41 Hours

Sep. 2nd, 2008 03:52 pm
giantsloth: (Default)
That's how long we spent in Maryland. (Note: this post contains no nut jokes.) The only two bummers of our weekend in Maryland were a) it was too brief and b) some jerk stole the Obama '08 magnet off of my car in the parking lot at the Maryland You-know-what Festival. It was, of course, wonderful to be in the sixteenth century and to see BeerPam, the Captain, [livejournal.com profile] pyratelady, [livejournal.com profile] skivee, [livejournal.com profile] terribleturnip[livejournal.com profile] thatliardiego, and all the rest of the fine folks there. We caught a lot of Pyrates sets, watched the end-of-day London Broil show, went to the pubsing that Dinty emceed with aplomb, and spent the rest of the time eating and shopping and talking to people. One pleasant surprise was seeing Lady Merilee Effingham there. We asked her to tell us a gruesome story and what did she choose to relate but "The Juniper Tree," which coincidentally is the same fairytale that my unindicted co-conspirator John Kessel used as the basis for his story (of the same name) set on the moon.

Other high points: supper at a great Mexican/Spanish restaurant in Annapolis, Jalapeno's (no, I don't know how to put a tilde in here and I'm not going to waste time trying to figure it out). And hearing a preview of "White Squall" from Dinty on Monday.

Senior Citizens' Day is known by other appellations at the festival, but the audiences I saw were (mostly) not duds, and it was pretty heartwarming to see a big crowd of older folks getting into the spirit of things, laughing at the jokes and having fun. (And when the pub crowd was less than enthusiastic, it was also pretty heartwarming to see Skivee's brother down front, exhorting them to sing along.) [livejournal.com profile] barbmg and I overheard a little old man outside the gate, talking in a heavy accent on his cellphone, carefully explaining to someone that he was at "that festival where people dress up." Good times.

giantsloth: (Default)
This story, first published in 2002, is up for your perusal at Strange Horizons. I'm glad those folks wanted to reprint it. That is all.
giantsloth: (Default)
Or not. But it did make me ell oh ell. It's funny because it's true! My good but invisible friend Mr. G-Cent passed this along.

The Barbecue Song
giantsloth: (Default)
The Omnivore's Hundred is a list of foods that Andrew Wheeler thinks everyone should try at least once in their lives (via [profile] madkestrel).

It's a weird list, part cuisine world tour, and part "ooh, how challenging and adventurous!" I'm not a big fan of the latter mindset, but anyway....

giantsloth: (Default)
Why yes, I do have a survival kit. And what a survival kit it is.

We just got back from pretending to be urban sophisticates in the ever-more-revitalized downtown area. Had swanky, expensive, good-but-salty supper at Poole's Luncheonette. Plunked a note on an old broken-down piano that once was played by Cab Calloway (and many others). Looked at some art, or rather, "art."

It's a good thing we did not need compass or flint and steel, because I forgot to take my survival kit.
giantsloth: (Default)
Here's me in my now-rare guise as architecture journalist, typing about a big red house.

And for those of you who plan to attend Readercon 2008, here's my schedule there. I hadn't planned on doing any programming at all, but:

Friday 12:00 Noon, ME/ CT: Discussion (60 min.)

The Sycamore Hill Conspiracy, or How Bad Stories Go Good. Gregory Frost (L) with Richard Butner, F. Brett Cox, Andy Duncan, Theodora Goss, Gavin J. Grant, James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, Jonathan Lethem, Michaela Roessner, Christopher Rowe, _et al_

How did one particular peer workshop started by John Kessel in Raleigh, NC way back in 1985 produce remarkable and frequently award-winning fiction? What's it like to workshop a story when everyone in the room is an invited author of note? Does a workshop at this level use the standard Clarion techniques, or does it have its own style? Veterans of the Sycamore Hill conference tell all. [Since there are far too many SycHillers at the Con to fit on a panel, the plan is to have a bunch of them sit in a half-circle in front of the panelist's table and have plenty of contributions from the audience.]

Friday 8:00 PM, ME/ CT: Panel

F&SF + MFA > 0. Richard Butner, Andy Duncan, James Patrick Kelly (L), John Kessel, Sandra McDonald, Michaela Roessner

We all know that writing f&sf is taught at specialized workshops like Clarion, but you can also go to school and get an MFA in creative writing in the genre. James Patrick Kelly and his frequent collaborator John Kessel have taught writing at this level, and they're joined by four of their students. How does teaching students who are already accomplished writers differ from teaching the newbies at Clarion? Why devote so much time to polishing your craft in an academic setting when most of your peers are managing without it?
giantsloth: (Default)
Here's a draft of a recent story, processed by Wordle. This toy is way too much fun.

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I will skip the meme-ing and tagging and get straight into seven songs I've been listening to lately.

1. "Admiral Cole," Alasdair Roberts. I've been on an Alasdair Roberts kick for almost a year now. This is one of the peppier tunes, but it's still about a sea voyage that, uh, doesn't go very well. Also known as "The Bold Benjamin."

2. "Little Queenie," Jerry Lee Lewis. Yeah, it's a Chuck Berry song, but the Killer does a revved up version of it. (As do the Stones, heck, as does the Velvet Underground.)

3. "Amphetamine," Peter Laughner. The Rocket from the Tombs reunion show and CD were great, but nobody sings "take the guitar player for a ride" like the guy who wrote it back in that strange time known as the 1970s. RIP.

4. "Focus On Sanity," Ornette Coleman. The Atlantic recordings boxed set is my default writing music. I can't have lyrics being sung when I'm trying to type words. I can have harmolodic saxophone, though.

5. "Oh Yoko!" John Lennon. Watched RUSHMORE for the first time in ages a few weeks back. For all its flaws, I still love many, many moments in that movie. Including all the soundtrack stuff, before that particular Anderson move got tired (although I will give him "Search and Destroy" in THE LIFE AQUATIC, no problem).

6. 'One More Minute," Chatham County Line. Local bluegrass boys make with the yearning.

7. "Blues Run the Game," Jackson C. Frank. OK, so this list sucks, because there are only males on it. Mea culpa. But I will end with this one, because it's So True. Maybe it shouldn't be, or doesn't have to be, though.
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Or not. We're back. Too many great people, not enough time. As usual, I saw old friends and met a couple of really cool new ones. And it didn't help that norovirus, or whatever it was, was selectively felling people I wanted to chat with. I have managed to avoid the plague so far, although I had a brief scare on Monday probably more related to spicy Thai food and to my ability to psych myself out. For the record, dinner each night was: tapas, tapas, Thai, sushi. Also for the record, [profile] sarah_prineas has  some really cool shoes of Spanish leather.

In inside-joke news, Niobium is a real element, o ye of little faith.

Instead of talking about any of the bad craziness, I will instead direct your attention to this baby sloth video (via Christopher).

Did I mention that there were too many great people, and not enough time?
giantsloth: (Default)
OK, really just five days in between VARF and WisCon 32. And soon enough I'll be in Madison. But I want to be there NOW. Tonight's big excitement includes packing, and doing some final proofing before printing out the 3,000 words of fragmentary somethingness that I'm going to read.

Virginia was a nice getaway, especially with the weather being pleasant instead of sunstroke-inducing. We went to Pyrates sets, caught a few of [personal profile] thatliardiego's shows, looked at stuff for sale but bought nothing. Hummed at the alpacas. Managed to get [personal profile] terribleturnip and the Captain and Brian and Hemloche out with us for Mexican dinner that was not half shabby. Tamales, yum.

VARF's reputation as the Little Fair That Can is well-deserved. I was always surrounded by friendly folks to chat with, including all of the aforementioned plus the talented and charming [profile] pyratelady and all the folks at the greyhound tent. [profile] skivee exhorted us to check out Mike Oldfield's "Five Miles Out." [personal profile] thatliardiego exhorted me to buy a SportKilt. There were other exhortations, mostly about heaving away and hauling away.

I am so, so, so ready to be in the Governor's Club at the Concourse. See some of y'all there.
giantsloth: (Default)
From my good friend codename Sumi, this bit of science news: sloths are not as lazy as previously assumed. Huh. I suppose I should consider this inspiring, or something.

Speaking of doing stuff, here's my Wiscon schedule:

156 Delicate Flowers

Reading ♦ Sunday, 2:30-3:45 P.M. ♦ Conference 2

Christopher Rowe, Richard Butner, Ted Chiang, Karen Meisner

Yep, that's it. Actually, taking a quick gander at the schedule, I am far from alone in doing the reading-but-no-panels thing.

Drink talk

May. 10th, 2008 05:07 pm
giantsloth: (stagg)
I normally prefer classic cocktails and mixed drinks to newfangled concoctions. (Even though I have made up at least one newfangled concoction of my own.) But last night we went to the swanky German restaurant for [profile] barbmg's birthday, and I decided to try what they billed as the German Sazerac. And dang if it wasn't good. Ingredients: whiskey, Cognac, Peychaud's Bitters, caraway syrup and Jagermeister. I'm guessing the whiskey was either Canadian or blended American, probably not the rye that's in a real Sazerac. Adding some Cognac hearkens back to the Sazerac's origins when it and many other cocktails were brandy-based. The Peychaud's is canonical. The German angle comes in with the caraway syrup and the Jagermeister substituting for the sugar and Pernod/Herbsaint/absinthe.

It was, as they say, purty neat.

I doubt I'll try to replicate it at home, but I do think I'll mix up some Sazeracs soon. Especially now that NC ABC has started stocking Sazerac brand rye.
giantsloth: (Default)
This article in the local paper reminds me that I need to spend more time at Western Lanes, the venerable bowling alley near NC State. In the 1990s I was on the receiving end of many a cheap canned beer slid/served by Theresa. I'm glad to hear she's still going strong.

Completely unrelated, a meme that I doubt many folks beyond McLaren will get:

bash-2.05$ history|awk '{print $2}'|sort|uniq -c|sort -rn|head
 189 pine
 121 logout
  52 trn
  52 clear
  25 ls
  21 du
  11 cd
  10 lynx
   3 less
   2 /usr/sbin/ping
giantsloth: (Default)
The North Carolina Renaissance Faire 2008. I was there a bunch. It rained a bunch. But there are still lots of good memories:
giantsloth: (devil)
You know the drill: one word answers only.
1. Where is your mobile phone? pocket
2. Your significant other? hottie
3. Your hair? wavy
4. Your mother? tough
5. Your father? gone
6. Your favorite thing? understanding
7. Your dream last night? unmemorable
8. Your favorite drink? varies
9. Your dream/goal? understanding
10. The room you're in? ceilingless
11. Your ex? silent
12. Your fear? decrepitude
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? happyland
14. Where were you last night? salon
15. What you're not? arrogant
16. Muffins? rarely
17. One of your wish list items? architecture
18. Where you grew up? television
19. The last thing you did? coffee
20. What are you wearing? guayabera
21. Your TV? DVDs
22. Your pets? Boris
23. Your computer? frequently
24. Your life? worthwhile
25. Your mood? distracted
26. Missing someone? definitely
27. Your car? hatchback
28. Something you're not wearing? spats
29. Favorite Store? Hoboken
30. Your summer? inadequate
31. Like someone? duh
32. Your favorite color? poppy
33. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
34. Last time you cried? driving
giantsloth: (devil)
I have been and still am sick with an annoying cold. Nothing more than a blip in the grand scheme of things, but still annoying. A few days lost, a preview of future decrepitudes. If I didn't already know that daytime television sucks rocks, well, now I've been reminded of that. We did get The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in from Netflix, and that was pretty happening. Kind of slow and confusing to begin with (but then again that could've just been the antihistamines) but a great final act.

There was a mallard pair in the creek behind our apartment this morning. Heralds of spring? I sure hope so.

(Post title courtesy SWANS.)
giantsloth: (Default)
First off, to Alain Robbe-Grillet. I learned of his passing at the Ballardian blog. I first read The Erasers because Jim Sallis had mentioned reading Robbe-Grillet in one of his story introductions.  I was hooked quickly, even though I didn't know jack about literary theory or the nouveau roman. If you haven't read any of his stuff, start by renting Last Year at Marienbad. If you like that movie, you'll probably like Robbe-Grillet's writing.

Another much less important goodbye is me saying goodbye to USENET, which I've been reading since 1992. The only newsgroup I paid much attention to lately was alt.music.chapel-hill, and really that's just a mirror of an email list. My Internet provider stopped supporting my shell account long ago, and a couple weeks ago trn just decided I didn't have access to the news server. Tech support refuses to even look at the problem, and I don't have the time to troubleshoot it myself. So, it's as good a point as any to stop reading newsgroups, even though in many ways the setup and etiquette of the best newsgroups is much more advanced than many Web 2.0 sites. Here's to alt.drinks.scotch-whisky, long may you run.
giantsloth: (Default)
Chris Nakashima-Brown posted a list of books that changed his life and tagged me to do the same. I tried to stick mostly with books I read prior to meeting Kessel and falling into the deep end of the sf pool. (Thus there are no women writers in this list, and there are problematic individuals such as Hunter Thompson, which sucks but so it goes.) So, submitted without much comment:

  1. Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones.
  2. Donald Barthelme, City Life.
  3. Alain Robbe-Grillet, The Voyeur.
  4. A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner.
  5. Franz Kafka, The Penal Colony.
  6. Damon Knight, editor, the Orbit anthologies.
  7. Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
  8. Frank Miller and Bill Sienciewicz, Elektra: Assassin.
  9. Barney Rosset, editor, The Evergreen Review Reader.
giantsloth: (Default)
Wow. Kansas City Southern tore down the wildly historic/important Union Tank Car dome. At least the linked newspaper article has the necessary indignant tone. But, indignant tones don't magically bring buildings back. Neither do LJ posts, for that matter. Maybe Kansas City Southern should think about changing their name too, I don't know, Weird Scumbags Incorporated?
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