On a writing note: I’ve been trying to start getting up early in the morning to write before work. Recently Cat Rambo suggested not allowing yourself to check your e-mail before you’d written 500 words, and adding in that parameter does seem to have helped a bit. Will see how things progress in the coming weeks; a two-day bump in word count is not a magic bullet, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

(I am also not a morning person. There is something of a learning curve associated with this “remembering to go to bed at an hour that takes the planned time of rising into account” thing.)

On a convention note: I am not going to WorldCon this year. I am not. I understand this, and have accepted it, but it makes me very sad. That said, I am hoping to be at at least one local con this fall.

On a work note: I am slowly settling into the idea of having vacation days. It’s interesting, in terms of potential. I’m very used to work with a definite end date, and the idea of definitely being able to take time off and come back after a break–a break I am allowed, no less–is something I’m looking forward to.


Into April.

More and more, I feel like I need to make decisions not on what I want to do, but on what I want to do most, and how much time I have.

Part of it’s the new job making me feel that way. I don’t think it’ll be bad; the worst thing about it is that it’s in a location I’d prefer not to work, and I can cope with that. I’m just feeling very tiredly adult about leaving a job that I was actively happy to work at for a pragmatically-better job where I might not be as happy.

(Plus I’m leaving my current position to take the new job, and I can’t actually recall the last time I left a work contract before it was due to end. I’ve refused a renewal in one case, but that’s it.)

Part of it’s that while my wrist and elbow are getting better, they’re still not all the way better; I was knitting a bit today, and I had to stop. I’ve got several projects I want to get done, and I’m at the point where I need to figure out what few I’m going to get down in 2015, and whether or not I need to frog some.

(Frogging is unwinding a piece of knitting. It’s called frogging because you “rip it” back–ribbit, get it? Similarly, unknitting more slowly is called tinking, because “tink” is “knit” backwards.)

((Thus is knitting vocabulary developed.))

Aside from that, I’m reading Beasts of Tabat and playing Below, both of which have come out this month and both of which I am really excited about. (I may have also spent the weekend watching Daredevil, which has put a crimp in my writing time.) I’ve been able to pick up a bit of knitting again, although I think I’ve over-extended myself.


Well, the bleaching and dyeing went well! My hair is now purple–mostly a blue-purple, some parts reddish-purple, and a few bits of bleached-but-not-dyed hair wisping around in front of my ears. The Vaseline got on them, it’s a resist, it happens. 🙂 I wasn’t sure using the two different dyes would actually make a difference, but it seems to’ve done so.

(In comparison to the other vegetable dyes I have used–Manic Panic and SFX–Punky Colour seems to bleed not at all. It comes out a little with shampoo, of course, and I had to use cleaner on the bathtub when I first rinsed it out. But it only comes out with shampoo, doesn’t stain the bathtub after the first rinse, and the first night I put a towel over my pillow and could not actually find anyplace my hair had stained it in the morning.)

(It also smells like Grape KoolAid, or at least the two purple dyes I used do. I have no idea if this is a nod to the old… tradition? method? …of dyeing hair bright colours by using KoolAid, but I would not be surprised.)

I’m feeling like a bit of an ass for waiting so long to do this again, to tell the truth. I keep thinking about an old joke about the woman who gets a nose job, feels great, takes a cruise, goes mountain-climbing, deep-sea diving, has a wonderful time. She runs into her plastic surgeon at a party or something several months later, he asks her how she’s doing, and she bursts into tears.

“What’s wrong?” he says, confused. “I thought you’d had a wonderful time since I saw you?”

“Oh yes, doctor,” she says. “But I could have done it all with my old nose, and I feel so stupid for waiting.”

(Let us not unpack why this is expected to be funny, I am in a good mood right now. But the waiting. The maybe-it-won’t-be-right, the bloody inertia. I get that.)

In other news, my work contract is done, and spring is here. I am contemplating shovelling some of the snow off the lawn–the pile is currently only four feet high or so, but it’ll melt down to the grass faster if I take off a little. And Elise has posted a tease of names for some of her earrings, so I expect to be able to see some lovely shinies within the week.


I have a few words for people who come in to work when they are snorking and wheezing and letting out those ragged velvety coughs that just make sure you know that their lungs are laced with muck.

I am feeling polite, so I am not reproducing those words here.

I am also (for reasons which I feel are not completely unrelated to being exposed to the current office plague) at home feeling drained and exhausted and needing to give serious consideration to whether I am up to looking at a computer screen instead of napping on the couch.

(I was going to go with sleeping on the couch, but Angus abandoned me. Without him, the couch is just this padded expanse of old fabric instead of a warm and comforting dispenser of purrs, which is much less appealing.)

(…I’m still using it, mind. I’m just not dozing on it.)

It’s being an unproductive day. I am mostly making my peace with this, and trying to recover.


Apparently this “up at six, out of the house by seven, back around seven” thing is putting a bit of a crimp in my usual writing schedule. I am not very deeply surprised.

The work is work I am good at, and all the people there are quite pleasant. Also I’ve decided to see how long it takes me to knit a hat when I’m only knitting in transit to work or over lunch. It’s going pretty well.

The cats are yarbling at each other; there are apparently highly sensitive negotiations in progress, concerning such topics as who gets to lick whose head and which hollow in the cat-tree is Best Hollow. (Based on the available evidence, I would say Best Hollow is the one that already has a cat in it. But I may be missing some subtle nuances, here.)

Oh, hey, a reminder – submissions to Women Destroying Fantasy open up tomorrow, and Cat Rambo‘s posted some notes on what she’s looking for as editor. Very much looking forward to that issue coming out.

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.

Time is slipping away.

Wow. Sixteen days with no posts. (Coincidentally, eleven days with no writing and, barring yesterday morning, twenty-one days with no running. Correlation is not causation, but I do suspect that I am looking at some correlation, rather than pure coincidence. Will need to keep an eye on that.)

Right. Words.

…I have just, for the record, spent a good three minutes staring blankly at this screen.

Today was pretty draining; I spent eleven hours and twenty minutes of it either in transit or doing work that’s definitely useful but was (today at least) kind of repetitive and exhausting. Lunch consisted of catching up with a lot of online things, which was slightly less than relaxing, if informative. When I finally got home, the light of my life and I split dinner-arranging duties, and by the time that was done I had enough energy to go out to knit night. I’m actually really glad I did; everyone was swapping “how did you start coming to knit night?” stories, and it was good to catch at least the tail end of that.

I’m actually thinking of cutting back on my knitting a fair bit – so many of the ways I spend time (writing, knitting, puzzles, talking to people except face-to-face, gaming, reading unless it’s on an e-reader) require a pair of hands free, and I might need to start prioritizing.

(I understand this is part of being an adult, or something. When I was young, I thought adults got to stay up, like, forever, and had all the time in the world. I feel that a terrible misrepresentation is being perpetuated.)

Coping strategies.

I have had a kind of upsetting day, and am finally getting a chance to relax. Part of this is putting a familiar movie on, specifically Trick ‘r Treat, a sort of adorable little Hallowe’en portmanteau[1] movie which I am just now feeling really weird about calling adorable because I started adding up the number of people who die in this thing (after getting lines, even!) and it is in the double digits, even if you only count ones who get lines.

Trick 'r Treat movie poster

(I have included a picture of the movie’s mascot in my post!  Look how cute he is.)

I mentioned this to the light of my life, in terms of how it struck me as odd that this kind of movie would be relaxing. Part of it is the familiarity, sure, but it’s not like I’m putting on Threads[2] to relax. Or even Splinter, which is actually a really good movie. Either of those would be weird.  And he pointed out a couple of things:

First, I like short stories. I like anthologies. This usually only comes up with books, possibly because there is a sort of terrible lack of movies that do this (I can think of a handful, sure, but they are in a definite minority), and no TV shows that do it to my knowledge.  Getting different distinct stories with the same presenter is not the same; you only get one story per episode, still, and then the media slice is over and you are done for the nonce.  Tales from the Crypt is adorable in its way, and it’s an anthology series, but the individual episodes are not anthologies.

Second (speaking of TftC), short stories within movies are overwhelmingly of the “bad things happen to bad people” genre, and given what I’ve been dealing with today, that connotes a universe with a moral framework and an active justice that it is kind of reassuring to see.  I think it was Eric Burns who, speaking of the classic pulp protagonists–the Shadow and the Spider?–said that he wanted to see horror turned against evil instead of for evil.

It’s a very comforting kind of story, and that is nice right now.

[1] I was going to say “frame story”, but I really don’t think there’s a single surrounding frame story.  Instead, there are at least four stories (I usually count five) weaving in and out of each other.
[2] A BBC movie about the aftermath of nuclear war which is about the most appallingly bleak thing I have seen in… uhm, actually, in ever.  There are more depressing or upsetting movies, but I have not seen any others which leave me feeling so throughly that the universe does not care and humans are just clinging sadly to a worldful of tired gritty dust that will not care one whit when we are gone.

Breaking it down. (for SCIENCE!)

Missed this when it came out a year and a half ago – a new superglue that bonds at the molecular level, prompted by analysis of flesh-eating bacteria.

It contrasts particularly with some of the chemical screening assessments I’ve been looking at lately. The most upsetting of those cited an experiment testing a chemical compound’s toxicity, in which one of the dogs being steadily poisoned lasted for for nine hundred and ninety days before dying.

Please accept my assertion that those were not a healthy, pain-free nine hundred and ninety days, and let us move on.  (If possessed of pets, you may wish to have a small time-out in which to cuddle one or pet one of them for comfort. I am doing this thing.  I am also rambling all over the place.)

Continue reading “Breaking it down. (for SCIENCE!)”


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!)