Friday, January 30, 2009

Owl Stretching

Pop over to Radio Wombat, the podcast blog, for the latest reading: Owl Stretching. It's a snippet from the novel I'm revising at present. The name may or may not stay: Python fans will probably recognize it, but most people will find it obscure. It does have a purpose, but I'm guessing most publishers would want to change it. Then I will refer to it as the novel formerly known as Owl Stretching.

My Pal Interviewed

My friend and colleague, C. Margery Kempe has been interviewed by Jesse Blair Kensington (author of Appetite for Passion) about her short story in the forthcoming anthology Ambrosia (which Jesse edited). This is her first interview, so brava!

Jesse is quite an amazing writer, too. Appetite for Passion has inspired a new kind of chocolate made by the folks over at Wen Chocolates, called Pandora. I ordered a box of the bon-bons and the chef said the demand has been extraordinary (it's not even listed on line yet!). Both Jesse and CMK blog over at Ravenous Romance, the new erotic romance line founded by Lori Perkins.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Soap Opera Digest

Titmuss Street: Babs and Henry finally agree to give the kitchen a much needed make-over, while ignoring Frederick's pleas for help from under the floorboards. Felix, fretful over his creeping baldness, shaves the cat in a desperate attempt at camouflage. Hilda, however, remains unimpressed and leaves the gallery opening with Carlo, who intimates to Felix that he will be painting Hilda later (without a canvas). Marnie waits.

'Round Uxbridge: Ralph and Penelope continue their affair, although she finds there is too much friction between them and starts fantasizing about Teddy's gentle ways. Over lunch she confides to Sarah that she will ask Ralph to change from leather restraints to silk, but Sarah conceals that she, too, is sleeping with Ralph and has already claimed the silk. Pauline drowns her sorrows in bitter, but they prove able to float. She conveys her myriad disappointments to Ralph over dinner, but finds her brother distracted and instead turns to Teddy, who immediately reveals that he has come to the realisation that he is gay and has fallen for her brother. Ralph calls Sylvia suggesting an evening of Nutella and spoons.

Netherwood End: Because he is unable to hide his accounting irregularities, Peter avoids meeting with Linda, fearing she will fire him, unaware that she is working to bring the company to bankruptcy because Old Netherwood once ruined her father. Patsy discovers the second set of books and forces Peter to acquiesce to her soft toy fetish. Bertram spots the two of them together at Hamley's and immediate files for divorce. A clerk in the store uses his mobile to record their inappropriate encounter with an elephant puppet and puts it online, although it is dismissed as a hoax.

Frithville Five:
Spurned by Rodrigo, Millicent heads to Harvey Nichols for a shopping orgy only to run into the Babcock twins, who convince her to pleasure them in the intimate apparel fitting room. It seems the perfect pick-me-up until the constables arrive. The consequent headlines help Caroline distract Kevin from thinking about her pregnancy and its unlikelihood while she concocts a plausible medical excuse. Bunny cleans. Lawrence, in a fit of pique, shoots his father, who complains bitterly about the ungrateful youth of today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Why does telephoning make me nervous? Always has. I've been putting off a phone call that I was actually looking forward to having -- it's just that the idea of it made me nauseous, so I delayed, wrote more questions and thought, "maybe tomorrow."

But I did it! At last I did. I'm sure he didn't notice how strangled my voice sounded. He was quite charming and pleasant.The interview itself won't happen until February March because they both have to be there. I did manage to run both Skype and GarageBand, so I could test the recording tech -- worked fine.

Yes, I am being a bit mysterious, but I'll tell you about it afterward. It may be a bit of a hint to say, thank you again, Pádraig! I owe you big time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Importantly

The Withnail & I cottage is going on sale! I must have it -- my pal Peg and I have decided we must scheme to make it ours, so please give generously so we can go re-create the film's misadventures. Yes, yes -- of course you can come visit. Hare optional.

The farmhouse goes under the hammer at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, London, on 16 February, with a guide price of £145,000.

Oh, all right then

Okay, yes, I'm usually a contrarian, but I'm so pleased to see this country shake off the last eight years of horror that I'll give in to the widespread expressions of hope and joy, and actually believe that things might get better (tomorrow I will, however, return to carping -- and there is much to carp about, you starry-eyed kids).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hello Kitty auf Deutsch

I forgot to mention Elena's faboo gift -- a German Hello Kitty magazine. It came with a cool silver clutch bag, too! It has articles on things like which color scheme fits you, how to make egg-warmers (it's the March 2008 issue and has an Easter theme -- I couldn't find this issue's cover on line) and how to learn to say "Nein!" to things you don't really want to do. Amazing! Thanks, Elena!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dress Blues and White Terror

Friday we headed down for another flash visit to CT, through the still icy Berkshires, where too many trees groaned, bent over and coated with a thick layer of it -- many cracked under the pressure (somehow making me think of this first week of classes). Our first order of business: the Punk Rock Jukebox and a drink with Marko at the Post Office pub. I had a tasty Winterfest. Then we were off to New London for Faye's retirement do at the Academy.

Wow. If you're going to retire, do it in style! Not only was there the Coast Guard Band, but there was also the Cadet Chorale, the International Ballroom Dance club and The Mystic Seaport Chanteymen, who were a great favorite with the crowd. But the best thing of course were all the heartfelt accolades for all the work Faye does, including working with the Honors Society as well as with the English department and writing program. As their newly minted Truman scholar said, she gave a haven to the nerds. Her colleagues spoke enthusiastically about her polymath abilities and unflagging energy, repeating the request, "Don't go!" The admiral surprised her by having investigated her Live Journal writings (ayiii!) but the biggest surprise came when Captain Anne revealed that a new award would be given in Faye's name to the outstanding freshman writing student beginning in the fall. How wonderful to have such an impact that they cannot let go of you. Wonderful!

We stuffed ourselves at the reception and ran into people we were surprised to see, because Faye knows everyone. It was fun to hear how others knew Faye, too; it was an unexpected pleasure to run into Wally Lamb and ask how he knew Faye, only to find out that they went to high school together. We ran into a whole bunch of UConn people we hadn't know before (and some we had: hi, Amy!).

A quiet night at Miss Wendy's, watching a couple of episodes of xxHolic, but I was fading fast. Got up nice and rested, though, and had lox and bagels for breakfast (thank you, Miss Wendy!), watched a Hellboy animated, then headed out to Elena's for her book launch.

Elena was disappointed because there was a bad storm predicted, so many folks from afar had to cancel, but she made up for it by stuffing the rest of us so full of food that we could hardly move, except to pet Bodie and Shaq as they begged beside the table. Nonetheless, Johnny 10X decided to get adventurous and toboggan down the icy slope on the golf course. Gladys decided to join him and the daredevilry was on. Perilous Cheryl got into the act as well and finally the QoE had to take a turn (after a little encouragement). Wild times!

While the others had to hit the road once the snow started flying, we were spending the night and enjoyed more food (ha ha ha! there's always more food at Elena's!) and watched the NZ horror film Black Sheep, which was a hoot. Elena and I ended up staying up until almost three which made it tempting to sleep in Sunday, but we did have to head back so I could be ready to teach on Monday. All good things come to an end, but at least the snow had too, and the roads weren't too bad.

Thanks to our hostesses, Wendy and Elena, and for all the rest making it a terrific weekend.

Friday, January 09, 2009


We're off to join Miss Wendy and others at Faye's retirement at the Coast Guard Academy in New London. With luck we'll have an opportunity to see a bunch of other CT friends, too, since Elena's having a launch party for her latest book on Saturday, and no Elena party is complete without lots of fun folks and waaaay too much food.

More later -- time to fly.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Trubba Not

In a tweet last night I used the word "trufax" and was pleasantly surprised to get a response of "trubba not" from a fellow tweeter, someone I know only from the internet, but who has proved to have a wealth of overlapping interests with me, including studying hagiography in grad school. When you find someone who also loves a book you adore, you've found another member of your tribe.

For me, that's the internet.

My online information is filled with little details and inside jokes that will mean a lot to a very few people, but when people respond, I know I've found another member of my tribe. Well, one of my tribes anyway: there are so many! Some overlap, some don't. The only point of meeting may be me, but I'm surrounded by a network of people who like the stuff I do and share sensibilities I have. It's wonderful.

I have friends around the world that I would never have met but for the internet. Yes, some of them I have since met face to face. Some of them I might never meet, but my life is richer for their friendship. Distance used to keep people from meeting who might correspond over the years, letters slowly reaching across the globe, though they never clapped eyes on one another. It's a wonderful treasure to be able to communicate instantaneously with a friend on the opposite side of the globe.

This is, of course, to counter the picture of the internet simply as the domain of child-molesters, scam artists, tax-evaders, trolls and the disgruntled. Old media has a tendency to play up that aspect, unfortunately.

As usual, I'm thinking about these issues because I'm going to be teaching a grad class about Literature/Performance/Visual Narrative. One of the themes linking it will be how we use the 'net to create narratives of ourselves using visual, aural and verbal techniques. Also as usual, I'm not entirely certain how it will work -- it's an experiment. The class has a Facebook page, they will have to write a Twitter length narrative (140 characters), do some kind of performance, and write a biography of someone's online "performance" of their own life. I have no idea what we'll discover, but I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Captions Added

I went back and added captions to all the SF pictures, moving them from an impressionistic panorama of sights to something resembling order. An improvement? You be the judge. I can only think about fainting goats at present.

My Brilliant Career

Good-bye academia, I will now be devoting my life to raising these fine creatures for fun and profit...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What was that Name?

We had lunch today with Dan, Krista and Kaitlin which was great. If only I could remember the name of that restaurant where we ate. It's on the tip of my tongue...