lenora_rose: (Yaaaay!2)
So, most years Jo Walton writes something on her journal for a Christmas treat. They can be poems or prose, silly or SFnal or thoughtful. Not having one this year, she conveniently posted a full list

This is the one I want to highlight.

I'm on the fifth day of what will be at least six (And might be eight, though the last two would be a Hobbit-viewing and a shopping trip with a friend, so both less introvert-unfriendly and less prep) in a row of family friends and events. it's good but you can imagine the way it can feel to an introvert. Fortunately, we were only hosting one thing, which went off well, and with the Christmas Eve Service (At 10:30PM) that's the other one that's a big stress.

I was hoping to have Imaginary Colours edits done enough* to post today, but it's not likely happening even by midnight. A belated gift, then.

Anyhow, sounds like Colin has his parents on the webcam visiting him and JoJO, so I should go join in.


*I freely admit it would get edited again. And possibly again. But the first 2/3 are clean.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Uh-oh.

Colin went down with a stomach based flu yesterday. Jeff was pretty much toasted today.

By the amount of crappy I currently feel, I'm guessing I'm next.

Well, I got the gift shopping done for everyone who's going to be at the party tomorrow, and the family thing on Friday. But if this isn't just a bit too little sleep, I might not actually stop in at the party - I have yet to wrap any of the gifts.

And I certainly won't make a casserole for Friday, and might not manage to go. (Or sing in the Christmas Eve service)

Well, que sera sera. I've been being as good as I can about preventative measures when I sleep in the same bed as one of the afflicted (And no, there really aren't alternate sleeping places that are any better; Colin has been on the couch just as much, for example).

But sleep would be a good idea.
lenora_rose: (Default)
1) Off to Tomaas' cabin for New Year's as of tomorrow. Although, since we're not leaving until 6:00PM (One person in our travelling quartet has to work until then), there's some talk of catching the lunchtime performance of Sherlock Holmes. (There was some talk of catching it tonight, but literally nobody was up for it)

2) Christmas and related were good in all ways: lots of seeing friends not long in town or other hanging out, deliberately related to Christmas and otherwise (we had a music night, and watched Hogfather, and had other random parties for no particular reason). I didn't end up catching up as much as I would have liked with my cousins on Christmas (though there was some chasing around with one of the young kids and some pleasant dinner table conversation with the ones who'd stayed upstairs), as we were all three of us (Jeff, Colin and I) pretty tired. And the power went out just as we started opening gifts (Freezing rain outside knocked a line or two down for the neighbourhood). And right after we'd put out all but one candle; which meant Jeff was hastening about relighting all the ones on the table from the survivor.) This, however, probably hastened our departure; tired, unable to see the people we were visiting seriously, in a room of wrapping paper and vocal chaos stopped being wholly appealing.

I got Colin a pile of Blu-rays and the comic collection on which the Middleman TV series is based, and Jeff a guitar tuner and some CDs. Mom got mostly books (Pratchett, Chabon and Obama), but also (Or will when it arrives) a National Geographic public participation kit, which is this thing where you send them a DNA sample and they determine from whence your ancestors came (in long term and in detail). Grandma as ever got romances and/or historicals and/or literature about generations of women (I tried going as far out of her standard as Outlander; it didn't work for her, though apparently mom liked it ok; I haven't read that one myself, but I knew it was popular and often offered to those who don't like fantasy as such. It was still too fantasy for Grandma).

Other gifts I have given, or am waiting to go out include books and a couple of CDs and the like, mainly for Twelfth Night.

Things I got include: DVDs of Coraline and the Dark Knight, the Michael Praed half of Robin of Sherwood (Which I suspect is as dangerously formative to my teenage years as Labyrinth, but I suspect survived the jump to adulthood better), two Oysterband CDs (The Oxford Girl and other Stories, which is really good, and Northern Light, a passable live album), a writing book (Which seems commonsensical and useful, but it's hard to say until read) and Sherwood Smith's Wren's War (Because mom wanted to read it as much as I do, I think). And a trio of fairly nice shirts.

And the friend who had the Blackmore's Night Christmas CD returned it.

3) Colin still did a metric load of his own shopping Boxing day: I ended up going with him to McNally (I also got a gift card for them) and spent about $20.00 total: on a dvd (Curse of the Golden Flower, on the logic that for five dollars, all it has to be is really pretty) and three books, most noteably Jim Hines' the Mermaid's Madness. I almost asked them to special order me Jim Macdonald's the Apocalypse Door, and seriously considered picking up the movie set including the Three Musketeers and the Four Musketeers in one, as I seem to recall that two-film version being the popular favourite in the local SCA. But I didn't. Because I also caved and ordered Jim Moray's Low Culture from Amazon (I've only wanted it over a year...)

4) I may do the extra special order and pick-up at McNally anyhow once we're back from the cabin; according to Colin, McNally is now filing for Bankruptcy protection and closing at least one in-town store. Granted, the Polo Park store is rather dizzyingly arranged, and makes me long for the smaller Portage Place store, where they didn't have as much, but I could find my way around. But - it's still a store I prefer over Chapters. This gives me a horrible urge to go me forth and spend more money so i can at least say that if I lose my favourite store EVER, I did my part in trying. And, well, I know I should be mature and guard my money well, considering this whole not-sure about near-future employment thing.

5) Mom and I went to the Nutcracker; first time in about ten years for this ballet (And other ballets have been a bit sparse between, but not absent; I know I've been to Dracula twice in the intervening years and Swan Lake once). The story is still weird dreamy wish-fulfillment, halfway between a child and a woman. Good thing it's all about the dancing and the music. And the dancing was splendid; the RWB no longer has a jump-up standout the way Evelyn Hart was, where she has only to walk onto the stage to be twice as graceful as any other ballerina. But I think the ensemble is stronger than it used to be. And the two male leads were quite quite good. (And yes, easy on the eyes in that "Damn, he must be ten years younger than me" way).

Oh, and mom, the Pas de Deux music does come traditionally before the tarantella and sugarplum. But I still say it sounds like a better climax and finale than the finale. (And it sounds weirdly melancholic for such a bright moment in the dancing)
lenora_rose: (Default)
1) Off to Tomaas' cabin for New Year's as of tomorrow. Although, since we're not leaving until 6:00PM (One person in our travelling quartet has to work until then), there's some talk of catching the lunchtime performance of Sherlock Holmes. (There was some talk of catching it tonight, but literally nobody was up for it)

2) Christmas and related were good in all ways: lots of seeing friends not long in town or other hanging out, deliberately related to Christmas and otherwise (we had a music night, and watched Hogfather, and had other random parties for no particular reason). I didn't end up catching up as much as I would have liked with my cousins on Christmas (though there was some chasing around with one of the young kids and some pleasant dinner table conversation with the ones who'd stayed upstairs), as we were all three of us (Jeff, Colin and I) pretty tired. And the power went out just as we started opening gifts (Freezing rain outside knocked a line or two down for the neighbourhood). And right after we'd put out all but one candle; which meant Jeff was hastening about relighting all the ones on the table from the survivor.) This, however, probably hastened our departure; tired, unable to see the people we were visiting seriously, in a room of wrapping paper and vocal chaos stopped being wholly appealing.

I got Colin a pile of Blu-rays and the comic collection on which the Middleman TV series is based, and Jeff a guitar tuner and some CDs. Mom got mostly books (Pratchett, Chabon and Obama), but also (Or will when it arrives) a National Geographic public participation kit, which is this thing where you send them a DNA sample and they determine from whence your ancestors came (in long term and in detail). Grandma as ever got romances and/or historicals and/or literature about generations of women (I tried going as far out of her standard as Outlander; it didn't work for her, though apparently mom liked it ok; I haven't read that one myself, but I knew it was popular and often offered to those who don't like fantasy as such. It was still too fantasy for Grandma).

Other gifts I have given, or am waiting to go out include books and a couple of CDs and the like, mainly for Twelfth Night.

Things I got include: DVDs of Coraline and the Dark Knight, the Michael Praed half of Robin of Sherwood (Which I suspect is as dangerously formative to my teenage years as Labyrinth, but I suspect survived the jump to adulthood better), two Oysterband CDs (The Oxford Girl and other Stories, which is really good, and Northern Light, a passable live album), a writing book (Which seems commonsensical and useful, but it's hard to say until read) and Sherwood Smith's Wren's War (Because mom wanted to read it as much as I do, I think). And a trio of fairly nice shirts.

And the friend who had the Blackmore's Night Christmas CD returned it.

3) Colin still did a metric load of his own shopping Boxing day: I ended up going with him to McNally (I also got a gift card for them) and spent about $20.00 total: on a dvd (Curse of the Golden Flower, on the logic that for five dollars, all it has to be is really pretty) and three books, most noteably Jim Hines' the Mermaid's Madness. I almost asked them to special order me Jim Macdonald's the Apocalypse Door, and seriously considered picking up the movie set including the Three Musketeers and the Four Musketeers in one, as I seem to recall that two-film version being the popular favourite in the local SCA. But I didn't. Because I also caved and ordered Jim Moray's Low Culture from Amazon (I've only wanted it over a year...)

4) I may do the extra special order and pick-up at McNally anyhow once we're back from the cabin; according to Colin, McNally is now filing for Bankruptcy protection and closing at least one in-town store. Granted, the Polo Park store is rather dizzyingly arranged, and makes me long for the smaller Portage Place store, where they didn't have as much, but I could find my way around. But - it's still a store I prefer over Chapters. This gives me a horrible urge to go me forth and spend more money so i can at least say that if I lose my favourite store EVER, I did my part in trying. And, well, I know I should be mature and guard my money well, considering this whole not-sure about near-future employment thing.

5) Mom and I went to the Nutcracker; first time in about ten years for this ballet (And other ballets have been a bit sparse between, but not absent; I know I've been to Dracula twice in the intervening years and Swan Lake once). The story is still weird dreamy wish-fulfillment, halfway between a child and a woman. Good thing it's all about the dancing and the music. And the dancing was splendid; the RWB no longer has a jump-up standout the way Evelyn Hart was, where she has only to walk onto the stage to be twice as graceful as any other ballerina. But I think the ensemble is stronger than it used to be. And the two male leads were quite quite good. (And yes, easy on the eyes in that "Damn, he must be ten years younger than me" way).

Oh, and mom, the Pas de Deux music does come traditionally before the tarantella and sugarplum. But I still say it sounds like a better climax and finale than the finale. (And it sounds weirdly melancholic for such a bright moment in the dancing)
lenora_rose: (Default)
A theory for present buying without a list:

If a person has one CD (or one book, or DVD) by a given artist (Or actor, or director, or other obvious connected streak), especially if it's a "best of" cd/collection, there is ZERO guarantee they want any more by that artist. No guarantee they won't, either, but without further information, you're taking a really serious chance.

If a person has two or three books/cd/dvds, then it's a fair bet they like the artist enough to accept more. And if said artist is prolific at all, it allows for a fair chance you can find one they don't have.

If a person has more than three cds/books, especially if they cite the relevant artist as a huge favourite, then unless something new has JUST come out, or they've complained about the ones they don't have in front of you, it's usually really risky to try and get them more by the same. (This one irks me in movies and tv shows and romance novels; Someone says how much they love X band, and the wannabe SO or friend buys them a "best of" or a well-known not-new album by that group. I *always* think "they're going to have it, you dork." And if they don't, which is most of the time, and there isn't a good in-plot reason for it, then I roll my eyes and lose some of my suspension of disbelief.)

This theory does need to be adjusted for certain relative conditions; how much a person re-reads books/re-watches movies/listens to music in the first place, how much of a collector the person is, how much they trade in stuff they don't like, how much they use resources like cable, libraries, online sources, and MP3 downloads, instead of more concrete and present formats. (This is why I let Connie Willis get away with one of the characters in one of her Christmas stories get away with not already having Miracle on 34th Street; because it's on every year on some channel or another, and the person wasn't painted as the kind of movie collector Colin is.) But it usually gives some clues.

And of course, actual possession of a wish list or a list of already-owned things cuts some of the outliers.
lenora_rose: (Default)
A theory for present buying without a list:

If a person has one CD (or one book, or DVD) by a given artist (Or actor, or director, or other obvious connected streak), especially if it's a "best of" cd/collection, there is ZERO guarantee they want any more by that artist. No guarantee they won't, either, but without further information, you're taking a really serious chance.

If a person has two or three books/cd/dvds, then it's a fair bet they like the artist enough to accept more. And if said artist is prolific at all, it allows for a fair chance you can find one they don't have.

If a person has more than three cds/books, especially if they cite the relevant artist as a huge favourite, then unless something new has JUST come out, or they've complained about the ones they don't have in front of you, it's usually really risky to try and get them more by the same. (This one irks me in movies and tv shows and romance novels; Someone says how much they love X band, and the wannabe SO or friend buys them a "best of" or a well-known not-new album by that group. I *always* think "they're going to have it, you dork." And if they don't, which is most of the time, and there isn't a good in-plot reason for it, then I roll my eyes and lose some of my suspension of disbelief.)

This theory does need to be adjusted for certain relative conditions; how much a person re-reads books/re-watches movies/listens to music in the first place, how much of a collector the person is, how much they trade in stuff they don't like, how much they use resources like cable, libraries, online sources, and MP3 downloads, instead of more concrete and present formats. (This is why I let Connie Willis get away with one of the characters in one of her Christmas stories get away with not already having Miracle on 34th Street; because it's on every year on some channel or another, and the person wasn't painted as the kind of movie collector Colin is.) But it usually gives some clues.

And of course, actual possession of a wish list or a list of already-owned things cuts some of the outliers.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
Because it's important, I'll start with:

The Polar Opposite of Happy:

SF Author Beaten at US Border.

He was stopped coming back to Canada, a time when we're normally not searched. he was beaten, detained in prison, charged with assault, had his vehicle and property impounded, and was let go back into Canada. Walking. In Shirtsleeves. In DECEMBER. (ETA, he was left right near Canada Customs, from whence he could make a call and get a lift home from friends, not made to walk the whole way. But he still doesn't have his coat back. Still, this isn't the attempted murder it sounds like, just a nasty ongoing malice to add to the immediate and temporary ones.)

All for the crime of getting out and asking why he was detained.

I'm with Jo Walton: some people have said maybe he should have been meeker, quieter, or in her words, cringed more, but, also in her worlds, "Is that the world you want to live in?"
______________________



Happy One: While most recent, highest in priority, because for me, it was important.

Today was a homebody day, and my practical accomplishments include:
1600 words on Merlin's Dive and about 1100 on the Serpent Prince. (Plus, in the latter case, significant editing.) I think it's the latter I'll be continuing for now, but the former got me unjammed enough to try it.

Merlin's Dive seems to want to be first person. While I worried that this may be influenced by its proximity to the Serpent Prince, I was thinking and planning scenes while I loaded laundry, and realized I was thinking "i" and not "she", and that was before I dug into Serpent today. I think it will make the dialogue and descriptions notably less clunky.


Happy two: Wednesday, after a dental appointment that lasted barely twenty minutes (to redo a surface filling), I paused for a busker between errands downtown, because he was playing a round-back mandolin, and ended up in quite a long pleasant conversation about all sorts of stuff musical and otherwise. Though he wouldn't let me give him money. Also, started Christmas shopping. I like Christmas shopping. it doesn't feel greedy, because it isn't generally for me. (Although I found Sting's Christmas CD used for slightly cheap even for used, and it sounds pretty good. Maybe slightly quiet and strange if you're expecting something like his pop stuff, but I looked at the track list and expected the quiet and quasi-renaissancesque effects. Though Jeff said it's played a lot at Starbucks', I don't frequent them often enough to have noticed.)

Happy Three: Yesterday, Iulianna invited a whole pile of female friends over for cookie-baking. This didn't quite work out as planned; exactly two of us girls showed up for any length of time (Two others stopped by long enough to say hi, really). Also, she'd sketched out a nativity scene in black lines of mock-stained glass for Christmas, and her houseguest, Tomaas, was painting in the colour when I arrived. So I joined him for a bit. Then, after we had got to cookie-baking, I invited my brother and husband over from my place to hang out, so we'd have pleny of company. And one other male friend stopped by. So, not so much of a girl's night when we were outnumbered, but a good evening was had, and the windows grew more colourful, and shortbread and other good stuff was made, and samosas were eaten, though I might almost have forgotten supper in the midst.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
Because it's important, I'll start with:

The Polar Opposite of Happy:

SF Author Beaten at US Border.

He was stopped coming back to Canada, a time when we're normally not searched. he was beaten, detained in prison, charged with assault, had his vehicle and property impounded, and was let go back into Canada. Walking. In Shirtsleeves. In DECEMBER. (ETA, he was left right near Canada Customs, from whence he could make a call and get a lift home from friends, not made to walk the whole way. But he still doesn't have his coat back. Still, this isn't the attempted murder it sounds like, just a nasty ongoing malice to add to the immediate and temporary ones.)

All for the crime of getting out and asking why he was detained.

I'm with Jo Walton: some people have said maybe he should have been meeker, quieter, or in her words, cringed more, but, also in her worlds, "Is that the world you want to live in?"
______________________



Happy One: While most recent, highest in priority, because for me, it was important.

Today was a homebody day, and my practical accomplishments include:
1600 words on Merlin's Dive and about 1100 on the Serpent Prince. (Plus, in the latter case, significant editing.) I think it's the latter I'll be continuing for now, but the former got me unjammed enough to try it.

Merlin's Dive seems to want to be first person. While I worried that this may be influenced by its proximity to the Serpent Prince, I was thinking and planning scenes while I loaded laundry, and realized I was thinking "i" and not "she", and that was before I dug into Serpent today. I think it will make the dialogue and descriptions notably less clunky.


Happy two: Wednesday, after a dental appointment that lasted barely twenty minutes (to redo a surface filling), I paused for a busker between errands downtown, because he was playing a round-back mandolin, and ended up in quite a long pleasant conversation about all sorts of stuff musical and otherwise. Though he wouldn't let me give him money. Also, started Christmas shopping. I like Christmas shopping. it doesn't feel greedy, because it isn't generally for me. (Although I found Sting's Christmas CD used for slightly cheap even for used, and it sounds pretty good. Maybe slightly quiet and strange if you're expecting something like his pop stuff, but I looked at the track list and expected the quiet and quasi-renaissancesque effects. Though Jeff said it's played a lot at Starbucks', I don't frequent them often enough to have noticed.)

Happy Three: Yesterday, Iulianna invited a whole pile of female friends over for cookie-baking. This didn't quite work out as planned; exactly two of us girls showed up for any length of time (Two others stopped by long enough to say hi, really). Also, she'd sketched out a nativity scene in black lines of mock-stained glass for Christmas, and her houseguest, Tomaas, was painting in the colour when I arrived. So I joined him for a bit. Then, after we had got to cookie-baking, I invited my brother and husband over from my place to hang out, so we'd have pleny of company. And one other male friend stopped by. So, not so much of a girl's night when we were outnumbered, but a good evening was had, and the windows grew more colourful, and shortbread and other good stuff was made, and samosas were eaten, though I might almost have forgotten supper in the midst.
lenora_rose: (Default)
If we're going to be at -26 anyhow, I would REALLY like there to be more snow on the ground. Maybe even a whole two inches. I could even handle three. (Inches. Not three feet. That would be excessive.)

Not only is it rather better looking than dead grass, the ground needs the insulation for seeds (and small animals) to make it through the winter. And water for the same seeds once Spring is on.

When both snow and cold were delayed, well, I was willing to wait. But if we must have only one of the two? I'd take the snow over the cold.
lenora_rose: (Default)
If we're going to be at -26 anyhow, I would REALLY like there to be more snow on the ground. Maybe even a whole two inches. I could even handle three. (Inches. Not three feet. That would be excessive.)

Not only is it rather better looking than dead grass, the ground needs the insulation for seeds (and small animals) to make it through the winter. And water for the same seeds once Spring is on.

When both snow and cold were delayed, well, I was willing to wait. But if we must have only one of the two? I'd take the snow over the cold.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
Christmas has been replete with good company and good food and goodies. So far, the most often repeated story is that Colin's gift, an MP3 player considerably better than the current one, came in the weirdest wrapping paper of the year.

A toaster oven.

He threw me off, too; I would usually suspect him of stuffing any physically larger gift with smaller ones, but the tape on the top of the box was still store-pristine. It looked like it hadn't been opened.

Although I got an extra gift in consequence; the Brontesaurus was old enough it couldn't support the MP3 player, so between that and a widescreen that couldn't display wide (making pictures of me even less flattering...) Colin decided to upgrade me to a better computer.

This one now mutters low to itself instead of making that loud whine, though the higher-pitched harmonic is actually more bothersome, if the room is otherwise quiet.

He got his main gift from me today; I had to wait until I could arrange a larger vehicle and some extra help for hauling. (I also made him laugh by fretting whether he'd like it a few days ago - mostly by saying, "Just remember, I also got you some nice soap.")

He got a solid wood armoire to replace his dresser. Technically, the dresser was working (According to him, I missed at least one other drawer in need of re-gluing), but was ... not pretty, and being fabricated board, not worth repainting in his or my opinion.

We're off tomorrow evening to a cabin off by the Winnipeg River for New Year's and the weekend with a whole party of friends. I've already made the request that we not take goodies. I'm sure someone will anyway, and that soemone else will be disappointed if they don't, but I figured making the suggestion was a way to cut down on the Splurge.

We will have booze, though, if only enough for the toasts: I was just gifted two bottles of raspberry mead. I'm saving *one* for later.

Christmas reading: Finished Rich Burlew's Start of Darkness, a prequel to the Order of the Stick online comic. First because at the time I wanted light. Reading Elizabeth Bear's Ink and Steel, part one of The Stratford Man or the third book published in the Promethean age series, (But which I still keep thinking of, thanks to the author, as "Will and Kit's Bogus Journey".) It looks like one scene is there almost just so someone can cry "Marley's Ghost!" in appropriate horror. Ooops. Wrong story.

Actually, otherwise, I'm devouring it as fast as I can.
_________________

Writing-wise is weird:

No, I am not likely to continue that particular beginning this minute; I *am* working it through in my brain, and haven't forgotten Mr. Girard, or the deity, or Armageddon. I need to do some research for it, and I need to figure out a few more narrative threads. I do know I need to make one change in the very opening, which is that he stops poking about the web site (Or whatever they call it) because he's out of wireless range again. Which you wouldn't think would matter much, but will. One of the very next things that happens is unprovoked but not totally unforewarned invasion from a neighbouring country, so Mr. Girard would not stop checking things willingly, how he has a source of power for his palm-pilot.

Meanwhile...

Finno somehow snuck back into my brain. And so did a solution to one major problem with Bird of Dusk as a whole. So I started going through that, first reading to get this draft back in my brain, and then starting to hack and tweak. There's a section that feels slow to me even though there's not as many "Time passes" bits as I first feared.

A bit of weirdness, writing theory-wise. This was always one of those stories where I felt as if Finno, having already lived this crud, "told me" what happened*, then asked me to write it down. The story always had a kind of "fully-formed" feeling about it, and most subsequent drafts felt less like "I've improved my writing craft" and more like "I'm hearing the actual details of the story better. The first times he spoke, the broadcast was fuzzy."

Parts of this one feel like Finno told me the story in completion some time ago. Rather than taking dictation from the twitchy redhead sitting beside me, he's now resigned himself to letting me turn his story, with its knots and snarls and life-like failure to reach closure on several points, into smoother narrative. I have all the information about what happened and what he did, but other than the occasional "phone call" to double check on a detail, or him stopping by to take a peek, I'm no longer in contact with my source.

Actually, "He's resigned" isn't the feeling, quite. More, he now trusts me to get it right without hovering over me reading each page. Although he's not used to trusting anyone, much less me. Even though he decided he trusted me to be the particular writer to tell it in the first place.

Reassuring, kind of; I'm left alone, but he thinks I'm up to the job now.

I do sometimes wish I actually could buckle down to one story for the length it takes to get to the end. The reassuring thing is, even when I start with edits, I always make it further in the draft each time I try.


* No, writers aren't actually hearing voices, as such. The "He told me his story" is shorthand for a more complicated dance of conscious and subconscious that could probably only be properly explained by someone with a PhD in psychology, a second one in neurology, *and* a few best-selling novels under their belt. Bear with it.
lenora_rose: (Gryphon)
Christmas has been replete with good company and good food and goodies. So far, the most often repeated story is that Colin's gift, an MP3 player considerably better than the current one, came in the weirdest wrapping paper of the year.

A toaster oven.

He threw me off, too; I would usually suspect him of stuffing any physically larger gift with smaller ones, but the tape on the top of the box was still store-pristine. It looked like it hadn't been opened.

Although I got an extra gift in consequence; the Brontesaurus was old enough it couldn't support the MP3 player, so between that and a widescreen that couldn't display wide (making pictures of me even less flattering...) Colin decided to upgrade me to a better computer.

This one now mutters low to itself instead of making that loud whine, though the higher-pitched harmonic is actually more bothersome, if the room is otherwise quiet.

He got his main gift from me today; I had to wait until I could arrange a larger vehicle and some extra help for hauling. (I also made him laugh by fretting whether he'd like it a few days ago - mostly by saying, "Just remember, I also got you some nice soap.")

He got a solid wood armoire to replace his dresser. Technically, the dresser was working (According to him, I missed at least one other drawer in need of re-gluing), but was ... not pretty, and being fabricated board, not worth repainting in his or my opinion.

We're off tomorrow evening to a cabin off by the Winnipeg River for New Year's and the weekend with a whole party of friends. I've already made the request that we not take goodies. I'm sure someone will anyway, and that soemone else will be disappointed if they don't, but I figured making the suggestion was a way to cut down on the Splurge.

We will have booze, though, if only enough for the toasts: I was just gifted two bottles of raspberry mead. I'm saving *one* for later.

Christmas reading: Finished Rich Burlew's Start of Darkness, a prequel to the Order of the Stick online comic. First because at the time I wanted light. Reading Elizabeth Bear's Ink and Steel, part one of The Stratford Man or the third book published in the Promethean age series, (But which I still keep thinking of, thanks to the author, as "Will and Kit's Bogus Journey".) It looks like one scene is there almost just so someone can cry "Marley's Ghost!" in appropriate horror. Ooops. Wrong story.

Actually, otherwise, I'm devouring it as fast as I can.
_________________

Writing-wise is weird:

No, I am not likely to continue that particular beginning this minute; I *am* working it through in my brain, and haven't forgotten Mr. Girard, or the deity, or Armageddon. I need to do some research for it, and I need to figure out a few more narrative threads. I do know I need to make one change in the very opening, which is that he stops poking about the web site (Or whatever they call it) because he's out of wireless range again. Which you wouldn't think would matter much, but will. One of the very next things that happens is unprovoked but not totally unforewarned invasion from a neighbouring country, so Mr. Girard would not stop checking things willingly, how he has a source of power for his palm-pilot.

Meanwhile...

Finno somehow snuck back into my brain. And so did a solution to one major problem with Bird of Dusk as a whole. So I started going through that, first reading to get this draft back in my brain, and then starting to hack and tweak. There's a section that feels slow to me even though there's not as many "Time passes" bits as I first feared.

A bit of weirdness, writing theory-wise. This was always one of those stories where I felt as if Finno, having already lived this crud, "told me" what happened*, then asked me to write it down. The story always had a kind of "fully-formed" feeling about it, and most subsequent drafts felt less like "I've improved my writing craft" and more like "I'm hearing the actual details of the story better. The first times he spoke, the broadcast was fuzzy."

Parts of this one feel like Finno told me the story in completion some time ago. Rather than taking dictation from the twitchy redhead sitting beside me, he's now resigned himself to letting me turn his story, with its knots and snarls and life-like failure to reach closure on several points, into smoother narrative. I have all the information about what happened and what he did, but other than the occasional "phone call" to double check on a detail, or him stopping by to take a peek, I'm no longer in contact with my source.

Actually, "He's resigned" isn't the feeling, quite. More, he now trusts me to get it right without hovering over me reading each page. Although he's not used to trusting anyone, much less me. Even though he decided he trusted me to be the particular writer to tell it in the first place.

Reassuring, kind of; I'm left alone, but he thinks I'm up to the job now.

I do sometimes wish I actually could buckle down to one story for the length it takes to get to the end. The reassuring thing is, even when I start with edits, I always make it further in the draft each time I try.


* No, writers aren't actually hearing voices, as such. The "He told me his story" is shorthand for a more complicated dance of conscious and subconscious that could probably only be properly explained by someone with a PhD in psychology, a second one in neurology, *and* a few best-selling novels under their belt. Bear with it.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Christmas happened. I was too busy having it happen to post about it, I guess. Dinenr with Colin's aunts was nice if laid back, but we managed to have interesting conversation until almost 10:00, and we usually leave about 9, sometimes as early as 8:30. Dinner with mom on Christmas eve was much fun, the church service at 11:00PM went smoothly so far as I can tell from inside the choir. We were the last ones to leave the after-service choir party, albeit by about 30 seconds,a dn only because I couldn't reach my boots until there was a little room in the front hall. Nonetheless, of all the goodies and desserts so far, the cinnamon torte is *still* the one to die for the most. And I got Bernard Callebaut chocolates, and my aunty from Vancouver made a nanaimo bar cheesecake.

The two family get togethers (We also hung out Boxing day at my cousin B's new house with his fiancee) were both much fun in a louder way. And contained small children -- to be fair, C7C;'s two boys are rambunctious (especially hyped up on Christmas) but basically well-behaved.

Among other things, Colin got me DDR for the Wii, and has been playing it almsot as much as I have (I'm terrible at it, but it's fun -- espeically if I can try it out without anyone watching, something I couldn't do when it was a friend's machine. Also, decent exercise while the aerobics classes are out of reach. I'll take it!). Mom got me a variety of things, several of which were ordered but have not arrived just yet -- but of the ones on hand, the one that caused the most immediate enthusiasm is probably the ticket for Ruthie Foster in February. (The Oysterband tickets are just as squeeeful, but I've known about them since March last year.)

There has been altogether too much eating of goodies. So I guess the DDR has another good purpose.

Colin and I went out on Boxing Day, wherein he bought stupid amounts of DVDs (I think it comes to 12), and bought me stupid amounts (5) of CDs, the latter not nearly as much on sale as should have made it worth it. I *should* have put at least one of them back; not because it hasn't gotten play, but it was a lot lower in my interests than the others.

I've been planning a book and movie review lj entry for a while. It only gets longer.

We're going away for New Year's eve to a friend's cabin - the same one we went to last year, but for more than one night this time. Although the amount of stuff Colin seems to be planning to bring for entertainment could very well keep us going for an extra week, I think. Especially if he takes the Wii. I just hope more than two of us go out to play in the snow this year.

______________________


Apparently I'm back into Bird of Dusk. I made a vague attempt earlier in December to start the edits on Raising the Storm, and while I lost some words int he opening scenes, the new material made loud sucking sounds. This, on the other hand, seemed mostly to be waiting for me to figure out where I'd written myself into a corner, so i could fix that and press on.

So naturally I just wrote myself into a new corner.

On the other hand, it made sense for the characters and it was a lot of damn fun, and it';s not nearly as bad a corner as the last one. And 1200 words, and I clearly know what the very next bit will be.

In pottery, I finished two more of my cups before cleaning up the dining room on the 23rd, when the whole lot of them got put into the basement for storage. I must remember to take them back upstairs soon.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Christmas happened. I was too busy having it happen to post about it, I guess. Dinenr with Colin's aunts was nice if laid back, but we managed to have interesting conversation until almost 10:00, and we usually leave about 9, sometimes as early as 8:30. Dinner with mom on Christmas eve was much fun, the church service at 11:00PM went smoothly so far as I can tell from inside the choir. We were the last ones to leave the after-service choir party, albeit by about 30 seconds,a dn only because I couldn't reach my boots until there was a little room in the front hall. Nonetheless, of all the goodies and desserts so far, the cinnamon torte is *still* the one to die for the most. And I got Bernard Callebaut chocolates, and my aunty from Vancouver made a nanaimo bar cheesecake.

The two family get togethers (We also hung out Boxing day at my cousin B's new house with his fiancee) were both much fun in a louder way. And contained small children -- to be fair, C7C;'s two boys are rambunctious (especially hyped up on Christmas) but basically well-behaved.

Among other things, Colin got me DDR for the Wii, and has been playing it almsot as much as I have (I'm terrible at it, but it's fun -- espeically if I can try it out without anyone watching, something I couldn't do when it was a friend's machine. Also, decent exercise while the aerobics classes are out of reach. I'll take it!). Mom got me a variety of things, several of which were ordered but have not arrived just yet -- but of the ones on hand, the one that caused the most immediate enthusiasm is probably the ticket for Ruthie Foster in February. (The Oysterband tickets are just as squeeeful, but I've known about them since March last year.)

There has been altogether too much eating of goodies. So I guess the DDR has another good purpose.

Colin and I went out on Boxing Day, wherein he bought stupid amounts of DVDs (I think it comes to 12), and bought me stupid amounts (5) of CDs, the latter not nearly as much on sale as should have made it worth it. I *should* have put at least one of them back; not because it hasn't gotten play, but it was a lot lower in my interests than the others.

I've been planning a book and movie review lj entry for a while. It only gets longer.

We're going away for New Year's eve to a friend's cabin - the same one we went to last year, but for more than one night this time. Although the amount of stuff Colin seems to be planning to bring for entertainment could very well keep us going for an extra week, I think. Especially if he takes the Wii. I just hope more than two of us go out to play in the snow this year.

______________________


Apparently I'm back into Bird of Dusk. I made a vague attempt earlier in December to start the edits on Raising the Storm, and while I lost some words int he opening scenes, the new material made loud sucking sounds. This, on the other hand, seemed mostly to be waiting for me to figure out where I'd written myself into a corner, so i could fix that and press on.

So naturally I just wrote myself into a new corner.

On the other hand, it made sense for the characters and it was a lot of damn fun, and it';s not nearly as bad a corner as the last one. And 1200 words, and I clearly know what the very next bit will be.

In pottery, I finished two more of my cups before cleaning up the dining room on the 23rd, when the whole lot of them got put into the basement for storage. I must remember to take them back upstairs soon.
lenora_rose: (Default)
First, an unrelated and minor gripe. I have currently loaned out all my Heather Dale Cds to three different friends, except for Call the Names, early and rather rough versions of SCA songs, and This Endris Night. And I got a craving. So currently I'm going through Christmas music even though I don't traditionally play Christmas music (at least as Christmas music) before December First.

And I just discovered the big scratch on it makes the Huron Carol skip. Waaah! (I do have a copy of it in my Christmas mixed CD, but still.)
_________________________________

I've been having some wholly navel-related thinking going on about the direction of my life lately. Today, thank God, that's not the fodder I want to talk about.

For various reasons, James Loney ended up speaking at my church yesterday after the service, in a hastily set up replacement for his planned appearance at a Catholic-based human rights conference from which he was disinvited.

James Loney, for those who don't know and don't feel like clicking the link, was one of four members of Project Peacemakers captured and held hostage in Iraq. One of the others, Tom Fox, was murdered before the three survivors were rescued. The survivors then made a point of publicly forgiving their captors, because the only sentence for kidnapping and hostage taking in the Iraqi court would be death, and as pacifists, they opposed this -- even for their immediate enemy.

The first thing about this, for Colin and I, was that this was the first time ever that the balcony has had to be cleared of the boxes and lumber usually stored there, and opened to public use; even with the short notice, so many people from so many different human rights groups and religious groups came to listen. We went up there, naturally, to get the new perspective on our home church. I've only seen the main floor that full on Christmas Eve, or Easter Sunday, and the useable parts of the balconies (Some areas along the side were still full of lumber, old piano parts, etc.) were likewise stuffed to the point where a few people chose to stand.

The talk itself gave me much fodder to think on. For one thing, Jim Loney is very critical of the Just War attitude, which I believe; that there are, in fact, times when one must fight. He's not blindly or stupidly critical of it; he agrees that situations like the Rwandan Genocide, where the fact that military was blocked from action may well have led to the slaughter (or the old Chestnut of World War Two, which wasn't brought up, but which I've heard raised before) are complicated situations, and that thus far, humans haven't come up with a response to such things that isn't violent in its turn. What he refuses to believe is that humans can't *develop* a new response that would work, if they stop looking to violence as the answer and start trying to commit money, time, science, and general thinking to coming up with a new answer.

That being said, I found myself agreeing with him more often than I disagreed; because some basic facts he has right:

- Violence does beget violence. Self-defence and just war may be justifiable, and restrained, but they are violence nonetheless, and violence that happens because of prior violence. And all too easy to turn into violence for its own sake, because there is a justification behind it, and knowing when to quit isn't exactly humanity's strong suit.

- We are as a species too quick to say "There is no answer besides fighting back physically." (Except in those circumstances where we are too quick to say, "I can't do anything at all, so why bother?" But that's another conversation.) We find it too easy to say, "Here, now, I must hit back."

And his prime example of how violence begets violence is exactly how his captors - ordinary, non-evil people - got into a mindset where taking peace-makers and pacifists hostage and murdering one of them seemed eminently justifiable and reasonable a course of action. How it could look like self-defence for them. How before the invasion they were considerably more ordinary people, who had now lost kin, friends, lovers, to various military actions.

Jim showed great sympathy for them. Not Stockholm Syndrome sympathy; he was not won to their cause, nor willing to agree that they were justified in their actions against him and his fellows, or their attitudes of extremism. But he could, in fact, describe them as humans, see their motives, and what made them turn to what he feels is terrible wrong and terrible violence.

And the thing which struck me most was his description of a movie night.

As he tells it, the captors sometimes got bored, sitting and guarding prisoners all day and night. The youngest, called Junior by the captives, would go out and buy whatever movies could be found in the black market. Especially action movies. And sometimes, for a change of pace, or someone new to talk to, they would allow the captives to watch with them.

One such movie was Transporter 2. Which, quick plot summary, involves the Transporter trying to rescue the kidnapped child of a US official from some drug cartel.

What Jim noticed - couldn't help noticing - was that his own captors, the people who had kidnapped him, who hated the US and the rest of North America, were cheering for the hero, the good guy. Against the kidnappers.

As cognitive dissonance goes -- actually, I wasn't surprised. It's too human. Too real. That, actually, was the detail that made these captors the most human, and the most frightening to me. That and the phrase where one in fact expressed respect for their mission: "I love a peaceful man." And he didn't, from the context James Loney gave, mean "Because he's easier to cow/destroy/beat up." he meant it as it was said; he liked, and wanted peace.

We writers talk a lot about how "Everyone is the hero of their own story." But this was the real world. A man died because these people were the hero in their own story. Three others were held in captivity, kept chained up, kept in conditions where an empty bottle to urinate in when the captors were disinclined to let one go to the real bathroom, and a rag to clean oneself with were important and desired items. Because they were the heroes in the story. Because their war was just and justified, in their own head. Because the violence they had seen bred violence inside them, and they couldn't stop to look for another, better way.

I still believe in a just war. I still think that as long as someone out there is willing to use force to get their way, regardless of the innocents in the way, then someone, somewhere, must be willing to use enough force to deflect that off the innocents, to put a stop to it. But I also think, and have thought, that there are other things to try first, and that once someone lifts a hand, they must aways, always, before every single shot, decide within themselves if that shot is still justified, or if it's the one that tips them over the edge, turns the protective warrior into the torturer.
lenora_rose: (Default)
First, an unrelated and minor gripe. I have currently loaned out all my Heather Dale Cds to three different friends, except for Call the Names, early and rather rough versions of SCA songs, and This Endris Night. And I got a craving. So currently I'm going through Christmas music even though I don't traditionally play Christmas music (at least as Christmas music) before December First.

And I just discovered the big scratch on it makes the Huron Carol skip. Waaah! (I do have a copy of it in my Christmas mixed CD, but still.)
_________________________________

I've been having some wholly navel-related thinking going on about the direction of my life lately. Today, thank God, that's not the fodder I want to talk about.

For various reasons, James Loney ended up speaking at my church yesterday after the service, in a hastily set up replacement for his planned appearance at a Catholic-based human rights conference from which he was disinvited.

James Loney, for those who don't know and don't feel like clicking the link, was one of four members of Project Peacemakers captured and held hostage in Iraq. One of the others, Tom Fox, was murdered before the three survivors were rescued. The survivors then made a point of publicly forgiving their captors, because the only sentence for kidnapping and hostage taking in the Iraqi court would be death, and as pacifists, they opposed this -- even for their immediate enemy.

The first thing about this, for Colin and I, was that this was the first time ever that the balcony has had to be cleared of the boxes and lumber usually stored there, and opened to public use; even with the short notice, so many people from so many different human rights groups and religious groups came to listen. We went up there, naturally, to get the new perspective on our home church. I've only seen the main floor that full on Christmas Eve, or Easter Sunday, and the useable parts of the balconies (Some areas along the side were still full of lumber, old piano parts, etc.) were likewise stuffed to the point where a few people chose to stand.

The talk itself gave me much fodder to think on. For one thing, Jim Loney is very critical of the Just War attitude, which I believe; that there are, in fact, times when one must fight. He's not blindly or stupidly critical of it; he agrees that situations like the Rwandan Genocide, where the fact that military was blocked from action may well have led to the slaughter (or the old Chestnut of World War Two, which wasn't brought up, but which I've heard raised before) are complicated situations, and that thus far, humans haven't come up with a response to such things that isn't violent in its turn. What he refuses to believe is that humans can't *develop* a new response that would work, if they stop looking to violence as the answer and start trying to commit money, time, science, and general thinking to coming up with a new answer.

That being said, I found myself agreeing with him more often than I disagreed; because some basic facts he has right:

- Violence does beget violence. Self-defence and just war may be justifiable, and restrained, but they are violence nonetheless, and violence that happens because of prior violence. And all too easy to turn into violence for its own sake, because there is a justification behind it, and knowing when to quit isn't exactly humanity's strong suit.

- We are as a species too quick to say "There is no answer besides fighting back physically." (Except in those circumstances where we are too quick to say, "I can't do anything at all, so why bother?" But that's another conversation.) We find it too easy to say, "Here, now, I must hit back."

And his prime example of how violence begets violence is exactly how his captors - ordinary, non-evil people - got into a mindset where taking peace-makers and pacifists hostage and murdering one of them seemed eminently justifiable and reasonable a course of action. How it could look like self-defence for them. How before the invasion they were considerably more ordinary people, who had now lost kin, friends, lovers, to various military actions.

Jim showed great sympathy for them. Not Stockholm Syndrome sympathy; he was not won to their cause, nor willing to agree that they were justified in their actions against him and his fellows, or their attitudes of extremism. But he could, in fact, describe them as humans, see their motives, and what made them turn to what he feels is terrible wrong and terrible violence.

And the thing which struck me most was his description of a movie night.

As he tells it, the captors sometimes got bored, sitting and guarding prisoners all day and night. The youngest, called Junior by the captives, would go out and buy whatever movies could be found in the black market. Especially action movies. And sometimes, for a change of pace, or someone new to talk to, they would allow the captives to watch with them.

One such movie was Transporter 2. Which, quick plot summary, involves the Transporter trying to rescue the kidnapped child of a US official from some drug cartel.

What Jim noticed - couldn't help noticing - was that his own captors, the people who had kidnapped him, who hated the US and the rest of North America, were cheering for the hero, the good guy. Against the kidnappers.

As cognitive dissonance goes -- actually, I wasn't surprised. It's too human. Too real. That, actually, was the detail that made these captors the most human, and the most frightening to me. That and the phrase where one in fact expressed respect for their mission: "I love a peaceful man." And he didn't, from the context James Loney gave, mean "Because he's easier to cow/destroy/beat up." he meant it as it was said; he liked, and wanted peace.

We writers talk a lot about how "Everyone is the hero of their own story." But this was the real world. A man died because these people were the hero in their own story. Three others were held in captivity, kept chained up, kept in conditions where an empty bottle to urinate in when the captors were disinclined to let one go to the real bathroom, and a rag to clean oneself with were important and desired items. Because they were the heroes in the story. Because their war was just and justified, in their own head. Because the violence they had seen bred violence inside them, and they couldn't stop to look for another, better way.

I still believe in a just war. I still think that as long as someone out there is willing to use force to get their way, regardless of the innocents in the way, then someone, somewhere, must be willing to use enough force to deflect that off the innocents, to put a stop to it. But I also think, and have thought, that there are other things to try first, and that once someone lifts a hand, they must aways, always, before every single shot, decide within themselves if that shot is still justified, or if it's the one that tips them over the edge, turns the protective warrior into the torturer.

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