Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!

Here's hoping for a better 2010.

It's cold and drizzly here, and we are -- well, not as broke as we have ever been (that would be five years ago) but pretty rotten broke: down to one vehicle, scraping by in the last week of every month by digging quarters out of the kid's bank and hunting through old coat pockets; deciding each month which bills we don't absolutely have to pay (for instance, the water company will let you slide with a partial payment every now and then, we have found, whereas the electric company will cut your ass right off); doing without the dentist, not filling prescriptions, or refilling prescriptions only sometimes; keeping our heat at sixty-four; and we are middle class.  We have jobs, we have health insurance.

I think sometimes what life on the working class level, or the life of my students, is like.

On the other hand: we live two blocks from the library and the post office, three blocks from the grocery.  We do have jobs, even if Herr Doctor Delagar's job is still only part-time.  None of us are really seriously ill.  (No one is dying, as I tell HDD frequently.) 

Things could be worse.

And maybe 2010 will be better.  Here's hoping.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back Home And Writing

We drove back from New Orleans yesterday, trying to beat the storm which was supposed to smite Pork Smith, only it didn't.  But it's just as well, b/c now we can hole up and write away.  I'm gnawing away at revisions (I have finally decided how to fix a couple of novels) and Herr Doctor Delagar is working on his new novel.  Outside, the sky is low and white; inside, the house, which has zero insulation, is filled with huddled, well-wrapped writers, burrowed dogs, and the scent of coffee and baking bread.  Perfect writing weather.

I'm making bagels today; HDD is making French bread.  Later, some nice beef vegetable soup.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Posting: Light.... non-existent.

We are traveling to visit my parents & other relatives starting at dawn tomorrow, so posting will be sparse over the next several days.  Y'all have fun & eggnog without me! 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh, yay!

Another rejection!

This one from Britian!  A transnational Rejection!

Do I rock or what?

In other new, I finished a draft of my short SF story.  (Short = under 5000 words.)  I'm extremely impressed with myself.  Writing anything under 100,000 words used to be impossible for me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Utter Coolness

(SF Whackitudes Only)

(Although yes also this

It's telling that Cameron describes the resulting tongue as something that is "pronounceable" yet sounds "exotic and not specific to human languages." But if the phonetic elements of Pandoran are all derived from actual languages of the world, then how are they "not specific to human languages"? A charitable reading of Cameron's quote is that the sounds of Pandoran aren't specific to any single human language. Less charitably, one might wonder if Cameron thinks that the far-flung languages contributing to Pandoran don't quite sound "human" to him.)

Yay Virginia!

Trust Women: Respect Choice.

Why can't we have these license plates in Arkansas?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love and Need

The kid and I were discussing how much she loves drawing, how much I love writing and teaching.

Nothing on either side was said. 
They knew they had but to stay their stay 
And all their logic would fill my head: 
As that I had no right to play 
With what was another man's work for gain. 
My right might be love but theirs was need. 
And where the two exist in twain 
Theirs was the better right--agreed.

But yield who will to their separation, 
My object in living is to unite 
My avocation and my vocation 
As my two eyes make one in sight. 
Only where love and need are one, 
And the work is play for mortal stakes, 
Is the deed ever really done 
For Heaven and the future's sakes.


Now here's a fine story.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kelly Jennings (Author)

How cool is this?

(Pretty fucking cool, I have to tell you.)

Update II

I am nearly done with grading, and making delicious headway on my new SF story, which is called (at the moment) Subverting The Data, and is about an Ann Coulter quotation.  No, really! (No, not really.)

In other news, I did not (yet) mop the kitchen floor.

Also, Herr Dr. Delagar and I have been watching Bones on the downloads nightly, and I am thinking I might have a paper in what is happening with the characters this season.  Didn't Brennan used to be a kick-ass tough feminist?  I seem to remember she had mad martial arts skilz and that?  What's with this how she needs Booth to rescue her from peril this season? And can't, all of a sudden, negotiate social situations?  That was a trope in season one, I recall, for a few episodes, but they dropped that shit.  Now it's back.

Also, my fuck, what's with the Patriot Act crap?  Dissidents are demons now, I see.

Well, we are on Fox Network.  But still.

On one hand, this is one of the few shows where we have People of Color in major roles as well as actual women characters in major roles, doing real things (notice how easily this show passes the Bechdel Test) like real people. 

On the other hand: boy, did it slide to the reactionary this season.  I wish I could pretend I didn't know what was up with that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I am at the stage of grading where I will do anything rather than read another essay.

Today, for instance, I was studying the kitchen floor, thinking to myself how I really ought to get to mopping.

They aren't even bad essays, either.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


It's that time of the semester.

Final Grades are due in by the 17th (I think -- I should check that); each semester I put off starting grading longer and longer.

This semester I seem to have given myself just 4 days to do it in.

Luckily I am  SUPER PROFESSOR!!1!

(When the kid and I wrote that once -- wrote !!1! -- Herr Doctor Delagar asked, all puzzled, "Why have you put a one in the middle of your exclamation points?"  And he was serious.)

Friday, December 11, 2009


XKCD cracks me up again.


So yesterday I figured out FaceBook (sort of...I'm still like a FaceBook Toddler; Mouse is walking me through the hard parts).  This means I now blog and FaceBook and have email and gmail and Lj and by the time I run through all of that, it's like two hours down, and who has time to write?

Yes!  Procrastination accomplished!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More News!

More news from Crossed Genres!

All y'all who write erotic SF, here's your venue.  

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Kid Amuses Me

The Kid, as you may have heard, cannot decide whether she wants to be a manga artist, a cartoonist, a game designer, a breeder of cats, or a stand-up comedienne for her adult career.

Just in case it comes to the last, however, she is working on her stand-up routine.  Yesterday she previewed a bit for me: if I had YouTube Skilz, I would YouTube.  As it is, you will have to visualize.  The Kid uses her two hands as puppets, each talking, like ducks.  She does robot-like voices.

Hand One: Hel-lo, Hu-Mans.  We Come In Peaces.

Hand Two: In PEACE, you Idiot!

Hand One: In Peaces.

Hand Two: In PEACE!

Hand One: Peaces.

Hand Two: Look in the instruction book, you idiot! It's Peace!

Hand One: (scribbling in an imaginary instruction book, adding an S, I assume): See? We Come in Peaces.

Hand Two: You -- you just added a scribble!  That's just a scribble!  It's We Come in Peace!

Hand One: (Smugly): Peaces.

Hand Two attacks Hand One, viciously, and they have a spitting snarling fight, which ends with Hand one limp on the bed and Hand Two upright, saying,

Hand Two: Hel-Lo, Hu-Mans.  I come in Peace.  He (gestures to the fallen Hand One) comes in pieces.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Semester Crashes to a Halt!

It's the last days of class and the beginning of exams, and that sound you hear is students panicking all over the landscape. Me, I've had a rising innundation of desperate freshmen*, many of them weeping and gnashing their essays, all morning. Luckily, my offices hours now are ended and I can go home and deal with short stories for Crossed Genres and papers for my beloved nephew and revisions of novels for me.

Also housecleaning, since Herr Doctor Delagar has decided he wants to hold an end-of-semester party for his Poetry Workshop.

"I will help you clean up," he says.

I deserve a medal, because I did not smack him. Hard.

*My favorite today? A student who cited his article's source as "Google."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

True Grit News

As my long-time readers know, True Grit is one of my favorite novels, so much so that I kind of strong-armed the English department here into using it as the department-wide text next semester (we're doing one of those everyone-reads-the-same-book deals).  I had been using the book in my ENGL 1213 class, which requires a novel; when the department floated the idea of everyone reading the same book, I coaxed and badgered and wheedled until they gave in (not just to shut me up, I'm sure) and chose True Grit.

It's a perfect choice for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that it's an excellent book, and set in the area.  Also, of course, Charles Portis was not just born in Arkansas, but still lives here.  This is useful for pointing out to our students (Look -- you too can etc).

Also, the novel is written not in 19th century British dialect (as some of the novels & plays I had been trying to teach were), but in 19th century Arkansas dialect, which really isn't very different from 21st century Arkansas dialect: that is, many of my students still talk this way.  Whenever some student demands to know, in outrage, what this bit of dialect is supposed to mean ("I've had my bait of this," Mattie says at one point, for instance), half the class erupts in reply ("You've never heard that?" they demand.  "We say that over in Paris all the time!")

Also, it's got a fast-driving plot; also, it's filled with plenty to discuss -- gender, class-issues, race issues, parallels between the Civil War and the Viet Nam war, justice & revenge -- also, there's the movie, the John Wayne movie: AND! NOW!

The Coen brothers are making what can't help but be a better version of the movie.

They've got Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and Josh Brolin, and are casting for Mattie in Memphis this weekend.  Plus, they're planning to stick closer to the actual book.  That previous movie makes steam come from my ears -- it's like a radio playing just off the station, the way it keeps just not quite getting things right.  Grr.

So I'm getting my hopes up.

So Sad

Another rejection.

But a nice one this time -- from Strange Horizons, saying good things, and yet; and the reason they rejected the story (it's my lizard story) is exactly the right reason.  The big harking hole at the center of the story.  Grr.  Why can't I fix that big harking hole?

In other news: here's why Mamas have trouble being writers.  Today is my writing day, the day when I have no classes until 5.30 p.m.  Instead of writing at 7.00 a.m. this morning what was I doing?  Cutting leaves out of brown and red construction paper and stapling them to the kid's shirt.  B/c she is Fall in her group's weather display, that is why.  And?  Instead of prepping for this yesterday, she was RPGing with her buds.

Then I was packing her lunch, and making her breakfast, and running out to the car in my bare feet waving her retainer ("You forgot your retainer!" I was hollering, as she and Herr Dr. Delagar were driving away, how amusing for the neighbors.)

Don't I like being a mother.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More News

Go here for an exciting announcement about me and Crossed Genres.

Oh boy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Look Here!

The new issue of Crossed Genres is up, with Lunch Money, by me, me, me!

You must (a) go and read it (b) leave comments (c) both here and there or (d) I will be crushed and think you do not love me.

(Yes, writers have very tender egos. What did you think?)

Be sure to read the other stories, too, of course. I am not the only good writer on board.

(Edited for stupid typo.)