him — he began to be obsessed with hunting him down and seeing he was returned to prison.

These are the major characters. Through other circumstances, Valjean promises Fantine to raise her daughter and take care of her. He and Cosette then proceed to move about, always a step ahead of Javert and doing what good works they can where ever they lived. Of course, as Cosette grows up this becomes more and more difficult as she attracts attention as does their wealth.

Will Cosette find love? Will Valjean be able to give her into another’s care? Will Javert ever give up his crusade to find and punish Valjean? Can he ever be convinced that convicts can be redeemed? Into this steps the revolutionary uprising among the students of Paris. This is actually a minor side note of the story, but one that is important to bringing all the pieces together.

The artwork is wonderfully detailed. The characters can be individually identified — which I find very important. The story unfolds smoothly — except for those flashbacks and flashforwards I noted previously.

All in all, I believe that if you’ve been interested, this is a great way to become familiar with the story and the characters. It’s well adapted and illustrated and a great way to get a taste of classic literature if you don’t want to spend the time reading the original works.

Tags: , ,

0 comments   Comments


Cover of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Story Adaptation by Stacy King. Manga: Classsic Literature. Morpheus Studios (Illustrator), Shane Law (Illustrator), Po Tse (Artist). Udon Entertainment (August 19, 2014). Price: $19.99.

Stacy King has adapted Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for a manga-reading audience with illustrations by Shane Law, Po Tse, and Morpheus Studios. Whenever a story is adapted for a different media format, choices must be made in order to use the strengths of the new media to tell the story. Overall this adaptation is beautifully done. The basic storyline is intact and the artwork is beautifully rendered as you can tell from the lovely cover image (though the interior artwork is all in grey scale).

The basic story is a love story that threads its way through horrible first impressions, misunderstandings, pride, and prejudice. Elizabeth Bennet, the second of five daughters of a country gentleman and his wife, is insulted when she overhears Mr. Darcy’s response to his friend, Mr. Bingley, urging Darcy to dance with her. Mr. Darcy is actually shy and uncomfortable in crowded social situations but she doesn’t know that at the time. Later Mr. Darcy realizes that she’s witty, educated, and not fawning over him; thus, he finds himself falling in love. Meanwhile, she is fed a lot of balderdash about Mr. Darcy from a man who has “all the appearance of goodness” and makes a grand impression on all he meets. There’s also a secondary love story involving Jane Bennet, Elizabeth’s older sister, and Mr. Bingley. As with most love stories things work out in the end but the journey is what makes the story a classic and loved by many no matter what format it takes — book, film, and now, manga.

Still, the problem with adaptations is that choices need to be made. This time the story is told and shown to be set close to the period in which Austen originally wrote it. However, the societal mores of the time depicted in this version do not match those that existed during this time period. For example, in the version of Longbourn shown in the artwork, no member of the Bennet family would be answering their own door let alone folding the linens; there would be servants to do such work.

It was a time when the distinctions of class were kept to and there were many rules of behavior that now-a-days we’d find archaic and maybe even silly. Upper class single women could not write to an unrelated male unless she was engaged to him. She’s have to write to his mother or sister and leave it to them to pass on the information. People could not simple talk to another person — they had to be formally introduced first. In fact, public venues such as assemblies usually had a designated person who was responsible for introducing people to one another if they were not yet acquainted and wished to meet. There are many instances where modern social customs are referenced that would, in the original work, be offensive to the characters of that time period. This may bother readers who are familiar with the original Austen work and time period — new readers reading Austen for the first time would most likely not even notice these issues.

However, if you read this version and enjoy it, you may want to read the original Austen novel on which it is based because the actual story is one that transcends the time in which Austen wrote. It’s universal appeal is why her works live on. Not only have her novels been adapted for film, manga, and classic comics, but they have, by other authors, been updated to modern times and still they resonate with readers.

Overall, this is a wonderful adaptation and a great way to interest new readers in classic literature.

Tags: , , ,

0 comments   Comments


Of course it would happen. The minute I post that I’ll be getting this blog up and running again the world — my world — conspires to see that it doesn’t happen. I’ve been so busy lately. First, there was getting the magazines up and live on time. Then there was gearing up for Capclave, attending Capclave, and decompressing from Capclave. Then getting back in the groove to get the next issues of SFRevu and Gumshoe set to go live on November 1st. But, wait there’s more — I’m doing at-con registration for this year’s World Fantasy Convention in DC so there’s been meetings, planning, working with the pre-con reg people and programming people and others to be sure nothing gets forgotten in the registration packets and we don’t duplicate effort. Luckily, the chairs of the convention this year are great people and keeping us all on track.

Meanwhile, there’s been the headaches — they’re baaaack. Mostly they’ve been related to the weird changes in the weather. Luckily, none have yet reached migraine status — that hardly every happens now that I see an acupuncturist fairly regularly and have started to meditate (or my version of meditation anyway).

I’ve been losing weight and exercising. The weight loss has helped with the arthritis and the exercise is supposed to help with losing weight and with my fibromyalgia. Some days it’s all I can do to make my steps for the day. I swear some days there’s just not enough spoons in my world but I force myself to push on — one step at a time. Paul got me a mp3 player (Sansa) and that has really helped with the walking — I’ve been listening to NPR Ted Talks and audiobooks. Love the Ted Talk compilations and find them really entertaining as well as informative. For audiobooks — I’ve downloaded from Librivox so they’re mostly public domain. I’ve listened to “The Man Who Was Thursday”, “Emma”, and “The Letters of Jane Austen” (finishing this one tomorrow I believe). I started “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” but it kept referring to maps and while I’m pretty good at geography I was having a hard time picturing the terrain in my head so put it aside for awhile. Then I started “The Federalist Papers” and so far have listened to 1 to 6. I end up playing each paper two or three or more times to be sure I really get it all. Honestly, if I didn’t know they were written so long ago, I’d swear they were about what’s happening in politics today. So, my long walk everyday takes up a chunk of time but it does stimulate the brain and keep me going. I will have to come up with some way to stay warm once it gets colder and after walking in a misting rain the other day, I’ve got to get better walking shoes so my feet don’t get so wet. (It’s wonderful to come in to a hot cup of tea and dry thick wool socks though and a 1/2 hour of sitting with the cat and reading.)

I’ve got so many plans and so little time. I need more days in a month and more hours in a day to get everything I need to do done. To top it all off, I’m all set to do NaNoWriMo again this year. Sometimes, I just can’t square the hours in a day with the stuff I want to do. So far I have a lot of scenes and partial chapters from previous years so I’m trying to get an outline done for this year so I know where I’m going or I’ll end up with more scenes, character studies, and interesting settings again. Not that they don’t occasionally come in handy.

I’ve also finally got around to unearthing my knitting projects. Several pairs of socks on the needles in various stages of done-ness. Got one pair all done except for weaving in the ends of the cut yarn. I did pick up the stitches for the first sleeve on the top-down sweater I started in August — really need to watch a movie or two and that would be all done, but squeezing out the time is an issue at the moment.

I’ve got six books read so far this month but I need to finish the reviews for the zines and then post the ones for Amazon Vine, and for here on the blog. I should be posting the review of the Manga Classic version of Pride and Prejudice soon.

What have you been doing?

0 comments   Comments


Today my husband and I planned a date. We would go out to eat, and then to a movie (Guardians of the Galaxy). The new theater has very comfortable recliner-type seats and the trailers of the movie were outrageously funny. We even had to turn down a couple of invitations because of our plans to spend some quality time together. But like all plans, they seldom stand up to circumstances.

The circumstance this time was that … well, I have to start back a bit. We’ve been doing a lot of yard work this year to make up for the several years of neglect from various problems of health and time. Time is always a problem and we’ve (hubby and I) always had difficulty saying no when we really want to do something and so often find ourselves over committed and burning the candle at both ends to be sure to meet all our commitments. Anyway, we’ve been doing yard work — lots and lots of it. From clearing out the old garden area, refreshing the soil, planting a garden (doing well of this, by the way, this year) and reclaiming a walking path around the perimeter of the property that has become overgrown — so clearing brush.

The upshot is that I’ve had poison ivy treated three times so far this year. The doctor wants me to be very careful and stay with antihistamines and use steroid cream. That had been working, until hubby finally got a case of poison ivy that didn’t go away in a couple of days as it usually had. Instead it just hangs on, and as one area seems to heal, it breaks out in another. And, I’ve been picking it up from him — again treating an area and having it get better but popping up somewhere else. So far I’m holding my own in the fight but it’s taking its toll.

This morning he had some new patches and so did I. He finally gave in and went to the clinic — we hoped he could get in and see someone get the steroid pills and we’d go to the next showing. Well, best laid plans and all that. The place was crowded. By the time he was registered in, seen, got the Rx, filled it and we got out. It was mid-afternoon.

We still hadn’t had breakfast yet. I hadn’t had coffee yet. And, if you read this blog you know how dangerous that is. So we decided to eat first so hubby could take his first dose.

By the time we got to the restaurant, ordered, ate, and paid it was late afternoon and we needed to get the weekly shopping done and back home. The pills had Paul nearly asleep on his feet, so I had to drive, not to mention that he’d have fallen asleep in the film by then.

So, we decided to do the shopping. I’d drive. Tomorrow we’ll try for the movie — again. This time no real date plans, nothing special going on just two people going to the movies — and we’ll see how messed up things can get. (That’s rhetorical… really.)

0 comments   Comments