Thursday, November 17, 2005

Snow puppy - 1 Humans - 0

We got our first snow in the late evening a couple days ago. I missed the whole puppy discovers snow thing since Alan took Gambit out then. By the next walk, snow was no big thing, just something you have to dig your nose into to get to the good scents. Minnesota weather is a malicious thing -- zooming between extremes without any warning. This week we went from rain and a few days when I was out with just a sweater to yesterday's high of 5 above, low of 5 below. The result is grumpy humans never warming up with frozen fingers from scraping off hard, hard ice on windshields. What happened to our starter winter -- you know, the light sweet snow that doesn't stay and brushes right off the car? So, humans bundled up like "gangsta eskimos" (Thanks Haddayr!) and still cold while puppies run around like it's eighty degrees out.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Meghan has started another discussion of gender inequity in the genre. It reminded me of a discussion I had at Wiscon last spring. Jenn asked if I had experienced any sexism as a co-editor for the Rabid Transit series. It hasn't been a lot but there have been a few times when the other editors were mentioned and I was forgotten. She said Heather had experienced some of that as co-editor of Flytrap. I don't know if Gwenda's had the same experience with Say... It's hard to tell how much of it is because my co-editors have a lot more stories published than I do, but I do think sexism has been part of it. It's even happened at Wiscon which is a little haven of feminism in a wider world of sexism. I've been groped at a SF conference before but I think the editor stuff bothered me more. The groping was just one boorish man.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I can't believe it's already Saturday. The week went by in a blur and I misplaced a day somewhere around Wednesday. Gambit seems completely recovered and has been a huge handfull. Potty training is progressing nicely. Most of my time with him is spent keeping him from chewing on the coffee table, other furniture and us or pulling things like shoes, CDs cases, pencils and pillows out of his mouth. I bought him a puppy sampler of Nylabone products and he tore through the first two in no time at all. I've given him the last bone, a more durable chicken flavored one, about a month early on their timeline. I guess he's what they call a "strong chewer." Has anyoned tried those freezable chew toys for teething puppies? Any other suggestions?

The two scaredy cats are around on a regular basis now. One keeps his distance and for some reason the puppy does too. The other one has had a few cute touching noses moments, always from a safe height. As the previous baby of the family, she feels entitled to be the recipient of love and affection and the puppy doesn't quite get that. The oldest cat, Tora, and the puppy have started wrestling together, accompanied by growls, hisses and much thumping. Despite the hisses, the cat doesn't move away and most of the time seems to be the instigator. Tora is much gentler with the puppy than he is in return. I keep hoping Tora will give him a good whack just to show him who's the boss and get him to be a little less nippy in their play. It hasn't happened, yet. The cat must like it. It was the other way around when we had our 110 lb. dog, Burt. The cat would sit on something at head height for the dog and they'd play that way. The cat never seemed to hoold back with whapping with his claws but the dog never closed his jaws too far when snapping back.

There's an interesting article in the LA Times about the battle between Wal-Mart and its foes for churches.

Monday, November 07, 2005

We got back from Madison and World Fantasy last night, exhausted but happy. Gambit circumvented our safety gate the very first day and managed to either get over or under the gate at all the different heights that Lynn, our pet sitter, tried. I'm guessing he stayed confined before we left because he wasn't feeling very well. He did only very minor damage and Lynn swept the new areas to get anything loose up out of his reach. He's sleeping at my feet right now and isn't coughing anymore. Last night we got to see him gently nibble our oldest cat's ears and neck. Tora, a neutered male, is a terror most of the time but has always been incredibly caring and gentle with kittens. He's showing the same affection and patience with the puppy who is slightly larger and much wilder than he is. He was the one who missed our old dog the most and I've been able to take him off the kitty prozac since the puppy came. No more cats fighting.

Little Con Report - Con Catchwords: Hey-o, Dragon Tits, Drive-by workshop gang signs, and Drunkomancy

Now the convention was a lot of fun as always but you were all missed terribly. Madison is just not the same without you. You know who you are. Big smooch!

I spent most of the convention in a fog that only lifted the very last day. On Thursday, we got into our room around midnight and I went right to bed. Any dreams of catching up on my puppy-deprived sleep dimmed each morning when I woke up way before I planned to. It did allow me to make the only two panels I attended the whole weekend on Friday. My favorite of the two panels was the Fantasy in Unexpected Places panel moderated by Jeff Vandermeer with Kelly Link, Matt Cheney (filling in for Dora Goss who arrived the next day), Graham Joyce and Carol Emshwiller. Everyone was wonderfully witty and the ninety minutes never dragged. The panel explored "fringe fantasy" versus the mainstream fantasy epic model and why the panelists wrote what they did. Whether they were writing in response to the mainstream of fantasy publishing or mainstream realism or because they couldn't write any other way, all said fantasy allowed an author to get at a truth that mimetic fiction didn't.

Friday had the added surprise of finding Kelly Everding and Eric Lorberer from Rain Taxi visiting because so many friends were in town. In one of those small world kinds of things, Rudi Dornemann who has the wonderful story, "The Sky Green Box" in this issue of Rabid Transit, Menagerie, went to graduate school at University of Massachusetts, Amherst with Kelly and Eric.

We spent most of the evening in the lounge outside the Governor's Club bar visiting with friends. I got to meet Hal Duncan from the Infernokrusher discussions (I was just a bystander) and for the first time, at least the first time while sensible, really got to talk with Hannah Bowen and Meghan McCarron. I ended up that night sipping wonderful homebrewed cider at the West Coast Indie Press Posse and Scribe Agency party and hanging with Brett Cox and Robert Wexler. Alan and I went to bed early for us around 2 a.m. Alan had picked up Margo Lanagan's fantastic World Fantasy Award winning Black Juice and I was able to read and be blown away by the World Fantasy Award winning, "Singing My Sister Down," that night before falling to sleep.

Saturday, I spent most of the day sitting and letting the world come to me. First, to relieve Midori Snyder for lunch at the Endicott Studios table, later at the Small Beer Press dealer's table and finally at the sales table at the Got 'Zine party we co-hosted with Small Beer, Electric Velocipede and Trunk Stories. It was about all my little mind could handle and I like nothing better than meeting interesting new people and trying to introduce them to books I love. We had so much help with set-up and clean up that it wasn't the chore a party usually is. Karen Meisner made a much needed appearance and all was well with the world.

Sunday, David Moles arranged a casual reading for Twenty Epics with Dave Schwartz, Alan and Meghan and then we had the banquet. We don't normally go to the banquet but must have been feeling flush when we registered. It was totally worth it, if only to hear Peter Straub's strange, convoluted and funny talk confirming that there are secrets that writers become privvy to as they ascend to fame. He said he was at level 5 and put Kelly at the top at level 11 and rising. It wasn't a surprise as we've all always known that she has the secrets of the universe in addition to a thorough knowledge of zombies.

This convention more than any other was relaxed but I also felt like I was constantly passing people I wanted to talk to but was already deep in conversation with someone else and vice versa. I missed every reading I wanted to go to except my husband's. But, World Fantasy is all about books and with books we came home. On my reading stack with Black Juice are: Spirits Unwrapped edited by Daniel Braum with stories by Rudi Dornemann and Catherine Dybiec Holm amongst others, the premier issue of Fantasy Magazine from Prime Books with a great story by Jeff Ford - the only one I've read in the magazine so far - and a large number of paperbacks and 'zines. Oh and the forthcoming books excerpt sampler which must be read, preferably aloud, to be believed.

I got up early this morning to let the pooch out and pulled a sweatshirt from my still packed bag. It wasn't until I got outside that I realized the sweatshirt had sat against my jeans from Saturday night. That horrible stale beer smell was coming from the Capitol Amber ale I had spilled down my leg while moving the kegs at the end of the party.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Oh, and last night Alan and I watched this week's Rome. WTF?! Not where we thought things were going that's for sure.
Last night, I finished reading Rikki Ducornet's "Entering Fire," a wonderful bargain from the Rain Taxi used book sale at the Minnesota Book Fest. I first encountered Ducornet and her writing a few years ago at a Rain Taxi sponsored reading for "The Fanmaker's Inquisition." Yay all around for Rain Taxi! While I grew up in a family of readers, most of my parent's reading came from the paperback shelves at the local library or from books passed among friends. I've always been a fast reader and they didn't believe in limiting what I could read, so I was often scrounging their books or whatever was left in the bookshelf at our cabin for more reading. I even confess to the blasphemy of reading some of the Reader's Digest condensed books that my grandparents donated to the book shelf. I remember being given nightmares by Nabokov's "Pale Fire" and going through a British Raj stage inspired by Kaye's "The Far Pavilions" but those books were few and far between and most of the reading was very forgettable. My grandfather fed me SF classics. Mac, who owned and watched over the land my parents bought for their cabin, passed me spy novels. On my own, I moved from the SF shelves in the children's section of the library to the mysteries and then onto the adult mystery and horror sections. Rikki Ducornet is too young to have been a childhood influence on me but I wonder what my writing would be like if more of those paperbacks had been classics or by authors like Borges or Nabokov (if I hadn't been so traumatized by my early introduction.) In college, I tried to remedy my lack of education by reading all of the Best American Short Stories editions going back to the beginning in 1915 and the O. Henry anthologies which started not long after that. Yay Grinnell College for having a complete set! I tracked down more work from the authors I liked. That's how I first encountered Eudora Welty who's probably had as much of an influence on me as anybody. All of these musings came out of reading Ducornet, who always makes me think, "Wow, I wish I could write like that."
Last night, every once and a while Gambit started coughing with a horrible retching sound. I worried all night with images of a splinter or something else stuck in his throat. At one point yesterday I caught the little critter with a couple pieces of wood in his mouth. I swear he was sitting right underneath me the whole time. I still haven't found which piece of furniture they came from. The shelter doesn't open until noon so I took him into our own vet at 9 a.m. I love our vet. Anyway, he has a respiratory infection and after he received a shot, we returned laiden with anti-biotics and a gentle canned food to ease his sore throat. He coughed and retched all the way home, so I guess it was going to get a lot worse. Just after we got home, the vet's office called to let us know he also has some kind of protozoan parasite. He'd been put on de-worming medicine right after he'd been picked up but this one must have been too tough. All of this is pretty normal for a puppy that's been through what he'd been through. The vet warned us to keep him home and away from other dogs until his immune system rebounds. We've been debating what to do with him while we're at World Fantasy this weekend. We'd thought about waiting until after this weekend to get him but the shelter staff said he'd be better with us even if we left for a few days, so we took him. We have a great pet sitter and had already lined her up to come in as often as the puppy needed while we're gone. We had decided it would be less stressful than moving him to someone else's house for just three days. Now, I'm tempted to stay home to take care of him.