Feeling all virtuous…

Feeling all virtuous because I'm doing my entry and it's only 10:00.

Very pleasant day yesterday. Worked hard, cleared off my desk, dealt with a bunch of old mail (yes, Brian, I'm getting to yours today :-), went over to Dave's after work and had yummy dinner (remember that crepes recipe? Well, we took chunks of chicken, onion and red and green pepper, sauteed them with this packet of fajita spices he had, and wrapped them in crepes. Tortillas definitely work better (thicker and hold the stuff together better), but it was a very good improvisation, nonetheless. :-)

Basically spent the evening talking, occasionally reading more P.D. James, and watching Party of Five. Good episode. They did this sweet thing where one character was writing a fairy tale, which they did as a voice over (not very well-written, but that's ok, it's in character), in which the couple lives happily ever after -- while in the meantime you're seeing them (Justin and Julia) breaking up in real life. Nicely carried off. They've got some damn good writers working on this show. Next week is the 2 hour season finale. :-)

Got a really neat letter from a soldier stationed in Bosnia. It amazes me that people there are reading my pages.

Hey, everyone. Slow on…

Hey, everyone. Slow on the diary today -- sorry! (Funny how I feel guilty now if I don't do an entry early...I hate to think of people checking in and finding nothing new...).

So the meeting last night was actually intriguing. A web publisher interested in writers for a new type of interactive erotic fiction. Any writers out there interested in further details should drop me a line.

Other than that, very quiet evening (watched a little tv), read a Dorothy Gilman mystery (I love the Mrs. Pollifax books -- absolutely adore them. An elderly lady who goes to the CIA and asks to become a spy...) and started a P.D. James mystery, Original Sin, so far good, but very dense. Her books have so much detail -- it's amazing. I'd never have the patience to write that much detail.

Going to Dave's for dinner tonight (and watching of my show, which had better be on this week!). Ran into a very funny article and added it to my pages -- you should read it if you've ever started going to the gym again after too long without exercise.

3:00 - Casey (a reader) sent me a neat senryu (oops, can't remember the author think it's anonymous 19th century) -- thought I'd pass it along:

When you're trying to get it
unwound in bed,
nothing's longer than a kimono sash!

Morning! (Actually, it’s…

Morning! (Actually, it's afternoon, but let's pretend...)

I've been on the weirdest schedule lately. Going to bed around 9 pm (instead of my standard 11-12) and getting up around 5-6 am. Actually seems like it might be good for me -- for no good reason I tend to be in a much better mood during daylight hours. Maybe I'll keep it up.

Went to dance class yesterday! Good for me. :-) Am sore and achy but not actually in serious pain -- an improvement from last time. Maybe I'm slowly getting back into shape? The class is now going to meet twice a week, which is exciting. So next Thursday I'd better go. If you're in the Philly area and interested in beginner jazz, this is a great class with a fabulous teacher -- Koresh dance center, 6:00 Mon and Thurs.

Other than that, not much to report. Read an awful trashy romance yesterday, Love and Splendour. The only reason I read it was a) for the first half of the book I was stuck downtown with nothing else to read and b) because having gotten that far, I felt like I had to finish it, even after coming home to my groaning bookshelves. Ah well -- at least I only paid 75 cents for it. Anyone want it?

Only other real news is that a) I'm meeting with a friend of a friend tonight who claims he has a 'business opportunity' for me -- I'll tell you about it if it turns out to be interesting, and b) I decided that in addition to the exercise, I should probably cut down my fat intake if I want to be truly pumped. Anyone know the fat count on a slice of whole wheat bread, an egg, and a cranberry muffin? (You'd think there'd be a good chart on the web somewhere, but I haven't even been able to find a basic one).

2:00 - Hey, the other poem I wrote yesterday, Blue Spring Thinking, has just been accepted for the April issue of MAKAR, that webzine I mentioned yesterday. Coolness. Talk about immediate gratification. :-)

Oh, and to modify what I was complaining about, there is a semi-decent nutrition chart maintained by the USDA -- it's only problem, is that most of its values are giving per 100 grams, not per reasonable serving. Bit of a nuisance, but better than nothing...

Hey, everyone. Very lazy…

Hey, everyone. Very lazy weekend -- hung out, cleaned my apartment, did some origami, read a bunch of stuff (Akira comics - fun paranoid Japanese post-holocaust sf stuff), Austen's Pride and Prejudice - I keep meaning to go see that movie -- it's probably out of theatres already, but the book was a satiric delight, as always with Austen, and Delany's Tales of Neveryon -- pure pleasure, as always when reading Delany (I wrote my BA thesis basically on him); this particular book of short stories combines masterful storytelling with philosophy and worldbuilding), made potato gnocchi (I used a recipe similar to the first one in the list on this page) which I will never do again unless I have several people to help -- my recipe said to knead well, and even though I halved the recipe, it was a lot of work.

Had a couple people over to brunch Sunday, then went to Amy's for Irish folk singing and her yummy colcannon (baked potato, cabbage and cheese -- trust me, it's good) in celebration of St. Patrick's day (not that any of us were Irish :-).

Basically a good though lazy weekend (I was feeling virtuous, having mailed out six grad school apps in the week before), except for Saturday night, when for no good reason I sunk into the worst funk I've been in in years. Felt as if the world was a horrible place, love never lasts, friendship is fleeting, etc. and so on, you know how it goes. I was fine in the morning, and I really have no idea what brought that on. Glad I don't feel like that all the time...

Dance class tonight. Yell at me if I don't go. Added two new links to my home page -- electronic rights and Top 100 SF/Fantasy List.

3:00 - Wrote a new poem: The Case Against Entropy, Take 2 (or 200, or 2 million)

Castles in the air, you accuse. Don't I know that
Yesterday was never as sweet as remembered; childhood
Nights are full of monsters and schoolyard bully fears.
Ice cream is fattening. Love is entangling. And
Charities skim off at least 98%. Be brave! Face the facts!
All dreams must die, you claim. But I pull you to me,
Laughing. Bravery, I whisper, is dreaming in spite of it all.

4:00 - Just read a lovely story in the March issue of MAKAR -- check out Michael Gates's "Sleep".

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.