Foreshadowing is not foredoomed … so far (#SFWApro)

As I blogged about on Monday, we started the week with dog problems, and I wondered if that foreshadowed an unproductive month. So far, no.

I did have plenty of distraction this week: vet appointment Monday (as noted at the link), car in for checkup on Tuesday, electrician in Thursday, and various little tasks (filing pet insurance claims, collecting tax paperwork) that ate up quite a bit of time. Despite which I made my 40 hours and made my exercise schedule (an unplanned but enjoyable long walk today with the dogs helped). Go me! Though it required a good deal more evening work than usual, which has left me rather wiped (after I finish this post, I’m crashing).

The main accomplishment was getting a lot of stuff watched for the time-travel book, and a good start on the next round of revising the text. I also sent off two stories, and got an acceptance on the last story that I sent out last month (a reprint that will appear in Digital Fantasy) so yay! And I got paid for the reprint of Signs and Hortense which will be coming out in Eldritch Embraces.

That was pretty much it, because for the next month and a half, I’m all about finishing Time Travel on Screen. I can’t afford to be anything else. I only submit stories and queries because I can do that while I’m watching Timecop or King Arthur and the Knights of Justice or whatever (reviews tomorrow).

And the walk today was fun. We ran into one of our neighbors, Kathy, and her big malamut, Mischa, a five-year-old but very puppyish dog, one of the few larger dogs that Trixie gets along with. So I wound up walking a very different route from usual, and longer than I’d planned, but we all enjoyed it.

Next week will be a challenge of a different order. TYG’s obligations will require me assuming 100 percent dog care through Thursday, and that’s a lot. There’s also a possibility of snow, which limits where I can walk them (and do they get lively when there’s no long walks in the morning!), and limits my ability to go off and do anything on my own.

So we’ll see. Fingers crossed. And below, we have a picture of Trixie in one of her favorite places, right inside my leg. It’s a little awkward letting her sit there while I write, but she looks so cute tucked into the underside of my knee.


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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Time Travel Book, Writing

Before my week-in-review, a quick political post about disability

So Amy Sterling Casil publishes a post at Special Needs in Strange Worlds on the premise that “We Are All Disabled.” (it’s been pulled and an apology posted). Her thesis:

•She is disabled herself because her high levels of empathy make her so sensitive.

•God sends us our disabilities. Not for punishment but as a kind of gift—if you’re blind, autistic, in a wheelchair, you will have different, perhaps deeper experiences than a regularly abled person.

•When you look at how little of the universe we can see, sense or comprehend, aren’t we all disabled? Maybe we should just stop thinking “disabled” is a particular category.

In response: 1)I have not heard of this, and from the way Sterling Casil writes, it doesn’t sound like she’s had an official diagnosis. But I may be wrong. 2)God does not strike people disabled, and no, being disabled does not put you on some higher spiritual plane (this is not a new thought—when I was a kid, the special way blind people supposedly had of sensing the world was sometimes presented as a really amazing and awesome thing, rather than just not being able to see). 3)This is gibberish. The reason we class some people as disabled is because they have serious problems dealing with things the rest of us can take for granted (wheelchairs and stairs). The fact none of us can see ultraviolet light or hear sonar like bats doesn’t change that, or the advantage those of us who are abled have. And that’s not even talking about discrimination against people with disabilities.

Jim Hines gives a very reasonable, thoughtful commentary on the original, now removed post. Foz Meadows’ response is well thought out too, but a lot more angry (I do not mean that as a criticism of Meadows).

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Cover Art for Art’s Sake (#SFWApro)

So after taking the dogs off to day care, this turned into a busy day of running errands, cleaning and dealing with our excellent electricians. And the week as a whole has been exhausting enough my mind has fried. Normally that’s grounds for a linkpost or radio silence; this time, I think I’ll post a couple of examples of cool paperback covers.

forgotten-beastsGervasio Gallardo’s cover for one of Patricia McKillip’s first books is a good example of someone staring at me from a book cover. All those animals, the dark and shadowy background …

elricshipHere’s Michael Whelan’s cover for Sailor on the Seas of Fate, one of Michael Moorcock’s Elric novels. Which has Elric staring out at the reader, but damn, it’s way more interesting than most such covers. In fact, it may be, as a friend says, the definitive Elric—the slightly exotic looking lead, the exotic looking, nervous watchers in the background, the ornate decorations and Stormbringer, the soul-drinking rune sword.

Rights to both images with current holder.

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Filed under Miscellanea, Personal, Reading

New And column and other political links

The column is on the right-wing meme that Islam is not a religion so it doesn’t get First Amendment protection.

•A conservative reviewer complains that a new book critical of the Koch Brothers influence on politics is wrong because big donations don’t influence politicians.

•Salon provides a quick rundown of far-right conspiracy theories (the UN! the Trilateral Commission! Jade Helm!). I wonder how long before we get to the Illuminati (which Pat Robertson mentioned in his 1990s conspiracy drivel, The New World Order).

•Toyota gives dealers some flexibility in setting interest rates for car loans. The result? Non-whites paid more interest. Toyota has settled with the government for $21.9 million.

•Two for-profit colleges lose government funding for distorting the success rate of their graduates. And Wells Fargo is paying more than a billion bucks to settle a lawsuit that it issued high-risk mortgages, under-estimated the risks to get FHA insurance, then left the taxpayers with the bill when the borrowers defaulted.

•A North Carolina editorial on why requiring a photo ID for voting is not like a photo ID for cashing a check.

•A Google computer figures out how to beat a human at Go.

•Digby on the media failing to ignore bullshit. As she notes, the standard rationale is that it doesn’t matter if it’s true—the story is out there. It’s having an influence. Of course that influence is frequently because the press put it out there, then act as if it went viral spontaneously.

•Apparently Ted Cruz claims everyone who says Cruz’s alternative to Obamacare (stopping states from setting minimum standards for health insurance) isn’t going to help is lying through their teeth.

•Megan McArdle has written that just because she was wrong about Iraq and war opponents was right is no reason to criticize her judgment. Now she’s adopted the same stance on reports that free trade with China, which she supports, has helped gut the working class’s income: her judgment was perfectly logical! And besides, the people who said it was bad were probably just made a lucky guess! And even if it is bad, we can’t stop it now,  so why make a fuss? And besides, her upper-income lifestyle churning out bullshit columns isn’t affected!

•McArdle also claims that she sacrificed financially to work in the low-paying world of journalism so she understands about debt and sacrifice and public-spiritedness. …except that by her own admission, she took on her college debt to land a high-paying job in business that went away after 9/11. Journalism was just a Hail Mary play that despite her lack of insight, talent or human compassion (like her declaration that inequality of opportunity is a good thing) worked out well for her.

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Don’t look at the words I wrote, go by my headcanon of what I really meant

So in the Jim Hines post on the Sad Puppies IV list (which I referenced last post), Hines quotes conservative SF author John C. Wright ranting about “They will never cease to abuse, demean, and insult us, and desecrate everything we love, and to slander and libel us with mouth-frothingly stupid and freakishly counterproductive lies” (something Wright should be familiar with). In the comments, his wife says that Wright is really much more reasonable, it’s just that he’s taken out of context and that people imagine his words being spewed with outrage and spittle instead of read in a calm, measured tone. And when he says things about “the left” he really only means some leftists, not all of them (I presume that would include this post on how us liberals hate the idea of beauty).

First off, as someone who’s read several of Wright’s posts (such as the one where he compares having a Muslim in the Avengers to having a Nazi on the team), no, context does not improve him. Nor does reading his posts in a calm measured voice (like his outrage there was a gay relationship in a popular cartoon show) create a new understanding.

And “he doesn’t really mean it” is never a good defense against criticism. If I wrote that everyone who belongs to the Catholic Church is giving their consent to pedophilia it doesn’t matter whether in my mind I was saying “some Catholics, specifically the ones who think any criticism of the church on this issue is religious bigotry,” (and yes, I’ve known a couple of those). I condemned all Catholics in print, my headcanon about what I really meant is irrelevant if people decide I’m a bigot (note: I don’t believe all Catholics are morally responsible, nor have I ever written so—this is a hypothetical example only). With maybe an exception if I write a follow-up clarification/apology, and I mean an actual apology, not one of those “I’m sorry I offended everyone who didn’t get I was being funny/I apologize to all the sensitive PC people who took issue with my words” things. And I still have to avoid saying the same thing again (Wright’s consistently expressed the same views about gays, the Left, etc.)

I’m quite sure there are plenty of people who don’t mean what they write. I often get the feeling some conservative pundits are more about giving the hard-core bigots in their audience some red meat than true believers themselves (I do not include Wright in that category, I do believe he’s completely sincere). Doesn’t matter. You write it, you own it. You publish it under your name, you own it, even if you didn’t write it. After Pat Robertson got some flak for the “Jewish bankers are taking over the world” book, The New World Order, one of his associates said Of Course Robertson didn’t think that—he had a ghostwriter, and didn’t review the work.

Too bad, so sad. lt’s Robertson’s name on the book, it’s his book. Even assuming that the ghostwriter story is true, it’s no excuse. Just like politicians can’t get off the hook for speeches by saying that they didn’t write it, they shouldn’t be held accountable for the words (I think I have heard that defense once).

If Wright takes it back, fair enough. But he (or anyone close to him) can’t take it back without you know, actually taking it back.

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Sad puppies, Christmas failures and other writing links (#SFWApro)

So last year, the group of specfic writers known as the Sad Puppies tried pushing a slate of writers in the Hugo Award with the stated goal of pushing back against the politicization of specfic which (as I’ve blogged about before) is supposedly ruining the genre. Now they’re back with new leadership and a new campaign; Jim Hines looks at Sad Puppies IV and speculates it may turn out to be a less heavy-handed process. Time will tell. You can find Hines’ critique of previous campaigns at his blog.

Jingle-O the Brownie, a Christmas character who vanished into obscurity (yes, it can happen).

•Charlie Jane Anders says when mixing genres, success comes from thinking of the characters’ perspectives, not the genre elements.

•Foz Meadows looks at diversity’s relationship to good stories.

•One reason writers don’t attend more cons.

•A look at what passed for smut 50 years ago. Interestingly, I’m not the only person who now associates James Kilpatrick primarily with his Saturday Night Live parody (“Jane, you ignorant slut!”).

•If you’re working from home with dogs, here’s some suggestions on keeping them busy. I intend to start employing some of these.

•Possible questions to ask to get to know your characters.

•Foz Meadows on why male-male bonding is so often the strongest relationship in a TV show.

•To inspire yourself, imagine what the reviews of your book will say.


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I hope today is not foreshadowing for February (#SFWApro)

IMG_0665So last week we ran out of our dry dog food and switched to doggy stew for about three days. Such a complete switch apparently upset their systems and there were some indoor pooh problems. And Trixie, TYG thought, seemed uncomfortable, as if her tummy was hurting.

Then the past couple of nights, even though we’ve had them back on kibble, she’s been running around nervously in the middle of the night, desperate to get out before she has another accident. Last night I had to take her out three times, which was not very good for my sleep pattern. Plus the last couple of trips she spent so much time walking around I wonder if it was really a physical need or more “Oh, now I know how to make Daddy take me out so I can chase the invisible fairies I know are out here!”

In any case, this morning we took her into the vet (who’s only about five minutes away). The vet got us some meds and orders not to feed Trixie until late this afternoon (Trixie’s pleading eyes followed me when I gave Plushie his lunch and not her), and then only a little.

Hopefully it’s just a minor stomach problem and nothing serious. And hopefully we’ll both be sleeping soundly tonight.

EDIT: Almost forgot to add that the vet confirmed Plushie is down to the weight we wanted so the diet worked. Now I guess we can give him a little more so he stays where he is (15 lbs).

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Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework