Burning Girls

I suspect this may be a little redundant; the story came out over a month ago, after all, and I suspect that there is possibly some slight overlap between the people who read these posts and the people who follow Tor.com.

That said: the story “Burning Girls” by Veronica Schanoes is up. It is lovely and brave and sad and fine, and you could likely do much, much worse than take the time to read it.

Drowning in information

The last couple of days, I have not kept on top of my e-mail inbox as much as I otherwise might, in an ideal world.  And I have a fair amount of e-mail coming in, what with one thing and another and follows and notifications and updates and this and that, not to mention a small spike coordinating with a couple of people for splitting shipping on an absolutely lovely jewelry sale.

I had 431 e-mails in my inbox.  303 of them were unread.

(In a fit of composure of which I am rather proud, I did not actually flee screaming from the keyboard.  Go me.)

I now have only 335 in my inbox, and 210 of them are unread.  Am hoping I can get the unreads down to double digits by the end of the night weekend.

There has got to be a better way to handle my e-mails.  However, I am pretty sure that actually having the metaphorical space to implement that better way involves a through unf*cking of my inbox, and that currently feels more than a little daunting.  (Plus I am running low on junk TV to put on while I work on this, so my options seem to be “get distracted by interesting entertainment” or “get bored because there’s nothing in the background”.)

(…wow, talk about a first-world problem.  I will stop complaining now.)


I haven’t written anything–well, outside of online communications and work-related email, which I generally don’t count–in a day and a half, which is annoying because I was on a six-day streak before that.  I know why, and it’s understandable, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

It will not happen today. There. I have said it, so now I have to make it true.

In other news… well, there is a nineteen-and-change year-old-cat sitting on my arms while I type, gently pulsing and purring and being old and delicate and imperious.  Doesn’t interfere with the typing, at least, although I do need to crane a bit to see over her to look at all of my screen. And I’ve just been reminded that vacation pay is issued upon request, which means that it’s been quietly accruing for the last few weeks.

Am finding that Night Vale Community Radio is actually very pleasant to listen to, being something between “background noise” and “actually requiring full attention”.  It’s funny in a highly bizarre way, and while I can think of a few descriptors, they are a bit obscure, so I will just go with the slug that “It’s as if Stephen King and Neil Gaiman created a SimCity and let it run on its own for forty years.”  The more I look at fiction, the more I find there’s a dearth of the unapologetically weird stuff.  (There’s some – and there is obviously going to be a bit of disagreement over what’s “unapologetically weird in the service of the story’s mood” and what’s “bad worldbuilding” – but it’s rare.  Suggestions welcome!)

Sore and tired, but trucking on.

Viciously sore throat today, and not much sleep.  Plus one of the cats threw up first thing in the morning.  I think it’s going to be a long day; may try for a midday nap.

On the plus side, there is a lovely softly-grey sky outside, shading from dove to slate, and the rain and thunder are at least making indoors seem cosier.

Pets are exhausting to take care of sometimes, but I will grant that they give you a sense of purpose.

I think we left the future behind some time ago.

Brain-controlled robotic arms?  So last year. Literally.

Synthetic organ transplants? Two years ago. (Synthetic. Organs. No clones were harmed in the extraction of this windpipe!)

I watched the latest Star Trek movie, and I’m wondering why the hell I’m supposed to believe that after three hundred years of medical science (even if you argue it’s effectively only one hundred because of lost ground due to a bad 22nd C) someone getting non-instantaneously-fatally-shot is meant to kill them. Cooked, I could buy (and that’s from six years ago), but generically shot-splosioned? Please. Continue reading “I think we left the future behind some time ago.”

A day of new things, small and satisfying

First, CanCon is coming up again! Last year was deeply informative and engaging (and may have led to a substantial acquisition of books); am looking forward to this one. And as an email that came in late last night reminded me, I have already paid the membership fee.

(The email was addressed to “Mr. $Lastname”, which I consider to be a novel but fairly unremarkable entry in the perpetual misspellings of my name.)

Second, the latest Lovecraft eZine is out. On a related note, the thirteenth issue of Innsmouth Free Press came out a few weeks ago, and they have the usual excellent mix of more recent articles as well.

It is good, sometimes, to remember to stop, breathe, and smell the flowers. Even, perhaps especially, the ones which evoke Rappacinni’s Garden.

(Sign of the times: my phone tried to correct that to Topatoco’s Garden. Someday I will properly finish customizing its dictionary.)

A crazy with a butcher knife.

(The language in this post is going to be highly questionable and problematic. I am aware of this; it’s part of the point.)

There’s a crazy with a butcher knife in my neighbourhood. On my street, even.

And not just a butcher knife. She’s got a sledgehammer in the house. Garden shears–those really heavy duty ones that could snip right through fingers, could probably even cut chunks off a hand if she beat someone down first so they couldn’t struggle very well.

And no-one goes around warning people. They let her live in a neighbourhood where there are kids! And pets! They even let her keep a microwave, for Christ’s sake. She has cats in her house! Doesn’t everyone understand what one crazy with the kind of kitchens that normal people use could do to a cat?! And when her dog had surgery, they let her take care of it! Did no-one even think about how easily she could have hurt that animal by grabbing one of its legs and wrenching the joints that just had surgery around in a circle? Or by kicking the incision?

And her mother-in-law leaves her alone with the nieces and nephews sometimes. With children.

Really, it’s fine if that husband of hers is stupid enough to put on headphones so he couldn’t hear her if she snuck up on him, or actually fall asleep when she’s still up and walking around, not to mention giving her access to the joint checking account and letting her have her own key. But shouldn’t someone keep her from being around people that are too complacent in their ignorance to understand what it means to be crazy?

…and oh dear God do I ever wish there was a way to keep her away from people who are content to toss the word “crazy” around while being complacently ignorant of what it means to be mentally ill. Because she’s me, and those people are an incredibly draining pain in the ass.

I’m crazy–oh, sorry a crazy. Mentally ill. Batshit, cracked, insane, toys in the attic, not playing with a full deck, all those lovely thoughtful words and phrases.

(It occurs to me that tossing the word crazy around as a noun when discussing people is perhaps somewhat akin to tossing the word female around as a noun rather than an adjective when discussing people. You can have reasonable discussions while you’re doing it, sure. I just find it’s a lot more common to see it in the kind of conversation where someone goes on about how females behave despite how he’s apologized for the behaviour of other men and then people look at his comments and look at each other and at have conversations like “he’s… not usually a jackass, is he?” “no, not usually – I hope he just phrased himself badly” and then get on to saying “feeeeMAAAllles” at each other in silly Ferengi accents and laughing at him.)

Today, I got up when perkycat started chirping for food. I fed the cats, then I put away the dishes that had been in the drying rack overnight and decided to properly scrub out the coffee carafe before brewing coffee. The dog didn’t come down, so I didn’t worry about her food or pills just then. I cleaned the litter boxes and read a little while I was waiting for oldcat to finish her gooshyfood (if one of us isn’t around, rutabagacat will start edging up to her, which annoys her, and then dive for it the second she’s done, and he’s not allowed), and went back to bed to doze until the alarm went off. I had breakfast when I got up again, and coffee, and because I’m working from home today I spent the morning fixing code to produce accessible webpages.

(You know, I think they don’t even check my work to see if I’ve sneakily hidden dismemberment fantasies or bomb instructions in the comments. How trusting of the fools! It’s as if they expected me to behave in a professional manner!)

I’ve put on a load of laundry, have just logged into a MMORPG game to roll over my character’s professions, and am currently deciding what I want to do for lunch (the convenience of leftovers? the exercise of walking down to Starbucks and using my free item on a fruit-and-cheese bistro box?).  This afternoon I will finish up my work, and tonight I will probably read, and write, and catch up on TV, and maybe knit, and no-one will have their eye put out because thanks very much the crazy is actually way more interested in making progress on this cable pattern than she is in stabbing at people with sharp metal needles.

This is a not particularly surprising day in my life.

I’m crazy, and I’m getting really goddamn bored of that being used as a shorthand for a character that’s vicious and unreasonable and uncontrolled and a danger to others and possibly already has a string of murders and mutilations on her hands, instead of one who’s consciously learnt a bunch of coping and self-management strategies that some other people are lucky enough not to need.

Cluttered time.

Like (I guess) many people, I have accounts on several websites that I’d loosely classify as being social media sites–some (like GoodReads or Pinterest) less so than others (such as G+ or Twitter). And what I am coming to realize is that I do not think there is any way on earth I can possibly keep up with all of them.  Because on top of those, there’s LJ, Dreamwidth, a deliberately scattered approach to Facebook, I haven’t even begun to look at Tumblr, and then there are all the inidividual blogs and sites and and and…


I am breaking out in hives just thinking about it. (Alright, to be fair, I was breaking out in hives anyway, and if you want to get technical it wasn’t hives but more yet-another-bout-of-dermatographia which come to think of it is really hitting the point where I should make an appointment about it, but…)

I used to manage to keep on top of, more or less, via Google Reader.  Since that closed down, I know I’ve basically missed months of content.  I can’t quite bring myself to write it off, but I can’t figure out how to catch up, either.

And today I topped four hundred e-mails in my inbox.

How do you manage it? How do you track everything you’re interested in?  What sites do you follow, and how often do you check in?

Shock and silence.

Well, I submitted a story.

I… well, let’s be generous and say I haven’t done this much. I actually think I’ve submitted one story in the last two years, and not for years-that-get-into-double-digits before that and… well, let’s say I hold no malice whatsoever for the rejection and move along.

On a semi-related tangent: I keep using the phrase “mule puke” to refer to bad writing, as long as it’s my bad writing. “Oh god, I thought it was mule puke.” “It’s okay if this is mule puke, just keep typing. I can edit later.” “Why do I bother if it’s all mule puke?” This amuses me, a little, since I know exactly where I picked up the phrase–it’s from Dean Koontz’s Lightning.

This is a little funny, because… Seriously, I read that book about twenty years ago, it has twisty plots and dramatic death scenes and time-travelling Nazis, for crying out loud, and what do I remember? The author finding that her husband has gone out after reading her first novel and being convinced that it’s mule puke and he’s gone out to get enough liquid courage to tell her.

(He actually went out to buy her a (Lalique?) crystal bowl with leaping frogs for handles, which he was certain they could afford because her book was awesome and would sell millions. “Would you for god’s sake stop being the shattered young artiste and open your present?” He was right.)

Disconsolate but lovely.

The Bloody Chamber and Other StoriesThe Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As usual, four stars is my “recommend to anyone who’d like the genre” marker, but I’m not sure what the genre is. Dark and lovely and exquisitely written adult fairy tales I suppose, although it feels a bit odd to call them adult. (I mean, there’s clearly sex going on, but it’s a little distant, hardly ever explicitly referred to, and the emotional entanglements and compulsions are sad and/or creepy four times out of five.)

(It reminds me of Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & other Horrors a fair bit, actually.)

Ultimately, I think it’s the sad distance in the tone of so many of the stories that keeps me from going for four stars; the writing was amazing and beautiful and evocative, but so many of the stories left me feeling a little like I was having a sad day, and couldn’t tell anyone why. Definitely worth looking at, if fairy tale retellings are at all your thing, but be warned of possible disconsolation.

Wow, I’ve been talking a lot about the stuff other people write here lately, haven’t I?  Will try and mix that up a bit; starting to feel a little like an echo chamber.