Dropping down for air

Oh good grief that was a long eleven days.

Job hunt continues. Cats extremely fluffy. Library is apparently getting all my holds in, yay.

Finally finished the first season of Zombies Run. Not entirely sure if the events described actually happened or if some villain is engaging in a bit of theatricality to mess with us. Either way, looking forward to season two. (Have, after much internal deliberation, asked the light of my life to remind me when I fall behind on the schedule I am aiming for.)

Have a few posts kicking around in semi-drafted form. I think the next one is going to be about weird Western fiction (and, weirdly, not entirely Deadlands!).

Words and days

So, the Rejectionist (Sarah McCarry’s blog, which I know of and have dipped into but have not settled down and regularly followed[1]) is currently working on an interview project; she’s looking to post interviews with writers who manage depression and mental illness.

Looking at the rest of what she’s written, I think it will be an interesting and informative series to follow.

(There is something I have been trying to articulate about depression, even if it isn’t particularly new or insightful, but it hasn’t gelled for a bit. Will try and get it out this month.)
[1] Can I have more time, please? Like… four hours a day more time. Four hours a day where I could spend three on nothing but reading, and one on cleaning. Just a year of twenty-eight hour days.


Sunday night–Sunday the 5th–I found that my desktop had died. Sunday night is a bad time to start poking at machines, so I left it until Monday. There was some tentative poking and attempts to get it to boot, and it was up and running for a while, but not for more than an hour and a half.

It went into the shop, and came home Friday with a diagnosis of “could not reproduce problem, very dusty, should be fine now that the heat sink’s cleaned.” And it worked! Ran perfectly. (I took this opportunity to get a backup of everything I was worried about–I had one anyway, but “fresh full backup” is to my mind more useful, or at least less hassle, than “old full backup plus many many many incremental changes”.)

And then last night I was reorganizing my office, and I turned off the computer so that I could unplug and rearrange the cords and the UPS[1] and everything connected one way or another to the wall sockets, and it wouldn’t turn back on. (It’s not the UPS or the socket, either. Tried different power cords, different sockets known to work, everything.)

It’s not the power supply, which would be an easy fix, and given that the computer in question is six years old, a replacement is not unreasonable. In the meantime, everything will be fine, it’s just a bit odd to be dealing with everything online and not using my desktop.

(Plus I really miss my Fallout: New Vegas games, dammit.)

[1] Not the delivery service. That other thing.

Moving pictures. Or static pictures. Or voices on the wind.

So, as I have been reminded, I actually get to nominate works for the Hugos this year.

I think I am okay with coming up for nominations for written work. However, I would love a few more suggestions for art/artists, for graphic story, and for best dramatic presentation[1], both long form and short form.

Will cheerfully take suggestions that are either direct nominations or that are in the vein of “hey, did you know that a whole lot of people are listing their qualifying works over at this webpage?”

(And now I’m going to go have my quiet conniption fit because oh god, I have flight tickets and a hotel reservation and a con membership and it’s all real. Eeeek.)

[1] (Usually that’s movies or TV shows, with the 90-minute mark being the divisor, but it also applies to radio, live theater, computer games or music).

Cold week.

So, this week has been job-hunting, bad weather, and a touch of being under the weather. Everything seems to be improving, which is nice. (The temperature has actually slowly been creeping up all day, even after sundown. Unfortunately, it’s cold enough that the freezing rain is still coming. It’s supposed to be above freezing tomorrow, so I’m thinking “stay inside until the streets melt clear.”)

We picked up a cat tower, which has been providing hours of viewing entertainment. There are regular squirmishes over who has the right to sleep in the bed at the top, and friendly head-chewings, and one abortive attempt to climb up the outside. (That resulted in Angus sort of dangling off the outside of the cat-tower, looking thoughtful and completely failing to climb either up or down. He’d sort of wobble one paw gently and thoughtfully at the surface he was braced on and then not move.)

I’ve been knitting some, too–I’m working slowly on a cardigan for myself. I’ve done one before, but this one’s a lot more detailed, and I’m hoping the fit will be better. Possibly it will be done by London. On a more immediate note, am working on a hat for myself from Doomsday Knits; that will probably be done this month.

A quiet kind of strange

So, despite a lot of the movies I spend time going on about, I actually do watch and enjoy movies that are commonly recognized as “good”. A couple of nights ago, I was rewatching The Cooler, which I think was one of the first movies I saw with William H. Macy.

A brief summary of the starting premise: Bernie Lootz is a “cooler”, a guy whose luck is so bad that a casino keeps him around to ruin other people’s winning streaks, which he does by standing next to them. As the movie opens, he is planning to leave in just a few days. The rest of the movie is absolutely worth watching, but this is not the point I am currently discussing.

It’s absolutely clear that Bernie’s luck is a real force. And the way this is handled is weirdly fascinating to me. One person mocks the idea of having a cooler as old-fashioned, but there is never a Mulder/Scully moment about how This Is Too Silly To Be Believed. And on the flip side, there is never a huge deal made about it. Forget the commodification and classification of bad-luck joes you might expect in a garden-variety urban fantasy; you don’t even get the organized underground betting you find in Intacto. (A decent movie, but not quite as awesome. More interesting concept development; less brilliant acting and characterization.) His luck is simply there, affecting things as luck might; plain and clear and true as a well-cut suit.

I think this is magical realism. The Oxford Companion to English Lit (apparently) describes magic realism as often having

a strong narrative drive, in which the recognizably realistic merges with the unexpected and the inexplicable and in which elements of dreams, fairy story, or mythology combine with the everyday, often in a mosaic or kaleidoscopic pattern of refraction and recurrence.

That is a little weirder than The Cooler gets–I think luck is so plain that it doesn’t reach quite the heights of strange you can find in dreams or fairy tales–but the way the real events go through the story in sync with Bernie’s luck, that seems about right. Refraction and recurrence.

It’s interesting to me not (just) because of the subtlety or the low-key fantastical elements, but because of the lack of self-consciousness. I can think of several written stories that have those qualities, but it’s a combination that’s pretty rare in movies. Would like to see more of it.


I’m working my way through The Weird[1], and there are these lovely moments when I’m just browsing through it and I recognize something. (It’s way more fun, I think, to browse through the book than to look at the table of contents. I am better with snippets of text than with titles, many times.) Today I reread “The Summer People”, and deliberately held off on “The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles”, because it is a cuddly sort of story that I will save for tonight, in case I am tired.

In other news, that is totally not actually news, I am going to Loncon 3. This is not a surprise; I have been saving for the trip since I heard about the bid, which was way back in May of 2010. It just seems a lot realler now that I’m in the calendar year that the convention will be occurring in. It will be my first WorldCon in five years, and I hope it is as much fun as the last one, and I will probably be flailing gently at practical details over the next couple of weeks.

(I realized that I own a ton of things I would love to have signed by people who are likely to be there, but the trouble is that those things are largely books. As a result, they weigh… well, not actually a ton, but I’m guessing quite a lot, and definitely more than I would like to carry. I am not fussed about this, because I have lots of time to figure out what I’m going to do.)

[1] This book, combined with the collected Gormenghast in one volume, is why I’m only aiming to read eighty books this year.

Dusting electrons.

There! New header. (Thanks to Six Revisions for the image.)

Next thing to get sorted out for the year is an actual organization system for all my ebooks and PDFs. They are sort of scattered over two computers and upwards of six folders. (I have corralled my knitting patterns, though, which is a (very small) start.)

However, that can wait, at the very least, until after the Martian scientist(s), their robot creations (“the good! robot! usses!“), and Death himself have completed their introductions at the 1991 San Dimas Battle of the Bands.

(The Bill and Ted duology is probably, objectively, not the best pair of movies I could be watching over the last fourteen hours. I’m okay with that.)