Got e-mail from Sage…

Got e-mail from Sage this morning, pointing out that the reason the diary count had gone up was probably because she just added my pages to her diary list. Good point. Was interesting reading her review -- she raises some of the same points that I address in the March 1st entry, about why I keep this journal if I'm editing so much out -- what I get out of it if not emotional release. Hmmm...aside from what I've already said, I should add that I do get some emotional release -- I feel as if I have some invisible friends out there (and not the kind that would get me locked up :-). I've enjoyed living in Philly, and there are a lot of neat people here to hang out with, but I left most of my close friends in Chicago. I can call them, of course, but phone calls get expensive. I'm waiting for the day when those netphone things are a practical, affordable reality. In the meantime (and probably afterwards), you all provide a different sort of sounding board -- less of a place to dump relationship problems (which I still feel somewhat iffy about, given that my parents' friends read this :-), among other people) and more of a place for more abstract emotional concerns (like that political rant I did a while back), and day to day chatting. Anyway, this whole paragraph is rather disgustingly self-absorbed, even for a diary, so onward... (Actually, if you pay close attention, and really care, you probably could figure out a great deal of what I don't explicitly say...)

Last night was weird. Got lazy and made fettucini with chicken and a pre-made alfredo w/mushrooms sauce. Good, but a) very unhealthy and b) I probably could have made the sauce for cheaper with very little more work. Oh well....can't be virtuous all the time. I really have to get back to the dance classes, though -- Tai chi is on Sunday and beginner jazz on Monday. Couldn't do it last week, obviously, since I was in Orlando, but no excuses this week. :-) I must and will go to at least one of them...(I've been fighting 10-15 pounds all my life it seems...it would be nice this summer to have one of those bodies that makes men drool :-). It's in my reach, if I just work at it some - but oh, I am so lazy about exercise...

Hmmm...reading that paragraph makes me realize that I got completely sidetracked from what was weird about last night. I spent the evening in a strange, tense emotional state, but couldn't say exactly why. I couldn't think of a good reason to drag Kevin away from the tv to talk to me (good episode of Friends last night -- Ross and Rachel's first kiss, which I had missed the first time around), but wanted to anyway. Sort of. Eventually did (though I waited until the reruns of Frasier and Mad About You were on (we watch too much tv!)) and felt somewhat better. Went to sleep. Woke up around midnight (and I usually sleep very soundly) with hellish mosquito bites (I HATE HATE HATE mosquitoes. I would gladly exterminate them all from the face of the earth, with great rejoicing. They, on the other hand, seem to adore me), extremely warm, and with racing heartbeat. Very very weird. Took forever to go back to sleep (though I feel fine today). I think I may be on too high a dosage of my thyroid meds -- I think hyperthyroidism (the opposite of what I have) has symptoms similar to those. Will have to check with doc. Nuisance, is what the whole darn thing is...though I guess I should be thankful that I've been as healthy as I have.

Finished 3 more grad school apps yesterday. Emerson and Mills and Boston U. Think good thoughts for me, guys -- I don't know what I'll do if I don't get in somewhere. I refuse to spend another year doing secretarial work -- it drains the soul, even if it does provide lots of writing time.

Hey, everyone. Not…

Hey, everyone. Not feeling too well today -- guess I had too much fun this weekend. So shortish entry. Just finished Card's Red Prophet, which I enjoyed more than expected. His Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead are absolutely brilliant, but the first time I tried the Alvin Maker series I wasn't impressed. But Kevin wanted to read them, and so when I saw a used copy of the first book I picked it up, and somehow I got hooked. Guess sometimes you just have to find the right time or state of mind to read something. Also recently read The Seven Percent Solution, a Sherlock Holmes mystery (not actually written by Arthur Conan Doyle) which is great fun -- the premise is that Holmes becomes seriously addicted to cocaine and goes to Freud for help...many plot twists and a pleasure for any Holmes fan.

Not much else to say -- leftovers for dinner, then went over to David's. My show was not on again! but they claim it'll be back next week. It had better be. I picked up a book on origami at Epcot and am having great fun with it, though I am still clearly a clumsy beginner. Good for my patience, I think.

David gave me an article to read from the New Yorker on a virtual bishop -- very funny article in a lovely laid-back style (I really enjoyed the writing), and the story is great -- details can be found at his web site: the virtual bishopric of Partenia. A must for any on-line Catholics.

These diary pages are now averaging 60 hits/day -- wonder why it's gone up. Also exciting -- I just noticed that I've passed the quarter-million hit mark on these pages (since the counter went up). Quite a thrill.

I thought I’d start out…

I thought I'd start out with a joke (to restore your good humors after so many days without diary entries :-) that David sent me this morning...

An English professor wrote the words "woman without her man is a savage" on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly.

The men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is a savage."
The women wrote: "Woman: Without her, man is a savage."

Seems vaguely appropriate since much of the time Kirsten and I weren't actively sightseeing (and we are very active sightseers) we were talking (and sometimes bitching :-) about men. Not to imply that this is what I do with all my female friends (especially since most of them are bi, that would be silly :-), but Kirsten and I have this special rapport, which makes her exceptionally good for that kind of conversation. So we spent our days in Epcot (Saturday), Walt Disney World (Sunday), and MGM Studies (Monday), and our evenings/nights talking. Not much sleep. :-) Especially good was the dinner at the Crab House (I don't know if they're a chain, but if you like seafood, can afford moderately expensive meals ($15-20/entree) and can find one of these, the food was absolutely fabulous. The best restaurant meal I've had in a while. (note of warning: taste perhaps slightly influenced by two glasses of French merlot (I have an abysmally low tolerance, which is useful, because I got quite giddy on just two glasses -- I haven't gotten drunk in months, and it was great fun :-)) We had crab-stuffed mushrooms, shrimp with cocktail sauce, crab and shrimp and mushrooms in a white wine sauce over pasta, crab stuffed shrimp, the aforementioned merlot and split a slice of key lime pie for desert. Indulgent, but amazingly good).

One of the best things about the trip was finding out how extremely compatible Kirsten and I are as travelling companions. She's the best person to travel with (especially for sightseeing-type travel) that I've found -- we get hungry around the same time -- our feet hurt around the same time -- we're both pretty flexible, yet enthusiastic -- we're both willing to go on mushy rides like "It's a Small World" (which I know damn well that Dave or Kevin or Chris would have hated -- oh, they would have put up with it, and perhaps even pasted a smile on their faces (well, Kev wouldn't), but they would have made sure we knew they were enduring it for our sakes. Which is, admittedly, sweet, but it would be even sweeter if they could manage to muster up some actual enthusiasm (we manage it for basketball, after all...) and enjoy themselves) -- we even managed to still be in very good moods after 3 days of intense playing and 3 days of horrible weather.

Speaking of the weather -- how DARE it be cold and/or raining for our entire trip?? This is Florida, right? Argh! I can't tell you how frustrating it was, especially as we had packed totally inadequate clothing for the weather (oh, we had heard the weather reports, but it was just too depressing packing heavy sweaters and winter coats for a trip to Florida -- we just had to put in those little tank tops and short skirts instead...). Well, we suffered manfully (what a silly word, when the consensus seems to be that women have more endurance long-term) and managed to be cheerful nonetheless. It helped that the weather cut most lines down to nothing, so we managed to do 2-3 times as many rides as we would have been able to otherwise.

Highlights of the parks -- Epcot's Morocco pavilion (for the beautiful and charming tour guide (the best I've ever had) with the sexy French- Moroccan accent -- her name is Marim, if you're ever there), Epcot's Japan pavilion (for the beautiful netsuke museum and the fabulous shop (I got a t-shirt with my name in Japanese :-) and a book on origami)), and Epcot's China pavilion (also with a fabulous shop, and a 360 degree movie of China, narrated by an ancient poet :-). In the tech part of the park the only bits I really enjoyed were the history of communication ride inside the giant globe (informative and nicely detailed) and the Body Wars ride (could have stood being a little more educational, but was fun nonetheless).

At Disney, I was impressed by less (and there were fewer cool things to buy), but you must must must ride the fabulous Space Mountain -- they've revamped it since I was last there, and it's now a really beautiful as well as exhilarating rollercoaster (more curves than drops, which I appreciate). The Cinderella mosaics on the inner wall of the castle were also gorgeous, and much of the park seems to have been cleaned up, reorganized and brightened since my last visit, especially the New Tomorrowland (which also has a great movie with the voice of Robin Williams (whom I adore) as the Timekeeper -- another 360 degree one -- but this time a voyage through time, with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

The best ride, however, had to be at MGM Studios -- the amazing Tower of Terror! I don't want to give too much away, but it's even better than you'd expect from the description (a 13 story free fall drop), with great attention to detail, cool special effects and a spooky atmosphere. The Indiana Jones show was too rainy to watch, but I remember from my last trip that the special effects were pretty amazing (ditto Catastrophe Canyon). Also really really good was the animation tour, with another movie with Robin Williams (he must have some deal with them :-) and a chance to see animators at work on the new movie (The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- how the heck are they going to give that a happy ending??).

Oof. All Disney'd-out now. In the rest of my life -- well, there hasn't been much yet. Returned to work yesterday -- desk is mostly cleared off. Planned to be ambitious and make potato gnocchi last night (found some great recipes in the rec.arts.foods on-line archives) but was too tired when I came home and ordered curry delivered instead. Did manage to clean the living room. Kitchen tonight (and will probably eat leftover curry). Then I can cook tomorrow (that's the plan, at any rate...). Also have a pile of e-mail to answer -- deleted all the mailing list stuff, and answered those requiring short answers, but those of you who need longer answers (you know who you are :-) may have to wait a bit. I'll try to get to them today...

Two more grad school apps due the 15th. Argh. Still, good to be back!

And to close with another quote, that Jordan just sent me and that seems particularly appropriate given all the movie stuff I saw:

From the lips of a Hollywood mogul (back when there really were such things):

"There's only one good plot, and that's a delayed fuck." - Louis B. Mayer

I am so tired of cold….

I am so tired of cold. The morning started nice, with a mild misty rain, but they're expecting snowstorms by lunchtime. Argh. I'm not dressed for it, and I have to trek over to the bank then to cash my paycheck and pick up traveller's checks.

Other than that, life is good. Making plans for Florida trip. Trying to decide what clothes to pack, what to bring (pills, glasses, cash, tickets, ID), etc. and so on. I'm really really looking forward to this vacation. Silliness in Orlando. :-) If any of you readers live out there and want to meet us for lunch, send e-mail now. :-)

Ended up not making sushi last night -- went over to Dave's instead and made chicken with pasta, which turned out a bit bland, and mushroom soup, which was delicious and surprisingly easy. Chop 1/2 pound mushrooms finely, saute with 1/4 c. onion in 4 T. butter for 15 minutes on low. Add 1 T. flour and saute a few more minutes. Add 2 c. chicken stock (though we used vegetable boullion (sp?) instead) slowly, and stir in. Simmer 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 c. cream and add salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!

Will probably make sushi tonight. Have to use up avocado and cucumber before I leave. Did remember to get the pickled ginger. :-)

My show wasn't on last night. Stupid baseball movie instead. Argh.

noon - A reader in Dublin sent me this quote and I thought I'd share it: "The one thing that no one has ever said on a deathbed: I should have spent more time in the office." - Oscar Wilde

Great, huh? Bob Donald also sent me a virtual bouqet of flowers -- a dozen roses, as consolation after my flurry of taxes and applications. Very sweet. You can send free virtual flowers at this address. Nice service.

So today I’m annotating…

So today I'm annotating my children's sf/f list with descriptions of the stories...I decided the list had gotten big enough that it would be difficult for people to decide where to start. The revised version is now up. I also added a pointer to the online writer's workshop -- I get a lot of mail from people wanting crits, and I just don't have the time -- this is a great place to get that desperately needed commentary.

The weather today is beautiful -- cool and rainy. If you've been reading this diary, you'll already know how much I love that kind of weather. Last night another mathematician came by to work with Kevin on a lecture, so I decided to get out of their way and leave the apartment a bit quieter. Jason and I wandered around visiting various coffeeshops (we recommend Macam's and Crimson Moon) and walking in the light rain. It cleared up towards the end of the evening, and if I (and he) hadn't had to go to work in the morning, we could have easily walked in the crisp, clear air for hours more. It was one of those long, meandering discussions, spiced with gossip and politics and philosophy -- one of the things I miss most about college was how frequent those conversations were (though perhaps we took ourselves a bit too seriously then).

Polenta with basil and tomatoes last night; vegetable sushi tonight, I think. I have to remember to stop by 16th and Spruce and pick up pickled ginger. Working hard, weather is good, I'm happy and all's well with the world. :-) Hope the same is true of all of you...

12:45 -- I picked up a copy of the New Yorker to take to lunch with me (the fun of working in a doctor's office -- lots of magazines around), and stumbled onto a fun article about the Bloomsbury group, focusing on Vanessa Bell (New Yorker, June 5, 1995, "A House of One's Own"). I'm still in the midst of it, but enjoying it immensely. Their lives remind me of my own, though so far I've been much more fortunate -- the people I love are still around (though some are much too far away). So many of the Bloomsbury group (and its related people) died young.

It made me think (once again) of how tremendously important old lovers (and loves) have stayed in my life. Somehow the experience of having loved someone (even if you no longer do) seems to...hmm....I can't think of a better way of saying it than Vanessa did, so I'll just quote:

"finding for the first time someone whose opinion one cared for, who sympathised with and encouraged one, you know I really was in love with you and felt very intimate with you, and it is one of the most exciting things one can do to get to know another person really well. One can only do so, I think, if one's in love with them, even though it may be true that one's also then deluded about them -- as I daresay you were about me. But I really loved and admired your character and I still do and I expect that having been in love with you will always make me have a different feeling about you from what I could have had otherwise, in spite of all the difficulties that have happened since."

It's not just about sex, of course, though sex does accelerate intimacy among other things. But sometimes I think I've been most deeply in love with people whom I not only never had sex with, but whom I never really wanted to have sex with. You know? There are just some people (kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables says) with whom you realize when you meet them that your life would have been so much poorer without them, and theirs without you...people whose minds/hearts set off sparks with your own.

I once read someone saying that who you are is defined by who you love. Part of the truth, at any rate.

1:00 - quiet day at the office, so you're getting a very long entry today. Consider it payment in advance for Friday - Monday when I'll be gone. I was just skimming misc.writing, and happened onto a discussion of the disadvantages of going into a profession you don't love (especially the ones with large monetary compensations, which make it easy to become accustomed to a lifestyle that is difficult to leave). This is something my parents are having trouble understanding (immigrants who worked hard and succeeded and desperately want their oldest daughter to have a more secure profession). But when the I'm writing well, there is nothing in this world that compares to that feeling. (We won't talk about what it feels like when it's going badly...) As someone said on the newsgroup, "better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Gotta love those folk sayings.

Someone sent me some…

Someone sent me some hilarious mail today -- if you like Calvin & Hobbes and Shakespeare, you have to check out this. Speaking of Shakespeare, I'm sometimes amazed by how nice people are. So I was reading my alumni magazine, and there was an article on this new adaption of Henry IV, a two hour (instead of seven hour) version, designed for an intimate theater space (Court Theater specifically, where I saw many a marvelous play in my college days) by an old and favorite professor of mine. Intrigued, I called him up, and asked whether there was a copy in print, thinking perhaps they'd published a limited edition run. He says no, but he'd be happy to mail me a copy. Sweet, huh? I agree, thanking him, and give him my address. So far so good.

As we're about to hang up he says, 'Oh, would you mind sending it back to me? It's my only copy...' Is this nice or what? Product of months of work, only copy, and he trusts me, a student he had five years ago in a few classes (admittedly, I did well in them, but still :-) to copy it and send it back to him. Is this guy a prince, or what? If you ever consider taking a Shakespeare class in Chicago, look for Professor David Bevington. Not only is he one of the foremost Shakespearean scholars in the world, but he's a genuinely nice guy. (Though I did wonder if I'd trust such an package to the U.S. mail).

Anyway, in the rest of Mary Anne news...well, rent is due today -- sent Kevin off with it. Plans proceeding apace for Florida on Friday. Spent last night eating curry, chocolates, watching television and reading a trashy romance novel (which I enjoyed thoroughly until the terrible awful horrible ending -- why do authors feel compelled to take a female protagonist who has been bright and capable throughout and then have her do something REALLY STUPID (oh, I'll go off with the bad guy to meet another bad guy who wants to kill me -- without a weapon, even!) just so the hero can rescue her??! It's worse than having a pathetic female throughout, 'cause it just doesn't make any sense! Argh!). Other than that, a thoroughly indulgent and pleasurable evening. Also read the February issue of Analog. Pretty good, but not stunning.

Ran across a great quote while reading news (rec.arts.books, I think):

"I have just said that I was attractive. Consequently one half of the road to temptation was already covered and it is only human in such situations that one should not stop half-way. For to tempt and to be tempted are closely allied; and in spite of all the finest moral maxims buried in the mind, when emotion interferes, when feeling makes its appearance, one is already much further involved than one realizes, and I have still not learnt how to prevent its appearance." -- Catherine the Great, from her memoirs

Hmm…I’ve really gotten…

Hmm...I've really gotten lazy about weekends, haven't I? Well, I'm going back to Sunday and sticking something in for you that I meant to post yesterday...

Okay, all done. Lots to say. So the counter for March is at 165 right now, of which about 8 are my own. Averaging around 50 a day, which is certainly enough that I think it's worth continuing this. :-) I might have in any case, but it's nice to know people are listening. My friend Axinar also suggested another reason for continuing this diary -- contributing to my own immortality. He claims that someday when I'm dead and famous, scholars will try to figure out what my life was like, and this will make the job immeasurably easier. :-) Nice thought, anyway.

So a server in Ireland has offered me a home -- assuming they get back to me (the last person who offered me a site didn't), I think I may go with them come May. The person who's hosting me currently is leaving his job, and doubts his replacement will be quite so open-minded (and/or willing to risk possible legal repercussions). My friend has promised that I can leave a link up at the old address so people can find my new page... If you'd like to take a look at the new server, it's with these people.

20 min. later -- just talked to the Ireland people again (Dave Walsh), and it looks like a definite go on the page move. I don't want to deal with the hassle right now, but sometime in the next month, I'm moving to Ireland. :-)

As for the weekend, well, Friday was First Friday, so after the service for Martha's daughter (very sad, unsurprisingly) I went to the folksing, then crashed at my friend Abby's for the night. Great fun, as always. Took a little longer than I would have liked getting back (missed my train by 2 minutes, then had to wait an hour for the next one!), but managed to pass the time pleasantly with first Terry Pratchett's Strata (a fantastic sf romp which will bend your mind in unexpected directions/dimensions), and then a copy of Penthouse Variations (both loaned by Abby), the latter read solely for the writing style, so I can sell them stuff (uh huh, tell us another one...:-). Stopped by Reading Terminal Market on the way home, and would have picked up a bunch of yummy food (they have so much good stuff there), but my bank was closed (argh!), and they still haven't sent me my new ATM card, so I had very little cash, so I picked up what piddling groceries I could and went home. Kev doesn't get paid till Monday, so he couldn't help much. Still managed to make some moderately yummy food (though if you don't like liver, you wouldn't have enjoyed the liver curry I made Saturday night), supplemented by a potluck brunch on Sunday. Good way to get some variety into your diet when living on a shoestring...:-)

Brunch was good fun -- made cottage cheese and apple pancakes, Cape Cod apple pudding, and hash browns. People brought fruit salad, juice, quiche, coffee cake, hummus, vegetables and dip, so all around good spread. :-) Hung out for several hours, then they all dispersed. Re-read some more of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, then watched Mad About You, then David stopped by, and we talked for a while. Made beef curry for dinner, read a bit more, went to sleep. Good weekend.

This was found in a…

This was found in a church, I believe. I don't agree with it all, but I've highlighted the parts that really touched me, and much of the rest has wisdom in it, I think. Hope you enjoy it.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

--Max Ehrmann

"Into this…

"Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing;
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, willy-nilly blowing."

-- Verse 29, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

New calendar page today, so new poem. That verse is somewhat painfully appropriate to my own life, it sometimes seems.

As you may have noted, I did in fact put a counter on this page. Should be interesting. I wonder to what extent I have to allow for people (other than myself) viewing the page multiple times/day.

Have to revise my Statement of Purpose for grad school applications today, and choose 30-40 pages of prose to send out with the applications. I am not looking forward to the latter, as so much of my writing is either erotica or sf/f/h, neither of which seems to win the hearts of admissions committees. It almost tempts me to write a new, strictly mainstream, angstful story, just for the applications. Something nice and bleak, in which half the characters die and in which the other half lead either terribly boring or depressingly bleak lives. Not quite my style.

Also tonight is the funeral service for Martha's (co-worker mentioned several entries ago) daughter. And after that is folksing, which I have a feeling I'm really going to need. It has been a very stressful week.

later -- Paged through some more diaries on-line, and was thinking about something Kevin said to me last night. There have been some semi-heavy emotional things going on in my life lately, (don't worry, am coping okay), and he asked whether I was going to write about them in here. (Funny, he's never even read this diary -- if he kept one, you can be damn sure I'd be reading it. :-) Anyway, I told him that I didn't usually let the diary get that personal, and then he asked why I was keeping a diary, if I was editing so much out. So I gave him some answers (to talk back to my fans without writing individually daily to each one; to keep something new and changing on these pages to hold people's interest; to vent; to practice writing...).

And now I'm wondering whether that's enough for the people reading this. Whether you all really enjoy hearing about my stresses and frustrations, what I had for dinner and what books I've read, all without any of the really juicy stuff that you can find in some journals. I'm not asking for a bunch of responses saying, 'yes!' -- I already know that a lot of you are really sweet and would quickly/gladly reassure me. I'm just thinking out loud, wondering what a reader gets from a journal like this -- such a limited/slanted view into somebody else's life. I try to make it more interesting/worthwhile, with recipes and useful links to people and things I enjoy and occasional new poetry and stories...but you know, I don't think I'd bother reading this journal unless I knew me. :-) Of course, that should be taken with the knowledge that I don't read any on-line journals...