The journal will resume as usual tomorrow. In the interim, I invite you to visit another writer -- Mark Price, author of HIV Live.
Elissa arrives for the weekend tomorrow (college roommate, married to Bryan, U Chicago mathematician, also a friend of ours). I haven't seen her in quite a while, and I'm looking forward to it -- and at the same time, I feel like I have no time. I'm not going to let that stop us having a good time, though. Though she may need to do some Christmas shopping while I grade papers...
I should update you guys on the last couple of days, but really, it's just working. Lots and lots of it. I'm so tired that I can't think straight, so even though it's only 9 p.m., I think I'm gonna go to bed. Tomorrow morning I have about six hours before she arrives; if I focus, I should be able to get a lot done. That's the theory, at any rate.
I did manage to do a first revision on "Savariian and the Aliens", btw, in the Cinncinnati airport when I got stuck there for four hours Monday night. Mechanical difficulties. Story of my week.
Did I mention that I missed my bus this morning, and therefore didn't get to class in time to catch my students before they took off? And that although I had the Soros application finished and in my hand and ready to stick in the mailbox today (the deadline), I somehow never managed to actually put it in a mailbox? It's sitting on my dining table. I don't even know if it's worth putting it in the mail tomorrow.
Okay, too tired to do anything useful, clearly. Bed.
I've just finished Forster's Aspects of the Novel, which is really rather good. One very interesting thing about the book is that he devotes two chapters ot what he calls fantasy and prophecy -- which is really close, in some ways, to fantasy and science fiction. Oh, he doesn't examine genre works, but what he sees some mainstream lit novels as trying to do is certainly connected to what f/sf tries to do. Interesting. I bought this book on a whim, and I'm really glad I did; it's been a thought-provoking read, and I recommend it to all would-be novelists. Though I'll also warn you that it'll almost certainly make you feel woefully under-read; it certainly did for me. Even the novels he refers to that I have read -- I read them about a decade ago, and I remember very little. I need a better memory. I need to turn off the tv and spend my evenings re-reading classics.
We're nearing the Cincinnati stop on this journey. We're above the clouds, and the sky is a glory of golden light across a clear blue, lighting up ripples and waves of fluffy cloud beneath us. We climbed up out of a grey morning at Hartford; this afternoon brightness seems to bathe the plane, and me. I'm by the window, so I'm just soaking in the sunlight pouring through, pausing in my reading and typing to swallow up this broad expanse of beauty.
I know there are people who have never been up in a plane; I can't imagine that. Living in this century, when you can do little hops here and there for so little, and choosing to stay on the ground...never once knowing the landscape of the world above the clouds. It bewilders me. Even if you hate flying, even if you're afraid of being more than fifty feet in the air -- this is astonishing, it really is. I fly at least once a month these days, and you'd think I'd get tired of it, but somehow I never do.
We're about to prepare for landing, so in a moment I'll need to go. I just wanted to thank Jim, who kindly raved about my story, and Jed, who kindly told me everything I'd done wrong. I appreciate both of those responses very much. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll try to revise it on the next leg, which I think is about 3.5 hours long; long enough to justify pulling out the laptop and trying to get some real work done. I actually need to do some research before I can do a final revision; the protagonist is insectoid, and I just don't know enough about insects to describe her properly, or her society. But there are definitely some revisions I can get started on; in particular, I'm going to be toning down one exceedingly dramatic moment, which a) doesn't need to be so dramatic and b) I can't really justify as being that dramatic, given how little time leads up to it. I think it'll work better if I pull back a little.
Oh, and don't forget to stop by Strange Horizons today. Another great (slightly creepy) story, "Transubstantiation", an article on recent sf television by my friend Ingrid (we were roommates in college), and a review of Unbreakable, which I largely agree with (I saw it with my sisters Wednesday night). Excellent week, in my humble opinion. :-) Not that I had anything to do with it...I love the way stuff magically appears there.
- Wed: Arrived at parents', mellow evening with relatives, helped my
mom cut up so many carrots that I got a blister on my finger -- ouch! My
sister and I went clothes-shopping (at 9 p.m. :-) for stellar pre-T-giving
sales; I got a lovely long purple velvety dress for $20 -- woohoo!
- Thurs: Lots of relatives, fun with little cousins (not so little
anymore), setting up table with apple candles, cloved oranges, and a bowl
of floating candles and cut flowers (amazingly, my dad's mums are still
blooming outside, despite snow and freezing weather), spreading tables
with both American Thanksgiving food (turkey and all the trimmings) and
Sri Lankan party food (fancy fried rice and about ten other dishes).
Astonishingly, this is actually cutting back and taking it easy for my
family. We're still eating leftovers.
- Fri: David came and picked me up; went to his sister's place and met
nieces, then to his parents' place for dinner. Nice, though on the quiet
side. Played Scrabble and he stomped me once again, though I did have
something of a comeback in the last third of the game. He dropped me at
Alex's, and hung out for a bit chatting with Alex, Yuko (visiting from
S.F.) and I. Once he left, I think we talked 'til midnight.
- Sat: Slept in...mmmm....then went for brunch at Tea and Sympathy.
Absolutely delectable scones (want their recipe!) with clotted cream and
jam; highly recommended. Also had sardines on toast with a side of
grilled tomatoes -- really felt like I was back in Britain. It's been
something like seven years; I miss it. Good tea. Afterwards Alex took us
to a musical -- we saw Dirty Blonde, about Mae West. Clever
and fun and sweet; really made me want to go rent Mae West movies. In the
late afternoon, played poker and drank more tea; I started with a hundred
chips (in go stones, actually) and ended with a hundred and ten, which
after two hours of playing in a game with Alex is quite an accomplishment
(though, of course, that money actually came from Yuko, who hadn't played
before). Evening, met Shmuel for kosher pizza, good conversation, and
then dragged him back to Alex's for more conversation. On the way,
stopped at Warner Brothers Studio Store and bought Gryffindor t-shirt!!!
Shmuel got a Slytherin one. Was ridiculously pleased despite caving in to
consumerism in the most awful way. Am wearing it now with my pyjamas.
Stayed up talking past midnight.
- Sun: Train to Mamaroneck, met by David, gave me a ride up to CT.
Very sweet of him, especially considering that I dozed most of the way.
On the train, had a sf story idea, oddly enough. Got to parents', ate
lunch with little sister who then went off to bus stop to go back to
college. Went upstairs, avoided computer for about an hour (dozing some
more), and then wrote furiously from about 2 -- 5:30. Finished first
draft of "Savariian and the Aliens". Sent it out. Waited eagerly for
responses from loyal readers. Received none in the first three hours of
waiting. Attempted to stave off post-story depression by re-reading first
Harry Potter (good) and journal-entry-writing (not quite as effective).
Okay, it's not all she wrote. She's writing more. See? Probably 'cause she's not quite sure what she's going to do once she stops writing. 8:30 is too early to go sleep, but if she goes downstairs, she might have to talk to her parents without either sister (or other relatives) acting as buffer. Oh, the horror.
Hmm...is kind of interesting that I felt the urge to write a sf story. I wonder if it's because I was reading a Star Trek novel (not one of the better ones) a few days ago. I think maybe I'm heavily influenced by what I read, so that when I'm reading a lot of smut, I start wanting to write smut, and ditto with immigrant stories, sf/f, or general mainstream lit. I'm a literary chameleon -- which is okay, I think. If I like reading in all those genres, there really isn't a good reason for me not to write in all of them, right? The only genre not well-represented in my writing is probably kids' lit, which I do love but am scared to attempt for fear of doing it poorly. I had an idea for a kids' novel a while ago, but it seems to have drifted off into the aether for the moment.
Oops -- hear a relative downstairs. Must go chat. Talk to y'all from Salt Lake tomorrow!
Anyway, to back up a little, I arrived at Roshani's dad's place around 7-ish yesterday. She and Tom and Zoe are staying there for a bit so her dad and sister can help out with the baby; now that Tom's gone back to work during the day, she was going a bit mad alone in their apartment. Zoe is absolutely beautiful. I know everyone related to a baby thinks that baby is beautiful, but this time it's true -- she has creamy pale brown skin and wide dark eyes; I think we have supermodel potential here. Heh. When I said that, Roshani nearly fainted -- she says they're thinking aeronautics engineer right now. Supermodel is not in the game plan. :-) We'll see. Tom's mom and dad are actors, so perhaps Zoe will end up a fabuous and intelligent scientist-actress. Like Jodi Foster in Contact. Though more beautiful. And a real scientist, not just playing one.
She's only three weeks old -- she's so light! I'm not sure I've ever held such a young baby before; I didn't expect her to be so barely there. Her fingers look so fragile; if I took her hand in mine and squeezed, I think I might crush them. But she's also big enough that I'm once again astonished to think what Roshani must have gone through -- no matter how easy a labor it supposedly was, that must have hurt. At any rate, Zoe is a beautiful result of all that hard work. I kept wanting to pat Roshani on the back and say "Well done!"
The young parents were looking prety tired by the time Kevin arrived (having spent half an hour getting lost), so I introduced him to the rest of Roshani's family and then we toddled off. A quick dinner at an Italian place nearby (which had the odd and distressing habit of putting ice cold tomatoes and other ingredients inside two slices of briefly grilled bread and calling the result a panini sandwich -- what the result really was was practically inedible), and then we headed home.
His place is slowly looking more homey -- I've been pestering him to hang some sort of art in the living room (which has a huge bare wall above the fireplace) and he finally got something, that Picasso sketch of Don Quixote, which looks good. He also got himself a new G3 laptop, which he was much more excited about. :-)
We watched a video for a while, but it had some abusive scenes in it and I got distressed so we turned it off halfway and went to bed. I just can't take that sort of thing in movies; even verbal abuse makes me want to cringe and hide. There's a whole genre of movies that I just can't watch as a result; it feels like a weakness, a failing in me (a writer ought to be able to read/watch anything, no?), but I'm afraid I'm stuck with it. Snuggling with Kev eventually made me feel better.
Short on sleep this morning; he had to get up early to go teach, which woke me; I puttered about for a while while he was gone, skimming through a bit more of the movie on fast forward to find out what happened, re-reading bits from Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion (which I love, and somehow don't own a copy of), showering and dressing and packing up again. Then he got back, we figured out my flight was earlier than we thought, and we dashed off to the airport.
He saw me to my gate and watched my bags while I ran to Starbucks and bought some chai. I had ten minutes to spare. Then a quick hug and kiss and I'm on the plane, not too traumatized (I'll see him again in less than three weeks, hooray!), and now happily tapping away at my Visor keyboard, talking to you.
I did finish up the novel that I started on the plane yesterday, Lisa Goldstein's Dark Cities Underground. It's odd -- not quite like any of her other work, I think. It's a tangled tale connecting underground trains, children's books, mythology...in some ways it reminded me of Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog -- perhaps for the frantic pace of it. It's not as funny; it's a darker book. Definitely interesting and worth reading, but it didn't pull me in the way her Red Magician did. Ah well.
I've also started E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel. Pretty interesting so far, and very readable (since it's basically a transcription of lectures he gave at Cambridge in 1927), though it does make me despair of ever feeling that I've read enough of the important books that I'm supposed to have read (which he refers to freely). Here's an interesting passage on why there is so much of love in novels:
"Love, like death, is congenial to a novelist because it ends a book conveniently. He can make it a permanency, and his readers easily acquiesce, because one of the illustions attached to love is that it will be permanent. Not has been -- will be. All history, all our experience, teaches us that no human relationship is constant, it is as unstable as the living beings who compose it, and they must balance like jugglers if it is to remain; if it is constant it is no longer a human relationship but a social habit, the emphasis in it has passed from love to marriage. All this we know, yet we cannot bear to apply our bitter knowledge to the future; the future is to be so different; the perfect person is to come along, or the person we know already is to become perfect. There are to be no changes, no necessity for alertness. We are to be happy or even perhaps miserable for ever and ever. Any strong emotion brings with it the illusion of permanence, and the novelists have seized upon this. They usually end their books with marriage, and we do not object because we lend them our dreams."
This is all too apt for me; Kev and I spent a while discussing this topic last night, and it's part of our ongoing conversation. His argument is pretty parallel to Forster's, I think -- that the desire for permanence is illusory comfort, and that it's better to know that the thing is impermanent, and stay alert and keep doing whatever's necessary to maintain that balancing act of love. In some moods I agree with him, but in others, I long for a time when it'll all be done, all be resolved and easy and stable and finished. But perhaps that isn't possible with something that is still a living, growing thing. I change, he changes; as long as that's true, our love has to change to keep up, no?
In any case, you're all caught up, and I'm going back to Forster. I'll talk to you guys again soon.
I think part of not wanting to get up this morning was not wanting to wake up from my dream. I had powers in that dream. Not the power to fly, but the power to stop myself from falling. At the beginning of the dream, someone was telling me that I had graduated with honors...and now it was time for the graduate program. And this very nice little old lady came out, led me to the edge of a cliff (along with a totally sexy young man who was in the same program (but who was apparently my brother, dangit)) and said, "Jump. Stop yourself a few feet off the ground." And I jumped, and I stopped, as requested. Then there were more and more and more tests. I passed them all, but some felt very real and scary (like the one where she led us to an elevator, said she'd meet us downstairs, and then as the elevator started going down, I knew it was going to fall, that it was another trap, and it did, and the hardest part wasn't the period of free fall, it was trying to open my eyes and look at my brother, which seemed important to do, even though the little old lady hadn't said anything about it. That was almost impossible). The dream was scary, and intense, and emotional -- and I didn't want to wake up.
There is no need to point out to me the parallels between the dream and my current situation. The dreams that I remember tend to be painfully obvious to interpretation. I miss having a brother now.
Stil, it's an hour after I hauled my ass out of bed, and I feel somewhat better. Drinking tea, and in a few minutes I'll have to go shower and dress and go to class. More draft workshops today, which means that I can catch up on the quiz-grading I meant to do last night. I actually read a silly book instead, Practical Demon-Keeping (amusing, but not quite worth the effort), that Kerry lent me, and then talked to Jed for too long. Not that I'm complaining. :-) But I am a little short on sleep this morning; perhaps I'll nap on the plane.
After classes I go to the airport; I'll be in Chicago by 6, and will go to see Roshani and Tom and Zoe(!); Kevin will come meet me there when he finishes a talk and we'll get some dinner. One night in Chicago, then at lunchtime tomorrow I get on a plane again and head to Connecticut. I should be able to keep logging on, but perhaps more briefly; it's long-distance dial-up from my folks' place. So if by chance I don't talk to you again, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Rest up. Think good thoughts. I'm thankful for you all.
Oh, I know it's just leftovers and dishes, and that probably an hour's cleaning will get the place back to a pristine state. And that I should put on extra socks and Kevin's shirt if I'm going to work in the sunroom and then I'll feel warmer and more loved. And that some tea will help with the tiredness. And that it'll all be fine by 9 or so. But right now, I'm low.
Maybe reading the new issue of Strange Horizons will cheer me up. There's a really charming/funny/sweet story this week -- though it's possible that I'm a bit biased on that, since it's about a mathematician. :-) Do you know what "bleem" is? And there's a review of Red Planet (which doesn't sound good, but at least the review is appropriately scathing -- back when I did theater reviews, it was always the most fun doing the scathing ones...and you'd just been forced to endure a miserable production, so there was real pain and venom behind the review), and an interview with David Coe. I hadn't heard of Coe before, but in the draft of the interview I saw, he sounded pretty interesting. Mostly children's fantasy, it looks like. How could I not know this? I thought I knew all the kids' spec fic. I am so ignorant. I'm never going to know even a third of anything that I need to know.
Shit. Just realized I have a student coming at 8:45. No pj's for me -- I have to go get ready. Dammit dammit dammit. Why can't I just meet with them in my pj's, huh? They're flannel and long-sleeved -- they're decent...
11:15. Okay, feeling more civilized. The kitchen's still a mess, but the rest of the place is reasonably clean, and there's a load running in the dishwasher. I want to do a first revision on the Herotica afterword, and possibly revise the Soros essays as well, and then get into campus by 1 or so; a fair bit of work to get done there today. Unfortunately, all I really want to do is sit around and re-read this Tanya Huff novel I picked up yesterday...I've spent two hours on that already this morning. I'm not sure why; I really can't afford the time today, and I'll have plenty of time to relax and read in the next week. I'm such a goober sometimes.
On a positive note, I did a Google search when I was killing time waiting for my student to show up this morning, and found out that Aqua Erotica is on the Amazon Literary and Paperback bestseller list -- it's #38 right now, but was up at #19 not so long ago. Pretty darn cool. I talked with Crown briefly this morning about the other anthologies, and I should have an answer within a week or so. It looks likely (though not definite) that there will be another waterproof water-related erotica one at least, so for those writers in the group, you may want to start brainstorming ideas now. And just FYI, if I rejected a story of yours for AE but told you that I really liked it, there's no reason for you not to think about revising it and resubmitting it this time around. It may fit better into the balance of this set. It's always surprising to me how much of anthology decisions comes down to balancing the collection. I wonder if that's true in a Best-Of anthology as well, or if you just take the fifteen best stories regardless of whether they work well together? Hmm...
Hmm...not much else to report, really. One of my mailing lists is in the midst of a bit of a kerfuffle, but everyone is of good will, so I'm reasonable sure it'll all sort itself out. Otherwise, all's well, there's now sixteen coming to dinner, and I should go check on the sweet potatoes...
Hope you're having a good weekend!
I just finished finishing the first draft of the Pamela Dean interview; I'm not sure why I had been putting it off, because it was just a delight reading through her responses to my questions and crafting a conversation between us. I've just sent her off a few more questions; once she answers those, I think we'll have a very nice interview ready for SH.
I have a mellow day planned. I'm going to prep the turkey for tomorrow's dinner (we have 14+ people coming, including two little kids! It feels so Thanksgiving-y :-), and the portobello mushroom appetizer. I'm also making the cranberry sauce, and gravy, but that's it -- everything else is being brought by others. Should make for a very relaxed and delicious meal. The turkey recipe is from my friend Samantha, a marinated spice rub which is then stuffed with cloved apples, on a bed of red onions. If it comes out well, I'll post the recipe here. I'm looking forward to trying it...though I can't quite remember how long I'm supposed to bake a 14-pound turkey (at 300, according to Sam's recipe). Advice? My inclination is something like 6-7 hours, but I'm just not sure. I'm pretty sure there's a simple formula for this, but I don't remember what it is.
The rest of the day is for: cleaning, laundry, reading some books on Judaism and making notes (outside reading for workshop, hopefully helpful to rewriting "Challah"), continuing to read the Starlight anthology, and perhaps grading some quizzes and/or revising the Soros essays. I am slowly but steadily working through the stack of 'things I need to do before I can leave town' -- so far, it still looks under control. Fingers crossed.
My bedroom is a disaster area; I think I'll leave it for tomorrow, since I can always close the door if I must. But the kitchen and my desk must be cleaned today (the desk especially, as I suspect there are bills to pay buried in there somewhere). The kitchen has odd dribs and drabs of candlewax all over the place; some are red, left over from the Christmas candles Carol and I made a few weeks ago, some are golden-green, from the Thanksgiving candles I made yesterday. I've found that it's really pretty fun and easy to make candles in wine glasses; I made one in a deep wineglass yesterday, and two in wide martini glasses (takes a little more care to get the wick stable, but not too bad); they burn beautifully. I was a little afraid of lighting them, until I realized that if the 200 degree molten wax I'd poured into them hadn't shattered them, then lighting them wasn't likely to do so either. :-) I also made a molded candle that slid easily out of its mold -- I'm still fighting one of the molded candles from last time, the one in the big hexagonal mold. I have not yet admitted defeat, however.
Okie -- back to work. It's funny how the concept of 'weekend' has pretty much disappeared from my brain. All days are work days now. That's okay, though. :-)
4:00. Well, I haven't made so much progress on my list, but a bit. The cooking started with some frustration -- I realized that instead of buying a whole turkey, I had actually bought one of those turkey-breast-only deals. Bah, humbug. I thought about going back and buying a real turkey, but my freezer isn't large enough to store the one I bought. Sigh. It's probably for the best in some sense, since most people seem to want white meat these days, and while I prefer dark, white is better for me. But I just know it's not going to be as tasty as it could have been. Ah well. I did prep it, and it's quietly marinating/thawing in the fridge now. I made the cranberry sauce, and did my dishes, and cleaned and vacuumed the dining and living rooms.
I also finished the Starlight anthology, which was good all the way through. Highly recommended. I'd actually read the last story, by Maureen McHugh, before, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but what can you do? It's done, though, and I just have to review the second one before I do Patrick's interview. I'm not sure I know what to ask him, though. After the first 'How did you pick so many good stories, anyway?' question, what do you ask an editor?
Goals for the rest of the evening: Finish at least one of the Judaism books and take notes on it. Clean the kitchen. Clean the bathroom. That's what needs to get done; anything else is gravy. No, wait; I'm making that tomorrow...
Okay, sorry sorry. Don't hit me. I'm kind of tired, and that makes me silly. I'll go hide in my closet now...
11:00. Yes, I'm updating for the third time today. Do I need a life? Well, no, but maybe I should be doing something more exciting on a Saturday night...especially considering I didn't even come close to everything I was supposed to do today. Oh well. With any luck, I'll survive. As long as I remember to put the turkey in the oven at the right time tomorrow, I shouldn't be in too much trouble. :-) And as soon as my caramelized onions cool down a little, I'll be covering them in plastic wrap and putting them in the fridge and going to bed. So hopefully I'll be able to get up early and get some real work done.
There's a lot of really dumb tv on Saturday night, y'know that? I was watching while prepping some decorations for the party. Here's a trick -- if you stick cloves in oranges (I usually do four stripes, quartering the orange), they're nice and smelly, right? But they have a tendency to get moldy after a week or so (sooner in some areas). You can bake them in a warm oven overnight, and they turn a dark brown and dry enough that they keep nicely for up to six weeks. A good Halloween/Thanksgiving decoration. And if you make slices in the orange before baking, those slices peel back and dry; they look cool, sort of like a medieval jester's sleeve.
An even simpler thing to do is to take apples and oranges, hollow out the top and put tea lights in them. You may need to shave the bottom off the oranges to keep them stable. They make great cheap candleholders -- I got a bag of apples for a dollar, and a box of tea lights for a few bucks. Enough to just cover the place in seasonal candlelight.
Am I a big geek? Apparently in more ways than one...maybe I should go code some HTML so I don't get too mindlessly craft-y. Crafts are addictive; maybe because you don't have to think so hard once you get the hang of them (though they're often very frustrating and difficult while you're learning). Of course, HTML is really the same way -- and honestly, probably easier. I can teach someone basic HTML in an hour; crocheting takes a lot more practice.
By the way, I was talking to Kevin a little while ago and said I might steal one of his shirts when I'm out there Tuesday -- and he said, "Do you really not have any of my shirts?" And I claimed I didn't...until I thought about it a minute and realized that of course I did. In particular, there's a green flannel one that is almost identical to one I owned that we ended up exchanging a few years ago, in sentimental circumstances. I have no idea how I forgot that. I'm wearing it now, and I am much warmer. Which, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that it's flannel. :-)
Okay, I think I'm still up just 'cause of inertia -- time to put myself to bed. Good night moon, good night stars, good night munchkins.
I'm mostly going to be in today -- I have to go to the grocery store, but otherwise I'll just be working at home. I suspect that I'm going to have to grade a stack of quizzes before the day is done, but I'm putting them at the bottom of my todo list in the hopes that I won't get to them and they'll roll over until tomorrow. Why is grading so hard to motivate to do, huh? It's not really hard, and it's generally not too painful. Very bewildering.
I thought I had more to say, but my brain is blanking. I think I'll check in later after I have some tea. Hope y'all are having a good week...
1:15. Well, I've finished sending out "A Gentle Man". It's always a bit startling to me how long that process takes -- printing and copying and addressing and stamping and recording in both the list by title and list by magazine -- I tend to underestimate the process. Ah well. It's out now, to:
- The Atlantic Monthly
- The Iowa Review
- The New Yorker
- The Ohio Review
- The Southern Review
- Zoetrope: All-Story
On a positive note, I just read a beautiful story that made me want to write sf again. It's "Liza and the Crazy Waters Man", by Andy Duncan, in the first Starlight anthology. I actually met Andy at a con a few years ago, but this is the first I've read his work; it's gorgeous. I'm reading the anthology because I'll be doing an interview with Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the editor, for SH in a little bit; I'd read Starlight 2 but not the original. It's a real treat so far. :-)
And a quick giggle -- while updating pages, I happened to wander onto Kevin's page, where I haven't been in a while. The titles of his new papers have been added. Am I the only person in the world who finds the idea of an A-hat Genus funny? Or who thinks there's something kinda sexy about Bilipschitz Equivalence and Baumslag-Solitar Groups? I have no idea what any of these mean, but I think they sound kinda kinky. :-)