Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Misheard Today

"Ninety year old lobster pleads guilty to racketeering..."

Uh... not quite. Real story here. Too much grading, I think.

Monday, February 26, 2007


First, the good news that Gene Sr.'s procedure went well and he's going home tomorrow; thanks to all who sent good thoughts his way.

Saturday proved to be the usual Elena-fest of plentiful food and good company. The two birthday gals celebrated amidst many friends and endless vittles. Rod and Elena's friend Marcello asked how we all knew each other, which opened a flood of remembrances, including a few stories we had not heard, like the meeting of our hosts. Wonderful to share stories and food -- so much food (I hate to harp on it, but the joey Zone was FULL and that is something that has never happened in my memory).

The Kalevala Day celebration on Sunday prove to be much fun -- and with a surprisingly high turn out. Minna and I felt woefully underprepared, but our forgiving audience was generous and appreciative. We focused on Runo 46, the Bear, so we hope our offering pleased Otso. There was much talk and, again, good food afterward. It was good to be among the FAHS folks once more.

We stopped at Robert's on the way back, where he shared some good chicken soup and the box of memories from my folks, including my dad's hat full of buttons which brought back a lot of memories and whimsy. Back home again to catch the end of the Oscars, but an early morning and much work to do -- so I hastily scribe this before heading back to go to bed, to face my twelve hour day tomorrow. Ah, but next week is spring break, which stretches out before me as a good time to write, write, write -- I hope!

Friday, February 23, 2007

And the Winner is --

Cranky Yankee! for her entry The Mangrove Legacy.

Hurrah and kudos to her -- she will have to let me know how she would like her name to appear in the serial novel and whether she desires to be helpful or to perish ignominiously, and I will be working her into the narrative, just like Emily Bronte did with all her friends and relatives.

But the remainder of the entrants will not go away empty handed: it was a very difficult choice to make, and in honor of that, I will be working little hints of some of the contestants and their entries into the story, which I hope will meet with your satisfaction.

Thank you all for showing your support and taking part in the contest.

Exegi monumentum aere perennius...

Contest Closed!

The entries are in and the cogitations begin. I shall proceed like the Magician in the Franklin's Tale:

Ful subtilly he kalkulled al this.
whan he hadde founde his firste mansioun,
He knew the remenaunt by propocioun,
And knew the arisyng of his moone weel,
And in whos face, and terme, and everydeel;
And knew ful weel the moones mansioun
Acordaunt to his operacioun,
And knew also his othere observaunces
For swiche illusiouns and swiche meschaunces
As hethen folk useden in thilke dayes.

Anon, I will let you know the results...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Parliament of Fowls

A murder of crows gathered outside the Gnome Home (AKA my office building) yesterday when Gene came to pick me up. Or should I say, a murder and a half (and then some!) -- check out the video that came courtesy of Gene's Treo. Hmmm, wonder what the discussion was? Here's a beautiful crow painting by Neil Shigley:

Argh -- the quietude of the students. I'm near despair in one class -- nothing seems to reach them, even daily reading quizzes have not convinced them to read. Maybe the next text... one can hope.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Contest Draws to a Close!

Just a reminder that the contest to name the serial novel will be ending soon -- in fact it will be ending Friday, February 23, 2007 at 10.00 am (Eastern). The winner will be announced later in the day once my cogitations and contemplations are complete. If you want to enter, remember to add your proposed title(s) to the comments whilst praying to the deity of your choice.

Enter early and often! The prize might be yours...

FYI: I'll be writing up Boskone 44 for IROSF, so I'll let you know when that posts. The short version is we had some fun, sold some books and met some new and old friends.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Snapshots from Boskone

Yolen reading, tribbles breeding, Coville teasing, Faye spotting, Adam meeting at my reading (only ten years late), dinner at No Name, seafood eating (yum!), horror panels, hmmmm: that needs more than a gerund.

Today there'll be pirates in petticoats, something on Klingon (calling on my language expertise, although I do not know anything about Klingon) and a signing. Then home -- and much to do there. And always a million new ideas after a con...

[By the by, Friday night's post did not come through perhaps because, as Gene suspects, the title, "Terror on the 13th Floor," set off warning bells at Blogger. I guess we'll never know, but it went like this:

Okay, I lie. We are on the 13th floor, but no terror so far (yay). We stopped by to see friends then got here about 9, so there wasn't too much going on, 'tho we did have fun competing in the trivia for chocolate panel!

Oh, there was the horror of sitting for half an hour in the bar for a drink and finally giving up...]

Friday, February 16, 2007

Terror on the 13th Floor

[Gene sez: Argh! Looks like something (me?) prevented this post from going through the first time, so here's attempt #zwei...]

Kate sez (in re: post's title)::

Okay, I lie. We are on the 13th floor, but no terror so far (yay). We stopped by to see friends then got here about 9, so there wasn't too much going on, 'tho we did have fun competing in the trivia for chocolate panel!

Oh, there was the horror of sitting for half an hour in the bar for a drink and finally giving up...

[NB: Finally arrived the 23rd!]

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Con-Eire in the house!

Despite the approximately two feet of snow that fell all day yesterday, our intrepid UPS carrier arrived with a box of copies of my play Con-Eire. Good timing -- we are off to Boston for Boskone 44 tomorrow, where I'll be on panels as usual, give a reading and have a signing. With luck, we might sell a few copies. This will be my first time at Boskone, although I have known people for years who go to it. It should be a lot of fun. I'll even be writing it up for IROSF, so I'll try to see as much as I can of everything!

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

It took a bit of digging to get out this morning. Luckily, I have no classes today due to senior portfolio meetings (I have no portfolio meetings because I am a new faculty member), but Gene had a doctor's appointment. The snow was mostly fluffy and light, with the exception of the stuff the snowplow threw up at the end of the driveway. Attacking that was a little more Sisyphean, but it got done.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Whoo hoo!

Snow day!

If you don't have the day off and need an antidote to V-Day syrup, check out this great item at Women's E-News. I should send it to my students who are reading about courtly love...

Here's the snowy gnome outside Gene's window (bad snap from PDA).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dear Friend

As a visitor to Wonderland in the past, you are truly among our most treasured friends. It is the enthusiasm for whimsy such as yours that spurs us to continue to provide the perplexing chaos for which we are so widely esteemed, the better to introduce the young (and the no longer young) to the myriad joys of nonsense.

As we review our budget and look forward to the coming year, I would like to invite you to become an important part of the Wonderland experience. “Friends of Wonderland” is a new program designed to give supporters more intimate access to the unseen life of our little world. “Friends” will receive advance notice of special events and access to benefits heretofore available to few outside the royal family. Haven’t you always longed to stroll through the White Rabbit’s house at leisure or to try your hand at peppering the soup? You can have your own “backstage pass” to the ongoing productions all over Wonderland that best suit your own interests...

[for the rest of this essay, please email me]

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Book Launch: Con-Eire!

I am happy to announce that my play Con-Eire is now available for purchase!

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Thanks to the tireless work by Gene, who edited the text, laid out the pages and wrestled with PDF and JPG files in a life or death struggle, this short comedy for voices will at last appear in tangible form. It looks great -- simple, but elegant (thanks to Gene's great design sense). There's a lovely pull quote courtesy of the generous (and hilarious) Lee Martindale. The back cover copy reads like this:

It’s three days before the start of CON-EIRE, the best Irish-themed science fiction and fantasy con in the tri-state area, when a phone call sets the entire Convention Committee into panic mode. Is Big Name Writer going to pull out at the last minute? What does Very Famous Artist have to do with that decision? And what do the Fairies have to say about all this? Follow the hilarious mishaps as the committee members work desperately to salvage months of planning and hard work, all of which are about to be undone by a well-known prima donna.

The play debuted at Trinoc*coN last year with an enthusiastic volunteer cast and was well-received. It's my hope that a lot of people in the sff world will enjoy this play. Feel free to add reviews to the store's page and to help publicize the book in other ways -- yee ha!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Little Joys

I wrote up my visit to Scandinavia House to see the Tove Jansson documentary for Gerry at New World Finn, so I'll just briefly mention that it was just wonderful! and you can get a little taste of the experience by reading these selections from Notes from an Island (Anteckningar från en ö, Schildts, Helsinki, 1996), her memoir of this time which provided the narration for the film. Sophia Jansson was a delight and spoke warmly of her aunt and her partner Tooti, who actually took most of the super-8 films that made up the documentary. And yes, the Finnish-American world is very small, so I shouldn't have been so surprised to run into my friend Ulla Suokko, the delightful flutist, storyteller, healer and now she tells me -- flamenco musician. We had a great time catching up and, of course, Ulla knows everyone, so she was introducing me to people left and right.

More joyful serendipity came from Gene's ceaseless efforts to find amusing and odd things on the web: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Harry Nilsson. Now I have been a Harry Nilsson fan for many years, but even I found out things I did not know there. The very best was the mention of the album Flash Harry which I had never heard of before and was not released over here. It includes Eric Idle(!) and has Harry singing the Monty Python tune "Bright Side of Life." Hearing that really made my day -- thanks, sweetie!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Contest!

It is the goal of many a puny human to leave their mark on the universe. Now you have your chance! Enter to win the "What Would Charlotte Call It?" contest and win a valuable prize! Charlotte, of course, referring to Charlotte Brontë, one of the fine later practitioners of the gothic (with perhaps the most well known among her works being Jane Eyre but by no means alone in its esteem among her ouevre).

Your quest: Name the serial novel I have been writing in the "gothic renaissance" style with a suitable moniker and win a place in history.

Your prize: Being a character in the book!

Yes, you can live on in (in)famy as a literary character. How great is that? But what's that you say? You don't want your name to appear in the pages due to inordinate modesty? Well, your prize can also be naming a character to honor a past relative, a forgotten dance master, or even your cat. You also get to choose whether your character perishes horribly or helps the heroine out at a key juncture.

To enter, simply post your entry below as a comment. Enter early and often! The final choice will be my own capricious one, so there is no guarantee of fairness, and I may be wickedly influenced by gifts of choclate and laudanum. But the opportunity is all yours --


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Up Against the Wall 5

The Valentine's issue of Phil Nutman's Up Against The Wall magazine is up on line with a great variety of reviews and an interview with horror meister Dan Simmons. In the issue, I have a review of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, HOWEVER -- as the authors unabashedly describe their book as pornographic, I would suggest the more genteel readers perhaps think twice before jumping into the review, which is paired with a male reviewer in a "He said, she said" kind of format that Phil thought would be interesting.

More about yesterday's trip when I have more than five minutes, but it was terrific and I had a nice surprise!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Down to the City

I'm off to drive Gene to work then head down to the city to see Sophia Jansson (niece of Tove) at the Scandinavia House. I will be bundling up well -- brrr!

More later -- including a new contest with prizes!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Why it's worth scanning the business section of the NYTimes even if you have little interest in business: this is where I learned about Mike Libby's unbelievable insects at his site Insect Lab. While I first was drawn to the beetles, there are spiders, butterflies, bees and wasps.

I'll have to save my pennies, but I think I need something like this one day -- although how will I decide? The beetles are sleek and aerodynamic, but the bees are wonderfully whimsical, and the spiders! Wow, it will be impossible to make a choice. This fascination may be because they remind me of Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, or it may just be the bizarre juxtaposition of the natural and mechanical, but whatever the source of the appeal, I find them irresistible!