London, travel, computer, flail.

…dammit, I wish that title weren’t so apt. Anyway.

I’m leaving for Loncon in ten days, and I am trying to decide whether or not to bring my laptop, and if I bring it whether to keep it in my (non-con-located) hotel room or take it with me to the con.

(Important note, for deciding: I can keep the con schedule on my phone.)

If I leave it at home:

  • pro: it will not get lost.
  • con: my laptop. Life without my laptop for eight days. In airports. (I will note that I have not had an international plane trip not take an extra half-day at least in years.)

If I take it to London and leave it in the hotel:

  • pro: I will have all my writing, my Skype, my bookmarks, my GDrive connection, my everything
  • pro: I can write while in transit. I find I actually really like doing this, and while it is technically possible to do on my phone, the smaller screen makes it much more of a PITA.
  • pro: I will not have to carry it around a con (I have a Lenovo Thinkpad; sturdy as all hell, but kind of bulky)
  • ???: I would need to get a laptop bag. My current laptop bag is actually a backpack. No-one who is at risk of standing behind me or in my blind spot wants me maneuvering in a crowded area with a moderately heavy backpack, even with padded corners.
  • con: I would need to leave it in the hotel, which would probably be perfectly fine but which would, for at least the first two days, distract me.

If I take it to London and to Loncon:

  • pro: will have all my writing, my Skype, my bookmarks, my GDrive connection, my everything.
  • pro: I can write while in transit.
  • pro: can sit in A Spot at the con and get stuff down. (At Anticipation–the Montreal 2009 WorldCon–I ended up posting eight times from the con itself. Admittedly at that point I was in the con hotel, which makes a slight difference… OTOH, judging by FarthingCon, I really do like having my laptop with me. The “back off, breathe, find a place to sit for late-night coffee or dessert, and type” is a nice way of processing events.)
  • con: carrying around a heavy thing, which means that if I pick up anything else (get thee behind me, dealer’s room) or am carrying anything else (such as books to get signed), the total weight will be that much greater.
  • con: will need to lug it along if/when I decide that I should go somewhere/do something else.

Ugh. I don’t know. But at least I have every pro and con I can think of down, so I may revisit this in a bit. Thoughts?

Hugo helpfulness

I understand that there’s going to be an announcement about the Hugo voter packages very soon. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a coherent list of links to what’s available online, you could do a lot worse than check out John DeNardo’s roundup at SF Signal. It’s huge.

Myself, I’m keeping a list here, Continue reading “Hugo helpfulness”

Things I cannot believe.

I saw The Last Unicorn tonight. On the big screen, with Peter S. Beagle in attendance and answering questions, and signing books afterwards (and taking pictures with people! I have a picture of myself with Peter S. Beagle now). And before I get any further I will note that tour dates are here and it would be lovely if you could pass that along to anyone you know of who’s interested.

I thought I might not cry this time, which is foolish. I never forget that I cry when I hear the theme song. But I always forget how sure it is, the tears coming up as smooth and sure as a stone drops down through water, and I thought that since I listened to the music last night as well the effect might be somewhat muted, and so I was sitting down to watch and thinking maybe this time I wouldn’t cry, and…

Yep. Tears. 🙂

(Did you know that the composition of your tears differs based on the emotion that evokes them?)

But yes. Peter S. Beagle was answering questions before the movie, and Connor Cochran[1] was… was maître d-ing or toastmastering or whatever the term is, and interjecting little anecdotes. And one of them was that when he first met Peter thirteen years ago, Peter thought he was a failure.

I… just hearing that was like the split-second of freefall confusion when our dog once yanked me off our front steps. Not the moment where I landed on the edge of the step and bruised myself purple-black for weeks. But the sudden absence of ground where there’d been that solid unquestioned presence only a second before.

Peter S. Beagle ever thought he was a failure.

Peter S. Beagle.

I would expect that sentiment no more from him than I would expect it from Ursula K. LeGuin.

I came home with more books than I went out with, and they are signed. And I am happy, and teary, and a little giddy, and so very very glad I got to tell him thank you for everything he’d written. And I’m sitting here, doing a little reading and being glad that things seem to be going better for him, and trying to wrap my head around how he could ever have believed…

I hope things keep getting better for him. I truly do.

[1] I am 95% sure this is the man, but I checked with the light of my life, and he never gave his name, and I meant to ask. Actually I am 99.8% sure, and I would be surer except it takes me a while to learn people’s faces and I did not see him for long. But 99.8% sure is not bad, so I set it down.

Is it the weekend? Why, I believe it is.

It has been a horribly unproductive week. Trying to fix that, in the sense of change it rather than in the sense of catch up on it. There is a point at which you really need to just accentuate change going forward or you will spend half your future putting bandages on the past, and another quarter of it grumbling about it when the cats wake you up around six in the morning.

(Just to take a for-example, for example, that is.)

Still working on my cardigan (cardigan is a sort of horrible word, I think, but “zip-front sweater” sounds rather precious and clunky), and still hope to have it done for London, but have started to seriously wonder if it’s going to be at all wearable in London in August. It is going to be a very warm sweater; the seed stitch holds a lot of heat. That said, I expect to do several hours of bussing this weekend, and I’m at the point where it’s perfectly suitable bus knitting, so while I am in the throes of anxiety over wasted effort I can probably get another few rows done.

(Also I should put in a lifeline; I’m definitely far enough along that one is warranted.)

In other news have been once again surprised at how genuinely cheering it is to have a woven knot of ragged, chewed, slightly damp T-shirt strips deposited in your lap, provided they are deposited by a hopeful dog whose tail is wagging because she wants to see you smile and play with her before she finishes reducing said chew toy to its component parts. Some days it’s the little things that keep you going.

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).


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.

The word for year is library.

Early this year, I read a post on Captain Awkward[1], and one of the things she mentioned–cited from the Blogess, actually–was the idea of 2013 as a library. A safe quiet space where you can get ready for something.

Maybe you spend the year recuperating from last year. Maybe you burn the Thanksgiving turkey and forget an important birthday. It’s okay. It happened in The Library. It was just practice for next year. Maybe it’s insanity, or maybe it’s just me, but somehow I think we all need a year in The Library. A year where it’s safe to make mistakes.

Probably the biggest thing for me was trying to actually commit to writing[2]. (Cat Rambo gives excellent classes, by the way, and I am not sure she self-promotes quite enough, and there’s a deal on her classes if you sign up before 2014. Just saying. I like the six-week course best.) I’ve gotten seven rejections so far and I think they’re getting easier to take, which is nice?

Other things this year: I tried to do Mary Robinette Kowal’s Month of Letters challenge, but that got interrupted by a pet health emergency. (Pet in question is fine, but leave us just say February got itself repurposed very hard.)

What else? Started staggering along to Zombies Run again after I’d stopped for longer than I’m happy with. Started reconnecting with someone I’d kind of lost touch with. Went to Farthing Party and CanCon (for the record, doing two cons in two weekends is not a great idea; that said, so glad I managed to get to a Farthing Party).

The house was cleared of about ten feet of bookshelf space and perhaps twenty-five bags-and-boxes of things that weren’t being used, or wouldn’t be used, or would be better used elsewhere, or just really needed to go. And I finished installing a cabinet. Admittedly in the bathroom we use least, but still, it’s installed.

I knit 0.76 of a mile of yarn into a sweater for my mother, and it worked. I mean, it fit and she liked it. I was terrified that I’d need to reknit half of it and the yarn store would be out of the dye lot, and…

Anyway, it worked.

And I cut my hair. Myself. (I haven’t dyed it again yet, but… maybe next year. The light of my life dug up an old picture, and I miss the purple.)

What did you do this year? What’ll you do the next?

[1] Lovely lady, very thoughtful, excellent advice, minimal Evil Bees.
[2] I had to work through a brief bout of “omigod I am admitting in public that I want to write things and care about whether I’m good at it!” to even type that. Oy, my issues.

A very quick note

(1) I am exhausted. So much so it is not even funny.

(2) CanCon had some lovely panels today, including one on the portrayal of disability in specfic (modded by Derek Newman-Stille, who runs Speculating Canada, and involving Tanya Huff and Dominik Parisien). Did not properly tweet during that one, being distracted by discussion.

(3) Related to that last, am sharing Captain Awkward’s #514: Justifying Your Deviance From Ordinary In A Work Setting.

(4) More later!

Two cents on Farthing Party – Friday

(That title sounded cleverer in my head. In any case…!)

I’ve never written a con summary before, so this may meander a bit.


After a bus ride across the aisle from two people who were still young enough to know everything and were telling each other about it[1], I got into Montreal on Friday and checked into the Hotel Victor. Continue reading “Two cents on Farthing Party – Friday”