Monday, July 30, 2007

My Ugly Baby

So, I'm still going nuts waiting for any feedback on my story that I mentioned. Checking back. Checking back. Not really doing anything else for two days. I'm starting to think that I've got an ugly baby and no one wants to tell me. I never worry this much. What's different now?

I get e-mail notices when someone posts a comment to critique threads I participated in... finally a BAEN email shows up! And it's not for my story. And another. And another. None for my story.

I'm crawling the walls.

And now... someone commented. The little notice is there in my email. I've got to go look at it.

*deep breath*

It's probably nothing much. I'm calm. Really. I can go look. I can!

.
.
.

Dangit. It was an expression of incomprehension.

*sigh*

Maybe it will break the ice and someone else will comment.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Didn't do the typing after all

Well, I did a good chunk of the typing. But I didn't finish. It just got too boring.

But I'm not completely hopeless because I finished 3/4 of a 3800 word story instead. It is so much more interesting to be writing something new and it kept me up until 1:30. I really like this one and I think it turned out pretty well. I'd started it *ages* ago but could never figure out how to accomplish a necessary thing. How does someone figure out that their world isn't real?

So I've got that up on the slush conference for Baen Universe as "The Storyteller" and I'm going nuts waiting for any sort of feedback on it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Back to work....

I'm still typing in the edits I made to the hard-copy of the short story I'm working on. Somehow the typing part is really tedious and I keep finding other things to do.

So now I *will* go get a new lightbulb to brighten up this room (two of three in the fixture are burned out) and I will type it until I am done!

Oh, and get a bowl of chili I made and a glass of Kool-Aid to go with it.

Harry Dresden

I've said before... the Dresden Files is a great show. The writing is fabulous. The actors are perfect.

So now I've read one of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books.

They aren't the same. There's a bit of difference in the set-up, but not much. There were changes made in the setting that really were necessary to bring this from book form to television. For example, in the book he's usually in his apartment, which does have a basement. But it's really small. On television he has an office with a kitchenette and a basement and a loft where he sleeps. It doesn't open into a hallway but opens out to the street. I think that was necessary.

Anyhow, I read _Proven Guilty_ which seems to be well along in the chronology. Even without reading the earlier books it worked. There were lots of references to earlier stories but I think the reaction, when I read them, will be "way cool, this is the one with Thomas in it" rather than being annoyed that I already know what happens.

We will see. I will certainly read more of them.

Friday, July 27, 2007

ARGH!

I missed Burn Notice *again*!

It looked fun, I hope it doesn't suck. They'll probably cancel it because people like me can't get their act together.

I love the thunder

It's July.

The thunderstorms roll in nearly every afternoon. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn't. Usually it's just enough to get the air wet. Yesterday it got the ground wet and the dogs were a muddy mess.

I don't know how to describe the sound, the rumble and then crackling rip that runs in stereo across the sky. Surround sound.

We lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly 10 years. They don't have thunderstorms. There isn't any rain in the summer, typical for a Mediterranean climate, but it rains for weeks in the winter, an endless depressing drizzle. Where I grew up in Minnesota has thunderstorms. Dry grass in the morning, sunshine, and in the afternoon air so thick... and then storms rolling through. Evenings of wet grass, mosquitoes, and air sharp with ozone.

But not every day.

The locals call it the monsoons. The desert gets a little bit wet. Flowers bloom.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Isn't it romantic : my "shock troops" post

(Update: More information and an example of Beauchamp's writing here.)

Why do people *want* to believe Scott Thomas Beauchamp?

I think it's romance. It's that shivery slumming at the edges of barbarism, that leaving behind of civilization and reaching into something primal, that myth of a place where there are no moral rules, no limitations.

People *want* our guys to be cold killers, to walk that edge they could never walk, to give into base instincts. To whore and smoke opium in those SE Asia brothels. Like freaking Dear Hunter or something.

Oh *that's* real. When they read stories like "shock troops" they think, finally, someone is telling a story that is *real*.

War does a lot of things to a person in it but in "Shock Troops" Beauchamp is dehumanizing himself. He's telling a story in a way he knows will sell. He's a story teller, a writer, and he's creating an atmosphere and theme that he knows will resonate.

I've read accounts that were stark and honest about how bad it is and how it affected the person writing. Those accounts didn't dehumanize, they humanized, showing a painful reality, not this Hollywood version of morality free, repugnant, slumming.

Beauchamp describes *himself* as a caricature.

And he's judged his audience well.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Althouse John Kerry limerick contest

Heed well, gigolo John,
who's advice is always spot on.
If you do it for money
I'm serious, honey,
it's best if the woman's the john.


(To see *why* and read the other attempts, go here.)

Time for a chicken picture




This is from our Costa Rica trip in February. We'd stopped to see some monkeys, which were very cute. The family fed them and a group of about 15 lived in the trees behind their house and then the tour bus drivers would bring the tourists by to see them.

I liked the chickens, which I think surprised the woman who was showing us the monkeys, but she was very proud of them. She had some very fancy ones with frizzle feathers, silkies, turkens, and some fancy bantams. She also had a couple that had a second set of wings under the feathers. The extra wings didn't really show so we had to take that on faith.

I didn't get a good picture of this silly girl. She just wouldn't pose for me. She was running around the yard with a couple chicks that mostly ignored her.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Past time for another post

Obviously I pretty much suck at this "post every day" idea.

I've been trying to work on my writing a bit. Other than that, not much is going on. Got a clothes line up today. Seriously, this is my exciting life.

I didn't get a copy of the New Harry Potter book though I'm sure I will eventually.

This You Tube Video of people at a Harry Potter Bookstore party is good, if more than silly.

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's up to the women...

Old bumper stickers.

This one was either directly above or part of a Kerry-Edwards '04 bumper sticker.

It might have been "It's up to the women now"... I'm not sure if "now" was on the end or not.

Maybe stuff like this shouldn't make me angry but it does. Firstly, the context is a man vs. woman thing which I find intolerable, but primarily it makes me angry because it's as offensive as if someone said "Women can't do science" or "women are emotional" or just about any thing that assigns some attribute or opinion to all women. Because that is what that little statement does. It's assuming that *women* are going to be all on the side of things that the person who placed the bumper sticker is on.

My plumbing and my part of the reproductive scheme has nothing at all to do with my politics. I'm a capitalist, libertarian, AGW denialist, anti-abortion, pro-military, pro-gun, christian, futuristic speculationist... with boobs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

That was me!

I got quoted by Instapundit... I think I'm gonna faint.

UPDATE: Best line from the comments: "No one questions Bugs Bunny's masculinity, and he dresses in drag all the time."


I'd said that in the comments here. (Scroll down for the funniest photo-shop of George Bush ever.)

It wasn't quite to the point. If I were to make a comment that was less cute I'd say that when it comes to "manliness" there is a conceptual gap between many on the "left" and many on the "right." Refer back to this post of mine with a link to a professor waxing poetic about "weenie-boys."

The "left" tends to think that it is vitally important to the "right" that a candidate be manly enough. That masculinity is almost fetishized.

I thought of Bugs Bunny in relationship to Rudy Giuliani in drag and how it seems we're all *supposed* to be really upset by that.

Why do people criticize Edward's cuteness? It's because he seems to be trying to project that polished beauty. Why did Kerry get criticized? Because he seemed to be trying too hard to seem rugged.

Bugs Bunny doesn't try.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Under revision...


I think I'm crossing out as much as I'm leaving behind. Funny thing... I can't write with distractions AT ALL, but today I sat in a nickel arcade packed with games and screaming children and had no trouble whatsoever editing.

Different process, I suppose.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

There are some days...

Yahoo Messenger came up and I saw this title, and I thought... how does a church abuse clergy?

Doh!

But the church I grew up in had a "free" style church government. Subconsciously I really don't think of the church and the pastor/clergy as being the same entity.

And I wonder just how much this sort of scandal is a product of a top-down system of authority. *Any* top-down system of authority. There may well be abusers in "free" style church government churches but there is usually not the feeling that the pastor has any more authority, spiritual or otherwise, than any one else in the congregation. He gives the sermons and does visitation, but he doesn't run things.

And another curiosity... never once in the entire article does it say *child* sexual abuse. Are they just assuming that it's children or is this something else?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fantasy by David Weber

I'm rereading _Oath of Swords_. This is a wonderful book. The only thing bad is that it's the first of three so far and I heard a rumor there was supposed to be seven and it doesn't seem that Weber has completing them high on his list of priorities.

Now don't get me wrong... I *like* military science fiction and in general terms prefer science fiction to fantasy.

I think this is *much* better than Honor Harrington.

Bahzell Bahnakson is a Hradani. A combination of "orc" and berzerker Norse. Hradani means "calm fox" but his people were twisted into the orc mold, mindless hoards on the side of evil in an epic war... long in the past, but people have long memories. The remnants of that army of evil have been living in the fringes for centuries... just trying to survive.

In some ways it seems a fantasy of the standard mold. A quest. Traveling through new territory fighting monsters and assassins with a motley crew, a bard, a wizard... it's not. The magic is in the details. And there is magic to spare.

I tried to read one of Weber's newer releases and didn't finish. DAVID!!! Finish Bahzell's story! Oh, yes, finish Armageddon Reef *too*, it was fabulous, but finish Bahzell *first*. I've been waiting longer for that.

_Oath of Swords_ may be available in Baen's Free Library. The link is on my side bar. I know it's available in e-book version, as are the next two.

Maybe if more people make some noise about Bazhell he'll get moved up a bit on Mr. Weber's to-do list.

(I suspect it's all a ploy to keep people praying for his continued health.)

Cattaleya Plumberry Glow - York



I'm pretty sure I'm remembering the name of this orchid hybrid correctly. (I'm sure about the "York" part.) It's blooming for me now. It ought to have seven or so flowers in each of the three bunches instead of seven or so altogether, but it hangs in there and blooms in spite of me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Native flowers... aka "weeds"











The first is a wild verbena that grows all over the place. I've weeded around it and watered it a bit. It's growing (not planted!) in about the hottest spot possible.


I don't know what the yellow flowers are but they make a nice showy clump of yellow. I'm going to try to encourage these next to the driveway. Notice that it's growing in the rocks and gravel.


Next is a salvia. I've no idea what sort. It just sort of popped up there and I'll admit that this one actually *looks* like a weed. The leaves smell like sage when they are pinched and the bees love this flower so I'm going to see if it gets a bit bushier with some TLC. It's been blooming for months.


And lastly. Indian paintbrush. This usually looks like more of a big deal; redder and bushier. I don't know if this one is so bland because it's in the shade or if it just got bad plant genes. I took seeds from it and am planning to try to germinate them. It's a partial parasite and considered very difficult to propagate and grow as a garden plant.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Shooter

I just watched the DVD. When I saw trailers for this I wanted to see it. It's the sort of movie that I usually enjoy.

It wasn't bad. In fact it was pretty good in some ways and the annoying bits weren't too hard to ignore.

The end was sort of bad. Not the choices that I'd make. It took conspiracy a bit too far, away from conspiracy to "this is the way the world works." It *should* have been enough to expose the Senator and his fellows. Where was the press in this?

The idea wasn't too bad. The speech his spotter's widow gave about her dead husband's choices was good. (Though why she'd go back to using her maiden name I can't imagine.) Among all those willing to look the other way were several people who were... righteous.

But overall it wasn't a "conspiracy" movie. There wasn't a "conspiracy" there was only finding out the "truth" of reality. In this world president Bush really could have blown up the world trade center buildings, the pentagon, and disappeared four aircraft full of people. It made me wonder if the writers and producers are Truthers. They even (cleverly) tied the story into real world events to support the story-reality by mentioning WMD and Abu Ghraib.

Why does Hollywood do this? Why does it give us movies that will appeal to people who like "special forces soldier as hero" movies and who want to see Truth, Justice, and Heroism win out over evil, and then put in this nihilistic sub-text and Truther reality?

Because it's just going to piss off the audience. The result is a movie that appeals to neither group of people. And it tanks.

Surprise!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Last week...

Fred Saberhagen died of cancer.

I never spoke to him. He was a "local" author here in New Mexico and I believe he regularly attended Bubonicon. I figured there was time, dammit.

Please read what Walter Jon Williams has to say about this great science fiction author.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July!




This is where I'm *not* today.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Masculinity is *always* an insult

Yeah, I'm a couple days behind commenting on this post linked from protein wisdom.

This part had me cracking up...

Personally, I like the idea of a thousand masculinities blooming and all of them able to recognize women as equal selves and citizens.


Masculinities don't BLOOM.

Go read it if you like but it's just a name calling screed against any man who is "right wing". Or woman for that matter. It's all about the wrong sort of masculinity. A failure of manliness, what he calls "weenie-boys."

More seriously, it's clear this guy (and it is a guy) does not like the idea of a thousand masculinities, he likes the idea of approved masculinities... apparently the sort of masculinities that bloom.

Even more seriously, in real life nearly all masculinities recognize women as equal selves. The idea that they don't is what keeps people like this professor employed in Women's Studies. Without a patriarchy actively oppressing women this guy is out of a job.

And more seriously yet, masculinity today is always used as an insult. It's the feminist approved version of "you're just a girl." It's acceptable to denigrate masculinity and that's a sad and sorry thing. I hear it from ladies all the time. Men!

Are we really that sexist? You know this "equal partnership" thing? I expect my husband to check with me about things but I expect him to have the authority of a grown-up over his life. I don't know if I'm seeing my liberal female friends on bad days, but I see them treat their husbands in ways that I wouldn't want to be treated and ways that I would never treat my husband.

Men!

It seems like the more we go on about equality the more that we have to define our differences in order to do it. People just are. Men aren't like women... much. Women aren't like men... often. But we're even less like each other than that.

When people use masculinity like a hammer they invariably pound away at things that define *me*.

The thing about that is that I'm not unfeminine.

Which makes me wonder why those things... politics and preferences and ideas... are defined and criticized as "masculine." I'm convinced it's because "anything I don't like" is labeled masculine.

It's always an insult.