Hey Genius!

You forgot to wear pants!
Ha ha! Made you look!

September 28, 2005

Yes, but is it Art?

9/28/2005 10:42:00 p.m.

Or actually, is it Literature?

I've started a short story that I think will end up being submitted to the lit mags when (if) I finish it. The title is "Sons and Daughters of the Builder", and the first paragraph (still first draft) is
Whenever people ask me if my father is God, I say no. I learned a long time ago that the true answer—"maybe"—was an opening for any number of further questions, questions I didn't have the answers to.

I have no idea where it's headed. Well, that's not true; I have some ideas, but I haven't picked a direction yet. My biggest fear is that it'll wind up being too spec.fic. for the Literary Journals, dahling, but too lit.fic. for the SF pulps, dude.

Siding continues apace. The south wall is now blue from bottom to top again; soffits & fascia will go up tomorrow. Then the only part left to tackle will be the west wall, up above the kitchen roof. We hope to be done by the weekend.

On the other hand, Greg Knauss's Devil's Dictionary v2.0 defines schedule as A fairy tale with a happy ending, told by the optimistic to the ignorant. So I'm hesitant to be too firm about end dates and ETAs and et ceteras.

Laters, gators!

September 26, 2005

The weekend

9/26/2005 09:10:00 p.m.

We went to Winnipeg this weekend. Had a lovely time. We saw Batman Begins at the Imax, went to the museum (my favourite display remains the Nonsuch), headed over to the Forks, and wandered the Bears on Broadway, which are the result of a Cancer Care Manitoba fundraiser.

I've got a bunch of photos on my Flickr site, right about here.

Siding: continues. Soon we'll be done. Soon.

September 23, 2005

Siding (6)

9/23/2005 09:45:00 p.m.

We're breaking for the weekend; then we'll be in the home stretch. We're at the point where we need the scaffolding to be fifteen feet high. The theory is that while we're up there, we'll put in the soffits & fascia too.

My wife and I are going to the Big City this weekend. (And what's that say about where I live, that a city of 600,000 or so is the Big City?) Just a break from the house, and the end of my vacation. Monday I'm back to work, so siding—for me—will be relegated to evenings, before sundown.

How's everyone else doing?

September 21, 2005

That old double-edged sword

9/21/2005 07:33:00 p.m.

The downside to submitting stories to potential markets electronically is that you can get rejected pretty damn fast. The upside to submitting electronically is that you can get rejected fast, so you're not sitting for three months, wondering.

Neo-Opsis didn't want "Outside, Looking In". Apparently the story was too sneaky and underhanded:
[It] seems to be done in an artsy style that keeps the reader guessing about what is really happening. This style can make it difficult for some readers to get into a story. Often readers need some thread to hold onto, something they can understand and relate to, that will take them through the unusual.

Well, that's kind of my style. I like to play my cards close to my vest, as they say.

Oh well. On to the next one.

Later—Submitted to Son & Foe. Hopefully it goes well...

September 19, 2005


9/19/2005 09:56:00 p.m.

I've submitted "Outside, Looking In" to Neo-Opsis. Wish me luck!

September 18, 2005

Siding (5)

9/18/2005 08:34:00 p.m.

My house is turning blue again. That is all.

September 16, 2005

New story

9/16/2005 11:24:00 p.m.

Well, a new version of an old story. I've been revamping "Fimbulvetr", and parts I-III are up here, with part IV yet to be completed. Let me know what you think. (Gabrielle, if you're still out there, you might like this one...)

That was fast

9/16/2005 07:51:00 p.m.

Outside, Looking In has been rejected again. Lenox Ave. had nice things to say ("Honestly, it's a beautifully told story"), but it didn't quite match up with what they're looking for. On to the next one.

Is it bad form to write a thank-you note for quick turnaround and kind comments? I hope not, 'cause I did.

Tomorrow we should be able to start putting siding on. Tomorrow.

September 15, 2005


9/15/2005 10:51:00 p.m.

I've finally finished Accelerando, Charles Stross's novel. For those that want a look, it's available via a Creative Commons license—just click on the link.

It's the story of four generations of the Macx family (I think; things get a little tangled, what with the clones and the eigenfamilies and the ghosts and whatnot) and their varied adventures, on Earth, in the outer system, and flitting 'twixt the stars, on either side of the Technological Singularity. I enjoyed it. It was a fast-paced story, full of breathless momentum and nudge-nudge wink-wink references for the übergeeks that are most certainly the book's target audience. (I think I fall at the middle of this particular geek spectrum, somewhere in the range of visible light in the electromagnetic analog. I get most of the jokes, and I contributed to the wiki for the book. (A low-end geek would know about the wiki; a high-end geek would have created the wiki.))

What's it about? Well, it's about 150,000 words. Beyond that, words fail, but I'll try. It's about Manfred Macx, his IRS auditor-cum-fiancée-cum-dominatrix-cum-wife-ex Pamela, the music mafiya, the continuously upgraded robot cat Aineko, a time-sharing semi-parasitic borganism, slavery in Jupiter orbit, the Vile Offspring, lobsters hacking the Universe, the next generation of economics (and the one after that), and a raft of other ideas. It's a complex tapestry* of ideas, in fact, a dizzy slide of ideas and concepts that threatens to overwhelm any thread of story, but never quite does.

I enjoyed it. I plan to hunt down Stross's previous novel, Singularity Sky, and see what it's like. Someday, too, I'll re-read Accelerando, possibly on my PDA, more likely in treeware form, so that I can see all the little things I missed on my first time through.

Currently reading: The Last Light of the Sun, by Guy Gavriel Kay. It's set about 1,000 years ago, in a Northern Europe only thinly disguised by slightly different names for peoples and places (Erlings for Vikings/Norsemen, Anglcyn for the English, Cyngael for the Welsh, for instance). So far it's interesting; I'm about a third of the way in, and it's holding my interest well. There are precious few "fantasy" moments so far, just an encounter with a fairy and a premonition of psychic powers in one character. Otherwise it's a pretty straight-ahead view of what life must've been like in 1000AD in the north of Europe. Gabrielle, if you're reading this, you might like this one.

I'm itching to re-read The Dark Tower, especially the last few pages, where... well... where fifteen years of reading culminated for me in a scene that brought me near to tears. Even just thinking about it, I'm gettin' misty. (Well, not really. But it's still a big emotional moment.)

Anyways. That's enough for now. More siding updates in the days ahead, I predict.

À bientôt!


* "The word 'tapestry' as used here means 'An ugly piece of cloth too thin to be used as a blanket and too large to be used as a handkerchief'." —Lemony Snicket

Siding (4)

9/15/2005 07:53:00 p.m.

So. Siding arrived at about 8AM. Insulation on the north wall proceeds apace. We need about two more full sheets on the second layer (we're achieving 2-inch foam by using 2 layers of 1-inch foam, offset at the seams to dissuade wind), then we can take down the scaffolding and get started on actually putting up the siding. The end's not in sight yet, but it's actually starting to look like we might finish this job.

Mmmm, suppertime. Gotta fly!

Later—So yeah. My father spent most of his day up the scaffolding, measuring and nailing, while I was on the ground, serving as sawyer. We've got a custom-ground jigsaw blade to cut the foam, and it works a treat, let me tell you.

I got pretty good at slicing and dicing the insulation, if I do say so myself. Most of the pieces fit nice and snug, and there were some complicated shapes, thanks to windows and the occasional board not hanging quite square and true.

My feet hurt. It's been a long time since I've spent this much time each day on my feet, and I can tell.

September 14, 2005

Siding (3)

9/14/2005 11:11:00 p.m.

It never ends.

Today: we rented scaffolding. We've got the front done, the south side done, the back done, and the north side about ½ done. (And when I say done, I mean covered in white foam insulation to a depth of two inches.) (Well, one inch on the south side.)

The siding? Promised today. Didn't show up. It's somewhere in town, though. Tomorrow AM I'm going to call and yell at my salesguy some more. Never doing business there again.

Yesterday was our eighth anniversary. K's parents—my parents are already here, helping with the siding—came out and we all sat down to a roast beast supper. Mmmm... mashed potatoes and gravy...

Then we had a rousing game of yatzhe, which I got my butt kicked at, and some Blew It, which I got kicked at too.

And that was that.

September 12, 2005

Siding (2)

9/12/2005 10:34:00 p.m.

  • Siding is ordered. Should be here tomorrow or Wednesday.

  • Got the whole house wrapped eight feet high in one-inch foam board. Tomorrow: the second level, I guess.

In the news—Brian Mulroney is the greatest self-promoting megalomaniac since Sir John A. MacDonald:
his legacy as the greatest prime minister since John A. Macdonald.

Dear BM, there's a reason that Will Ferguson put you in both categories in his groundbreaking work Bastards and Boneheads, which, for those of you that don't know, is a survey of Canada's prime ministers, one which points out that every prime minister we've had since 1867 was either a bastard or a bonehead.

Tonight at judo: Me and X (yes, that's her real initial) did some lazy uchi-komi, then I stretched out her arms with waki-gatame and ude-hishigi-juji-gatame. Then I came home and came within two points of getting skunked at crib by my wife and my mother.

Later, Jetsons!


9/12/2005 12:26:00 a.m.

Submitted "Outside, Looking In" to Lenox Ave. Wish me luck!


9/12/2005 12:17:00 a.m.

We're re-siding the house, so I'll probably be a little bit sparse on here.

Here's the progress for day one:

Things I've learned:

- Just because the guy says he ordered the damn siding doesn't mean he actually ordered the damn siding.
- The Large Orange Home Store has a fine sense of irony. As I wander about, trying to find the guy who half an hour ago went to check something on the computer for me, vanishing like mist on a hot morning, the PA announced that "if you need help, just ask anyone with an orange smock. They're there to help." Sure. If you can find them, anyways.


September 07, 2005

After the weekend

9/07/2005 06:31:00 p.m.

Well, we had a good BBQ weekend. I got hooked on Monday when Space ran all the episodes of Firefly all in a row. I watched about four of them, all told, throughout the day.

There was much drinking on Sunday, and some unhappy fallout on Monday morning, but the less said about that the better.

School started today. My wife was a little harried at work last night, working as she does in the shoe section at the local iteration of the largest retail conglomerate on the planet. Shoes and stationery were not departments I'd've wanted to work yesterday. But she survived, and even escaped from the store relatively close to on time.

And at the university where I work, well, they were everywhere. Every year, the first day of classes is a little overwhelming. In the spring, when classes end, they kind of trickle away, by ones and twos and dozens, depending on when they have their last exams, etc. But in the fall, boom, one day they're all there. The university goes from a population of about 400ish to 3500 in the space of a day.

I need to lie down.

But I won't, because judo starts tonight. Wonder how many'll show up?

[Later] Answer: seven. Me, two blackbelts, three brand-new guys, and a gent who got his black belt in Japan, from the Kodokan, but who didn't have all his documentation, so that's got to be sorted out...

September 03, 2005

The BBQ weekend

9/03/2005 10:17:00 a.m.

Lisa (reading)"Come to Homer's BBBQ, the extra 'B' is for BYOBB".
BartWhat's that extra B for?
HomerThat's a typo.

So this Sunday we're having some folks over for a barbecue (BYOBB, you bet), and then on Monday evening my wife's cow-orkers are having a get-together featuring a barbecue too. To make the trifecta, I'll be barbecuing tonight. It's getting down to the end of the summer, after all, and soon there won't be enough heat in the day to make me want to cook out on the deck.

I've pulled out a bag of hamburger (my in-laws have cattle, and so I have little plastic bags of ground beef in my freezer) and I'm trying to decide if the burgers I make for tonight will be spiced with the Cajun spice mix I got for Christmas from my sister, or if I'll go the salsa route instead. Decisions, decisions...

September 01, 2005

One for Doug

9/01/2005 09:48:00 p.m.

...or maybe Karen, his wife.

Last night I caught the last half of The Nature of Things on CBC. It was, specifically, this episode, and so naturally I thought of you two. It was a fascinating show, and even in the half hour that I saw I learned a couple of things. (I didn't realize, for instance, that the tarantula has existed for 350,000,000 years.)

I don't see anywhere on the site where you can order copies of the episode, or transcripts, but if you're interested, you might try emailing them from their "Contact" link. (Be aware, though, that CBC is currently experiencing a "labour disruption*" and you might wait a while before getting a response.)

*Or maybe the term is "employee lockout." Guess it depends on what side of the picket line you fall. All I know for sure is that all my news now comes from BBC World Service, and September's program lineup includes a whole lotta documentary films.

All right

9/01/2005 07:31:00 p.m.

I'm tired of waiting for .geek to recover. They've been down for over 168 hours now, and so...

Unfortunately, I can't seem to get in to retrieve the stuff I've got in their database. I don't have a recent dump of the stuff. So I've been forced to restart Fantômes from scratch.

The first offerings? My first two "Gunslinger Esau" stories, both initially written for Fantasy challenges at The Writers' BBS.