what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout
You could almost substitute my entry from last year about this time for this one. The same kinds of changes are going on. The change of the same and the same changes. The signs of the season turning are here: the breezes are suddenly cooler and sometimes cold. A few leaves are bright red. Our apples and Italian plums are ripening. Friends are going through changes in loves and life. Another person at work has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. (We had someone die from lung cancer just a few months ago.) Two new people have been hired, one person has been promoted. I'm back at work, looking forward to another year of new students and old students trying to get out of my programs. Another friend is due to have a baby any day, though I'm not in touch with her any more.
Friday morning, my first day back at work since the end of June, didn't hurt too much. Though several people suggested I take the day off, I didn't want to use a vacation day first thing, and I knew it would be a quiet day, and therefore good to accomplish things like going through the office news catch-up debriefing, voice mail, email, and postal mail, and I did do all those things, and so can start off on Tuesday really Getting Things Done rather than Preparing To Get Things Done. This is good as this is the busiest time of the year there and I have way too much to do. That never changes.
Jim gave his best reading so far at Bumbershoot last night. It was really fun listening to him and getting utterly caught up in his poems. He's a better reader all the time, and Bumbershoot is a nice place to truly realize that potential. Of course, his work is wonderful (you can see some of it for yourself at his web site).
What doesn't change is my inability to socialize well with people I don't know, especially in large groups. There was supposed to be a literary soirée at Elliott Bay Bookstore shortly after Jim's reading. Another reading preceded it, which I just wasn't in the right headspace for. We'd met up with a friend, Tamar, at Jim's reading and she tagged along with us (probably only because we promised her a ride home afterwards). We also brought along the poet Jim had read with, Timothy Liu, who is a wonderful guy. Timothy was ready to socialize, but we weren't, and besides there wasn't any food there and none of us had eaten since noon and it was getting to be 9:00, so Tamar, Jim and I adjourned to the Thai Noodle House on Capitol Hill, and had a pleasant late dinner and chat. Just what I needed. Though if I were a different person, I would have had stacks of my books on hand, stayed for the soirée, and passed out copies and charm like a princess. Alas. I did ask the bookstore cashiers who I should talk to about stocking my book, though. And I did that at the University Bookstore, too, on Friday, so I'm not that bad, am I? I think I am. Occasionally Jim and I talk about the things we should have done to advance our writing careers and it's pretty depressing. But it's also clear to us that the choices we have made had made us much happier people--just not well-known and well-published. I feel it's a trade off we shouldn't have had to make, but it's the way the world runs.
At least I know who I need to contact now, I just need to do it. I will, I will.
I also will do something to get promotional material printed up to send to the feminist students programs mailing list that I was given at work (or took from work when we didn't need to use it for something else after all).
I'm trying to change--I just put up two little pictures that have been sitting on my desk waiting for me to get a hammer and nails for about four years. Does this impress you with my totally altered nature? Ah well, thought not.
last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing
We've been listening to Martha and the Muffins a lot now that we have digitized our vinyl onto cd and play it more often. We had already done Danseparc and Mystery Walk, two of our favourites of theirs, and today we did This is the Ice Age, which is probably critically considered their best.
I also made a compilation of most of my favourites from 1999 for a friend and I've been enjoying it and listening to it.
Also got the new Sandy Denny anthology, No More Sad Refrains. It's a great compilation, and also has several rarities that I'm very glad to have.
last week's listening § next week's listening
I finally finished Judith Tarr's Queens of Swords late on Sunday night. It is the story of Queen Melisaunde of Jerusalem, or rather of a family--a brother and sister and their partners and children--who are attached to her and her court. It follows the history as Meisaunde is married to Fulk so he can be king, but Melisaunde has a strong will and when Fulk dies she has herself made regent and then as her son grows up doesn't want to give up ruling. The story follows the wars and a Crusade and the ins and out of the associated family. Their story begins when the widowed sister travels with Fulk to bring her brother home to take over the family estates--but he never thought he would inherit and has vowed never to return and pledged his service to Melisaunde. His sister has vowed not to return without him. This is a family that takes their vows seriously, so they live their lives in the Holy Land in the midst of the politics, war, and personal drama of life there at that time. Judith Tarr has a gift of making history come alive and she knows her history well. I found this a really enjoyable read.
WARNING: Here be SPOILERS, especially for the book that precedes this one and kinda for the one discussed here. Brenda W. Clough's Doors of Death and Life is the sequel to her How Like A God but probably could be read separately. Her hero, Rob Lewis, has the ability to read and affect people's minds, and he has given his friend Edwin Barbarossa the power of immortality. It all comes apart when Edwin is the only person to survive an accident on the way back from the moon and then disappears.... The two books have been published together in a single volume by the SF Book Club under the title Suburban Gods which seems an apt description what's going on here. Basically the two guys are your typical (though very happily married suburban guys, who just happen to have superpowers. Oh, and Edwin happens to be an astronaut, but basically he's just a nice guy. The clever conjunction of the weirdness (the book's term) of their powers with their average joe lives is the engine driving the stories. There are lots of wonderful suburban family moments mixed with the weirdness and it makes for a charming and unusual story. The only problem is that it requires quite a large suspension of disbelief, especially as the intellectual separation between the two is so large--there's no sense of the magical and weird coming into everyday life and not enough for me of everyday life coming into the magical and weird. I also felt that the religious aspects of the story were rather thinly handled, but I have a natural antipathy for that subject so I might be oversensitized about this theme. But in any case, I thought it was without a doubt a good read: it handled some moral dilemmas in a way that seemed emotionally true, the characters were all intriguing, both the action sequences and the family sequences were masterfully handled, and the fine details of the story and surroundings made it come alive.
I was happily reading Jennifer Crusie's Tell Me Lies when the main character did something so patently stupid that it threw me right out of the story and I had to put the book down. I was really annoyed at the author. The character was under stress and not acting well, but this action she took was so dumb it was ridiculous--way beyond my ability to suspend disbelief. I mean, when I find myself saying, "Oh fuck, what an imbecile" to a book, this is not a good thing. But it turned out, within the context of the story, to be a good idea. I dunno, it still really bugged her in a novel that I otherwise found to be a lot of fun. This is the story of a woman who finds a pair of black lace crotchless underwear in her husband's car and so decides to file for divorce just when a guy she'd had a fling with in highschool arrives to check out a business deal her husband has been involved in. They fit it off again and end up having sex in the backseat of a car and her husband disappears.
I followed that up with Jennifer Crusie's Crazy For You, which I also found to be a lot of fun. Jenifer Crusie really has a way with a light, enjoyable story so that it feels as though it still has enough heft not to be total fluff and yet it's not weighed down inappropriately. She also writes well about the kind of steamy sex that appeals to romance readers, walking just the right like between being vanilla and being exciting. I think she walks that same line well with her characters. I wouldn't want a steady diet of this, but it's really a nice break from the literary and the speculative stuff I mostly read. Anyway, this is the story of a woman who is leading the boring predictable life everyone expects of her with a boring predictable boyfriend and she behaves with him exactly how he wants her to. Until she decides to adopt a puppy and he doesn't want her to, so she breaks off with him. He really can't believe that she now won't behave how he wants her to, and it makes him crazy. Really crazy. In the meantime she realizes just how attractive an old friend really is. Further complications ensue.
It was Joanne of Parietal Pericardium who recommended Jennifer Crusie, and since she also recommends Blood Memory, how could I resist? I'm glad I didn't. Light, fun reading this good is rare.
last week's reading § next week's reading
Got quite a lot of work done before Friday's return to work. Now the work will be to maintain that forward momentum and not lose it in the rush of returning to work during the busiest time of the year. I'm going to try to guard my time carefully and not do too much overtime--it just exhausts me this time of year and I don't really get that much more done. I just think I will.
I also have to deal with the fact that I have to be up at 6:10 in the morning, and can no longer stay up till 2:00 and 3:00 writing when the whim and muse take me. This might be the hardest part. I naturally get energy about 10:00 pm, which is right when I should be in bed trying to sleep. I have got to keep going on the novel!
last week's writing § next week's writing
About the Phonosnout
831. It's August
It's August and raining. They told us the dryness and heat were going to last for a few more weeks at least. I guess too many people were praying for rain. Thank you, Lord, even though the heat was nice, things were dying and burning. Now maybe the parks will open again for fun (Sooke River, goldpanning, waterfalls, and cold swimming). 
832. I really dig the moon
Don't get me wrong, i don't mean to complain, but i don't see why i've got this dry feeling in the midst of all the rain. I'm surrounded by rain, but i can't soak it in. (Am i plastic-coated?) Maybe if i sit in a puddle long enough it will seep through the cracks (there must be some somewhere). Raindrops keep falling on my head (then bouncing off elsewhere).
833. Latter Day Rain
Well Phono, thinking about my future and i will say it sounds pretty glorious. Filled with water, so to speak. Let it rain! [Quote from, I think, a Christian rock song omitted. I don't recognize it now.]
Jericho and Marjanna are gone. Gone to Vancouver to get married to Tim in four weeks and four days. I'll be there to watch. Pam's going, too. But will be in Victoria, gone with Chris in three days. I wonder if i'll be gone like that before the Going. 
835. Song outside my window
Woke up it was a Wednesday morning [...quote from Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning" omitted]...and i kept falling asleep (i wish i hadn't). It's so rough trying not to fall asleep. At times i put my head down on my desk and doze and hope no-one comes in too quickly. There's a song comes in the office window, too, but it's a little quieter than the one at Grandma's. Easier to sleep through. 
836. A chicken & egg matter
Why am i always so tired, so tired that when i wake up in the mornings i doze off if i pray right away? This must just be my Condition. Sleepy. Sleepy is my permanent condition. Terminal sleeping sickness (sleepy sickness). Terminal means either it, or i, will end something. Sort of a chicken & egg matter.
837. A well-travelled book
This is a well-travelled book. It went with me to Crowsnest and came back. It went by bus, then by van. I took it with me to chapel every morning to take notes in. However, my notes pages will be removed when this comes to be full of Phono-material. Crowsnest. What a beautiful time. One of the most beautiful in my life. Brothers & sisters & baby believers. Beautiful!!
838. Hi ho Phono
Hi ho Phono, away! Said what? I said What? Meaning huh, why, how, what? Still raining, but only outside, not inside, never inside. Maybe i should go outside and catch some rain. Hi ho Phono. (Away.)
It's a jolly day, raining & cold & all. [Quote from Gordon Lightfoot's "10 Degrees and Getting Colder" omitted.] I'm reading Children of Dune. (Sounds to me like Daughter of Frankenstein.) A while ago when i read Something Happened something happened. This is true. I'm not making it up. Jolly.
At 8:40 tonight I'll be at a Bible study with Ray, Kevin, Vic, Laura, Dwight, and perhaps Thor. They're brothers and sister(s). I don't think the study is going to work. I'm not even sure i want to make it work. Indecision promised unpromising things. Always. (Uh-huh.)
841. What really happened
No Bible study just Ray, Thor, Laura, Zabba and I singing Psalm 100. The others never showed up. They played the piano (Zabba did), Ray played guitar (i did too for a while), Thor and Laura watched TV. All i've done is sleep. All i'm doing is sleeping. No more (no less). I suffer. (Don't i.) It's still raining, and i'm catching a few more of the drops.
1. We really had gone goldpanning in Sooke River, several times, and even got some golddust.
2. Married = gone. Hmm, interesting. The Going = The Rapture, which all good Christians are waiting anxiously for.
3. I was still staying at my Grandmother's apartment. I still am always sleepy.
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