I am worrying about…

I am worrying about Xeney. First a couple of distressed journal entries, then a momentary burst of sunlight, then silence. Columbine, is she okay?

I just read an excellent short story in the latest (3/99) issue of Analog. Now, I admit to buying this subscription somewhat on a whim. My year of Harper's had run out, this kid showed up on the doorstep with a truly heart-warming story of how selling magazines would be putting him through college, and I, a sucker for higher education, agreed to get Analog. (I do one magazine subscription a year. This one's about to run out; I think it'll be Asimov's next).

Are you familiar with this magazine? It's hard sf, as hard as it comes, usually. Anywhere else in the sf mag market you can get away with fudging your science a bit, but Stanley Schmidt (the editor) and the Analog readers won't stand for that nonsense. In fact, it sometimes seems as if the more you drone on about your science (be it biological, astronomical, or whatever), the better. This is why I haven't always been a huge fan of Analog. The stories are always solid, but they rarely excite me. Too tech-y. (Catherine Asaro's work is a big exception).

But the story I just read really rocked. "Upgrade", by Ramona Louise Wheeler, combines hard sf (nanotech) with creative style used most effectively to tell her story, a nice sense of irony, and a protagonist I really felt for. I won't give you details since I don't want to spoil it, but you might want to hunt this one down. I haven't read anything else in this issue yet, so I can't speak to the rest.

To go back to two things from yesterday, BAE refers to Best American Erotica, as in the anthology with my story "Fleeing Gods" (which yes, you've all read already. And if you have my book, you even have a print copy already. So it's a little silly for me to urge you to buy this anthology, but it's a good anthology with lots of other good stories, so it wouldn't be a total loss. (I'm actually kind of surprised by how polymorphously perverse this volume is; Susie's tired of being conventional, and she ain't gonna do it no more :-)). And I finished the geisha novel, which continued strong throughout, but which really shifted tone quite a bit in the last quarter, so be warned. In some sense, I think it makes for a better, truer book, but it might feel like a bit of a disappointment if you were really caught up in the earlier world/style. Of course, a war will do that to you (which is what intervenes partway through the book), so I suppose it makes sense.

Heather's got a new job, btw. Although her journal formatting looks a bit odd at the moment, she seems to be much happier overall. Hooray!

And speaking of journal formatting, you clever people have probably realized that I didn't manage to implement the formatting changes I meant to. I might manage it tonight (adding the new material to Clean Sheets is the priority), but whenever I get it done (very hopefully this week), I'll do it retroactively to the beginning of February. I'm kind of excited about it. If I had more time, I might do a total revamp of these pages, but I'm going to restrain myself...

I *am* feeling much better. That cold is almost gone (just a tiny trace of a cough left), and I slept ten hours last night (which doesn't really make up for two hours the night before, but it helps). I actually reset my alarm from 5 to 6:30 this morning, which I think was a good decision; didn't get as much done this morning as I'd have liked, but felt much more rested when I got up.

Hey, anyone of you good editors? Willing to offer critique? Columbine is slumping into a major funk, and if you wanted to trot over there and offer your editing services, I think it would be very helpful. I actually think that story's mostly ready to go, but a few more eyes on it would undoubtedly be good. Everett, maybe?

And in other news, plans are getting off the ground for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre party (6th annual). I spent a while on Saturday at the bookstore with Kevin; while he worked, I pored through Italian cookbooks. My basic format for parties is that I make a pile of food, *and* ask people to bring food, so that we end up with just tons. Here's what I'm planning to make so far:

  • antipasto (olives, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella balls, pepperoncini, marinated mushrooms, etc.)
  • minestrone soup (of course)
  • crusty bread
  • giambotta (a pasta dish with green beans, tomatoes and potatoes)
  • olive salad with fresh vegetables
  • angelhair pasta with tomatoes, slices of hard-boiled eggs and red wine vinegar (don't remember the name of this recipe, but those are some of the main ingredients)
  • some sort of fancy cake for dessert
I think I may delegate the cake to Ellie -- she's good at that sort of thing. And I was going to make caponata (olive/eggplant spread), but if Arthur's coming to the party, I may coax him to bring it instead, since he brought it to another party. Although I should talk to him and see if he'd rather bring something else.

I've made many of these before; the olive salad is new, and I hope it comes out well. Here's the recipe, in case you're interested:

Olive Salad with Fresh Vegetables

  • 1 lb. Sicilian green olives
  • 1/2 lb. Silicilian black olives
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, drained, and patted dry
  • 1 1/2 celery stalks, cut diagonally into 1-in-thick slices
  • 1 large red sweet pepper, cut into large dice
  • 4 raw small broccoli florets, each floret quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, cut into small dice
  • 1/3 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed into dust
  • salt and red pepper flakes to taste (perhaps 1/2 tsp. each?)
1. The night before, in a bowl, combine all. Cover and refrigerate for one day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Pretty simple, eh? Lots of prep work, but otherwise kinda hard to mess up...it doesn't say to chop the olives at all, but I think I may at least halve them for better consistency. We'll see.

Oh, one last thing -- I wanted to tell you about a reading that I don't think I'll be able to make, but if you're in the area:

An evening of fantasy, mystery, art and wolves:
Tuesday, February 9th, 7:30 p.m.
Pat Murphy, Lisa Goldstein, and Michaela Roessner
Modern Times Bookstore
888 Valencia Street, S.F.
415-282-9246

I'm very fond of the work of both Pat Murphy and Lisa Goldstein; Pat Murphy won the Nebula Award for _The Falling Woman_, and I think Lisa Goldstein writes some of the most exciting stories in modern fantasy. While I don't know Roessner's work, she's keeping good company; I imagine this will be an excellent reading.

Hey, Heather's mom just wrote me (hi, Mrs. Shaw!) and mentioned that Xeney has the flu. And I stopped back at the journal, and it looked exactly the same, with that sad 1.28.99 at the top, but then I hit refresh and there was her note saying she had the flu, so I feel better. And I hope she feels better soon.

And Ellie just called back (I had left her this long rambling message) and said she'd handle desserts, and might even take on tiramisu. Yum yum. :-) I wonder what I can coax Heather into making. And David. And Lydia. I love having friends who cook...

Heh heh. Talked to Heather (straight through lunch, actually). Good talk. But she also pledged garlic bread. She makes nummy garlic bread. :-)

9:25. Weary, my darlings. Spent a while staring hard at finances today. They stared hard back. It's going to be a choice between whether it's more important to me to clear away my debt quickly or have more time to write/edit/etc. currently. Hard choice. Going to put it off for a bit, since I can. Very depressing.

I've finished updating the fiction and book review for CS. I've still got a poem, an article and a music review to add. Waiting on the first two for some stuff for Heather; hopefully she'll send it to me soon, although I'm sleepy enough that I might just go to bed once I finish the music review and do it first thing in the morning. If I get up at 5:00, shower immediately (I *must* wash my hair tomorrow), I can work from 5:15 - 7:00. That ought to be enough time to get those two up. Really, that makes more sense than staying up when I'm this tired and mopey. Lord, I *hate* worrying about money.

Finally got the info for my classes. The tech writing one looks manageable. The programming looks terrifying. I'm not going to think about it 'til tomorrow. Just not.

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