Feb 17 2017

Skipping Boskone

Rosemary

Yep, I’m skipping Boskone this weekend, reasons being twofold:

  1. I am scrimping and saving and economizing like mad,  hoping to get to the World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki in August.  This is a pricey endeavor.   Planefare, hotels, food, weeks away from home in foreign countries.  My current plan is: Yes! I will go!  To accomplish this, other things have to fall by the wayside.
  2. I am in a broody, antisocial mood, brought on by story woes. I am still struggling to sort this book out into decent order.  Willing to see small groups of people, yes; grumbly-grumble, lemme-alone-dammit at very large groups of people.

But just because I’m not there, no reason you shouldn’t go!  Boskone is a blast. Here’s their website.  And here’s the list of program events.  (If you click on the list-view selection, you can see who’s on which panels and events.)  People you might like who are attending:  Jo Walton, Ada Palmer, Brian Sanderson, Ken McLeod, A.C. Ambrose, Bruce Coville, Craig Shaw Gardner, Patrick and Teresa Neilsen Hayden, Walter Jon Williams, Jane Yolen, and plenty more.

Seriously, you should go.  You don’t get out enough.

Despite missing Boskone, I will still be attending Readercon, July13-16.  I’ve been going to Readercon for ages, and I’ve been invited back this year.  (There was a snafu one year; I’ll be sure to follow up and make certain they’re keeping me on the list.)

In other random news: My car is having its clutch replaced.  Not cheap; but my mechanic is convinced that this will give the old crate five more years of life.  Amortized across five years, and eliminating the need for a new car, this works out pretty well.

We are painting various odd corners of the condo.  Furniture gets moved, a thing gets painted, furniture gets moved back.  It’s a process.

I have decided to learn as many songs about stories as I can.  Not songs that are stories; songs that refer to the existence of stories, or mention story-telling, inside the song.  I already have Patty Larkin’s “The Book I’m Not Reading” under my belt.  I have recently added Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer’s “The Mountain” (which begins: “I was born in a fork-tongued story”).   Now working on Deb Talan’s “Tell Your Story Walking,” which is much trickier than it sounds.

I am open to suggestions…


Feb 11 2017

Website is stable once more.

Rosemary

Turned out that a bit of updating that didn’t happen automatically had to be taken care of.  My wonderful sister went ahead and took care of it, while I was still trying to decide when to fit it in to my busy schedule.   All is well now.

The snow storm took a serious bite out of my week.  I could not get to my office!   I had to stay home and deal with moving cars for the plow guy, and shoveling out the basement door, which is basically my escape route if the house burns down.  It’s good to have that cleared out.   And then a couple of days of early-rising — I feel sort of off-balance and dithery.  And the low barometric pressure makes my ears pop; I feel like I’m in a descending airplane.

The Genrettes meeting was pushed back to this weekend, and now they’re predicting more snow for Sunday!   I fear there may be yet another delay.   Aside from being in the hotseat for this session, to which I actually look forward,  I just want to see Laurie & Delia!  But getting to New Haven is  a haul for both of them; bad weather would make it that much worse.  I’ll just have to hope for the best, and see what transpires.

 

 

 

 


Feb 8 2017

It’s 60 degrees out today…

Rosemary

… And they’re predicting 10 inches of snow starting after midnight.

Rendezvous weather, as they say in the Outskirts.

 


Jan 28 2017

Random nice things

Rosemary

Oh, I’m so tired of the news… And I’m also tired of so many celebrities passing away.   The War Doctor?  Laura Petrie?  Damn.

I’m looking for things to make me feel better for a while.  I’d post cat pictures if I had any, but alas.  No cats.

So, here are some things that amused and diverted me, for a bit:

As I found out on Facebook, NASA has made all of the scientific research it funds available online, for free, for everyone.   This is excellent.   I approve!

But a very interesting thing about this, that I did not realize until I followed the link to the database: they are using PubMed Central to do it.

PMC is a database of biomedical and life-sciences articles.  It’s the contents of the  US National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine  — full text, full access.  So… what is the NASA research doing there?

It’s not just the NASA-funded biomedical research they’ve uploaded (like this one about cardiovascular disease in Lunar astronauts); it’s also non-medical articles (like this one about how closely-orbiting super-earth exoplanets can lose their atmospheres).  They’ve put it all up on PubMed.

Why? As I see it, possibilities are two:

  1.  “Why make our own public access database?  Look, here’s one that already exists.  Let’s save the taxpayers some bucks!”
  2.  “Make our own database?  How long would that take?  No. Let’s get this out there now.  As in Now.  Like, immediately. “

Select the explanation that seems most likely to you… Personally, I’m leaning toward number 2.

But, result: absolute treasure trove for SF writers!

In fact, wait a minute — why am I telling you about this?   Some of you are my competition!

Yeah, well: still a steerswoman at heart.

And speaking of exoplanets, Jason Wang of the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science ( a NASA-sponsored group), and Christian Marois of the National Research Council of Canada’s Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics put together a video of four exoplanets orbiting HR8799.

This is from direct observation, folks.   Yes, we have come that far.  You should head over to the Many Worlds website and check out their story.

And in the field of Fine Arts, artist “breath-art” over at Deviant Arts has created portraits of our local planets, in a lovely stained-glass style:

Prints are for sale through Deviant Arts… And the prices are reasonable, too.  (I’m eyeing them, and trying to decide which one I like best… I don’t have room for all of them.)

Of course, nothing can beat the real thing….

Juno looks at the Red Spot.

Well.  Back to Book 5.  And chores.

Yeah, I have to clean up the house a bit, before my sister gets back from Florida.


Jan 21 2017

I didn’t get to the march.

Rosemary

But some other people did.


Leading the singers is songwriter MILCK, as captured by marcher Alma Har’el (@Almaharel)

 

The New York Times has a collection of images from demonstrations around the country, and the world.

 


Jan 18 2017

Brain-fried!

Rosemary
Bushnell ceiling.

Bushnell ceiling.

Well, I managed to get my stuff organized (more or less, and more less than more) for the Genrettes.  We’ll meet over the weekend.

You’d think I could chill for a bit, but nope.

I’ve now just completed one of those evil Chores of Officaldom, this one relating to my ACA-provided health insurance, and the need to prove that I actually am self-employed and thus cannot prove my income with paycheck stubs because, hey, I don’t get those.  Therefore; Spreadsheets!  Calculations!   Tracking down records of payments and expenses…  Tedious and nerve-wracking, but done now.

Unless they contact me and request more proof.  Well.

I’d love to tell you how much I enjoyed Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, but: brain-fried.

Short version: Yes, excellent!  But I do want to write a longer version.   King’s music was a significant presence in the soundtrack of my youth, and seeing it transformed into a stage show was both inspiring and analytically interesting.

So… more later.

 


Jan 11 2017

A quote from the president’s farewell speech.

Rosemary

“For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses or places of worship or our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste – all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.

… Politics is a battle of ideas; in the course of a healthy debate, we’ll prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts; without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent is making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other, making common ground and compromise impossible.”

(Emphasis mine.)


Jan 9 2017

Back from Florida. To Snow.

Rosemary

And plenty of it.  Looks like about six to eight inches.

So I was home from the office all yesterday, keeping warm, shoveling the back porch, feeding birds.

Restaurant remains open despite inclement weather.

Restaurant remains open despite inclement weather.

Also, digging out my car and Sabine’s, and  moving them around periodically while the plow-guy clears off the parking lot section by section.

This while trying to extend my writing retreat.   Which explains my radio silence.   The next meeting of the Fabulous Genrettes is coming up Real Soon Now, and I’m in the hot-seat.  So, I’ve got about a week in which to gather this ragged tale into something which, while not graceful, does move.  And which, while riddled with holes, does indicate a plot.  And which, if not actually coherent, is at least discussable.   And I have to get it to the Genrettes in time for them to actually read it before the meeting.

Thus, in a bit of a crunch.  But a good one.

I’m at the office now, but I should head home soon.   Weather.com has a warning banner, telling me that it’s going down to 6 degrees Fahrenheit tonight (that’s -14.44 Celsius for the rest of humanity).  I’ve got the house heat set higher than is usual for overnight, so that those tricky corners where the pipes are close to the outside walls will get enough warmth to keep them from freezing solid.  Which has been a problem in the past.

Meanwhile, my sister is in Florida, basking in the — well, at the moment it’s 54 degrees there (12.22 Celsius), but it’s the middle of the night.  Tuesday it’s going to go up to 72 where she is.  Oh, and with a rip-tide warning.  Should she feel like swimming.  If so, she should watch out for that rip-tide.  Probably a better idea to use the pool.

Other bits of news:

Here’s a picture of Earth from Mars.

From Mars.

Earth. And the Moon. From Mars.

 

Courtesy of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

And here’s a link to an article in the New Yorker about Ted Chiang, a writer whose work I love desperately.

Yes, I did see Arrival, based on my favorite Ted Chiang story.  And so should you.  Yes, I want to say things about it!  But I’m in a crunch at the moment…  So, later?

Meanwhile, I’d better get home.  It’s crazy cold.

 


Jan 1 2017

It’s been a long and strange year….

Rosemary

…and I’m pretty sure there’s more on the way for this coming year.

 

new-years-eve-2016

Times Square, New York City, 2016

I wish I were some sort of wise woman, and could deliver a deep and moving statement that would make everything clear, everything safe, and bring comfort, reassurance and peace to everyone.

Alas, I’m no such person, and I have nothing like that for you, or even for myself…

All I can say is this:

In the coming year –keep your eyes open.

Keep your mind engaged.  Watch, listen.  Pay attention.

This new year might be fine, might be perfectly fine; or it might be the worst ever.  It will probably be something in between.

But if things do start going wrong, don’t leave it to others — if you can, speak up.  If you can, step forward.

And if you can’t, then just hang on, and stay safe.

new-year-2017

The first moment of 2017

To all my readers: thank you.  And all my best wishes to you and yours.

And, hopefully:  happy New Year.

 

 

 


Dec 25 2016

And a joyful seasonal holiday of your choice to you!

Rosemary

I understand that the first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas eve this year.  Nicely convienient.

Athiest that I am, Christmas is a purely secular holiday for me. Celebrate family! Friends! Loved ones of all sorts! (Rats, I forgot to buy Charlie the cat a present. Well, I’m sure some extra catnip in his sockie-toy will be appreciated!) Be kind to each other, and spread joy everywhere you can.

We’re going to be needing good will in the days to come. Of this, I am sure.

My visit with some Florida friends included the traditional gawk-at-the-nearby-mansion interlude. The owners decorate with lights every Christmas, and this year went even more over the top than you’d think possible.

I’m sure this is visible from space.

 

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Street view.

 

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Sidewalk view.

 

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And driveway view…

And they even opened the gates this year, and let everyone wander the grounds to enjoy the lights up close.  Very public-sprited of them!

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Love these sweeping staircases.

 

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There’s something about palm trees wrapped up in Christmas lights…

Of course, not everyone can afford $300,000 for Christmas decorations.

 

Fortunately, there are more frugal options:

snow-coolers

While Florida lacks snow, there is no shortage of styrofoam coolers.

I hope you and your own family, extended family, loved ones, and associated non-human critter-citizens have nothing but delight for all your holidays.