04 February, 2016

this week...

...began with two dead watch batteries. Saved because third watch is a thirty-odd year old Snoopy wind-up with a little tennis ball counting off seconds. At least it's on studded black leather band.

8 inches into one panel of Dad's vest, I discover the row is 12 stitches short because I cannot count. Frog it all, begin again.

Broke the red glass flower part of the hummingbird feeder. Made do with a cut-down plastic pen body. Birds did not care.

I made chocolate chip cookies because COOKIES, and because I had a couple days of no student commenting (that ends... now) so I had time.

The Girl Scout cookie supplier was a no-show Wednesday. But we still have chocolate chip cookies, so we will not die.

There will be pub Friday tomorrow, goddammit.

Word-count! Sent to the Rat, because I am driven by deadlines and discipline and other words starting with D.

Insurrection planned in game! Much furious typing!

More word count! Followed by the realization that I don't like writing much. It's hard! Wah! ...and then more word count, weeping and snarling.

From an actual conversation with The Rat:

"Oh, see, I knew all your creepy-ass reading about space ship crashes would come in handy." 
"Indeed. I'm not saying you should compromise the outside, which would do a lot more damage. I'm just saying the bodies should probably be in pieces rather than puddles." 
"Pieces! Excellent."

And now begins the slow trickle of 57 first drafts for comments by Monday. Fuck and damn.

Oh, word-count. It was nice knowing you. At least there will be beer.

For now, coffee. Then yoga. Then Arrow tonight. And maybe, maybe more word-count.

14 January, 2016

making faces

I have avoided linking my photo to my name for as long as I've been on the internet. In the early days, that was a conceit, because the web was the 'Net from Gibson and we were all (in my corner of reality) half role-playing netrunners anyway. Then it became a matter of paranoia. Self-protection. I shot my electronic mouth off a lot more Back Then, was more willing to engage with asshats on the internet. But I sure didn't want them finding out who I was. Then avatars appeared (oh, livejournal) and one's picture was as much of a communication as one's words, and why the hell would I want to use my own face? When I shifted into Facebook, and for classroom websites, I made cartoon icons of myself, reckoning my students could see the real me every class, but the cartoon communicated something different--the viking-hero version for the Beowulf class, for instance--became a part of the teacher persona.

Now...I have this novel coming out, see, and there's author photos Out There attached to the name, and for the love of all that is good I am on Twitter (somewhere, a pig flies), so it seemed like it was time to make real faces. (Really, at the heart of it, is that I cut my hair and the style no longer matches the cartoon viking-me. I am that...whatever the word is. Particular? Obsessive? You pick.) So I broke out the camera on the laptop and sucked it up and took photos. There were filters! They were fun. And kind to fairly shitty lighting (leave my chair to take a better selfie? No way). And, vanity! Kind to the rest of everything, too. You don't stand in front of a classroom of 19 year olds if you're self-conscious or crippled by give-a-shit, but still, photos on the internet.

I updated my Facebook with one of the first crop (which lived very briefly here and on Twitter, too). And almost immediately, I got a couple of comments about how "very serious" I looked. And I thought wait now. What? The ONLY comment you can make about me is...I am not smiling? Why even comment at all about my expression? Like (or do not like; there is no ambivalence) and go on with your day. Why do I need to be face-policed?

When Nous posts some new version of himself, let me assure you that he is not smiling. He is the Anti-Smile. He is deliberately scowly. Does anyone ever comment on his expression? No. They comment on his hat, or his photo composition, or just say 'nice' or some version thereof. I did not expect nice, because the photos were crap (Nous is a good photographer. I am not. The end.)  Grant: I had no hat. I did have masks and paintings in the background because those are on the wall behind this chair, though I did not expect them to get comments, either. I thought I might get a where the hell did your hair go? or two, from the people who had seen it long, but that was about it.

But no. Where was my smile? Why was I not performing friendly for everyone?

Well, because.

We tell little girls to smile because it makes them pretty, which in turn sends the I am friendly/nonthreatening/approachable signal. I have made the fatal error of smiling at strangers before, only to get sucked into unwanted conversations or get followed around stores or hit on or harangued or whatever. So I learned, you know, not to do that.

Because I'm not that friendly, swear to the gods. I'm a cranky introvert who has no fucks to give about whether you think I'd be prettier if I smiled or whether my refusal to do so means I am a dyke and/or hate men. In my classroom, my office hours, my professional and personal interactions--I can and do smile, because I am happy to be there.

And that, ultimately, was the reason I took down the unsmiling me and replaced her with the sideways smirking me (and also because the light in my office was more conducive to photography).  I do want to be here (though I am still a little ambivalent about Twitter; but I'm ambivalent about Facebook, too). But damn, I kinda miss the days of icons and avatars.

02 January, 2016


Yarn 1.0, straight off the drop spindle. Because you can't knit all the time.

It is not very good yarn. It's uneven and unlovely. But it's also the first try. The second try, currently on the spindle, is a little less lumpy. I will ply them together at some point and make a delightfully ugly yarn, at which point I will have learned to spin and ply and I will have a ball of undyed bluefaced leicester wool of indeterminate yardage to be transformed into something.

And then I can get serious with the lovely fiber I got from Blarney Yarns and make something pretty.