Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Agony of the Woman in the Booth

There are good things and bad things about doing any convention dealer's room. Some are different from show to show. Others are redundantly the same.

Good things about this show have been the guests. Lots of writers, lots of interesting things being talked about.

Bad things. Long hours. I mean, LONG hours. Noise level of the room is like being on an airplane -- steady hum rising to roar status, the kind that prevents concentration on ANYTHING, the kind that sucks out your will to live. Another dealer with a set of "Crystal" singing bowls or chakra bowls he will play occasionally just to show them off. The noise, done properly in the right setting, can be pleasant and soothing. Coming out of nowhere at odd times in a noisy room, the pitch is peircing and makes me think Aliens are using a mind control device.

Otherwise, the weekend hasn't been fantastic, but tolerable. The hotel room is clean and quiet. We've foraged for food successfully. We haven't lost our parking spots (a real problem, actually). Sales have not been as good as we would like, but that's also typical. We are hoping for a last minute buying rush. We haven't covered costs yet, which is a nervous situation.

Oh, and there's a snow storm expected for tonight and tomorrow. We leave tomorrow morning. It looks like it may follow us down. Wheeeeeee.....

Friday, February 25, 2005

Very Modern

It's a wonderful thing when one travels 12 hours to a convention in Roanake and to check into the Holiday Inn and discover -- tada! -- FREE WIFI THAT COVERS THE WHOLE HOTEL.

No, I mean, really. This is a trip making event. No fighting over Husband's cell phone for crappy dial up just good enough to run credit cards. No having to wait to go back to the room to run a cord to run credit cards. No long boring hours when no one much is in the dealer's room. No CoH withdrawel.

I can write this while in my booth, watching people walk by and not purchase anything. (Actually, for the first day, sales have been wonderful. For the first day. We've paid for the space in the room. Now we have to pay for the hotel, and at least part of the gas for the drive. After that, we start into repaying capital and THEN we get to profit. I'd no idea business was so complicated).

We've seen all manner of semi-famous people. Tim Hildebrandt stood talking to L.E. Modesitt and David Drake in Evil Book Lady's booth next to ours. No doubt John Ringo will wander by at some point. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have wandered over to discuss the difficulties of living in Maine and Florida. It's been pretty good. For a first day.

(dropping all those names is just plain, evil fun. Can't help it. None of them know me from Eve, and probably never will, but it's still fun.)

And without the very modern WIFI, you'd never even know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Watching the Dalai Lama on TV

Another in a long line of obvious truths I hadn't thought about arrived today.

Humans -- as individuals, as groups, as nations -- will blithely do to other humans, groups and nations all manner of things they would not tolerate, understand, or allow to be done to themselves.

The reason is, I think, our lust for power and our deep fear of being powerless in relation to something else. Even if we have only experienced powerlessness in the most universal ways -- not getting our way all the time, facing weather or natural events -- we fear in our depths the idea that we could be powerless, and so we seek power for ourselves at the expense of others, as if this will somehow make us safe and immune.

It doesn't, but the breakdown in logic is hidden in denial.

Ya hear me, George?

Monday, February 21, 2005

I talk to the cats, the cats do not hear....

Not only do I talk to my cats, but I have semantical, rhetorical and philosophical discussions with them. For instance...

There is a "No Kitties on the Dining Room Table" rule, with a codicile of "When She Who Must Be Circumvented Is Home". In general, they abide, and when they don't, a sharp word and a casual wave of the water spray bottle suffices. That is, until now. NOW they are looking for loopholes.

Last week I got stuff from Amazon and left the open, empty box on the dining room table. I walk in later to find Bea -- the cute, fuzzy-baby cat -- in the box. I yelled her name in the special "WTF are you DOING?" voice that usually sends her skittering high speed in a random direction.

She casually glanced over her shoulder at me.

Bea:"What?"
Me: "You are on the TABLE!"
Bea:"I'm in a box. "
Me: "YOU are on the TABLE!"
Bea:"I'm in a box. I am allowed in boxes. I have a RIGHT to be in a box."
Me: "YOU ARE ON THE TABLE."
Bea:"I am in a BOX. Do you not see me in the box? I am cute in a box."
Me: "The BOX is on the table, therefore YOU are on the table."
Bea:"No, the BOX is on the table and I am IN THE BOX."

At which time I dumped both her and the box off the table.

So, no, you need never fear I will ridicule you for talking to your cat...even if you lose the arguement...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Safety Warning

Happily, although I have about 200+ LPs from my misspent, pre-CD youth, I do not own anything that appears in the Museum of bad album covers: the worst album covers ever!. I do have a couple of Tijuana Brass albums, but they are innocuous, as cover art goes.

Of course, CD cover art lacks a lot, too....mostly the ability to SEE the artwork wthout a magnifying glass. Those of you too young to have memories of staring at mysterious album art while listening to equally mysterious lyrics booming from your combo turntable/cassette player/FM radio stereo set have missed a basic part of life...ELO may not have been the most incredible music to come out of the 70's, but the "Out of the Blue" album cover was sweet indeed.

Hey, I was 12 then.

(blame the Irish)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Advantages

I've been contemplating the many advantages I have as a straight girl in a gay chorus. There are some, honestly.

First, gay men in general smell better. I learned this when I was 16. Gay men will go to the good counter in the department store and test every single bottle of cologne -- including some for women -- until they find THE smell. And then they wear just enough to make your heart skip a little beat when you hug them.

Husband will wear what I buy him, or will go to WalMart and find Stetson or something -- which is fine, but...it just ain't the same thrill. I'm smell conscious.

Second, there are many fine looking men in the chorus, all of whom I am free to appreciate without any obligation whatsoever. If I admire straight men, well, it can get complicated for a number of reasons. Gay men really don't care. They just want to hear how beautiful you think they are. I can do that.

Third, gay men will hug and kiss for just no reason at all. They will tell you that you look beautiful even if you are pretty sure they are bullshitting you, but they will certainly SOUND sincere. Since they aren't trying to get you into bed, you can just take the compliment and run.

Now, I should mention there are many gay women in the chorus (known as lesbians, in the complicated language of sexual politics, although they are still gay, "Gay" means a guy and a lesbian doesn't usually carry a purse...and it gets really complicated). I like lesbians, I should mention. They know how to flirt, for one thing, and they know you can flirt and not mean an damn thing by it. They are very commitment oriented.

Gay people, in general, are as diverse as straight people, even considering that there is a whole range of orientations if you use the Kinsey Scale. Some guys are what I call "Twee" -- not flaming, but gay with matching throwpillows and a dust ruffle; not squealling and mincing, but with the ability to go from John Wayne to Liberace with the right music. Others are mucho macho, others are two ovaries away from being women with plumbing issues. It's fasinating -- and fairly disturbing to preconceived notions. And, what's even more fun, is that despite the chorus being majority male, we are all just "the girls". Work THAT one out.

One member of the chorus I will call The Bod. He's in his mid-late fifties, but from the neck down he's 25, and ooooo what a 25 he is. And I can look all I want. I can even give him backrubs without any worries at all.

Just one of the advantages of being in a gay chorus.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Nothing has changed.

So far, 40 feels just like 39, only with more stuff.

I have something I wanted to post here, only I've been too lazy to actually mess withit. It involves scanning something. The scanner is right over there. I just have to plug the laptop into it and do it. Feh. And deal with the stupid scanner software which I don't think is reloaded on my laptop since last year's Hard Drive Disaster.

So that will wait.

See? Nothing has changed.

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Haul

Three books on writing. One book on the art of Japanese Rope Bondage (it's got great bookshelf shock value and the pictures are...interesting). Two CDs. Bottles of wine, all drunk at the party (which is just fine). Another cat figurine for my collection. A beautiful rose gold ring. Lovely earrings. Chocolate (Lindt Truffles!). TWO -- count 'em! -- TWO Amazon Gift Certificates which have been converted into DVDs and books that are winging their way to me even as I type.

I am loved.

In other news, I'm still working on this...*sigh*...somehow embarrassing project. I might as well confess and lose any credibility I have, as if I ever had any. I'm writing a comic book. Yeah, yeah, I know, shut up. It's probably a manga style book, probably 12 issues, possibly 24. I've run it by an artist friend who's been doing the comic thing for a while and he says the script is tight, very clear, and the story is good.

It's still a story. I'm writing. It is much harder in some ways than writing regular fiction. Instead of writing exposition and narration, I'm describing scenes to an artist. Rather than prosing about the nuance of voice and emotion, facial expression and body language, I have to convey that to someone else so they can DRAW it. And my dialog gets a lot less wiggle room. Dialog has to be as realistic as print can stand. Happily, comics allow much more natural speech, since sound effects are built in.

Now I'm faced with a new problem. I have to find an artist. My friend has too many projects right now to even consider asking him (although his style is fairly close to what I envision). So I have to talk to...total strangers. About this thing I'm doing that I've got no clue about. And I need an artist with very specific views and abilities, with a manga inspired artstyle that is a little more realistic than most Manga manages (I don't mind the cartoon simplification of the bodies, but I would like proportions and expressions to be a little more complex).and a willingness to work on a project with no guarantee of return, with a writer who is admittedly picky and specific (although perfectly willing to work through, look up photo references, explain, enhance, draw diagrams...I'd tap dance if I knew how.)

Me gots no idea how me gots here.

I'm freaking 40, aren't I? Isn't that supposed to be too old for starting this shit?

Feh. I defy.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

And here we are at 40

There was much chocolate cake. Incredible, too rich for words, no-where-near-grocery-store, actually almost deadly chocolate cake. It had a name -- Chocolate Decadence. If we'd thought anyone would survive it, some vanilla ice cream would have balanced out the richness...but we left it in the freezer for fear of law suits.

It's amazing that something that good came from a little bakery in Mt. Dora. Sunshine Mountain (they don't have a website -- they don't even take credit cards!) I love you.

I received a multitude of lovely gifts, many wonderful cards, lots of hugs and good wishes, and am quite content now.

40 doesn't look so bad.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Birthday Somesuch

My Chinese Astrological sign isThe Snake


Diplomatic and popular, the Snake has the sensual art of seduction down. This Sign is an interesting mix of gregariousness paired with introversion, intuitive reasoning paired with savvy business skills. Snakes are considered to be lucky with money and will generally have more than enough to live life to the fullest, regardless of how important it considers money to be; this may be due to the fact that Snakes tend to be rather tight with cash. They're not stingy, they're simply more mentally than physically active. Snakes tend to hang back a bit in order to analyze a situation before jumping into it. Their charming, seductive quality actually belies a rather retiring nature; this Sign is perfectly happy to spend the whole day curled up with a good book and, thus, can be mislabeled as being lazy.

The Snake is somewhat insecure deep down and tend to be a rather jealous, possessive lover, behavior that can end up alienating loved ones. Despite these less-than-stellar tendencies, however, the Snake often proves irresistible and is a generous, loving partner.. Slightly dangerous and disarmingly smart, the Snake's philosophical and intuitive mind generally supersedes logic in favor of feelings and instinct. Snakes will rely on their own gut reactions and intuitions before turning to others for suggestions. This makes this Sign a great hand in any business venture, possessing the caution and smarts needed to get ahead.

Snakes are hard workers (when they see good reason to be!) and are possessed of a keen intelligence. Snakes have incredible follow-through, once they get going, and they expect the same from others. Thus, their coworkers and employees had best stay on their toes, lest they anger the Snake and suffer its poisonous bite!

In general, of course, Snakes are generous and genteel, charming and appealing. Snakes must try to learn humility and to develop a stronger sense of self. Once Snakes realize that confidence comes from within, they will finally be comfortable in their own skin.

The most compatible match for a Snake is the Rooster or the Ox.


(stolen shamelessly from Xkot)

Ol' 39

That's right. The hours of my 39-ness are counting down to their end.

Actually, I wasn't really 39 this last year. I mean, I almost never said it. Mostly I said "I'm almost 40" because, somehow, that seemed younger than 39.

Standing at 40 and looking around, it doesn't look anything like what I thought it would look like when I was 20. Of course, in retrospect, 20 didn't really look like what I thought it looked like, either.

There's gonna be a party with cake and presents and really bad jokes. I have to do some panic cleaning (the only way I really get cleaning done these days, it seems) and then...I'll be 40 and 50 will be here before I've even got my hair on straight.

I guess one of the real problems is that inside me, looking out and worrying about surprise attacks from clowns, is the 7 year old I was. There's also the 19 year old, the 25 year old, the 32 year old -- they are all in there. Everything I know and think comes from this crowd of previous mes.

Feh. I hope there is a lot of chocolate cake.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Why I'm not quite liberal enough

House OKs Citizenship Check for Licenses

I've heard debate on this particular issue for a while and I puzzle over the various arguements. Yes, people who come here illegally are usually farm workers, or maids, or other people from poorer countries willing to work shit wages doing jobs that nice Americans don't want to do for that kind of pay, and I know they will drive cars without a license anyway, and I know that it's like to be misused on some people -- probably a lot of people -- who are here "unofficially". There are a lot of immigrant advocates fighting this one.

I keep wandering back to what I suspect is a rther conservative arguement. If I'm a citizen of a country, I expect there to be a few things I can have that people who aren't citizens can't have. A driver's license strikes me as one of them.

I've seen too many documentaries about people getting duped by smugglers who pack them into cargo containers and bring them over here in miserable conditions, just to enslave them in restaurants or sweat shops in order to "pay their debt". I've got a lot of sympathy for people who see this country as a place they can make a future, help their families back home, better themselves. Hell, most of us are, somewhere along the family line, recent arrivals in this country.

And I don't get into this for the anti-terrorism angle. For good or bad, I do not beleive it is possible to have both a free society and a completely secure society. Freedom in no way, shape or form implies that one will always be safe. In fact, freedom almost always contains some elements of risk, of danger. No, I think the whole "don't give terrorists driver's licenses" arguement is full of holes.

If I were to travel to another country and want to drive a car there, I would expect that 1) I'd have to have a license in my home country so that I could demonstrate that I could drive a car there 2) I'd have to take some kind of test to get a temporary permit, something that would last as long as my visitor's visa or work visa or whatever 3) not be able to use that permit as a form of ID. I'd never be issued a permanent license unless I became a citizen, paid taxes there, etc.; That's for me, what I'd consider reasonable if I had to do it. So, maybe that's unreasonable for someone who is not as priveledged as I am. I can't say.

But I'm hoping this particular legislation passes because...well...it's screwy enough being a citizen here and feeling embarrassed about my political leaders, and living under the constant threat that we will suddenly become a paranoid theocracy and the Constitution (a fine document, I think) will be so much toilet paper, I'd like there to be something positive about it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Do you ever...

sit and wish you could magically get just sick enough not to be socially acceptable but not so sick that you couldn't enjoy getting out of the commitments you'd made so you could jsut stay home and sleep and maybe read?

I do.

I feel overbooked. Rehearsal on Monday night. Rehearsal tonight, with a stop over for a Chinese New Year celebration. Supposed to visit with a friend tomorrow night. Friday is panic cleaning day because Saturday is my birthday party, and Sunday we are going for brunch for Valentine's day since Husband is teaching Monday night and won't be home.

I just took about a 30 minute nap and was awakened by a cat dancing frantically on my butt. I will remember that next time I spot him napping comfortably, which should be in about 10 minutes.

Ah well, he was just looking out for me, as I really need to get my music together, runa comb over my head, and prepare to be social. I really, really, REALLY would rather just go hide in my room. I feel like I'm being eaten alive by a story I'm about a chapter and a half into. When I sit down to write, suddenly my email and various little online timewasters seem sooo appealing, but when I'm doing anything else I just want to work on the story. Even if I had nothing else in the world to do but write, I'd become engrossed in hunting split ends or something. I'd rather sort socks than write, but I'd resent the socks from keeping me away from the keyboard the whole time.

I make no sense. Do I ever?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Blame it on the Irish

My fave Leptard keeper tossed a meme my way. He's Irish, literate, and a musician, therefore I am helpless and must obey. Thank the goddess he doesn't have perfect teeth and smokes or I'd have moved there by now. Here's hoping he never asks me for money...

1. Total amount of music files on your computer:

Um, I keep music on two computers...4.77 MB on the desktop and 14.4 GB on the laptop. About 2/3 of the desktop's files are the same files are the same as the laptop's.

2. The last CD you bought was:

Alison Krause's latest, which I'd be listening to except the cats seem to have hidden it somewhere...

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

Absolutely no idea. I listened to public radio all morning and they play classical, so I never know the name of anything. Something classical, most likely by someone European and dead.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

Salve Rex Glorie by Anuna
Sullen Girl by Fiona Apple
Playboy Mommy by Tori Amos
Do what I have to Do by Sarah McLachlan
King of the World by Steely Dan

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

I'm only passing it to ONE person out of defiance to my Irish compulsion and that's Heather, because she's a meme virgin.

Monday, February 07, 2005

My blue bracelet

I am currently wearing a large blue rubberband around my left wrist. It is a little brighter than baby blue, a little whiter than electric blue, and has limited stretch. The rubber band is embossed with little lollipop stick figures holding hands. On the inside, it says "Save the Children" and "Made in China" and has a 7-11 logo.

It's for tsunami relief. Some portion of my 2.95 is being sent for that. I'm wearing the blue rubber band.

I don't quite know why I'm wearing it. No one has asked about it -- such rubber bands in various symbolic colors are everywhere now, reminding me a little of the 80s and the Madonna-wanna-be girls at school in their torn lace and black rubber gasket bracelets. People are supporting service personnel in Iraq, breast cancer, cancer research, and a whole host of other charitable or civic ideas. Some places are selling them in every color without a symbolic attachment.

Perhaps I am harboring a belief that in wearing it I am inspiring good things for the tsunami victims. I've taken it off once or twice, but only for a minute. I've slept with it and showered with it. I'm not wearing my weddng ring right now (swollen fingers) but I'm wearing my rubber band.

Husband is also wearing one. We are united in our symbolic emptiness.

I guess it means I gave a buck to those in need, and two bucks to corporate America. Nice to know where my priorities are.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Cold Comfort

Isn't this comforting? Let us not take an option off the President's plate, by all means! The leader of a country should always have the ability to attack another country, as long as he can get that thin sliver of voter approval called "a mandate". After all, he managed to convince us that protesting his actions is Anti-American, didn't he?

As Husband says, "That woman has severe foot-in-mouth disease. We can't really hear her because she's chewing on her toes." Although I doubt any of those thoughts are actually hers.

We've always been a nation of somewhat stubborn, even mule-headed people (I suspect because, as a nation of immigrants, only the stubborn would leave their homeland to come here and make a life). Like so many other nations when they reached a peak of power, we've taken on a certain "divine right" attitude (although that idea is so 18th century, it still pops up).

I've said it before, I'll say it again. The man I didn't vote for who lives in the White House scares me deeply, and I don't think he gives a tinker's damn that so many people in this nation did NOT vote for him.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Murder

I heard it again today while wandering through channels on TV..."Brutally murdered".

Brutally, mind you. As if someone could be, oh, gently murdered? Tenderly murdered? Respectfully murdered?

Murder in inherently brutal, isn't it? But we have to tack on those adverbs, or it's just another mundane loss of life to violence. A tragedy is devastating -- other tragedies are just inconvenient on the general awfulness scale.

I think we have become innured to words. We are so bombarded with voices, each trying to attract our attention, our sympathy, our anger, our money, we no longer hear what is said in the same way. A murder is ordinary. A brutal, cruel, tragic murder is an event evoking our sympathy and perhaps our action.

There's a phrase for it Hyperbole, it's called. Exaggeration. It's been used as a journalistic technique for easily 200 years, very likely more. Everyone pays attention to the biggest, brightest, baddest, most "est" whatever.

Until everything is at that particular extreme point, at which time it becomes mundane and common, so the line has to be moved further off. And it starts again.

Are we becoming increasingly hard to reach? Possibly. There is so much more horror to which we are exposed that perhaps we do it to protect ourselves. Where once the average person was isolated to a fairly small area and group, and subject only to the tragidies and miseries of that group, now we can voyeuristically partake of tragedy from everywhere. While all are equal in tragedy, the individual only has so much attention and emotional strength. So we grade what we see, catagorize it, lump it into groups of lesser and greater. We must, to survive it.

And those who want our attention compete for it at ever higher volume, with increasing amounts of hyperbole. Our ability to grasp the world, to deal with it, to live, is at risk from the constant pummeling. We raise out walls, and we strive harder to breach those walls, and we raise those walls again.

A brutal murder.