Life

This would be about my daily life.

November Update

It’s over! It’s over! I’ve made it through October! The giant is slain and it is done!

My Season’s Done. So What Now?

What now indeed? Well to start I’m going to try not to doze off as I type this blog post. October is a physically and mentally exhausting month for a variety of reasons, the majority of which have to do with the fact that everyone in the world descends upon us to watch out leaves die in colorful ways. Now that fall foliage is over and the local flora mostly dead they have cut us (the seasonal rangers) loose to drift slowly to the ground. Or something like that. I do have some “free time” since I won’t be working the rest of the year (probably), but I also have things to occupy that time.

What are my priorities?

1. Getting some rest.
As I said, last month was the very draining end to a long season. If you’ll remember, earlier this season I was actually working seven days a week. It’s been four days since the end of the season and I’m still finding myself dozing off on the couch, despite getting quite a bit of sleep. I’ll probably spend the rest of the month recuperating before I start getting stuff together for the Christmas Season.

2. Helping family.
My grandparents are getting older and are having some health problems. I am on call, so to speak, for going up to help them out. If and/or when they ask me to come up, I will be going. I am not sure how long I will be up there, but it could be until Thanksgiving or longer. Or I might not be going at all. It is rather up in the air right now, but I am ready to go if they need me.

3. Writing.
I now have several months in which I (supposedly) have nothing better to do than buckle down and get some real writing accomplished. While it is true that I might not have as much free time as some people are insinuating, I am trying to get some writing done. I have quite a few projects to work on, not the least of which is a book. I am a slow writer, though, so it’s probably a good thing I have a few months to use.

4. Having a Social Life.
My job is very taxing, and there are weeks where I really don’t want to see that many people outside of work. Now that the job is done, though, I can rebuild my reserves and think about seeing people (and possibly even going out in public) without cringing. Hopefully it won’t take too long to be ready to go again.

So that’s where I am this month. There are a couple other things going on as well; some of my categories could have sub-categories attached. I’ll just add that I think this is a very well deserved break, and I’m going to try and use it well.

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GamerGate Needs to Stop

Dear GamerGate participants: You need to stop and think about what you are doing.

Probably most people reading this have heard of GamerGate. On the off chance you have not I will refer you to two sources with opposing biases, the Know Your Meme article and Charles Tan’s take on it:
Know Your Meme: GamerGate
#Gamergate Has Everything To Do With Gender by Charles Tan

This post was actually inspired in part by a post by Jaym Gates.

I am, by nature, a very private person. This means that while I do occasionally post opinion pieces, they are fairly rare (well, rarer than regular posts anyway). The point in this is that I need to feel very deeply about something in order to put myself out there. Well, I’m putting myself out there now. GamerGate needs to stop. It needs to stop now.

When I say GamerGate needs to stop, I am in no way talking about ethics in journalism. Ethics is important. It is not, however, more important than peoples’ safety and security. Women are being targeted. They are being harassed and threatened; there was a bombing/shooting threat at USU if Anita Sarkeesian appeared. And people are using GamerGate as cover.

No, not everyone, or even most people involved in GamerGate are threatening to blow up colleges or exposing women’s home addresses and sending them death threats. Some people are, though. Enough that I think those innocent people involved need to take a long, hard look at exactly what and who they’re dealing with. It’s like showing up to a protest and finding yourself standing next to the Westboro Baptist Church. Even if you agree 100% with the protest, there are times you need to take a step back and say no, I don’t want to be associated with this. Because that’s what’s happening. Even if you would never dream of threatening a woman, if you are perpetuating GamerGate you are associating with abusers, stalkers, and harassers.

It is, of course, your right to do and say what you want (as long as you’re not threatening or harming people; I shouldn’t have to tell you that’s criminal and wrong). You can go on being a part of GamerGate, but know that there are people judging you. We’re judging not because of anything you have done, but because of what other people have done. Do you want that?

I am not going to get into other reasons why GamerGate needs to stop; Charles Tan (who’s blog I linked to at the beginning of the post) has done a much better job of bringing up those points than I could. What I will say is that I do not support GamerGate. I do not support harassment, stalking, verbal or physical abuse. I will not stand by silently while these things happen. Will you?

My Commute was Saved by Books

I commute just under an hour to work every day. More than once early on I wished I could be using the time for something more productive than simply driving and listening to music. At first I listened to “Welcome to Nightvale” the twice monthly podcast put out by Commonplace Books. It’s weird and awesome and I recommend it if you think you’d like a modern take on Lovecraft (there are also so many other good things about it that I could do an entire blog post on why you should listen to Nightvale, but that’s for another time). After I finished going through their archive, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to listen to next. I thought about trying to find another podcast, but finally decided to try audio books.

I, like many people, have an enormous “to read” pile. In fact, I don’t even own every book in my “to read” pile (and I own a lot of books). I’ve wanted to read books by certain authors but have never had the time, money or will to buy yet another book to add to my stack of things to read. That’s where the audio books come in. So far this year I’ve listened to four books and am about to finish a fifth. Not bad for time I would have otherwise been using to listen to the same CD another 50,000 times (Seriously, I don’t get sick of music as fast as most people).

It did take me a bit to get into the first CD. I’m used to listening to radio dramas, which are far more like television than books–all the action is done by sound effects and dialogue cues, where as with an audio book you’re listening to someone read, dialogue tags and everything. That is not to say that a good voice actor doesn’t perform when reading a book. On the contrary, they must have a multitude of different voices for characters as well as read a text without throwing off cadence or flow.

I started out with Duma Key by Steven King because that was what arrived first when I ordered a bunch of books. Perhaps part of my trouble getting into the books on tape had to do with the fact that the beginning of Duma Key is very introspective. We get to know Edgar Freemantle while he’s recovering from a serious injury and he’s withdrawing from society. Maybe if there had been more action in the beginning I would have been drawn in sooner. Either way I kept listening and soon enough I couldn’t pull away. Without spoiling anything I will tell you I ended up yelling at my car stereo a couple of times. Good thing no one was riding with me.

The only real downside to listening to books on tape, especially when read by the author, is that it has a way of getting inside your writing if you’re not careful. Listening to someone talk for long enough, especially someone who is either a powerful speaker, or read a powerful writer, and you can find yourself slipping into that person’s tone and voice. Yes, I’m looking at you, Neil Gaiman. I did love Neverwhere, though.

So there we are, my summer driving in a nutshell. Stay tuned next week for (probably) another chapter of Our Party.

PS-I’d take audio book gifts for next year.

A Slightly Late GISHWHES Post

Hi, everyone. Your wayward author is back with another update. In my last post I told you about how busy I’ve been. I’ve got good news; I’ve been working full time for the National Park Service for more than a month now. My stress levels are way down, and I’ve been able to get some writing done (as well as my editorial jobs). In fact, I was able to participate as an author in GISHWHES 2014. I’m sure most of you know about GISHWHES, but for those who don’t GISHWHES stands for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen”. The contestants do all sorts of wacky fun stuff for charity. One of those things this year was to ask a published scifi author to write them a tiny bite of fiction. The stories had to be 140 words, and include Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and an Elopus (an elephant/octopus hybrid). I wrote two myself and two with Sarah Hendrix. I’ll post them here for your reading pleasure. Be warned some of these are pretty weird.

GISHWHES #1 With Sarah Hendrix

It was a vast, black ocean they raced across, skimming the oily surface as their skiff ran from the ships of the royal navy.

The Dread Pirate Collins sneered at his prize. He knew that if he could just get away from the navy, he’d be able to ransom the clockwork Queen for quite a bit of money.

The Queen, for her part, stared back impassively. Her automaton brain knew that this was her fault. If she had been more fair, and just, as she was programmed, then no subject would be forced to into piracy.

The pirate’s ship was pulling away as something huge rose up from the waves smashing his ship. Mechanical tentacles snaked across the deck.

The Elopus cradled the Queen in it’s many arms. “I love you.”

End

GISHWHES #2 With Sarah Hendrix

She sat alone at a back table in The Elopus. A piano tinkled, out of tune, near the stage. There was a glass of something strong in her hand and her hat was tipped low over her eyes.

Sheriff Misha took a deep breath and looked up to the sky but the faded sign with the odd creature was in the way. He wondered exactly how things would play out.

She seemed to know he was there before entered; her gun was already pointed towards him as he turned to her.

“You ain’t wanted here, Sheriff. Leave me be. I’ll be gone soon enough, just here on family business.”

He nodded and sat across from her, his hands far from his gun. “Sorry about your momma.”

“The queen is dead,” she said quietly. “Long live the queen.”

End

And now my solo stories:

In the Cave of Ganesh

Misha paused at the opening of the cave and pulled the tattered letter from the back pocket of his trousers. The handwriting inside was still legibly the Queen’s.

Dmitri,
I have no words for how sorry I am for what I must put you through. I know you understand, the beast must be destroyed. My sources tell me you will find it in the Cave of Ganesh. Please, be careful. I cannot lose you.
~V

He shoved the note back into her pocket, wishing for more information. There was only one map in the entire royal archive marking “the Cave of Ganesh”. He was here, now, though. After weeks of searching, he’d found it.

A rock clattered towards him. He looking into the cave and there it was. The beast, writing, huge, and reaching for him.

“Sorry, Vicky,” he murmured.

End

Misha and The Queen vs. Dr. Elopus

Misha and The Queen crouched atop the roof of “Elopus Inc”. Their target was coming around the corner. He was a middle aged man, balding on top and dressed in a lab coat.

“Now?” Misha asked.

“Now,” she confirmed and jumped from the rooftop, using her Scepter’s power to land safely.

Misha unfurled his wings and followed her to the sidewalk. “Dr. Elopus,” he said. “You’re under arrest for crimes against humanity, cruelty to animals, and several hundred municipal code infractions.”

The Queen pointed her scepter at Dr. Elopus. “Come quietly and we won’t have to hurt you.”

There was a moment of silence before the man began to laugh. As he did, he began to transform. Tentacles sprang from under his lab coat and his nose distended to become a trunk. “Not today!” He cackled, swinging towards them.

End

Where the Hell is Kelly?

Here’s a fun game for all of us. It’s like “Where’s Waldo” but with more swearing. Where am I? What am I doing? Why the hell haven’t I updated this blog in forever? Well, in the first place, I’m still alive, working two jobs, and for a three week stretch (23 days, but who’s counting?) I didn’t have a day off; I was working at either one job or the other. During this time I’ve been continuing my work as an editor and trying to do normal human things like “laundry” and “bathing”. Other things, like this blog and most human interaction outside of work, have fallen through the cracks. I’ve had two weeks in a row, though, where I’ve been able to get a day off and the trend looks like it will hopefully continue.

I don’t really have much more to update than this. I haven’t been writing much, editing less of my own work, and I’ve only recently started to catch up on the back log of reading I have waiting for me (though I did finally get through my email). If by some chance you need to contact me, you can leave a note in the comments, email me, or send me a message on twitter. I am going to try to get back to updating at least semi-regularly. Well, we’ll see how that goes.

Announcements and Some Other Things

I suppose since I’ve turned in my forms, it’s time to make an announcement. I will not be going north this year for work, and will therefore not be going to Readercon this year. I’m sorry to everyone I had hoped to see this year, but in the long run the park I will be working for is probably a better career move on my part (yes, I will still be working for the National Park Service). I have not yet decided whether I will be trying to go to any cons in the Washington, DC area, so there is a chance you might yet get to see me (or you could see me if you come to Shenandoah).

Other news, some of you might have noticed a lack of my presence on the net at points this winter. Sorry about that. I can’t say it won’t happen again, because it probably will, but for now I’m back.

If any of you are Facebook friends with me, you probably saw the photos of my trip to Denver. Just one of the things I was doing this winter. I might post some of those pictures here later.

My cat is another reason I’ve been off for a bit. He has a thyroid problem that we think we’ve finally gotten under control, but not before he lost a third of his body weight. He was a small cat to begin with, so that was scary. It also gave the vet a chance to feel the small mass in his abdomen. He’s getting shots for that as its probably cancerous. The only good thing is that he’s acting more like his old self now that we’re treating that and the thyroid.

Randomly, here is another reminder, I am much more active on other social media. I have twitter, tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest. All of those accounts are way more active than this one. There should be links in the side bar if anyone wants to check me out there.

One more piece of news: be on the look out for a big announcement from Goldfish Grimm’s in the very near future.

I think that’s all for now. I’m going to try and make my next post one of the long neglected chapters of Our Party (I haven’t stopped writing them).

How I Named My Brother’s Car “Dammit”

Because I could use a little levity, I’ll share this story with you.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my younger brother is very ADHD. He is so much so that when he was younger, we made a game based off of it called Free Association. To play, you had to get from one object to an unrelated other object by words of association. I’ll give you an example. Kumquats to Kublia Khan:

Kumquat
Fruit
Orange
Origin of Orange
China
Mongolia
Kublia Khan

That, of course was too easy, so we started adding words you had to go through before you could get to the end. Our favorite was the French Revolution.

All of this is relevant to the story.

Changing topics, my brother recently bought his first car. Our family has a tradition of naming our cars based on the model. My brother, being different, named his Bob. A few weeks later he decided he didn’t like that name after all, so he decided to change it. After some deliberation, he decided on ‘Cody’. Unfortunately, my mother is somewhat hard of hearing, and she thought he said ‘Colby’. When she told me, she confided that all she could think of was cheese. I said in that case a better name would be Jack, as in Monterrey Jack, and well, it went from there. Here is our free association to Dammit:

Colby
Cheese
Brie
French Cheese
France
The French Revolution
Wars in France
WWII
Normandy
Cheese from Normandy
Camembert
Cheese
Monterrey Jack
Monterrey, California
California
Aunt Janet (a relative that lives in CA)
Dammit, Janet (Rocky Horror)
Dammit

And that is how it happened. Incidentally, my brother doesn’t like is calling his car Dammit. I wonder why.