Hey everyone. Wrote 8…

Hey everyone. Wrote 8 pages -- it'll have to do. It's only a rough draft due today -- the final is 15-20. God, my brain is fried. Well, mostly I'm just exhausted -- yesterday I got up at 6 a.m. and was basically working straight through until I got home at 9:30 p.m. I had forgotten that students do this (at least if they're the procrastinating kind :-). I was so wound up that I couldn't go to sleep then -- stayed up reading a dumb romance novel to turn my brain off (Catherine Coulter's The Duke, if you're interested :-). Worked beautifully -- I swear my brain had turned to fuzz by the time I finished after midnight. Then woke up at 7 this morning, tried to play a little Warcraft, and it turns out my CD ROM drive is now also jammed or something. Argh. Motivation to go get the darn disk drive fixed too. I invoiced Puritan today -- let's hope they pay me soon.

Lessee, what's been happening in my life that I haven't had a chance to tell you about...well, it's painfully cold here today. Not like Chicago, of course, but I wore five layers walking in to campus this morning. Didn't sleep very well 'cause I hadn't put enough blankets on the bed. (Y'know how it is when you're half asleep and cold, but you don't want to wake enough to actually get out of bed (where you know you'll be colder) and get more blankets so that you'll then be warm enough...so you just semi-sleep and suffer?)

On the plus side, I got a letter from Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges telling me that Mills had nominated me (1 of 12 chosen, out of 300 grad students :-) to be in the listing. Pretty neat -- I like honors that I don't have to do anything for. I'm not sure why they picked me, since at this point they barely know me. David and Sherman both think it's 'cause of the upcoming book -- I dunno. Who's Who at this stage is really supposed to be a sort of 'who's to watch' kind of thing -- the idea being that they think we're the people who will be making a splash in the world in upcoming years. Hope so. :-) Ah well, kind of silly.

Also finally did the search and replace in the web pages for the old address to the new. I think it went fine. We can hope, anyway.

I'm way behind on mail and such, plus I have a pile of revisions to do. I'd best get to it -- talk to y'all later...

--1:45. Ick. I feel awful. Tired and grouchy and both my professors (I think) think I should be further along at this point in the semester and they're certainly right (guess I was just hoping they wouldn't notice 'til I had time to catch up). And I misplaced the book I was reading (Lisa Goldstein's The Red Magician - excellent so far). grumblesnarl. I so totally do not want to be stuck on campus until my 6 p.m. meeting, though it'll probably be good for me, 'cause I'll have nothing to do but work. (and whine here :-) Okay, enough complaining. Back to it. Revisions today, I think.

5:00 - Okay, no revisions done, but I feel better. I had some lunch after that last posting -- I think I was partly just low on food and that made me grouchy. I did go through a hell of a lot of mail and have cut my waiting mail list down to 37 messages (from around a 100). :-) Hooray for me. I also managed to download a copy of tinyfugue from the net (okay, that doesn't sound so impressive, but it was a little triumph for me :-).

Sorry for all the grouching earlier. Now I just have an hour to kill until this meeting, and hopefully it won't be too bad. We'll see.

6:08 - argh! ARGH! Did you hear that? Okay, my boss is now 8 minutes late, only half of the meeting people are hear, none of us are sure if she's even coming, and I for one am just a little bit irritated. Maybe she's just late. Maybe. If she doesn't come soon I am going to go home *and* be pretty damn pissed. On the good side, I'm down to 30 messages.

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Happy November,…

Happy November, everyone! :-) It's an absolutely gorgeous crisp fall day here, and there's actually a little color in the trees (not like New England, of course, but what can you do?) I'm in a much better mood than yesterday (partly 'cause I just had a very very pleasant early music ensemble class (I play flute, did I mention? We'll be giving a concert December 6th -- if you're in the area, you're welcome -- I think it's at noon. Mail me for details)), though I definitely don't feel like doing any real work. :-)

Last night I went to a very mellow Halloween shindig with Sherman at his friend Lydia's. She's way cool, and has two of the best behaved kids (Kira and Kaylie) that I've met in quite a while. Kira was a dragon and Kaylie was a princess, and I gotta say, the roles suited 'em both perfectly. Lydia is a costumer by profession (she does amazing leatherwork), and their costumes were gorgeous. Me, I did my standard gypsy bard thing -- pennywhistle, dagger and all. Sherman was an Elizabethan gentleman, complete with impossibly ruffled shirt -- he needs a monocle. :-)

Hmm...I think what I'll do today is futz around on these pages some more. If Kevin mails me the instructions again (I lost his first set), I need to do a search and replace through the web pages for my old address. University of Chicago has decided to delete alumni accounts, effective November 15th. Bad University. No biscuit. (Loss of lots of alumni money, more likley -- a dumb decision on their part, I think). So I'm switching it all to my Mills account, as noted in previous day's entry.

Tonight Lydia is coming up for dinner with me and Sherman, which should be fun. I think I'll make Thai green curry tofu (gosh, I can't remember if I gave you this recipe already. It's on the label of the little jars of Thai green curry paste though -- astonishingly easy. Basically mix and serve), and do something vaguely Indian with my leftover cooked chicken. I got rid of most of it yesterday with one of my own creations -- Sherman says I should name it after myself, so here's:

Chicken Pepper Crepes Mary Anne

(note, very approximate amounts 'cause this is a 'use up your leftovers' recipe).

Chicken Filling:
1-2 c. cooked chicken, finely diced
1-2 red or yellow peppers, finely diced (mushrooms work instead too)
1 medium onion
6 cloves garlic
random herbs (I used some oregano, basil, sage and thyme, but you might substitute in majoram or tarragon or Sherman thinks dill, but I think he's nuts).
salt and pepper to taste

crepes (to be made right after or just before chicken filling)

1/2 - 1 c. shredded cheese (I mixed mozarella and cheddar)

1. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil 'til golden. Add rest of filling ingredients. Cook 10 minutes or so, 'til it seems cooked. :-)

2. Put one or two spoonfuls inside each crepe and roll the crepes up. Line up crepes in a glass baking dish (actually, I'm sure metal would work too, but glass is prettier).

3. Sprinkle cheese over whole and bake in preheated 350 degree F oven 20 minutes or so ('til cheese is nicely melted). Serve hot!

I think I'm going to go now and add some more old poems to 92 and 93. There were a bunch I didn't put in at the beginning 'cause I was getting tired. :-)

2:30 - Added 18 poems to the 92 section. Enjoy. :-) (I feel I should warn you, it seems (looking over them) that I was in a pretty angry mood for much of that year.

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Happy Halloween,…

Happy Halloween, everyone! Spent much of the last several hours dealing with mail change stuff -- Chicago is shutting down alumni accounts, so all mail for me should be sent to mohanraj@ella.mills.edu. For the next two years, at any rate.

I'm tired and frustrated and I haven't had lunch, so I'm gonna go take care of that. Talk to y'all tomorrow.

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Morning, everyone….

Morning, everyone. Getting a bit of a late start today, as I stayed up late talking to Kevin. My phone bill is going to be appalling - somehow five hours went by without my even noticing. And half that time we spent discussing effective teaching modalities in calculus...::-) Oh well.

Thank y'all for confirming that the sound files survived the transfer. I know they're awfully soft -- I'm going to futz around with input volumes today (if I can find 'em :-). Don't think I've come up with anything fancy to help with size, though a couple people kind of vaguely mentioned compression.

So I took the little web authoring job for Mills -- it's just six hours/week, whenever I feel like working them. Don't know if it's a good idea at that pay scale, but we'll try it and see how it goes.

My room is a pit. Gotta clean it up. Otherwise today, I'm supposed to write another chapter of the novella, and possibly something substantial for the novel. We'll see. I'm feeling kinda sluggish from the cold (the house was freezing when I woke up - heating slowly) and tired from being a little short on sleep. It may be laundry time again too.

I'm rather dreading tonight. We're having housemate problems, only tangentially related to me, but I need to be at the meeting we're having tonight, and it'll probably be somewhat unpleasant. I hate, really hate, confrontation. Avoiding the problem has always worked better for me. :-)

Okay, off to deal with an appalling amount of backed-up mail.

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Hey y’all. Didn’t think…

Hey y'all. Didn't think you'd hear from me today, did you? Well, my workload got lifted a little (moved, actually -- professor moved a deadline to later), so this week isn't quite as frantic as I'd expected.

Meeting tonight at 6 to find out about a job helping to author the Mills pages. It pays diddly over squat ($5.75/hr -- I haven't made that little in the last 6-7 years), but it probably wouldn't be that hard, and might be a nice web authoring credit to my name, and I could use a little extra cash. Have to think about whether I really want to commit to 6-8 hours/week of doing this. Maybe maybe. A nice small regular income wouldn't hurt.

Okay, so today I'm playing with sound. I'm in a fairly private room at Mills, and am going to try reading some of my poems out and then put them on here so people can hear my voice. Comments? Anything else you'd like to hear? I'd like to keep it short, so I won't do any of the long stories. Maybe a journal entry? I can't remember what the HTML book I read said about formats -- the program automatically saves in AIFF, but I'm not sure that's the best format to put them up in.

Okay, I'm gonna get kinda techie here. Feel free to skip. So I used Soundhack to record my speaking a four-line poem (not one of mine). Saved at a 22050 sample rate, a 16-bit linear sample size, and stereo. Ended up 1.6 meg, which is huge, as far as I'm concerned. Am I doing something wrong? It's taking forever (22 minutes) to Fetch over into my account -- surely I don't need the files to be this large? I can't tell yet whether it's going to take an unreasonable amount of time to download. All of my pictures together only take up 1.8 meg. This is silly. I'm going to try recording it at a smaller sample size -- don't know if I'll still get reasonable sound quality.

Hmmm....looks okay (I mean, sounds okay) from here. Recorded at 11025, mono instead of stereo, still 16 bits (8 bits gives me nasty feedback), down to .3 megs. When the large one finishes transferring, I'll Fetch this one, then put them both up here so y'all can hear them and let me know how it works.

T'ang Poem - 1.6 meg.
T'ang Poem 2 - .3 meg

Argh. Can't hear those. Apparently Netscape doesn't read .aiff format. Have converted second to .au and am uploading now.

T'ang Poem 3 - .3 meg, .au format

Double argh. Still can't hear anything. Don't know what I'm doing wrong. Any inspiration gratefully accepted. I'm going to give up for now and try and get some work done.

4:15. Managed to write another 1K of the novella. I think I'm only going to do 2K more and call it quits. Turns out the darn sound files do work -- they're just appallingly slow. At least the .au files work -- I'm not sure about the .aiff, as I'm pretty sure Netscape can't read 'em.

5:17. Oh, and they're really soft. Going to see what needs to be done to fix that.

5:44. Cropped and interlaced the main photo of me. Can you tell I'm avoiding work? I hate that it's dark already. Hope I can get a ride home from this dumb meeting. Appear to have messed something up, so I've gone back to old photo. Weird.

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Gosh, I’ve been bad….

Gosh, I've been bad. Didn't realize so much time had gone by since my last entry. Can't talk long now, as I'm a) on deadline for Puritan novella and b) behind in my classes (just a little :-). But to answer a bunch of curious questions, yes, I did the reading Thursday night. Felt ill for a full hour previous (cold hands, trembling, slightly nauseous, the works), but reading went fine, and people came up afterwards and said nice things (also said I should read slower :-).

Hosted a lovely dinner for the local poly group Friday night - 25 people showed up, and met a lot of nice people. Went to 2:30 a.m. -- very late for Mary Anne's. :-) I tend to be a bed at 10, up at 6 person naturally. Weird, I know. All my friends are night owls.

Saturday cleaned the house and then went to a formal masquerade ball -- great fun. Got to wear my dressiest clothes and jewelry, and danced lots (luckily people were quite willing to put up with my picking up the steps as I went along :-). Sunday hung out with Clive and Sherman and then Sherman and Owen (S's roommate, also a friend of mine from U Chicago) went around the corner to Cafe du Norde - free swing lessons at 8 p.m. every Sunday night -- really neat. Think we'll go back next week (and maybe take Sherman's parents (two of the coolest people on the face of the planet).

Today I made up for being bad all weekend by writing 4000 words of the novella, interspersed with checking e-mail and levels of Warcraft. God, what an addictive game. It's a damn good thing I only play when I'm visiting Sherman and Owen's place, or I'd never get anything done. I sat down to play one level at 1:15 and when I finished the level and looked up it was 4:30. Oof. Good thing I only have about 3000 words of the novella left (did about 2K previously). Another couple of hours should finish it off, and then I'll know for sure that I have January rent. :-)

Hmm....this went longer than I'd planned -- ah well. I've missed talking to y'all. This journal is a great place to vent. :-) I'll try to be a bit more regular, but this week may be rather spotty, as I really do have a bunch of schoolwork to catch up on. (That Renaissance Poetry thesis is driving me mad...). Have a good week, dears.

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Raining today. Misting,…

Raining today. Misting, really. It's amazing how much a little rain affects them out here -- my professor was 20 minutes late to class 'cause of traffic. Makes me wonder what they'd do with snow. :-)

Been going through and trying to fix the broken links in the journal (many thanks to Kristen for finding them for me). Should be done with that today. If anyone feels exceptionally bored and wants to hunt for broken links in the rest of my pages, that's always welcome help.

> I finally finished the second set of revisions to Interruptions today. I'm not sure what I feel about them -- some of the changes were clearly necessary -- others...dunno. I asked some friends to look at them -- we'll see what they think. I often have this problem with revisions -- the language somehow feels more stilted. One of my early stories, "The Queen o' Fairies, She Called Me" was, I think, a much better story before I revised it. Not that the problems weren't there -- just that I didn't do a good job of fixing them. *sigh* A skill I have to learn, I know.

Class today was frustrating. We're doing close reading of poetry, which means that we end up analyzing each word and phrase and comma to death. And yes, in some cases it really helps you appreciate the poem, but I do feel that a lot of the connections we're making are more than a little dubious. This is what English grad students do all the time; it's part of the reason I decided to do a M.F.A. instead of a Ph.D. Still not sure that was the right decision -- I may even go do the Ph.D. afterthis -- well, we'll see. No need to decide yet, though I think my advisor thinks I should transfer out this year into a Ph.D. program. Not going to. So far, I'm enjoying this year too much. :-)

Today, at 5, there's an open mike reading on campus. I really should go and try to get a spot to read. I'm terrified by reading my work out loud. It's odd, because I positively enjoy reading other people's work, and I like public speaking, and I'm obviously willing to put my work up here for the perusal of thousands -- yet I get positively ill when I go up to read my own work, even with a sympathetic crowd, which I'm sure this one will be. Guess I just have to bite down and learn to do it, though -- if the book does well I'm going to have to do a lot of it.

Not sure what to work on now -- I've got about 3 1/2 hours to kill. I'm going to let Interruptions sit for a week while people crit it. Can't write the Puritan letters 'cause I need the magazines (complicated) and I left them at home. So I can either work on the novel or the novella. The novel is more important long term, but it scares me, and the novella is currently feeling very dull, but is due next week. Ick.

Been reading Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind. I don't like it as well as her earlier Writing Down the Bones, but I loaned out my copy of that and it never came back. :( So anyway, one thing she said in there struck me -- that you often hear people saying they want to be writers, or artists -- even hugely successful people, businessmen, doctors. But you never hear a writer say they want to be something else. A richer writer, sure, a more successful one, a better one. It's as if once you've tasted the high that writing can give you, nothing can match that -- so you give up job, security, shut out friends and family, turn into a troll living in a dank cave and snarling at the computer, bitch constantly about blocks and deadlines and starving -- and you wouldn't even consider giving it up. The ultimate drug. And if you do give it up, you become depressed or alcoholic or worse. Even if you keep the job and family and friends, you must do some writing -- maybe even in secret. Somehow you have to feed that habit or you'll go mad.

All right, perhaps I'm exaggerating a little. Perhaps not. :-)

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Good morning. Y’know,…

Good morning. Y'know, it's really difficult to get out of bed when the house is cold. You probably knew that. :-)

I'm still in bed, but luckily the computer is right next to the bed (convenient for those middle of the night inspirations) and have been up for a while going through morning mail and revising poetry. I am starting to run out of ways to avoid the real work I need to do. :-) Current urgencies: revise Interruptions; restart novel; write two letters and a novella for Puritan. All that should really be done by the end of the week. I had an academic paper to write too, but that's been mercifully moved to next week.

Currently reading Toni Morrison's "Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination" for my fiction class. I think the teacher asked us to read it 'cause a lot of us are currently working with ethnicity -- it's definitely an interesting book, although only tangentially related to what I'm doing. Too complex to simply summarize here, I'm afraid.

Wrote two more poems last night -- I've added them (as well as a bunch of others) to the '96 poetry page. "Sweet Innocent Goes Hungry Again" and "Five Years Into It, She Considers".

Was a bit down yesterday evening. Just tiredness I think -- I worked fairly hard all day yesterday. My evenings are sometimes overly empty -- I think I spend too many of them on-line. Ah well. Did recently read quite a few of the Lloyd Alexander children's books -- none I liked as well as his Chronicles of Prydain, but still pleasant. While Kevin was here we spent a day up in Berkeley visiting a friend and bookstores. There's a fantasy/sf one there called, I think, Another Change of Hobbit, that has a very good children's section. Picked up quite a few books I'd been looking for. Now if I can just find those out-of-print Engdahl books, I'll be happy...

Ah well -- back to work. Have a good day, everyone.

5:15. Tired. Have a 6:00 Walrus (lit mag) meeting, and then I told Sophie that I'd work with her on the Walrus web page. Just want to go home and sleep. Oh well. Didn't do anything I said I would (well, got partway into the Interruptions revisions, but didn't finish), but did manage to finish "Endings", another short story. This is another one my family won't like, I'm afraid -- no sex, but lots of family specifics. Even if I change the names (and I did), and put in a bunch of fiction (which I plan to) people will still assume it's mostly true (which it is). Which is okay with me, but my parents are definitely not happy about it. Argh. Interruptions is even more of the same problem. Don't have anywhere to publish them yet, but when I do.... (y'know, it strikes me that perhaps I'm starting to think like a professional writer -- I no longer doubt that I *can* publish something -- now it's a question if I can get paid for it. :-)

Argh. Rambling. Anyway...currently reading a LeGuin short story, "the Eye of the Heron" -- she's so damn good it makes me almost angry sometimes -- a petty part of me hopes she had to work really hard at it. God, I'm hungry too. Didn't bring in any money to campus, what an idjit. Want to go home and eat....okay, okay I'm whining. Enough already. There, that's better. :-)

Okay, I'm gonna go web browse and set my brain to autopilot for a while. Ellison said he'd cook tonight, so a nice dinner should be waiting when I get home. I can think pleasant thoughts of that.

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