Funny brief version of…

Funny brief version of Pericles -- and the best part, is now I feel like I've actually read the play itself, alleviating some of my English major guilt. :-)

Sent Christophe the check info for Blowfish, yay! Now I just need to do the contracts and I'm done. No, really. I'm not kidding. I'll actually be done with this book which has taken aeons and aeons and aeons.

All my contract templates are lost from the crash, so I'll have to retype a page or two. But who cares? I'm almost doooonnnnne!

Argh. I want to write a…

Argh. I want to write a story today, and there just isn't time. I have a meeting at 6:30, and I've been so slack that I absolutely must go lift weights today (which eats up an hour and a half). So just with those two things, no story writing; I need a minimum of 4 hrs uninterrupted time. Tomorrow. I'm not scheduling anything for tomorrow.

Today, finish Blowfish, finish Silence, finish laundry, finish dishes. All these hanging projects and all this chaos is getting to me. Makes me fretful and cranky.

Did get my tailoring done yesterday, and it was immensely satisfying taking things in two dress sizes. (One dress size for losing weight, one size for buying overly-baggy clothes because I was self-conscious). I didn't go crazy with my wardrobe -- just did three dresses (and three things got hemmed too), since I'm hoping to lose more weight. But it's nice to have more clothes that fit now!

Good dinner afterwards with Kevin's colleague John and partner Vicky (and adorable baby Amelia). Simple but delicious -- roast duck tossed with fresh greens, bell pepper slices, and the nicest tomatoes I've had in a while. Guess good tomatoes are coming back into season, yay! I really need to get in the habit of eating more salads like this; I like them a lot, especially when made with yummy stuff like grilled salmon or shrimp, but they rarely occur to me as meals.

Jeez, I’m so dependent…

Jeez, I'm so dependent on this timeline; yay, David for making me put it together. I'm still finding minor errors, sadly, but they're all correctable so far. I've been reading accounts from women in post-independence Sri Lankan, right around 1948 -- I was thinking that was when the new story would be set, or just before, but when I went and looked at the dates again, it's clear that it needs to be earlier, pre-1942, when Samiksha would be starting at Oxford. What I'm not clear on now is at what point in the colonies they would have realized that something seriously bad was happening over in England. The Battle of Britain was was 1940 -- would it have been then? Earlier, later?

I think I want to set this story before all that breaks out (or when there are only vague rumblings).

Samiksha would just be at university in Colombo in 1939 (and be sixteen years old, one of just a very few girls there), and her parents can be thinking of whether to let her go abroad for further study when she finishes in a few years. (She's super-bright.) That seems plausible, that parents might think about that, that early, right? Or does that not make sense at all?

Btw, I'm pleased to see the convent that will appear prominently in this story (the one from "Sister Mary") has an extensive website, with photos and history. Excellent.

I keep thinking I’m…

I keep thinking I'm ready to send Christophe the check info, and I keep finding one more address missing, or one more SS#. Argh! I've now checked the entire list, and requested all the missing info, and as soon as those last two pieces come in, I swear, I'm immediately sending him the complete list. But this is driving me crazy.

I need to do a tiny bit of editing on the layout guide next, and then I'm going to plunge into the Silence manuscript, I think. Though I also wanted to research some of the Sri Lankan material that I checked out from the library; I feel like I'm almost ready to write this story, but not quite yet. So those are the three upcoming tasks; we'll see what order they end up in...

A little later, I'm planning on going over to Sapna's to borrow her sewing machine and hem up some pants; also have dinner with her and Steve, I think. Oh, my life, it is exciting. Hemming pants! Woohoo!

Hi, guys. A little…

Hi, guys. A little mopey because yesterday the scale claimed I was 139 (under 140!) for the first time in oh, a decade or so, and today it's back at a steady 140. But perhaps that's not surprising, given the lack of exercise in the last two days and the utter delectability of last night's dinner at Beth and David's (veggies with sun-dried tomato dip, glorious cheese, mousse, prosciutto, blood orange slices, cherries, satay with a Malaysian rub and a killer peanut sauce, homemade chili, chicken and cheese tamales, cheesecake with balsamic strawberry sauce, lattes to cap it all off, and good wine throughout). I swear I only had a little bit of each, but it does pile up. I have no regrets. :-)

There is some thought of starting an ethnic potluck dinner series here in Chicago, for the foodies. Probably not until I get back from travelling in September, though. Someone remind me then.

On another note entirely, the Nebulas have been announced for this year. Yay, Karen! Yay, Neil! I love both their texts. I hear the novel winner is good too, but I haven't read it yet.

Had a lot of good intense talking with Karen (different Karen), and I'm very glad she came down, but now I'm feeling a mite stressed about deadlines and work. I have few real deadlines, but several really ought to get done deadlines. I'll try to power through one or two of them today. I think I'm going to withdraw the story I have at SciFiction and just put it in my new book; if I get that manuscript done really quick, and Zak does the cover art really quick, then we might actually have the book ready by WisCon, and be able to sell it at the SLF dealer's table. Fingers crossed...

I got slashdotted –…

I got slashdotted -- though since I don't keep track of server traffic, I don't actually have any idea whether my general traffic went up. What's funny are their responses to the question: they either address it in technical terms, from the user pov (which is fine for them, but obviously not for the majority of users, who would have no clue how to do what they describe), or they appear completely anti-work-surfing. Which makes me think most of them aren't office workers with long stretches of dead time at their desks when nobody cares if they surf the net and shop. :-)

Odd tunnel vision of geeks. But I suppose geeks are the Slashdot audience. None of those who have posted so far are interested in the broader questions at all; they're not about engaging to effect social change on this issue (or even debating whether it's necessary), they're about either avoiding engaging with the societal rules entirely, bypassing them, (presumably because they shouldn't apply to those technically savvy enough to get around them), or blithely obeying them. Funny.

I'm not particularly worried about the issue raised, btw -- I figure plenty of people manage to find me anyway. But it's interesting, in an abstract sense. There was a bit there about dynamic blacklisting that did sound like it might offer a technical solution eventually, but I didn't really understand it.

(I feel like I should note in case any of the slashdot people make it over here to the journal that the word 'geek' above is not intended in a pejorative sense. I live with a mathematician. I am a certified geek groupie, even if I am utterly inadequate in geekiness myself. A broken computer makes me want to huddle in a corner and cry, rather than try to fix it. But I do hand code most of my HTML, and I use pine for my e-mail, and I can even barely navigate my way through the man pages. So I'm not utterly hopeless, I hope. :-)

So I was virtuous and…

So I was virtuous and went to the library, yay me! Found about a dozen books, skimmed through them, took a few notes from the ones I wasn't bringing home, sorted out the half-dozen that were most relevant, had Kevin check them out for me, and now I'm home again, home again, with absolutely no desire to go out again. But there's still the pool to consider. Hmm... Lunch first, and more tea; can't think straight on only 200 calories. :-)

Duckling was on sale Monday (Easter leftover, I imagine), only $10! So last night Kevin made roast duck with orange sauce, and we have leftovers. Yay, lunch!

Hey, munchkins. So,…

Hey, munchkins. So, it's suddenly gotten beautiful here -- yesterday was 70 degrees and breezy (one of my favorite kinds of weather), today is sunny and 80, and apparently it'll stay that way all weekend. Maybe I'll take Karen down to the Point tomorrow; she still hasn't seen some of my favorite Chicago places...

I'm extremely waffly about what I'm going to do today. She's arriving around dinnertime, so I could actually go to that panel -- but I don't really want to haul my butt up there. How lazy am I? I have a pile of e-mail, mostly SLF membership stuff, so I could just stay here and work on that. I might possibly have enough info to start drafting the new story, so I could try to write that. Or I could get dressed and go into campus with Kevin and actually do that library research I was planning on. I'd have to find the piece of paper with all the books listed first, but it's around here somewhere. And I ought to get to the gym at some point too - hey, it's warm enough for swimming now. (It's warm enough for swimming all year, 'cause the pool is indoors and heated, but somehow I didn't feel like it in the winter.)

Choices, choices. I was talking to Karina yesterday and she was all full of admiration for the weight loss and the getting an agent etc. Aside from that killer hard drive crash, I've had a very good 2004 so far. And I have to say, it's all thanks to Kev. His saying I didn't need to get a job this year has freed up my time enormously, so that I have the energy to spend eight hours a week at the gym, and the mental space to deal with all the little career things that a writer's life includes. Stuff that usually just slides by me, like applying to contests and the like.

Suzy Charnas told us at Clarion that the best way to manage your finances as a writer is to have a supportive spouse -- even after publishing twenty books like she did. Not everyone can just go out and sign up such a thing, but if you do have a spouse/partner of some sort, and they appreciate your work, and you've got a day job you really don't care about, maybe it's time to talk to them about taking some time off for a year or two, cutting back on expenses, seeing how much you can get done on your writing. The guilt (at not bringing in a paycheck) is also quite motivating. :-) Keeps you from sitting on your butt all year.

I don’t know how many of…

I don't know how many of you follow the comments, but we're having a really interesting class discussion in this comments thread. Jed will be instituting a new tracking system for most recent comments soon, so that should help with this kind of thing.

Running around today -- I need to take some stuff to the post office, and go to the gym, and pick up my backpack from a cafe (where I forgot it several nights ago because I'm a dork), and possibly get up to Northwestern to hear Chip Delany give a lecture at 4:30. The timing may be a bit tight to manage that, though; it takes a good half hour just to get up there, never mind finding the right building and so on. We'll see. Chip and Sheree are on a panel Friday, but Karen's coming down Friday afternoon (yay!) to spend the night, so the panel timing probably won't work out. Is okay; I'm actually less interested in the reading/panel than I am in just seeing them, and I think their schedules are too tight to allow that this trip. Ah well.

The plot is starting to come together in bits and pieces on the new story; reading the Selvadurai is really helping place me in the right mental space.

Oh, shit -- I just remembered that I also have to file my taxes today. I'm almost certain that the government owes me money (rather than vice versa), but I'd better actually run the numbers and check before I try to do anything else today.

Kevin was virtuous and finished his part of the taxes last night. He owed the government quite a bit, which has now been paid, and which has wiped out our reserves for the nonce. Is okay; no home decorating projects for a few months, and we'll avoid eating out. We're still fine, especially since July/August, I should be able to live off the amount they're paying me to teach (especially since I'm planning on imposing on David and Jed rather than paying rent in the Bay Area).

We can even afford to keep going with the personal trainer, although as of last week, we've cut back to every other week. The plan is to do that through the end of June, and then cancel the gym membership and trainer for the months I'll be away, and then reassess when I get back in September. I'm usually absolutely horrible about diet and exercise while travelling, but I'm going to try to be better this time around. We'll see. I didn't actually lose any weight last week, which is a little disappointing. Have to be more careful about calorie-counting this week. Artichoke hearts on toast for lunch -- 50 cent meal, and about 200 calories. Yum.