scarlettina: (Angel)
It seems like we did All the Things this weekend. What did we do? Good heavens.

Well, first of all, [ profile] davidlevine was up from Portland for the weekend. That, already, was a goodness.

For another thing, the Kobold Press crew—myself most assuredly included, even at long distance—won two golden ENnie Awards at GenCon for the KOBOLD Guide to Worldbuilding, one for Best Writing and one for Best RPG-Related Product. I was following the awards ceremony via Twitter while I finished up a project at work that was on deadline. I thought maybe we'd win one, for best writing, mainly because we'd won Best RPG-related project last year for the Complete KOBOLD Guide to Game Design and something else ought to get a turn. But no—the fans and the industry decided: we got two, and I couldn't be more delighted. David and I went out for a celebratory dinner at the Stumbling Goat, which was just marvelous.

Saturday, we went sailing. JF invited us all (that being David, myself, EB, and MD) onto the Look Far for a cruise from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and back. David and M each took a turn at the wheel, and we enjoyed sunshine and lovely breezes—not to mention the beautiful sights that Puget Sound has to offer, including sea lions, seals, all manner of water fowl, and beautiful cityscapes. I brought along a bottle of bubbly wine to continue the award celebration, and we all partook, even if it was just a sip. Pictures beneath the cut )
We were so pooped at the end of the day and we stayed in, watched a movie, and went to bed pretty early at the end of it all.

Sunday, we got up to go write with the usual suspects. I got 1000+ words written on the novel without even realizing that I was doing it. We strolled the Ballard Sunday Market, then stopped at the Ballard Locks, where we saw seals and salmon jumping out of the water—splish splash!—into the warm summer air.

We then dashed home to change our clothes and attend my friends TM and AH's wedding. AH works at the Seattle Opera, and arranged for the ceremony to be held on the stage, where the set for the current performance still stands—a set from Wagner's Ring Cycle! The bridesmaids carried bouquets; the groomsmen carried spears. It was a marvelous thing, a remarkable set, and a lovely, lovely wedding. Greetings from Valhalla, where we are all very serious people )

David left for Portland this morning and I went back to work. Yep, it was a busy, busy weekend, but we had a marvelous time!
scarlettina: (Madness)
1) [ profile] twilight2000 held her annual white elephant gift exchange last night. The company, as usual, was quite fine. The gift exchange was, as usual, entertaining. I came home with the lemon of the evening, a doll so ugly that it will not pass "Go" or collect $200; it will go directly to Goodwill. But I'm the only person I know who can go to a White Elephant party with a $5 salsa bowl and come home with a Wilton Armetale serving platter, as I also did last night. One year I came home with a Lenox dish. Another year, a collectible teddy bear. And another a pair of gloves that I wear to this day. One person's white elephant is another person's gold.

2) An essay about The Big Bang Theory is making the rounds on social media, specifically about what the show is and isn't when it comes to nerds and nerd culture. I have a lot of thoughts about this, which will comprise another post, possibly later today, but I wanted to post the link here now so that if people are curious, they'll have context for when I go off about it. :-)

3) Zeke is growing like crazy. He is now, to use [ profile] davidlevine's description, a small cat rather than a large kitten, and he definitely has a mind of his own. I've resorted to using a squirt bottle to keep him off of counters and the craft table. I kind of hate doing it, but it's apparently the only effective deterrent. The nearly imperceptible stripes I noticed on him as a kitten are showing a teeny bit more as he grows, but he still looks like a completely dark-gray cat. Must post more recent pics of him.

4) I have an enormous To-Do list and, as I look around the house, I find myself despairing a bit. While I know that creativity, whether it's writing, jewelry-making or photography, is more important than housekeeping, sometimes housekeeping helps keep one sane and provides comfortable space for the creativity. I get myself into such a prioritizing spiral about this that often nothing gets done. I need to fix that, most probably with incremental, alternating task completion; I suspect it's the only way to make any progress toward any goal right now.

5) I spend far too much time on social media. I need to unplug for a couple of days and just get stuff done. Must schedule this. Hm.....
scarlettina: (Portlandia)
Sunday, [ profile] davidlevine, [ profile] kateyule, and I got up and out to meet [ profile] janetl, EB, and MD for brunch at Southpark. After delicious food and lots of laughter, we headed over to the Portland Art Museum to see its exhibit, "The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece," a show featuring sculptures and other artifacts from the British Museum collection. It was a small but select exhibit, and the works were without exception beautiful and thought provoking. The museum's gift shop would have been worth the trip all by itself, but was a bonus on top of the exhibition.

Back at the house, I took pictures for D & K -- headshots for their acting work -- and then headed out for a brief visit with [ profile] jaylake and his coterie of caretakers before hitting the road for Seattle. Good to see our man Jay, even in his chemofied state.

The drive home was incident free and pretty quick. It took me about 3 hours to get to Portland; in the rain and darkness it took me only another half hour to get back. If I hadn't stopped to grab a bite, my time would have been three hours again. Either I timed my trip well to avoid the usual mess around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, or they've cleaned up what had become an absolute traffic morass around there for a couple of years. In any case, I was grateful for the easy drive and delighted to come home to kitties who were practically dancing with joy at my return.
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
The kitties: Well, Zeke has settled in very well. I am the preferred furniture, and Sophie is the preferred chaser-chasee. I think they're still negotiating territorial issues a little bit. The bed still seems to be under negotiation. Zeke still insists on sleeping RIGHT IN MY FACE, which leaves Sophie to the end of the bed or the crook of my knees. I prefer the latter, at least until MY FACE stops being optimal for Zeke. I'm trying to break him of this habit, but apparently he's aware that MY FACE is the primary communication vehicle (the hands being a close second) (and weirdly, MY FACE seems to be the best place to nurse upon, specifically my lip, my eyebrow, or the tip of my nose), and he wants to be where the action is.

Company: I've had lots of company lately. Last weekend was the first pre-holiday crafternoon, which filled the house with knitting, drawing, quilting, and jewelry-making companions. And on Election Night, I had several fine friends in to watch the returns. Sophie and Zeke both got lots of attention, and my house is tidier than it's been in a while. Also, the carpet's been vacuumed, which hadn't happened since before I went to Europe and was desperately needed. So things in the house generally are good. Having company like that is nice.

Side effects of living alone: One trend that I'm not so happy about is that occasionally--just occasionally, not always--after friends leave, I have a tiny, fleeting moment of panic, wondering if everything is where I left it. Because, of course, when you live alone (not counting the cats), things don't move unless you yourself move them. If they move by themselves, it's because the cats moved them, or someone not yourself moved them--and then it gets weird. I dislike this knee-jerk reaction though. Like I said, it happens rarely. I think it happens mostly when it's been a big group in the house and I'm tired. I don't want age and solitude to make me more peculiar than I naturally am already. I'm hoping that self awareness will prevent this creeping peculiarity to stop its slow slither into my habits.

Road trip: This weekend--in just a couple of hours, in fact--I hit the road for Portland. The cat sitter will be coming in to feed, cuddle, and entertain the cats, check the mail and so forth. I'm looking forward to getting out of Dodge for a bit. A change of scenery is always a good thing, and seeing my Down South Posse always makes me happy. We've got some cool stuff in the hopper for the next three days. Should be a good weekend.

Flying time: While I was in Europe, I did a little early holiday shopping. When I arrived back in the states, suddenly it was mid-October, everyone was preparing for Halloween, and the stationery and drug stores already had their Christmas ornaments for sale. Now that it's nearly mid-November, I'm having a hard time adjusting to the fact that it's nearly holiday time, and that I need to finish the holiday shopping I started in Paris. (Did you see that? I was in Paris! I need to finish processing the pictures and to post them. But there are hundreds, and almost all of them need to be cleaned up in Photoshop first. ::sigh::)

Europe pictures: As I mentioned parenthetically above, I've been slowly processing my Europe pictures. Why all the post-production? Because it turns out that I didn't clean my lens very well, and nearly all of the shots have spots that must be removed. I'm too much of a perfectionist not to clean them up, and too harsh a judge of my own work to let anything be seen until they're absolutely as perfect as I can make them. I have a lot of work yet to do. My goal is to have the best of them uploaded to Flickr by the end of the year. We'll see how I do.
scarlettina: (GWTW: Pleased as punch)
[ profile] davidlevine was up for the weekend and, being the writerly/artsy types we both are, we took in the pleasures that society and Seattle had to offer. Here are the highlights:

I've never been much for pork, but I've always been one for good company, so when Kuo-Yu Liang and his wife invited me to join them for their annual pig roast and birthday celebration* (Adrian's), I accepted. D & I went, spent some time with Greg and Astrid Bear, [ profile] shellyinseattle, and others, and learned about roasting a whole pig in a wooden/metal crate surrounded by hot coals. The results of said roasting were spectacularly good and the party a pleasant way to pass the afternoon.

We spent the evening seeing "Chaps!" at Taproot Theater in Greenwood. I've never been to Taproot before, so I had no idea what to expect. What we got was an entertaining evening in an intimate theater setting. "Chaps!" is set in 1944 in London at studio B at the BBC. The production team awaits the arrival of an American troupe of cowboy performers for a special radio presentation with an in-studio audience. When only the group's manager shows up with costumes and scripts, the troupe having gotten lost in transit, the Brits decide to put on the cowboy duds and gamely make their way through the repertoire. The pretense of Brits trying to imitate cowboys quickly fell away in polished performances that became more of a revue of cowboy music of the era than the fish-out-of-water comedy it was supposed to be. In the end, though, it didn't really matter. The cast was talented and put on a great show. We left with smiles on our faces. I'll be watching Taproot for more performances in the future. They're pros and I want to see what else they can do.

On Sunday after D departed, I met [ profile] ironymaiden and [ profile] varina8 to see Melissa Etheridge at Woodland Park Zoo's ZooTunes. We spread the ground cover to the left of the stage and had a great time. Etheridge, a year older than me, looked terrific; mostly what I liked about her was her frank and direct comfort with herself, her age, her appearance. She looked like a stylish, rock 'n' roll mom who played kick-ass guitar and belted her guts out. I was surprised, though I shouldn't have been, at how much of her catalog I know given how long I've been a fan; it was an unexpected pleasure of the evening. And she rocked the park. I'd say she blew the roof off--except there was no roof, it being an outdoor show and the weather being picture-perfect for same. We had a great time, and I'm delighted we went.

* I originally typed "celeration" and found myself wondering fleetingly what such a thing might be: the state of being celery?

Westercon, Day 1

Sat, Jul. 7th, 2012 06:21 am
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Departed the house early for Westercon yesterday morning. Arrived to find the Seatac Doubletree Hotel weirdly quiet for a convention Friday. In fact, when I first walked in, I did a double-take, wondering if I'd gotten the convention dates wrong. What people were in the lobby were clearly not SF convention types, and I had to walk much deeper into the hotel to find any signs that an actual science fiction convention was going on. It was strange. It was also early, and I chalked up my initial impression to the time. I made my way to pro registration, picked up my badge and materials, and then proceeded to the Green Room. The halls were unnervingly quiet. Signs on the walls indicated that, yes, there was a convention going on, but it was just odd. I'm so used to seeing the Doubletree teeming with people as it is during Norwescon that the dearth of people just weirded me out.

Turned out that I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Though the convention became more populated as the day progressed, it was still sparsely attended. A number of the people I ran into remarked upon it. Estimates indicate that there are about 700 registered members. Both my panel programs turned out nice numbers--each room was three-quarters full. At the same time, the halls were never what I would call crowded, and I just kept feeling like something was missing. I never thought I'd miss the overcrowding of Norwescon.

My two panels went very well. It's been quite some time since I've been on convention programming (mostly due to scheduling conflicts, I haven't attended a convention since Worldcon last year), and I felt like I was firing on all cylinders. I was especially pleased with the panel called "Genre Games," about why publishers and booksellers categorize books by genre, and whether or not such categorization is still relevant in today's market. Susan Matthews was an excellent moderator, one of the best I've ever had, and I enjoyed the discussion a great deal.

I had a delicious lunch with Renee Stern of the Fairwood Writers Workshop, an old friend whom I haven't visited with in far too long. After my second panel, I spent some time in the hotel bar with Kat Richardson, Dave and Mike Bara, Patrick Swenson, Manny Frishberg and one or two other folks whose names I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't retain.

Patrick and I decamped after about an hour and went to 13 Coins for dinner with Harold Gross and Eve Gordon to celebrate my and Harold's upcoming birthdays. We raised a glass to [ profile] markbourne, whose absence is being keenly felt this week (we shared a birthday, he and I, and would often celebrate together). The food was delicious. I had the seafood saute: prawns, scallops, and sole sauteed with mushrooms and onions in a lemon cream sauce with spaghetti. Dessert was a caloric splurge that I'll be working off for days: a fresh-baked chocolate-ship cookie a la mode. We all tasted each other's desserts: the zabaglione that Harold ordered, which I'd never had before, was out of this world. We talked about travel, about getting older, about movies. I've missed Harold and Eve, I realized, and we ended the meal promising not to let so much time go by without seeing each other again. I'll be working to make sure we keep that promise.

Harold and Eve dropped me off back at the hotel. I debated going home at that point, but decided to check out parties before I left. Like the rest of the convention that day, the parties were attended but were unusually restrained. I stayed only another half hour before departing.

I start today with an early panel, which partly explains why I'm posting at 6:15 AM. Insomnia, stress, and the blues explain the rest of it. I may not stay at the convention much past my second panel today. I'll have to see how I'm feeling. I enjoyed yesterday, but this melancholy that descended at day's end yesterday has lasted through sleep and has got me feeling a little less social today, even despite the obvious sunshine that's coming.
scarlettina: (Autumn)
And a fine, busy weekend it was. [ profile] davidlevine was in town and so there was much running about and taking of the town by storm.

Saturday started with breakfast at Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe in the company of [ profile] ironymaiden and [ profile] melkahb, where we were greeted by Mae herself. Surrounded by cow memorabilia, we enjoyed a tasty and filling breakfast, and talked about technology, the Transcendentalists, and the Giant Mouth (tm) on one side of the room. We then headed out to Woodland Park Zoo for a Real Close Guided Tour.

The Real Close tours are private tours that one must reserve in advance, and they take visitors through the African Village, the Savannah and Savannah Aviary exhibits, and then backstage to the commissary and greenhouses. In the course of the tour, the guide provided information about the history of the zoo as well as tidbits about plans for new habitats and expansion. She also pointed out places where what looked like natural landscape was in fact actually educational sculpture featuring bones and "fossils" that were thematically appropriate to the parts of the zoo they were in. I'll never look at the landscaping in the zoo the same way after this. In the commissary we got an up-close-and-personal view of how food is prepared and distributed to the animals, and what sorts of food the zoo provides. We went into the refrigerator and freezer where food is stored, and saw the sorts of things one doesn't think about typically when one visits a zoo (pictures and more detail anon). I was entertained and enlightened. The greenhouses were wonderful, filled with all sorts of exotic plants and flowers. We learned that the zoo makes a concerted effort to be self-sustaining, and that many of the plants throughout the park are cultivated and used to feed the animals, not just for being pretty or picturesque. We got to see the area where one of the zoo's biggest fundraisers--ZooDoo--is created. (Yes--we went and looked at steaming piles of compost.) And we got a larger perspective about the zoo's role in conservation. It was a great tour and I'm glad we took it.

We then spent a couple of hours prowling the grounds. We visited the penguins, of course, the eagles, the elk and wolves, we passed by the wallabys and tigers, and stopped last at the beautiful jaguar enclosure, with its handsome if sleepy inhabitant. Lovely way to spend the better part of the day.

That evening, we met [ profile] markbourne and [ profile] e_bourne for a delicious Mexican dinner at Peso's Kitchen and Lounge, and then headed off to ACT to see Mary Stuart, a fictionalized drama about the conflict between the cousins Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I by Frederich Schiller, remarkably timely given its themes of power and politics, and the sources of loyalty and trust. The cast was the cream of Seattle theater, the play staged in the round. The costuming choices were interesting, in that the queens were clothed in elaborate period attire, but all the other characters were dressed in contemporary suits and dresses in shades of black or gray as if to accent the fact that the play was about the two queens. I thought the performances were uniformly excellent. As [ profile] e_bourne pointed out in her post about the show, the actresses playing the queens could have played either role and, in fact, for all that the script goes on about what a beauty the younger Mary is, the actress who played Elizabeth might have more credibly been cast as her cousin. This last is a tiny nit in what was otherwise a flawless performance and a delightful evening. (Interesting trivia: The play contains a suicide scene that, in 2008, proved a dangerous one to play. Its history made seeing the scene a little spooky, and certainly gives one ideas about haunted plays and haunted theaters--perfect for an October evening out.)

On Sunday morning, we took a walk through the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park, which I like a great deal, and from thence proceeded into Myrtle Edwards Park a bit. The weather was crisp and cool, and it was breezy there on the shore, but it was a pleasant way to spend an autumn morning. We had lunch at a local diner, and then I dropped David off at the train station.

My last stop of the day was to pick up the new car, which felt strange. It was my car . . . but not. I suppose it will feel more and more like my car as the days go by. I'll be driving it hither and yon today for a lunch engagement and for errands. Perhaps as I spend more time in the vehicle, and when I hang my spirit bell on the rear-view mirror, it will feel a little more like it's mine.
scarlettina: (Have A Cookie)
I spent yesterday at Norwescon hosting a mightily successful BarCon. Literally. I arrived at the convention hotel around 9:45ish, settled myself in the bar, and stayed there until 6ish. Never once was I without company of the finest kind, said company including a rogue's gallery of writers, musicians, and generally clever and gifted people (including but not limited to [ profile] miss_swamp, [ profile] grubbstreet, [ profile] e_bourne, [ profile] markbourne, [ profile] jaylake, [ profile] jackwilliambell, [ profile] mikigarrison, [ profile] shelly_rae, [ profile] mrdorbin, [ profile] camillealexa, [ profile] dreamline, [ profile] inevitableguy, [ profile] ironymaiden, [ profile] melkahb, [ profile] bravado111, and others, some who aren't on LJ--please forgive me if I've left you out!!). I had a marvelous time just enjoying the fine company. I had dinner with CE, whom I really must see more often than once a year, and spent some quality time with [ profile] jaylake thereafter. I went to the Pyr party just long enough to realize that I wasn't in the right frame of mind to deal with a crowd, and so departed around 10:45 PM, well satisfied with the day.

Today, it's been a slow start. I've written several important emails and done some cursory chores around the house. I need to start moving a bit more quickly and being a bit more productive. That said, it's the first completely uncommitted day I've had at home since I returned from New York and I'm reveling in the complete lack of obligation. There's something to be said for lolling about with tea and cats, and doing nothing more. But it all leads me to wonder why I'm craving a full-out binge on Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies?
scarlettina: (Default)
Tonight, at the brilliant suggestion of [ profile] ironymaiden, we (Miss Maiden, [ profile] varina8, and [ profile] shadow_and_veil) attended an event at Richard Hugo House called Two Books Enter, One Book Leaves. The idea was that attendees bring two books as admission, and take one book home. The leftovers will be donated to the Friends of the Library, whose book sale each year raises money for Seattle Public Library. It was a perfect thing for booklovers like us.

Lately I've been keeping a shopping bag full of books in the trunk of my car for trading in, so I grabbed a couple of books out of it for my admission. Of course, I found two books I wanted instead of just one, so I fetched another two books from my trunk. And what did I get? Fool on the Hill and Sewer, Gas, and Electric, both by the remarkable [ profile] matt_ruff, both of which have been recommended to me by several people (and, by the way, have gotten stellar reviews), and neither of which I've actually read (though I'm a fan of his Bad Monkeys). The copies I picked up were pristine. I'm completely delighted. While we were there, I also ran into JH, whom I see mostly at science fiction conventions. I wasn't surprised but I was pleased to see her. I'm just surprised I didn't see more of our tribe at the event.

Afterwards, the four of us went to Ballet, an Asian restaurant just a few blocks over, and had Chinese food for dinner. Also, to celebrate the Chinese new year--the Year of the Rabbit Bunneh! Gung ho bok choy, everyone! ::wink::

Pleasant evenings

Sat, Jan. 22nd, 2011 10:07 am
scarlettina: (Default)
I had some very pleasant evenings this week.

Wednesday evening, I got together with [ profile] e_bourne for dinner and a movie. Our evening was centered around Pacific Place (a multilevel mall in downtown Seattle). We ate at Thai Ginger, really one of the finest Thai restaurants in town, and had good girl gab. I love my brainy, artistic peoples. Then we went to see "The King's Speech." Colin Firth as Prince Albert was wonderful, a man filled with things to say stuck with a dramatic speech impediment. Geoffrey Rusch plays the therapist who helps him overcome his difficulty, displaying a toughness and compassion that just shines. I'll be surprised if Firth's Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor isn't followed by an Academy Award nomination. He was brilliant.

Thursday evening, I visited [ profile] ironymaiden at her place for tea and games. We played Ticket to Ride Europe; I loves me the train games. She also showed off her long-awaited, beautiful new furniture, the Alexandria Codex and its companion, the DM's credenza. We had a great time catching up and just hanging out. A restful evening with a beloved friend. Goodness.

The week concluded with last night's visit with [ profile] joyful_storm, dinner and a screening of "Persuasion" (the Ciarin Hinds/Amanda Root version, which I love). We looked at the pictures from my Egypt trip, from lo these many years ago. Just generally caught up with each other. A nice interlude.

As things at work gear up, these evenings may be tougher to come by for a while. I'm glad to have had them this week.
scarlettina: (Default)
With one glaring exception, today was just a fine, fine day.

The exception, of course, was the shooting of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Justice John Roll, and the many people who were killed or injured alongside them at the Congress on Your Corner event earlier today. [ profile] e_moon60 has made an excellent post on the subject, well worth reading, regarding the nature of Rep. Gifford's injuries and her recovery, as well as the probable provocation of the event. I'm of a mind to agree with her. The New York Times is following the story and updating their primary coverage, which currently includes the suggestion that the 22-year-old suspect may have had an accomplice. As I said on Facebook earlier today, my heart goes out to the Giffords' family and the families of all those who were killed or injured today. I send a mi sheberach to Rep. Giffords and all those recovering.

As for the rest of today, it was quite fine indeed. [ profile] jaylake was in town for a change of scenery, and we spent some time this afternoon together just catching up. I then joined him and a group of most irregular regulars for dinner at Bucca di Beppo (really, it was a rogue's gallery of favorite people; I couldn't list them all for fear of leaving someone out). It was a large, raucous crowd and we had a marvelous time. I shared an outrageously delicious order of chicken canneloni and an apple-walnut salad with my tablemates. I was very careful about what I ate, watching my portions and eating in a leisurely fashion, making sure I had a goodly portion of the salad. This may be the first time I've ever left Bucca di Beppo feeling satisfied but not full. I'm proud of myself for maintaining perspective about the meal. We laughed a lot. It was all just such a pleasure. I feel like I haven't spent time with these folks in far too long. I've missed them, and I'm glad I was able to join the group.

A subset of the gang split off to head to an evening of Elvis impersonation (with a tip of the hat to the King on his birthday). It sounded like fun, but I myself chose a quieter evening at home, especially since tomorrow promises yet another flurry of activity. There will be writing and walking and goodness.

Cheap Bastards

Wed, Dec. 15th, 2010 10:50 pm
scarlettina: (Book love)
Tonight I attended a launch party for my friend David Volk's new book, The Cheap Bastard's Guide to Seattle. The event was held at Richard Hugo House, an excellent venue for this sort of event. David and his wife Cindy laid out quite a spread with food and wine, as well as chocolate tastings and other nummy treats. It meant I got to visit with David and his wife a tiny bit, but also with [ profile] oldmangrumpus and [ profile] varina8, as well as DS WINOLJ. The evening included a reading as well as a contest to see who could provide the best hints for finding cheap or free stuff in Seattle. My contribution to said event was to mention the free iTunes songs you can pick up at Starbuck's each week.

I'll admit that David's humor isn't always to my taste, but he can be witty and insightful, and he certainly finds terrific bargains all around town. The book is great for locals and visitors alike. [ profile] scarlettina says, "Check it out!"
scarlettina: (Are we there yet?)
I'm at 1,013 words on the new story. It was supposed to be done for tomorrow night's final workshop. It won't be--no champagne pour moi unless I come up with another 4,000 words tomorrow morning. Most of what's on the page was written bearing in mind Kristine Kathryn Rusch's motto, "Dare to be bad." After all, you can't edit if you don't have raw material first. And raw is all about being raw. I suspect I'm walking into the story, but if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes. I'm much further along than the 250 words I had the other night, so that's something anyway. And I know where I'm going. And I know who the incidental characters are. I suspect I don't know my protagonist quite as well as I ought to. She may be too autobiographical. I don't care. I'm going to push along.

I'm not feeling well. Too much diet soda, I suspect, and not enough exercise but, also, my hand hurts. It was exceptionally bad this morning, only a little better tonight. I've got tenderness in four of my five fingers and they all look a little swollen to me--but it might just be that I'm tired.

Day job launches into a full 40 hours this week, possibly more. I could have done some extra hours this weekend, but I had personal commitments. I've been pushing back on personal commitments for weeks now due to freelance work; this weekend, the personal commitments pushed back and I let them. I wanted to celebrate [ profile] mimerki's 12th birthday and [ profile] oldmangrumpus's graduation. I wanted to attend the Vanguard party with [ profile] jackwilliambell. It's entirely possible I overdid it, resulting in the hand pain this morning and my spending a relatively low-key day today.

In other news, my cousin E has sold her townhouse and moved into a rental apartment until the unit she's purchased in a retirement community is ready for her. She lives in the same area that [ profile] kijjohnson will be moving to. This gives me two reasons to strongly consider a visit to the southeast. The coup de grace is that I've just learned that there's a conservation center not far from where they'll both be living. It looks like I may plan a trip to the region either late this year or early next. We'll see. Other things are in the offing in the meanwhile, which I shan't discuss just now.

The new season of True Blood has started and I no longer have HBO. ::is sad:: I shall have to try to find it online.

I'm dead tired. I think it's time for bed.

Brief notes

Thu, Jun. 10th, 2010 10:50 pm
scarlettina: (Writing)
250 words on a new story. It's going to be a hard one, but good, I think. Slipstreamy.

Back to Redmond for work tomorrow morning.

Appointment with a hand specialist on Tuesday morning.

Many parties this weekend. Also, freelance work and sleeeeep.
scarlettina: (Science Geek)
Bless me, LJ, for I have neglected thee. It's been three or maybe four days since last I posted. I am refining typing with one hand and a thumb to, if not a fine art, then at least to a fairly utilitarian skill. Beats the hell out of typing one-handed.

What have I been doing with my time? Well, let's see.

Science!: On Wednesday evening I had an entertaining and tasty dinner with [ profile] irrationalrobot, [ profile] wordknitter, miniBot, and Gnat. Afterwards, [ profile] irrationalrobot, [ profile] oldmangrumpus and I headed to the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory at the University of Washington to peer through its 118-year-old steampunk dream of a telescope and listen to a lecture about the Apollo space program. Sadly I have no photographs of the telescope (darn! Guess I'll just have to go back!). The thing is beautiful--large and slim and tapered, perfectly counterbalanced--with its clockwork counterweight system for tracking stars. I got to wind up the mechanism, which runs for 90 minutes at a time, and to view Saturn through its restored objective. What a wonderful experience! I'll have to plan a field trip back with folks when I'm at full operating capacity again to share.

Movie: [ profile] jackwilliambell not only cooked me a wonderful steak dinner on Friday evening (with a mushroom, shallot, and pepper marinade to die for), but took me and his grandson R to see "How to Train Your Dragon" yesterday morning. The film was completely charming, extremely well-written, and featured some of the best character animation I've seen in a while. The story is your basic hero's journey, but it's done with both humor and compassion for its characters, and I was far more impressed with it than I expected to be. Lots of fun and really pretty fine storytelling.

Afterwards, we trolled through Daiso, where I purchased a little disply case that, upon returning home, I discovered to my dismay had a giant crack in it. We also made a stop at Costco, where I picked enough cat food, calcium, and light bulbs to last until Apocalypse.

In news of living single-handedly, I report that some paper plates can resist the onslaught of almost any food placed upon them. Plastic flatware isn't always as strong as one would hope. There are some things for which only ceramic dishware will do. Laundry is relatively easy to do one-handed; clipping cat claws is really, really not. Surprisingly, squeezing toothpaste from a tube is a pain in the butt with only one hand; tooth brushing is easy. And Spanky? Still too heavy to lift with one arm.

And now it's Sunday. I plan to do more freelance, shower, catch up on "Chuck" and "Doctor Who" and try to relax a bit.

In other news, [ profile] irrationalrobot dreams of me in a funny and sadly accurate way. You'll be amused, really.

Busy, busy weekend

Sun, May. 2nd, 2010 10:58 am
scarlettina: (Social butterfly)
In support of [ profile] jackwiliambell's new liberty, I invited him to my place for dinner on Friday night. He, in turn, brought over his computer and we watched the first episode of Doctor Who featuring the new Doctor played by Matt Smith. On which more in a moment.

Breakfast and Free Comic Book Day: We had breakfast Saturday at Julia's of Wallingford, where Jack--the WA state native--had never been! I had two pancakes bigger than my head, and he had a substantial breakfast burrito. We then indulged in a morning of Free Comic Book Day by stopping at Comics Dungeon (where I picked up four free comics plus "Fables: Animal Farm," and "Farscape: Red Sky at Morning pt 2" [the latter written by our own [ profile] kradical]). We then stopped at Arcane Comics in Ballard, where I picked up "Air" and "Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction." In total, my freebies included Iron Man, Superman, Mouse Guard, and Artifacts. I have some fun reading coming up.

Parties!: We spent the afternoon working, me on freelance stuff, Jack on I'm not sure what--until it was time to head to the Eastside for [ profile] bravado111's book release party. It was big and loud and full of kids. The company was excellent; too many fine folks to name them all here. There was really good barbecue and a bit of dancing and the appearance of ax-weilding Vikings who'd gotten lost on the way to Valhalla. We then party-hopped to Vanguard, where I was witness to a discussion of fannish/fanzine politics, during which there was a digression about April Fool's pranks. [ profile] kate_schaefer brought up the only April Fool's stunt I ever pulled (which I was surprised--and, yes, delighted--that she remembered). I learned things about my fellow Vanguardians that I didn't know. And then, around 11:30 PM, I hit the wall and it was really, really time to go home.

Today [ profile] jackwilliambell and I both have things we need to take care of individually, so he has departed for the day. I'll be spending most of the day on my computer doing work of one sort or another. But first...

Doctor Who (no spoilers): So, on Friday night, Jack and I watched "Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour," which featured the debut of Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor. I have been skeptical of Smith, who has more of a baby face than any other actor to play the Doctor thus far. He still felt a little young to me watching the episode, but by the end of the hour, I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt for at least a few more episodes. I like the new companion, Amy: she has pluck, though I'd like to see her take the initiative a bit more. I'll cut her slack for this first hour; she's only just had her first real exposure to the Doctor and the way events tumble and cascade around him. I admit curiosity about what comes next. Jack, [ profile] markbourne, and [ profile] ironymaiden all have the episodes available if we can get together to watch them. I want to see more...but first...

Freelance work: Right before I went to Oregon last weekend, I finished work on one freelance project that I'm quite proud of. I've been working on another freelance job, too, and am going to spend the better part of today devoted to it. I'm looking forward to getting it completed and off my plate. I need to set myself some limits on what I accept, because I feel a little overwhelmed and out of control of my own time right now. I suspect I'm capable of one freelance job plus the KQ book review thing while working at a day job--but no more than that. I've had digestive distress on a pretty regular basis the last two weeks that's been painful and, on more than one occasion, nearly debilitating, all of which I've concluded is the result not of some stomach bug, but stress at a high level. This is not okay, and no amount of money is worth the unhappiness that has resulted. I'm fixing it.

Awesomeness on my flist: I wanted to point people to some awesomeness on my flist. First up, [ profile] fringefaan links us to this really cool Web project called "You Wear Your Weight Well." You really need to see his post, and then link through to the project. Second, finally provides us with a way to make kitties pull their weight at home. And lastly, today is another day of coolness at Post Secrets.

And that's all the news for the morning. Off to work....

Potlatch: Sunday

Sun, Mar. 7th, 2010 09:36 pm
scarlettina: (Social butterfly)
Today was really about the banquet. [ profile] jackwilliambell and I arrived early enough to catch Eileen Gunn reading a short story fresh off the computer, just finished, that was quite entertaining, and then we went in for brunch. The brunch was a good hearty breakfast in the company of [ profile] davidlevine, [ profile] kateyule, [ profile] vondancintyre and several others, followed by [ profile] davidlevine's presentation about his trip to Mars. David was funny and informative, answered questions with grace and good humor, and just shined. He received a very long ovation afterward.

Brunch concluded, we spent some time in the dealers' room where I complimented Eileen on her story. I also showed great restraint in not purchasing Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (which I want not only because I love the premise but because the book itself is a fine artifact of the book maker's art) and Simon's Cat, but did purchase a Spider Robinson novel I'd never seen before. It was the least expensive of my choices, and the proceeds will benefit the Jeanne Robinson medical fund, so my dollars are working extra hard there.

We finally headed up to the Hospitality Suite. I had some quality time with [ profile] nisi_la, [ profile] klages, and several others. When [ profile] mcjulie and [ profile] paulcarp expressed an interest in watching the Oscars, I suddenly had an tiny impromptu Oscar party on my hands...

...and so that's how the evening ended: at my place with pizza, Julie, Paul, Jack and I watching the Oscars.

I've posted the last of my Potlatch pictures to my Flickr set, and tomorrow morning, I'll aggregate my tweets about Oscar night to post here. What a good weekend! I wasn't exceptionally productive, but I had a marvelous time.

Potlatch: Saturday

Sun, Mar. 7th, 2010 09:59 am
scarlettina: (Book love)
Saturday was the big day for Potatch 19. I arrived at about 10:30 and had a lovely morning catch-up with [ profile] davidlevine, which morphed into lunch with him as well. We had gyros and a nice walk on the Ave.

We returned to the hotel in time for me to speak on the panel about e-publishing, about which I had more to say than I thought, including some cherce epithets for those who think it costs nothing to produce an e-book. I made a point about the impatience of our generation, which is trying to re-engineer in the space of a couple of years a technology that has evolved and worked beautifully for centuries. This particular remark was well-received; a number of people commented to me about it later. [ profile] vondanmcintyre was a splendid moderator and, as one of the prime tech people behind Book View Cafe, offered valuable perspective on manuscript prep and the technical challenges of the process. John Berry, editor and typography guru, added a valuable discussion about readability, design and text preparation. He also provided edifying graphics to illustrate his points.

Following that, I stayed in the room to attend the Book of Honor panel (picture), a discussion of Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. Among others, the panel included author Eileen Gunn, [ profile] jackwilliambell, author J.T. Stewart, and a diverse group of writers and academics, some of whom were present via the miracle of Skype or represented via e-mail. It was a good discussion, ranging from issues of cultural appropriation (a theme this weekend) to gender politics to pure literary quality. I'm only about 50 pages into rereading it, so the remarks I heard will certainly color my experience of the book--but that's okay, ultimately a goodness, mainly because I've found myself a little impatient with the narrative so far, a reaction I'll discuss here once I finish my reading.

Peggy Ray Sapienza and I retreated to a quiet corner to catch up for a while, then went out to pick up some stuff for the Foolscap soiree that evening. Before departing the hotel, Peggy Ray displayed uncommon cleverness. We stopped in the Registration area and she said, very nonspecifically, "Can I do something?"

"Sure," said I, "whatever you want."

She eyed the t-shirts arrayed on the table. "What size do you wear?"

"Oh no, no, no, you can't do that," I said, suddenly understanding her intention.

"Oh, no, no, no!" said [ profile] holyoutlaw and [ profile] juliabata who were staffing the Registration table. "You just said she could do anything she wanted!"

And so I was gifted with a convention t-shirt, which I'll wear today with great fondness and gratitude.

For dinner, we grabbed two of Peggy's friends and Jack, and headed out with the intention of having Caribbean food. Due to long waits, we ended up having dinner at a place inauspiciously but completely appropriately named Schawarma King (50th & University Way), where the food was so good that my main contributions to the dinner conversation were, "My God, this is good. MmmmmMMMMmmmm...yum! Wow, this is good." And so on.

The next big event of the day was the charity auction to benefit Clarion West. It was, as one might expect, an event of great silliness and generosity. [ profile] jaylake's shorn tresses were auctioned off ( picture ). In a surprise twist, [ profile] eklages, the auctioneer, auctioned offer her hair as well, which was shaved off later in the evening. [ profile] davidlevine auctioned off an MDRS mission patch and a simulated moon rock (picture). I couldn't stay much longer after that because I had to hie me up to the Hospitality Suite as one of the hosts of the Foolscap party.

I stayed at the suite the rest of the evening. Most of it was lovely, but I found myself hitting a wall around 11:30ish and retreated to the lobby until Jack finished up leading the scotch tasting. We departed the con tired and ready for sleep.

Check out the complete Flickr set. Follow my Twitter stream (@jesilverstein) or the Foolscap Twitter stream (@flatstuff) for more news of the convention today.
scarlettina: (Social butterfly)
Potlatch has been ramping up the last couple of days, with friends in from out of town and opportunities for excellent company. Thursday night, I had a fine dinner of Chinese food with [ profile] jackwilliambell, [ profile] davidlevine and [ profile] kateyule. Friday, Jack and I had Indian food with [ profile] mcjulie and [ profile] paulcarp.

The weekend's first programming was a panel on "Writing the Other," featuring David and [ profile] nisi_la, among others. I arrived late due to a long wait at the restaurant beforehand, but what I caught of the panel was cherce--though I never did find out what the acronym ROARRS stands for--my fault for arriving late; I shall have to go get educated. I stayed in the meeting room, where the next programming was a Clarion West annual business meeting, mainly to enjoy the company of [ profile] e_bourne and [ profile] markbourne before heading down to the Clarion West reception, then up to the Hospitality Suite for the chocolate tasting party thrown by Renovation.

I should note that last night was Mark's first convention appearance since his extended absence last year, and people treated him like an arriving rock star. A couple of people told me they wanted to say hello to him because they got to know about him through my LJ account but weren't sure how to approach him since he was otherwise a stranger. I told them I'd be happy to introduce them or to just go up and say hi--he's worth knowing.

Today's plans include my speaking on a panel about electronic publishing, my working to host the Hospitality Suite this evening as part of the Foolscap concom, and general frivolity. It's the frivolity that's the hard part. :-)

Actually, the hardest thing about today will be staying indoors on what looks like it's going to be a lovely, mild, sunny day. But with good company and other fun society in the offing, I'll make the sacrifice--it'll be worth it.
scarlettina: (I've been reading)
My vision for the weekend was of two days of productive work sweetened by time with [ profile] jackwilliambell. The reality was a jumble of plans that sort of worked out, naps, a spur of the moment road trip, a giant dog, and other disconnected stuff.

The plan for Saturday was that I was going to work from home and get some extra hours onto my time card. The best laid plans of [ profile] scarlettina went awry though, with my remote access connection failing even after two hours of intense troubleshooting with Tech Support. I spent Saturday afternoon reading instead of being productive.

Then Jack and I hopped into his car and drove north to Bellingham for a party. We arrived early enough to tour a couple of the book stores in Fairhaven, and then went a-partying (the "Exploding Saints" party, at which one protests St. Valentine's Day and celebrates St. Patrick's Day, with reportedly tasty corned beef--reportedly, because I was experiencing digestive distress and didn't eat). At this party, besides the very cool, jovial hostess, a photography-literate surfer dude, many other cool people, and the small fireworks display, was a giant 9-month-old English mastiff who went from person to person wiping drool onto their clothes. Sweet dog, gross drool. As we drove home, I plaintively moaned about smelling like a giant dog.

This morning, as part of the preparation for our trip east, Jack and I watched a documentary about the building of the New York City subway system. Did you know that the IRT was built by hand in the space of four years? It was a fascinating bit of turn-of-the-century history, and I recognized subway stations I used to frequent in the photographs and films of the era. Wonderful stuff.

I spent the rest of the day reading--for leisure and on freelance projects.

The leisure reading culminated in my finishing Bad Monkeys by our own [ profile] matt_ruff. Jane Charlotte, arrested for murder, narrates her own story to--presumably--a psychiatrist who's examining her after her capture. Jane's voice is distinctive and her story is bizarre. Recruited by a secret organization dedicated to the elimination of evildoers--bad monkeys--she finds herself with a strange set of allies on the strangest trip she's ever taken. It's only when you realize that Jane may not be an entirely reliable narrator do both her story and her experience begin to unravel. I still can't quite decide how I feel about the end of the book. On the one hand, I saw it coming and it made sense in context. On the other, I found myself feeling a little deceived, maybe because of Jane's approach--or maybe because of the author's--I'm not sure. I need to think about it a little more. The book's a quick read and a fun ride, and has the feel of a story just begging to be made into a movie--but only by just the right director. Hollywood would be tempted to muck with the mechanics of the plot and invariably make it less than what it is. At any rate, I do recommend it, and am curious to hear thoughts from anyone else who's read the book.

And now, on with the week....


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