truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (ws: hamlet)
Because the world is full of randomly awesome things, and the Internet helps you find them:

The South Bank Lion, photo & history here, another photo here. He's not made of stone, but of something called Coade stone, which was perfected in 1770 by Eleanor Coade--the Wikipedia article points out that she did not invent Coade stone, but she made it into something that could produce the South Bank Lion, who's been around, in one place or another, since 1837.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (mfu: albie)
1. We have a new car. The elderly psychotic Swedish car had devolved into panic attacks (the car started setting the car alarm off randomly--and silently, so it was like panic attacks IN MIME) and we finally just said fuck it, and bought a new (used) 2009 Subaru Forester. With all-wheel drive, which I am going to be loving come next winter, I tell you what.

2. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a hawk cam, which as I type this is showing three fluffy baby hawks. (Ooh, and a parent just showed up with a small dead thing. Rock on.)

3. And speaking of fluffy!cams: Kitten Cam! (via [ profile] heresluck)

4. Not a cam, but to complete the fluffy trifecta: Clouded Leopard cub getting some really primo chin skritches.

5. Neil Gaiman likes my Sandman essay!1 This is the first time in my life I've written an analytical essay about a work by someone who's still alive to have an opinion. And he likes it! I have some cognitive dissonance, but it is the most awesome dissonance in the history of things that jar your brain when you put them together.

1@neilhimself For the record CHICKS DIG COMICS contains the best SANDMAN essay I've read & I've read too many. Well done @pennyvixen2

2Oh, come on. How could I not footnote at a time like this?
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: kmb)
1. The proof of Unnatural Creatuers has arrived. I'll go through it this weekend, enter the corrections on Monday, and make the Lulu order.

This means that the sale extension will end around midnight, Monday/Tuesday.

2. The proof came in a flat box, like a pizza box, exactly the right size for a cat to loaf on. Since El Marmalado has already demonstrated his fondness for sitting on boxes, I put it out on the porch for him. Sure enough, a little later, when we were leaving to go meet a friend for coffee, there he was on the box.

3. Segue! The pen with which I will be signing Unnatural Creatures is my new Pelikan Technixx. I love this pen. And Fountain Pen Hospital still has it on sale for $40.

4. And I should show you the cover art (by the fabulous [ profile] hominysnark):

5. Finally, moving from unnatural to natural, (via [ profile] matociquala (on Twitter)), 70 baby animals. (I'm not sure all of them are technically babies, but then, I'm not sure I could tell a juvenile hamster from an adult anyway.) My favorites are the otter pups. And the bat.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
1. Beowulf socks FTW!

2. [ profile] yuki_onna has an excellent rant about the portrayal of the USSR by Western authors, which has some common ground with my rant yesterday about the portrayal of pre-Enlightenment cultures by post-Enlightenment authors.

3. Cake Wrecks' Sunday Sweets this week include this impossibly adorable Baby Cthulhu cake.

4. [ profile] jaylake wants pictures of what you're doing today. As he says, "Not exactly a contest. More like group art."

ETA: My contribution, feeding feral cats:

(Link, and other pics: 1 (without zoom, so that's the actual distance between him and me), 2, 3.)

5. I was hoping to go spectate at a horse show this weekend, but the RLS and associated dyshypnia (is that even a word? sleep dysfunctionality is what I mean--I suppose dyssomnia would be the other option) mean that I have not been able to drag myself out of bed before noon, and the show is two hours away. So no ponies for me, which makes me sad. (The RLS makes me tired and frustrated and stressed, which doesn't help, either.) You are welcome to post things that might help me be more cheerful, although please note that that is posed as an invitation, not a demand.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: napping)
1. [ profile] matociquala has started a memorial thread for Ben on the Shadow Unit boards. Ben, as it happens, provided some verisimilitude for me when I was antiquing the script pages of "The Frogs" for one of our early DVD extras. Judge Crater, the British Shorthair of Robert X. Aguilera, the actor who plays Chaz Villette in the alternate reality where Shadow Unit can be found on television (did you follow that?), chewed on Beto's script, as Ben chewed on countless manuscripts of mine, plus magazines, bills, junk mail, newspapers, and paperback books.

I remember, the afternoon I was creating Beto's script, I went out into the dining room, where Ben was hanging out under the table. I offered him the script page. He rubbed his face on it once, twice, and then took that perfect chomp. (Much like the owl in the old Tootsie-Pop commercial.) Here, people, was a cat who hit his marks and knew his lines.

2. Smoothly, I segue: there is going to be a Ben Jonson Memorial Sale. I'll make a post probably later today to tell you when and what, but I'll say right now that all proceeds are going to go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's Companion Animal Fund, and I will have an option where you can donate even if you don't want or can't afford to buy anything. I will ask that, if you want to donate, you hold off until the sale: I'd like to present a whopping big donation in Ben's name.

3. Moving on to other animals (and thanks to @victoriajanssen for the link): Zooborns has an entry on Egyptian tortoises, which includes this charming video:

4. One more reason I loathe Wisconsin's new governor. (No, no segue. He doesn't deserve one.)

5. Finally, thank you to everyone who has offered sympathy and condolences. Losing Ben was and is really hard for me and [ profile] mirrorthaw, and we appreciate your kindnesses more that I can find the words to say.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (smaug)
1. My Storytellers Unplugged post for January, "Taking Another Tilt at the Windmill," is up. It's about fantasy, science fiction, and genre theory.

2. I was woken up this morning by a call from the sleep clinic. While the irony is bright and shiny and very pointed, I am glad to know my GP went ahead and made the referral, because I was going to have to call him today to tell him to do so. RLS is evil.

3. Gynecologist appointment also today, in which we agreed to try taking the Mirena out, and see what happens. (Taking it out was about 5 MILLION TIMES less painful than putting it in, so that was good.) The Mirena lessened my menstrual flow, but it made my periods MUCH too frequent, and it also randomized my menstrual cramps so that they became like drive-by stabbings. Double-plus ungood, thank you.

This is a new-to-me gynecologist, and I like her. She asked if I wanted to keep the Mirena. (I did.)

4. RT @pnh Elise, about to be Discharged, manifests as a Figure of Allegory and asserts Control over Time.

5. It is snowing. Nevertheless, I plan to go to the pool in another hour or so.

6. [ profile] ursulav is right on the money.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: bone key)
A new draft of "To Die for Moonlight." 8,500 words. This story is like peeling an onion, if an onion were bigger on the inside than the outside. Although, since I've finally managed the ring composition, perhaps it's more like peeling a Klein bottle.*

I'm going to stop before I make my head hurt.

*The internet is full of truly awesome pictures of Klein bottles. I particularly love that last one for looking so much like a uterus. And here's instructions for making one (a Klein bottle, not a uterus, although you can find instructions for making one of those, too) out of the sleeves of a worn-out shirt.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (mfu: ikns-sillyhats)
You open the cupboard. A thin plastic bag containing approximately two cups of flour falls out. The bag impales itself on one of a pair of chopsticks that are standing, points up, in the silverware compartment of the dish drainer in the sink.

Flour begins to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

That's not a very constructive response, now is it?

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

If you do that, you run the risk of dislodging the chopstick. Proceed? YES|NO

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

Carefully, you pick up the bag and chopstick. Flour continues to leak out of the thin plastic bag, but neither faster nor in greater quantity than before.

You are getting flour on your hands.

You walk south into the pantry. It's small and dark in here, and there are a lot of bags of catfood. There are three drawers to your left.

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

You open the middle drawer. Inside, there is a box of ziploc bags.

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

It's a challenge getting a ziploc bag out of its box with one hand, but you manage. Perhaps that swearing was helpful after all.

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

You open the ziploc bag.

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

I'm sorry, I don't know how to do that.

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag.

You're really challenging your dexterity tonight, aren't you? You put the thin plastic bag in the ziploc bag. It lands mostly upside down.

Flour continues to leak slowly out of the thin plastic bag, but with the ziploc bag in place it doesn't matter anymore.

You take the flour-covered chopstick.

You seal the ziploc bag. Take that, flour!

You go north into the kitchen. One cupboard is open. There is spilled flour on the counter and one chopstick in the dish drainer.

Well, really, what else can you do?

You laugh. In a minute, your husband will be laughing, too.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
1. Happy birthday, [ profile] papersky!

2. I have discovered a delightful series of flash games, from Eyezmaze, called Grow. (The first link takes you to Eyezmaze's site, the second to the jayisgames review of Grow Valley, which is the most recent of the games. The jayisgames page also has (a.) the walkthrough for Grow Valley and (b.) links to the jayisgames reviews (and walkthroughs) of the other Grow games.) Grow Valley charmed my socks off.

3. My package from Fountain Pen Hospital arrived (complete with pen pr0n--thank you, FPH). Once I'd let both the Pelikan and the Squeteague warm up (it's kind of, you know, chilly today in the Upper Midwest), I tried it out, and I have to tell you, I think I'm in love.

The Pelikan Technixx has a kind of retro-pulp sfnal aesthetic that I adore (it's the matte chrome finish and the super smooth lines). It's extremely light-weight, and it writes like a dream. The Pelikan nib has a different feel from any of my other fountain pens; more than the others, it feels to me like what rollerball pens are trying to feel like--only this is like the difference between "peach ice-cream" and peach ice-cream made with real peaches and real cream. It's awesome.

Noodler's Squeteague is an extremely dark blue-green color, emphasis on the green. It's almost black when wet, but becomes more visibly green as it dries, leaning just far enough into blue to not be a straight dark green. I may, after further use, consider adulterating it with Couleur Royale to get it just a little bluer, but it's awfully nice as is.

I'm washing out the nib of the JMFMP so I can try the Old Dutch Sepia in it tomorrow. I will, of course, report back.

4. Let me mention Whedonistas again (link to the Facebook page).

5. [ profile] maryrobinette made it home safely on Sunday, after a comedy of errors and malfunctions that was starting to reach Odyssean levels. Mary, out of curiosity, have you ever tried to go to Ithaca?
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: octopus)
(Or, displacement activity to distract from the corner I have written myself into.)

My birthday/X-mas present to myself is a Pelikan Technixx fountain pen (in chrome), since Fountain Pen Hospital has them for $40. I'm trying, in a not very serious way, to collect one pen from each of the great fountain pen manufacturers. I have Sheaffer, Waterman, Cross, and now Pelikan. Plus the two Lamys* and the Griffith Stadium pen (interestingly, Ballpark Pens no longer seems to be making fountain pens, so I'm glad I grabbed that one when I did, because--historic awesomeness aside--it's a really nice pen) and the handful of vintage pens (mostly nibless) [ profile] maryrobinette gave me.

I do actually use all my pens (except the vintage ones, which are my dragon hoard), each with a different color so I can keep track of different projects/locations. It's a way to make the physical act of writing more fun that works very well for me.

below the cut, I babble about inks )

*One of the Lamys is my purse pen, so that I have a fountain pen to use outside the house which I will not be devastated if/when I lose. The other Lamy is my John M. Ford Memorial Pen, and it does not leave my desk.

Incidentally--the things you find when you Google--you can get cufflinks made from the copper window encasements removed in the 2005 remodeling of the Flatiron Building. Tor peeps, did you know about this?
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (ws: tempest)
So, Julie Taymor is directing The Tempest, with Dame Helen Mirren as Prospero. (I am ignoring the change from Prospero to Prospera, because honestly (a.) not necessary, (b.) what's wrong with some good old-fashioned genderfuck?, and (c.) to me it kind of suggests we don't think Dame Helen is up to the challenge of playing Prospero, which is nonsense. But if that's the worst mistake they make--and hopefully, this is really a very carefully thought out feminist statement that will persuade me of its rightness when I see the movie--we are all so very golden.)

The Tempest is not my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, nor even my favorite of Shakespeare's late plays, but I have to tell you, the trailer goes a long way towards persuading me to rethink that opinion:

1. Helen Mirren.
2. Alfred Molina.
4. This, seriously, is what CGI is for (check out those hellhounds, OMFG), and if there was ever a Shakespeare play that could take the bling, THIS IS THAT PLAY. I am really almost deliriously grateful to see that here, finally, is a production of The Tempest that takes Prospero's magic seriously.
5. Hard to tell from the tiny clips we get, but it looks like they're also taking Caliban seriously. Which not all productions do.
6. And did I mention, HELEN MIRREN.

[ profile] glvalentine has some excellent discussion of the costuming (which is where I lifted the still from). Zippered doublets FTW.

It also looks like, from the trailer, they understand what Stephano and Trinculo are in the play for (again, not all productions do, nor do all Hollywood versions of Shakespeare understand what the clowns are for. See Much Ado About Nothing, re: Michael Keaton.). The casting of Alfred Molina, aside from rocking my socks, is a good sign.

And, in conclusion, HELEN MIRREN.

ETA: if anyone else would like a very simple Helen Mirren icon, you may feel free to use this one:

And don't hesitate to add text if it pleases you. Currently, my only image-editing software is, um, Paint.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
Back from WFC. With con crud. Bleah.

Otherwise I had a lovely time, talked to many people I don't get to see nearly often enough, got some business done, ate excellent food, and kind of had a vacation, including dragging poor [ profile] mirrorthaw all over the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Sunday (Gorillas! Manatees! Echindas!). I was yawned at by a tiger quoll, a ginormous porcupine, a male lion among his wives, and a flying fox. Also, I preserved my geek cred by insisting on riding on the gorgeous (and gorgeously restored) 1914 carousel.

And I came home to the news that Corambis has been nominated for the 2010 Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Novel, so yay! Also, congratulations to all the other nominees!

Day 84

Oct. 23rd, 2010 09:08 pm
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (tr: mole)
Today I ventured out on an expedition with only the soft lace-up ankle brace. I did not fall down or hurt myself or anything else bad.


After stopping by the wake for a friend's father, we went over to Willy Street, where we met an Unexpected! Bonus! Friend!, which was excellent. And then I walked--yes, walked, without lurching like a drunk or falling down or going so slowly that passing tortoises were laughing--to Steve's Tattoo to get my captive bead earrings put back in.

I had to take them out for the surgery on my ankle, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get captive beads back in myself, so what with the mobility issues and the not-being-able-to-drive-myself issues--N.b., if you're going to break your ankle, for the love of little red fruitbats, don't break your driving ankle--this was the first chance I'd had. And since for some reason, regular earrings in those holes had been painful to lie on (v. bad when you're spending all day in bed), I'd left the earrings out.

And two of four, both on the left, had closed themselves back up.

Of course, I'd been leaving the earrings out of the other six holes, too, and none of them misbehaved in such a fashion, but go figure.

So I ended up sitting in Steve's for longer than I had anticipated (many thanks to [ profile] mirrorthaw for, once again, being patient), watching the tattooists go about their business and admiring the art and the bumper stickers on the walls. (My favorite is still MORE FUN THAN A HOT POKER UP THE ASS, because it's an Edward II reference for me, even if it isn't for them, and I have good memories of me and [ profile] matociquala cracking the piercer up with our geektastic delight.) While sitting there, I figured out my next tattoo: once the swelling finally goes down, I want a dragon on my right ankle. Very possibly Smaug. Or Smaug, because say what you like about the Rankin-Bass Hobbit and I'll agree with you, I had that iron-on decal as a kid, and I wore the shirt until I literally could not cram my rack into it any longer. (I wore out Gollum and Gandalf, too, I think, but iirc did not care for the Rankin-Bass Bilbo.) And it is still a kick-ass dragon.

But that's a matter for when my ankle is functional again, and I have some money in the exchequer for frivolities. Which the way things are going, looks like sometime after they open an ice-rink in Hell.

Also, I don't know the band or the song they were playing, but the refrain, "Dr. Laura, who made you God?" cracked my shit up.

It turned out that I had remembered correctly: that top piercing in my cartilege hurts like a mad bastard. (The piercer was delighted with this phrase and vowed to use it.) And now my left ear is feeling very put upon and sorry for itself, to which I say, too damn bad.

But I do have my earrings back in, which is good because I was going to feel horribly naked at WFC without them.

ETA: Further WIKTORY: I have finished a draft of "Hollywood and Vine" and have printed it out and handed it to my husband. So there, neurotic pink circus poodle!

5 things

Jun. 12th, 2010 07:14 pm
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: nom de plume)
1. Went to the vet's office this morning to buy cat food and got to see a Newfoundland heading into one of the exam rooms for his or her check up. I love Newfies; they look so exactly like small bears, and those that I have seen have clearly been deep in love with the whole wide world.

2. My dreams last night starred Avery Brooks and Hulk Hogan. I'm still decidedly nonplussed about that.

3. I now know of two cats named Mildmay (thank you, [ profile] hominysnark and [ profile] topknot, both for choosing that name and for telling me about it). Of all the things I imagined before I became a writer about what a writing career would be like, I never thought people would be naming their cats after my characters. I have to say, it's kind of awesome.

4. No, neither Felix nor Mehitabel is named after the famous cats of those names--although Mehitabel is more or less named after a cat, as my first exposure to the name was a neighbor's cat when I was a kid (and that cat may have been named after Don Marquis' mehitabel, although I don't know for sure either way). That wasn't in my head when I was naming her though; all I was after was to replace her original name, which was Hephzibah.

5. Today, in pursuit of my job, I found both an Old Norse dictionary (ON to English and English to ON) and some Old English resources. The word for "poison" in Old Norse is eitr, and the word for "poisonous" in Old English is aettryne. (The word "poison" is from Latin, potio, -onis by way of Old French and Middle English pocion.)

Best job in the world.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (mele koush)
I love living in the future. Someone recorded the four-horse chariot at the Midwest Horse Fair and put it up on YouTube:

ETA: Also, I observe this video was shot on Saturday, because you can see me in the background: blonde woman in pale blue/turquoise shirt carrying a dark brown jacket, standing on the ground to the (viewer's) left of the gates.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: virtu (Judy York))
ONE! The auctions for [ profile] hominysnark (who, I have learned, named one of her cats Mildmay, hence the icon) are in their final twenty-four hours, and the bidding has reached:
  • The Bone Key and 4 mss (plus a fifth when it ceases to be vaporware): 110 $125 $130 $160
  • 3-book set, Mélusine, The Virtu, The Mirador: $170 $200 $250 and a suggestion that both top bidders be allowed to win, which I am pondering.
  • Mélusine: $60 $75
  • The Virtu: $50 $60
  • The Mirador: $40 $45

That's $420 $435 $465 $475 $480 $485 $500 $550 $580 thus far. I said that if we reached $1,000 I'd do a serial podcast of The Virtu. Now I picked that number deliberately to be out of reach unless something amazing happened, because OMG that's a lot of work, but I have another offer: if we reach $500 total, I will do a free podcast, or podcasts, of up to 10,000 words of my published short fiction, stories to be chosen by you all via LJ poll.

ETA: We're past $500. Yay! After the auctions close (i.e., in about forty minutes), I will put up the poll.

TWO! In other auction news, the bidding in the [ profile] helptheproject auction for all four DoL hardbacks is at $100 $200 $250 $300.

THREE! My Storytellers Unplugged column for February is about endings: "Both The Great Detective Explains It All ending and the Mawwiage Is What Bwings Us Togethah Today ending are artificial in the extreme, and frequently–as Elizabeth Bear pointed out when I mentioned it to her–awkward, obtrusive, and unsatisfying, but the thing is, I understand why people do them. Because it gets everybody to hold still for FIVE FUCKING SECONDS so you can END THE GODDAMN BOOK ALREADY. And I don’t care if your eyes WERE closed, Aunt Mabel, this is the picture that’s going to the newspaper."

FOUR! [ profile] yuki_onna speaks for every woman who has ever bought deodorant.

FIVE! FIVE BEAUTIFUL POINTERS! In case somebody else out there needs these as badly as I did, videos of dancing hexapods.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (books)
Since it has occurred to me that somebody out there may be curious, below is an extremely incomplete list of the nonfiction books I'm currently looking for.

Caveat: Except in exceptional circumstances--such as a gift card--I don't buy books online. When I tell you that the complete (though of course infinitely expanding) list of books I'm looking for--fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama--is 17 pages, 10-point and single spaced, you will perhaps understand that this is an act of mercy upon my bank balance. So please, don't tell me where I can find these books from an online seller. You will only make the baby trellwolves cry.

On the other hand, if you want to recommend other books on these subjects, please feel free!

[ETA: Caveat 2: I'm not actually looking for help in finding these books. I know about libraries and interlibrary loan and all other such marvels. The reason my book posts are always headed UBC (Unread Book Challenge) is because I have MOUNTAINS of unread books in my house--although this doesn't stop me cheerfully going off and buying more books in used bookstores (I almost never buy books new anymore, unless they're written by friends). I get a profound and abiding satisfaction out of trolling used bookstores, a satisfaction which I don't think I can explain. If for some reason I needed one of these books urgently, I would certainly turn to the university libraries. As it is, this list is all about the hunt--and the thrill I get when I capture one of these books in the wild. *ahem* I just realized that my patron saint here is Professor Wormbog. Tra la la lally.]

cut to spare the world )

There are dozens more, but I'm giving myself a headache, so I think it's time to stop.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (ws: poets)
This is a PSA and also a gloat: Stephen Booth's King Lear, Macbeth, Indefinition, and Tragedy is now available from the most excellent people at Cybereditions. How do I know this? Because I HAVE A COPY. I am not clutching it in my grubby little paws even as we speak because I have to type, but otherwise I totally would be.

Despite its unwieldy title, KLMIT is my favorite book of literary criticism EVER. It radically changed the way I thought about plays and narrative, and I am incapable of talking about King Lear (as my friends know to their chagrin) without citing it. It is ALL OVER my dissertation. It is also READABLE (which, sadly, one cannot always say about books of literary criticism) and conveys, along with the intellectual fascination, the joie de vivre that the best Shakespeareans bring to discussions of Shakespeare. I have been trying to find a copy to love, hug, squeeze, and call George for probably fifteen years.

In conclusion, GLOAT.


truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)

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