Lucky goil

Interview went well, we wait now.

Mike is awesome.  He picked up a dress in South Africa which fits me, is in fantastic colours, goes through the wash and is dead sexy, and he also took me to Roo’s for dinner and the JJ Spa last night, and I then hung out with Cassidy, who is poking around various job ops herself.

If I don’t get this job I have a plan to do something good and important with my free time when I’m not writing.

200 some odd words yesterday, infill.

Keith’s power came back on this morning.  Paul missed the excitement apart from being stuck at the border when the power went out at the crossing.

WARNING PARODY

Once I had a secret thought
That lived within the brain of me
All too soon my secret thought

Flew from my brain upon a sneeze

So I told a friendly star
The way that dreamers often do
Secret thought, don’t go too far!
I have not yet stopped thinking you

Now I shout it from the internet
Even told my twitter friends, you bet
At last my brain’s an open door
And my secret thought’s no secret anymore

[Instrumental Interlude]

Now I shout it from the internet
Even told my facebook friends, you bet
At last my brains’s an open door
And my secret thought’s no secret anymore

Life and art

Yesterday there was a windstorm, of the kind that’s going to happen earlier and later in the year but normally happens in November.  It was violent and destructive and while we did not lose power nearly everybody else did, it seems. Winds gusted to 117 kph, which is over 70 mph, and there are videos all over the internet of the carnage, including the first ten minutes of local CTV news which shows some very tall trees coming down. Trees down everywhere, traffic lights, restaurants closing for lack of power, Katie still doesn’t have power this morning.  Welcome to the future.

Keith came over briefly after walking in the storm. We watched a West Wing.

And containment on the bears at the Zoo was breached.  I wrote a bit yesterday about critters and aliens at the Greater Vancouver Zoo and learn this morning that the bears got out because of a windstorm, not because an alien with mental health issues let them out. I’m relieved I wasn’t at the Zoo when the bears got out.

BAD NEWS about climate.

350 words yesterday, but it was mostly infill, and teasing apart two chapters that got jammed together, and fixing pronouns for my gender non-conformist Slider, who is turning into a lot of fun to write.

RIP Oliver Sachs, may you live forever in the healing you brought, the lives you touched and the words you left us.

I have a job interview Monday.  It’s an admin position at an established restaurant supply company.  I’ll report back after I go.

 

Walkies

It was very pleasant to go for an evening walk in the neighbourhood last night with Paul.  We walked through some alleys we don’t normally view.  That, three loads of laundry, making coffay and cutting up a peach for us to eat are about all I did yesterday.  Some editing, no writing.

Sandra came really close to rescuing a dog earlier this week.  I have no reason to disbelieve her description of the dog, who sounds like it’s been abused past belief.

 

The Giant Squid has Not

Cake, Pudding and Cheese are the three alien babies who named themselves after food because food is always popular among humans.  Apex predators aren’t supposed to name themselves after food, that is just wrong, but some of the babies have names like Doofus (“Nobody will be afraid of an alien named Doofus” and Etazonia (which is a variant of États-Uni, so one of the kids named herself after the United States, which is also pretty bizarre.)  They have briefly shown up at a family reunion – just long enough to mention that they’ve been rehearsing, and to sing a three part version of “The Giant Squid has Not” – with animations, sound effects, and stage business – on their way to a gig on the Island.  So I didn’t really write 500 words yesterday, it was 500 less the words I quoted from Brooke’s song, which was just the first verse. Hey, their dad’s a filk fan, and why the hell not.  I’m going to write about what I know, right? bwa ha, ha ha.

Some of the babies were named by their mother and their mother’s current squeeze (Kima and Michel are a very cute couple.)  But when you’re having 175 babies at once some of them get away on you before you can name them.  Hey, it was an accident.  It’s hard to do something right when you’ve never done it before and there’s no precedent.

Jeff, who is a life-saver, got treats yesterday AND got malware off my Mac, which is very very happy making.

Margot jumped up onto the sofa to say hi yesterday and accept skritches when we were watching some tv… She rarely does this when both of us are there.  Buster is usually sitting on my side of the sofa and I must threaten him with the Giant Setting Bum of Allegra which usually means that Jeff rescues him from being crushed milliseconds before he gets mashed into the cushion because he is unconcerned by impending doom.  He is the least ready-to-take-offense-or-be-frightened cat I’ve ever met.

Hell on Wheels continues to entertain, the new Patrick Stewart sitcom (Blunt Talk) is uneven but when funny EXCRUCIATINGLY so, Brent Spiner shows up in a guest slot that will make all the fans go squee, and if you don’t want to watch Walter Blunt /Patrick Stewart down three Ambien when he was expecting three Provigil while sucking back marijuana edibles like an East Burnaby ‘hood rat and washing them down with scotch, you shouldn’t watch it. Jeff and I were both very entertained by the opening shot.  Patrick Stewart doesn’t just have a bald head, he has an ICONIC bald head.

It seems clear that a new generation of comedy writers is taking on the half hour sitcom format and making it new.  Grace and Frankie, the Brink and Blunt Talk (and bunches of others we haven’t seen because we’re not fans of the writers or stars) are sophisticated, funny, humane, well-acted, written and directed and they move like screwball comedies on rails.

Did you know that JFK was accidentally shot by his own security detail?  Many things about the shooting now make much more sense in the light of this new theory.

The Mr. Robot season finale didn’t air because some content was too similar to a shooting in the US which happened during the same news cycle, so they had to can it – we’ll see it later.  And props to the show runners and network for giving it a rest.  The fans will wait.  The Rick and Morty was okay, there were some good laughs and Keith David as a voice actor is always worth the listen.

also.

Almost every single episode of West Wing that we’re watching is pulling its news from CURRENT headlines – and the show’s been off the air almost a decade.  Sometimes the overlaps are so freaky that Jeff just look at each other all o,O like what the HELL man.  Last night it was ‘we’re really close to curing cancer’ and it was so similar to the recent news it was surreal. And people torching AME churches and school shootings, it’s all…. yeah.

Everybody drive safe this weekend.  There may be flash floods and overwhelmed streams and sewers may make for trouble in low lying areas. We’re still going to be on water restrictions.

Mike has returned from South Africa, the single most brutal business trip he’s ever been on, and Jarmo had his last day yesterday at Evilcorp.  Mike took me to supper last night.  Just for future reference, the steak sandwich special for 10 bucks on Thursday night is totally worth it; best beef for the price I’ve had in ages.

 

Out for a walk

Paul and I went for a walk in Oakalla yesterday. I got very hot and sweaty.  Then I did a quick tour around the liquor store and got some fruits and veg and coffee cream from the grocery store.

The fires in Washington state are causing real hardships.  The firefighters haven’t gotten a break in ages, and may take until the rains come in the fall for it all to be put out, which is ghastly. Hydro electric production is being affected.  The entire province of Alberta has health warnings for the smoke and the tourism jewels like Banff are a mess because you can’t even see across the valley.

Ninety-seven words yesterday.  I am not feeling very good about the edits but this too is temporary.

No I did not write this

Undead Cat
Lyrics by Rob Wynne
(TTTO: “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel)

Undead cat
It’s not living now, and that is that
But somehow it still can move around
No you’re never gonna keep it down

You’d better run from the undead cat
You won’t win if you get in a spat
And if the sight of it should give you pause
You’re gonna die by its undead claws
And drooling maw

And when you see where it is
It’s too lay-ay-ate
And when you wake up
You make up its play-ay-ate

You’ll see that you now are dead
Your poor sod
You’ve been fed to the undead cat
And your flesh has made it sleek and fat
And when it’s tired of its catnip toys
It will go hunting for more girls and boys
Because they’re moist

Undead cat
In Spanish, viviendo muerto gat-
O, maybe someday when you’re on your own
Out in the woods, you hear a yowling moan
Won’t make it home

And where it’s stalking
You’ll find you’re its prey-ay-ay
There’s no use talking
Unless it’s to pray-ay-ay

You’ll see that you now are dead
Your poor sod
You’d should’ve fled from the undead cat
You won’t win if you get in a spat
And if the sight of it should give you pause
You’re gonna die by its undead claws
And drooling maw

Dropped off

Katie and Alex and I saw humpback whales (two of them) from the stern of the ferry boat yesterday.  It was so marvellous!

The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning around 3 am was Alex.  He has a memorable face, and such merry blue eyes.  Katie and I had a talk and I told her that I won’t try to pick him up or cuddle him again until he wants me to; I may wait years, or forever, but he’s just not that into me, so I’ll let myself be baby driven.

I was not able to get as much of the mOm-assisted edits done this time and while I’m disappointed I think it will be fine.  I’m not feeling any pull toward writing today so I’ll work on other things instead.

I very much enjoyed driving the Modo car, which is a Prius.  I didn’t enjoy the gas card not working so I have to make sure I get my money back.

DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH TURDS. There’s no picture, but some of you ****ers be squeamish.

I took a book by a Christian (Phil Ryan) out of the library.  It’s called After the New Atheist Debate and it’s a sort of Point Counterpoint on the New Atheist positions and the Defenders of the Faiths – including the horrifyingly sexist and racist Theodore Beale.  BUT it contained this gem: Alasdair MacIntyre is paraphrased by Ryan as saying “modern moral debates (are) ‘interminable’ because of the ‘conceptual incommensurability’ of rival positions”.

Alex

Alex is a worshipper of a flying pig.

There’s a flying pig (Keith Jeff bought it and sorry about that but while I could remember that it was a family member I conflated who and mOm couldn’t remember either, sigh) tacked to the ceiling of the sunroom at Gadget House.  He stared at it until his mother turned it on, and then gazed at it adoringly. Same thing this morning.  He pointed his finger at it like Adam touching God on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  It was very funny.

He had his first trip to the butterly sanctuary yesterday and he loved it.

It’s wonderful being here.

Lovely visit

Little Alex enjoyed his first trip to the butterfly sanctuary last night, regaled us with a long incomprehensible story as we waited for our meal at Sassy’s, and was really very well behaved. We’re hoping he has a somewhat better night tonight, as he was kind of thrashy for Katie’s taste.  I suspect incisors are in his future.

We’ll be heading out noonish tomorrow.

Progress

Twelve hundred words yesterday, and got within 15000 words of the end.  Maybe I’m doing it all wrong, but it feels right.

I have no idea why I had to put in capybaras, but there you go.

Most of the new writing has gone off to mOm for her enjoyment.

French toast for supper last night.  It had been ages since I made breakfast for supper.

He roard and grizzled

Alex was here yesterday while his mama had a driving lesson and he started crying the instant his mother left and didn’t stop until she got home.  He doesn’t like me very much right now.

What really broke my heart was how he didn’t want to be put down because he’d cry even harder so I would hold him. For about two minutes he was distracted by Jeff playing Xenon but no, after that he was toast.  He never cried Really Really Hard, just a pretty much steady announcement that the wheels had come off his world.

I could still smell him on me a couple of hours later.

Paul cooked barbecue chicken for lunch yesterday after we went to Oakalla. It was really hot even mid morning.

Wrote 480 words yesterday.

I watched a surfing documentary.  I don’t know exactly what it is about surfing that I love so much but it’s a rather cool activity. Also I wonder if one of Kima’s children would enjoy surfing.  If you enjoy complex g-loading and are hard to physically hurt and drown, sounds like surfing would be an awesome pastime.

The people I’d like to thank.

So early!  I’ve got 320 words in already and I can tell I’m going to have another good day.  Everything that seemed so stale and asinine a week ago looks interesting & funny again.

I was putting together a list in the shower the other day of all the authors I want people to be reminded of when they read the novels.  I have no desire to talk about the originality of the novels.  They aren’t original. I haven’t read a book with the same basic premise but I refuse to believe one wasn’t written in the 50’s or earlier, since it’s so simple and easy.  That wasn’t where I was going.  I wanted to write novels about family, obligation, how to overcome abuse, how culture changes over time and people fight about how to ‘do culture right’ when it’s all getting to be a hopeless hodgepodge now, at least in the English speaking world, how our family structures make us and break us, about the fall of nation states, how pregnancy changes you, about how feminism plays out in real life, about how political alliances are formed, what would happen to the city manager of a city aliens came out in, how speaking a different language changes how you think and what you think is important, about love of child and love of parent and how alien contact is now part of the global narrative and how we can’t keep destroying our planet.

Some of these things are decor and some are integral to the narrative, but I am also hitting at the whole notion of plot very hard, because there isn’t much of one, and the longer I write the less worried I am about that. I want to write snappy dialogue between compelling characters, and I don’t care if I walk, ride or parachute to that place & what baling-wire I hold it together with.  I don’t criticize plotlessness in other writers (although I appreciate a good plot when I see it) and now I’m okay with not being able to plot for shit, because it isn’t my strength, and most of the people beta reading the drafts don’t even care about it. They just want to know what happens next.

Dorothy Dunnett OBVIOUSLY.  I don’t have her scale, precision, sweep and painterly eye, but I decided to have AN IMMENSE CAST OF CHARACTERS mostly so I could have a scalable shared universe, and also because the massive number of babies allows me to play with contemporary mores regarding pregnancy and parenting.

Zenna Henderson for having a specifically religious worldview in the story, but I’m busting up the religiosity into little chunks that are set like terrazzo chips into the narrative and then polished down so they won’t be offensive to atheists.  Also for the novels being like Venn diagram sequences of stories bound together by a premise rather than a plot – occasionally the identical event will be recounted by two different people, partly to emphasize how alien the aliens are, and sometimes to reveal that somebody is being a bad bad character and an unreliable narrator.

Eric Frank Russell because even though the events are serious I make a serious effort to be funny.  Yesterday when I was re-reading a chapter with a mind to tighten and clarify it, I ran across a line I’d forgotten writing and burst out laughing.  That’s the reaction I want in others.  Around the next bend is something lovely, something disgusting, something funny, something weird, something meltingly sad, something armwavingly science-y, something sweet, something kind, something that makes you go WHAT? Why?

Jerzy Kosinski for the violence and creepiness of some sections, cause it’s not all funny, no, not by a long shot.  Laelaps’ episode and Raven’s assault and the death of George’s mother are all sequences I wrote intending to make the reader crumple up.  If you ever read the Raven chapter in Sweep off those Waves, please remember I cried while writing every word until the moment Michel shows up. I think it says something about the space Michel holds in my head that I just couldn’t cry while he was around; he makes me feel absurdly cheerful, as if any fool thing could happen next.  Even when he’s scary he’s still funny. I just re-read his scene with Brendan on the beach and my single favourite line from the 150K words so far is in that scene.  I mentioned it to Sandra and she burst out laughing….

The writings of other sf fans about sf and all manner of other things, as mostly I’ve seen on facebook (I recently quit facebook) and Livejournal (I’m still there but rarely post.)  They have a really engaged, hilarious and memorably literate way of talking about the things they love, and honest to God sometimes they DO talk as if Diablo Cody, Joss Whedon, Lauren Faust, Harlan Ellison, Dorothy Dunnett and Patrick O’Brian were collaborating on a script in real time, and anybody who’s sat in the consuite at damned near any sf convention aimed at adults knows ‘zackly what I’m talkin’ ’bout.  I ain’t hiding my big words behind the door because THAT ISN’T WHO I AM WRITING FOR. I am writing for hyper-intelligent people with their loving arms ’round pop culture, who want to be challenged and entertained, who want to see themselves reflected in the intelligence and sexuality and choices of the characters.

Harlan Ellison I’ve already mentioned.  For being big and brassy and opinionated and loud and unapologetic and sometimes quite deliberately contemptuous and rude.  For this, my friends, is not a subtle tale I tell.

John Brunner, specifically Stand on Zanzibar.  I’ve grabbed onto sections of that novel in terms of structure (the whole “Reddit AMA” section, and the initial interview with Farah.)

James H. Schmitz, specifically the Witches of Karres.  There’s something about the tone of that novel that is all around wonderful, and I aim in that direction when writing about George interacting with Pharos.

I am sure there are other writers as well, but I’d be remiss in not mentioning at the last Ms. Elif Şafak.  Tammy gave me her “The Forty Rules of Love” and upon finishing this amazing novel, which addresses many of the issues I think are important in fiction, I realized I could write a novel without a straight narrative line or timeline and multiple heroes and heroines, that’s when I started writing in earnest.  Now I have this novel and the final novel in the trilogy to finish, and after that I’m gonna keep writing, since I think I’ve figured out how. Maybe.