26 November 2008

Thanksgiving, travel, and project updates

Today I'm at work. Both of my co-workers are on vacation today; my manager is on his way to Philly to visit his wife's family, and my tech is taking the day off. So we're not leaving for the in-laws' in St Louis until tomorrow afternoon. We'd gotten a flight out around 1 pm, but the airline canceled it and rebooked us on a 3 pm flight, so we're not getting there until dinner time. Ah well. But the travel will be less horrible tomorrow than today. Sunday's still gonna stink. That's OK; I'm taking Monday off work.

I'm working on this final paper for my field epidemiology class, and I don't really feel like it. I've got about a page written, toward the 8-page limit (plus 4 pages of figures and unlimited references.) Then I need to make a power point presentation. It's due 12/4. I'll get done what I can today, then spend Monday working on it at home, Tuesday and Wednesday on the power point and any other things I need to finish, and give everything a final once-over on Thursday before turning it in. And then I am Done. With. School. Quite likely forever. I'm too old for this shit.

(Though really what it is is that I'm too ADD for this shit.)

I crocheted one glove, ran out of yarn, and bought a second skein today. So I can make the other now. Yay. I found some fab pink cotton yarn to try making a Haro. If it works out, I'll put it in the art show at Animazement.

I've mostly finished a short story. It needs an ending and a lot of revision, so it's only mostly finished. I'm planning to send it off to a new magazine that unfortunately isn't a paying market at this time. Whatever. They take it, I can point to it and say "look, publication." They reject it, I revise and submit elsewhere.

Right. Back to writing my paper.

23 November 2008


My local anime club is having its periodic growing pains and drama.

I'm apparently not allowed to want to go to DC and do things there, potentially with friends, because I should prefer to sit around and do nothing all day at my mom's house. For 3 full days. Because my grandma said so. Or I should meet them for lunch in Silver Spring, because there's so much interesting stuff there, like the Smithsonian. *eyeroll*

I'm avoiding a huge homework project due 12/4. I've gotten some data and such together, but I haven't started working on it. I'd prefer not to have to drag the laptop through airport security on the way to St Louis for T-day, which means I need to be relatively done with it before we go, because I'll lose 4 working days, then have about 3 after I get back. So, I have to focus.

But a friend found an anthology that looks interesting, submissions due 11/30 -- which is cutting it close. And I want to write for a different (paying) anthology, too. But school. Blah.

I'm crocheting a pair of fingerless gloves so I can a) crochet or b) type without my fingers freezing off. That I'm doing this when it's already cold outside (and, by extension, inside) reflects not so much a lack of foresight on my part, but rather a lack of sufficient motivation.

12 November 2008

On writing

Elizabeth Bear posted this, and I can relate.

I don't like the idea of writing a quota of words a day, or saying I have to write X words before I can stop, or saying "no revising until the draft is finished!" I don't like the idea that you Must Focus At All Times while writing.

Several things I've pretty consistently known about myself are that I need to finish things in advance of deadlines and that I can only focus for a limited amount of time. In high school, when it was term paper time, I'd be reading and making notes and going to the library for lit crit references, and getting my outline together (and because it was school and they were graded, I had detailed outlines), then I'd spend all day Saturday 2 weeks before it was due writing it out BY HAND (because this was the early 90s and we didn't have a computer) and revising it until I was ready to type it up. Then I'd read it, and I'd spend the next Saturday making sure it was right.

I think I was better at extended focus in high school than I am now, but I don't remember exactly what I did to crank out my term papers. It was a long time ago. Sometimes I hit a block, where the words need time to grow in my head, so I'll do something else, like read LJ or my google reader feed, but I recognize the importance of not letting myself get sucked into surfing the web or playing Flash games or Wikipedia diving, so I limit myself. Sometimes that's a sign that I'm done with writing for now/this session/today, and I take it as such and go do something else for a while.

But there are people who perpetuate the idea that in order to be a successful writer, you have to crank out X words per day or per session, and do Y or Z, which often includes No Distractions and to follow Procedure M to build your story. That doesn't work for everyone. You have to do what works for you.

And since Bear posted her missive, maybe I'll start to believe it, because hearing something and knowing something are different from believing something.

11 November 2008

Current projects

So, this may not be common knowledge, or even obvious despite reading my posts, but I want to become a science fiction writer. I'm planning to make this my official site, for when I make a sale. (It's better to say "when" than "if.")

If you want to follow my blog, you can scroll down and click the "follow" button. Right now, it says 0, which is sad and lonely. Don't make my blog sad.

So, projects I'm working on.

- Nothing Beside Remains, a novel-length story that took me 6 years to draft, and will probably take another year to revise into something to send to beta readers. Status: 1 chapter revised, 20+ to go.

- Seeds of Rebellion, a short story. I intend to have this at a beta-read-able stage by Christmas and to send it out to magazines early next year.

- Unnamed short story, about the ghost stations in Berlin. Status: idea-gathering phase

- Unnamed massive project, involving WW1 and a future German space empire. Status: Research and world-building phase.

Non-writing projects I'm working on:

- Making a corset for a friend. Status: pattern drafted, need to make mock-up for fitting porpoises.

- Crocheting a TP roll cover to match our new bathroom. Status: 50%

- Practicing on my spinning wheel. Status: Don't make me laugh.

- Building my backlog of model kits. Status: 1 done. 5 remain, though I'm thinking of selling 2 of the kits.

- Sorting through the wreck of my scrap fabric. Status: Makes me want to cry. But I ordered a book with a pattern for crocheted rag rugs, and I can use the scrap for that.

- Gardening. Pruned herbs. Will prune gardenias after Thanksgiving. Am trying to grow baby rosemary plants from cuttings (to sell or plant as hedges on our lawn. That stuff GROWS.) Will need to re-prune lavender and rosemary in February. Status: ongoing.

Notes from the job front when I have something to report. Current primary consideration: more time for writing.

09 November 2008

Playing with design

So, I'm playing around with the header image and layout, playing around in photoshop with layers and filters and opacity, in an attempt to make this look a little more personal. One thing you may (or may not) notice is the giant wall of text missing. I hacked the quotation in half to make it less wall-of-text-ual.

I'm also going to try to remember to update here more often. 3-4 posts a month? That cannot be! I have many things in my head that I can put here more often, and I really ought to. I've got some interesting potential developments on the job front, but I don't want to go into those until I've got more solid data.

I'm working on a short story that I'm going to try to sell to a magazine. I hope, as all aspiring writers do, that it gets accepted at one of the first places I send it, rather than a huge stack of rejections. I've got another story percolating in my head, and the novel-length work I wrote over the course of 5 or 6 years which needs massive revision before I can even think about shopping it around. I've got a writing group now, which formed up after the workshop, so hopefully they can kick my ass into getting things finished.

And now, I'm going to work on that story.

05 November 2008

This is America.

A country where hope and change can join with our better nature on a national level, but where hate prevails regionally. A country where civil rights are still allowed to be determined by popular vote.

Hateful amendments have passed in 3 states, and the 4th is looking grim. People in 1 state have voted to end affirmative action, and the 2nd state is still pending.

California... just isn't the super awesome libral mecca folks paint it to be. It's got its high points, but like every other state in the country, it's got just as many super conservative areas.

North Carolina is still undecided. They've counted all the regular and absentee votes, and Obama's up by about 12,000 votes. They've still got to do the provisional ballots before they can call the race officially. But Useless Senator Liddy Dole's atheism-scare attack ad on Kay Hagan backfired spectacularly, and Kay won handily, with 53% to Dole's 44%. The fact that she's the 93rd most effective Senator in the nation and has spent a total of a month (if that) in the state since she was elected on Hater Helms' coattails in 2002 didn't help, either. Bev Perdue is going to be our first female governor. Larry Kissell beat Robin Hayes, because the DCCC gave him money this time after his squeaking loss (by 300 votes) 2 years ago.

Perennial hater Skip Stam won his state house district over nice guy Ed Ridpath 54-46. He's one of the consistent sponsors of a proposed marriage amendment and opposes hate crime legislation that includes sexual orientation. Here in NC, only the legislature may propose constitutional amendments, but they must be ratified by the voters. Because the state house is controlled by Dems, the proposal never makes it out of committee.

Someday, this center-right country (face it, y'all) will realize that putting civil rights up to a popular vote is a bad idea, especially with a simple majority rather than a 2/3 supermajority. Someday, this country will remember the ideals of personal freedom on which the Founders based their Constitution. I hope that someday comes within my lifetime.

Portly Dyke on the election

03 November 2008

Rosemary galore

So, I have this garden along the wall of my garage. It's about 24' in total length and 3' deep, in 2 tiers. It's got 2 sections, because there's an entry door to the garage about 3' back. The long section has lavender in the second row, and oregano and some thyme in the front, plus space for annual herbs or veggies. The square section has rosemary in the top corner with chives in front and a space for an annual.

My rosemary bush was getting ridiculously large and collapsing under its own weight, so it was time to prune it. For reference, it started out about 3.5' across and 2' high. I cut it between 25 and 50%. I have a ton of usable rosemary sprigs in the fridge, plus a bunch inedible (too yellow) drying for non-food purposes, like throwing in the fireplace to smell good. And I put a good amount in the compost. AND I have to prune it more in February, so it won't become the overgrown monster that it is.

So I looked around for recipes with rosemary in them. Sure, there's the classic potatoes roasted with rosemary, or adding it to bread dough, but I wanted something different. Here's what I found.

Chestnut-rosemary gelato

Dark chocolate rosemary ice cream

Rosemary olive oil ice cream

Lemon-rosemary sorbet

Pear, thyme, and rosemary sorbet

Orange-rosemary pound cake

I also discovered that you can freeze rosemary.