Hmm. A while since I posted. Colin and I did our little run out of town, I went to Keycon, we watched a verra good concert with S. J. Tucker and Heather Dale and their musical teams, we've been making lots or prep work for house renovations with my father-in-law, and am now at 17 1/2 weeks, or over 4 months. Yow.
I'll try not to blather too long about any of the above, but I do have a few things I thought were interesting and/or cool.
On a writing-related note, there is *nothing* more frustrating than waiting for an answer from an agent.
To be specific, during Keycon, I got an e-mail from one agent that she'd like to see my full MS (Dance! Dance!).
So I e-mailed the agent who's had the partial for a while and might want the full -- in hopes of speeding up the response now she knows there's other interest. I thought sicne she requested the partial first, this was the appropriate order. No reply yet.
Of course, to me, this is *TWO WEEKS AUGH EEK!* but for her, I presume she's swamped with work for her current clients. (Not least because she replied to my earlier "You've had that 4 months now" with "Sorry. Swamped. I still have it, but haven't had a chance to read." (In more professional words on both sides, of course).
But really. NOW would be nice, says the writer-anxiety brain. I don't suppose anyone knows how much longer before I should push again? I really would like to be able to say something to the one who requested the full.
Keycon was fun, I missed a lot of panels, and did a lot more singing. A good year, and good to catch up with a number of people I hadn't seen, especially among the filkers. I danced a bit at the social, spent a lot less time than you'd expect in the Consuites, and listened to yet more music. I was completely floored by Lanna (I THINK that's the right spelling) and Wolfgang's costume pairing of a young Steampunk scientist and his Igor, who was complaining about this newfangled steam tech and how the old days, and the lightning, were so much better. (Lanna was inside the Igor puppet, melting to death and Not Dropping character.) Also cheered Suninherhair's gorgeous dress , and a highly impressive Red Queen who used an amazing wig and makeup job to make her head look genuinely big. Did catch a good panel with Robert Sawyer, Derryl Murphy and Craig Russel (Not to be confused with P. Craig...) on writing, which was entertaining but mostly 101 level writing advice. I didn't get into the writing pitch and advice session as it was full.
More interesting, though not necessarily to his benefit, was the talk I heard by the author GoH, L.E. Modesitt. The first thing that annoyed me was how he interspersed interesting remarks with things that struck me as painfully over-generalized, especially as regards gender (Your examples of humans as a tool-using species are "Look at any man's garage and any woman's kitchen"? Really, if you'd dropped the "any", I might not have gnashed my teeth).
Although the one that really stuck for me was when he was talking about his magic system, which seems to combine magic-as-engineering, IE, people will develop reproducible results where possible, and the "You need to HAVE the innate talent to do it at all" approach. But he did concede that not everyone who has the talent has the same amount -- but most of them, except the least talented, go to the big equivalent of Engineering school, if one had no choice but to go to engineering school if one had the aptitude. So I asked, "So nobody in your world ever does magic as a hobby? The way people who don't have or want the formal training still paint watercolours on Sunday?"
He answered very quickly, "Put it this way. You don't see very many ... surviving ... Sunday Electricians."
Which admittedly got a laugh, even from me. But also had me immediately think that Colin has done a fair bit of the wiring in our house, has done it safely, and up to Code (And no, I have no fear of out house ever showing up on those "worst mistakes" type renovation shows. Not, at least, for unsafe electricity.) By actually reading up on it of his own free will, and being shown things by other people who've done it at what is, effectively, a hobby level -- and at least a couple of times, by watching the mistakes people have made that might be dangerous and vowing not to repeat that. And knowing when (as with the reno coming up), he wants a real electrician to do the work, or look over it.
I didn't say so, but I was thinking it over ever since. Really. Is there no way to get a hobbyist magician in a world where magic has as strict and firm rules as physics and chemistry? No text for how to do it safely? And if not, then doesn't that make people with a smidgin of power MORE dangerous than hobbyists?
(It seems unlikely in my particular fictional world, but it really doesn't seem to contradict his stated rules for Recluse)
I have no idea right now if that's a plot kernel or merely a cool toy for my brain to play with. But there it is.
Everyone in my local circle (Though not necessarily everyone on LJ/DW) has a pretty good idea who Heather Dale
is. (Lookie, official video!) But I felt like I was about the only one outside the filkers who had heard of S.J. Tucker, and that was via the band Tricky Pixie.
I discovered the existence of Tricky Pixie because Alexander James Adams is one of the members, and I've been a fan of his since around 1992, but the very first song sample I heard din't impress me much; it was kind of rough around the edges (Plus Alec was obviously still getting used to a different vocal range, and was not singing terribly well). Later, someone (either aymaera or Greek_Amazon, I genuinely don't remember and don't really want to dig through OMG journal entries to figure out) linked to their version of Tam Lin, which was much smoother, much more impressive, and told me the band had really come together since the first sample (Also, that Alec's voice had settled nicely). Anyhow, once I registered that this was *that*( singer, I decided that Sooj solo would also be a pretty fair bet. Yay! I was right.
Turns out S.J. also brought fellow Pixie Betsy Tinney, the cellist, so I got to meet the other 2/3 of the band. And S.J., in spite of some of her banter being about how little sleep and how little brain she had, was also quite good at the between song banter and the overall performance, as well as writing interesting and enjoyable songs. (Sometimes in live concerts, the presentation itself is key. Loreena McKennitt, for instance, barely spoke in the concert I saw, which, from reports I hear from her being pretty boring when she does, via those who saw her at the folk fest, meant she gave exemplary concert by not doing banter. Where, with Heather, I think you'd lose a lot from the live show by *not* hearing her and Ben doing commentary.)
Sooj's style is a bit closer to the singer-songwriter folk, with an occasional gospel-like bit thrown in, but her lyrics are strongly fantastical. I especially liked Ravens in the Library myself (And the very silly Alligator In the House, which she blamed on Betsy songwriting wise, though the album credits them together). Of the two albums of hers, I found the current one, Mischief, mostly good, and the 2005 one, Tangles, rather more generic; had I bought it before hearing her, or the recent work, I'd have dismissed her as promising but not really interesting.
Anyhow, two superb acts. Lots of fun. Plus, of course, getting to see the Bhigg House crew and others of that ilk.
House reno plans are ... a lot bigger than they were when we started talking about it idly in march/April. Like, a whole extension. Colin has been toiling away at the computer on the plans (He has an amazing program for doing so, plus it's exactly the sort of thing he's skilled at.) We got the surveyor to confirm the actual property lines, he had an engineer in twice to look over Colin's drafts of the project (Ha approved them, confirmed this would be fairly easy, but also told him exactly what he'd need for the actual permit that he hadn't drawn out in detail yet) and a concrete guy to give is price estimates on foundations.
My Father in law was intending to return to BC on Friday, but had to cancel his flight due to illness. He seems a bit better, though far from well, and he has antibiotics. And I'm under firm orders not to go near him (My mother-in-law is exceedingly protective of her unborn grandchild, even if she has to call from BC to be so. I do want to remind her that I'm ALSO very interested in the fate of said little one and am indeed taking care of myself. But some things, like walking up or down a flight of stairs, don't exactly worry me yet. Not until the bump is much larger. And exercising is strongly in my interest. Though I agree that exposing myself to ill people, even ones I care a good deal about, is not. So I'm fretting at a distance.)
Doctor Who this season seems to be aiming for cracktastically weird as its gold standard. Which the emphasis on the cracktastic, not the gold, or even the Who. It doesn't quite feel Whovian as I'm used to thinking of it, even less than last season, but whatever it is, it's having fun.
The Sea Thy Mistress just cemented Bear's Edda of Burdens as my favourite of her series'. (Okay, I'd have to read all three and the two Stratford Man books in rapid succession to be sure, but I think if I tried that just now, my head might explode). Though it seemed to me for the first half of the book that there was a lot of not-much happening, most of it did turn out to have accomplished more than it first looked like, and the second half more than paid for the slow start. Wow.
Similar wows for N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Kingdoms. (If you haven't read the first one, the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and you've ever wanted to read something a little different and a lot amazingly good in fantasy, FIND IT. NOW.)