Les Semaines


what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout


Brave New Computer

My computer was dying a slow death, and even reformatting the hard drive and starting from scratch didn't work. I'd only had it about three years, but both the monitor and CPU were refurbished to start with, so Jim urged me to just buy a new computer.

I agonized over it because I just would rather not spend the money on this (it's money we've been setting aside for other things), but Jim reminded me how much time I spend on the computer and how frustrating it's been not to be able to trust it to even boot up again once it had crashed... so how much pushing did I need? Actually, a lot. But I still did it.

Now I have a brand new blistering-quick (and it's not even the quickest!) Mac G4 in graphite and white. I feel like I just got a Ferrari after driving a Chevy Sprint (which is actually what I drive--perfectly adequate for the little in-town driving it's used for, but not for highway driving, not for fun, and not for show). Anyway, the G4 is for highway driving, fun, and show. Speaking of show, it even has a DVD drive, so I can watch movies on my computer. Ha!

I've even been enjoying setting it up! Apple has really got the plug it in and go stuff down pat.

Anyway, I'm having a great time. I adore the lovely soft-touch keyboard that comes standard (though I'm still getting used to it). Now that it's paid for and unreturnable, my only worries are that some of my programs might not be compatible with the new operating system. I've already found that my ancient filing program isn't, which isn't a surprise as it has been buggy for ages (it's from the '80s), but it was simple and useful and I'll miss it.

The computer takes up way too much of my time. It's both work and entertainment and a lifeline with friends. I don't spend much time playing games. (I missed the whole MUD/MUSH/RPG thing which is probably a good thing, as I think I might have liked it too much. I can see myself really getting obsessed with that.) I do play computer solitaire--it's a great way to listen to music and really hear it rather than being distracted by trying to do something else at the same time. I don't like to play games that take much brain power, though. I'd rather read.

Or write.

The time that other people spend playing computer games I probably spend editing/updating The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music. I also read a local university BB, an SFF Net's webnews, and a couple of Usenet groups, though the only one there I really care much about is rec.arts.sf.compostion.

I also read some online journals and keep my own weekly one. I'm way behind on email. We're talking in the hundreds of messages here.

So with all this I spent way too much time online even though I don't surf much. No wonder I don't finish my novel. I'm going to have to try to prune some of this, but I've tried before. I'm thinking about going on hiatus with some of this. We'll see.

Anyway, now that I've got this way cool computer, there are other things I want for Christmas. I want welsh cakes Christmas morning. I want Christina to live here I can see her more often. I want a CD-RW. I want to visit Turkey again. I want a longer summer. I want a big kiss. I want Maddy to let us sleep in. I want a big rainstorm and then I want it to be sunny for a week. I want to walk on the beach. I want my brain to work. I want cute earrings. I want more time. I want to be not either bored or overwhelmed at work. I want time and energy. That'll do. I don't dare add world peace to this list, do I?

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


Busy week, not much time for anything new, just the by-now familiar obsession with Ani Difranco's to the teeth, Fiona Apple's When the Pawn.... Heather Duby's post to wire has already slipped out of rotation.

last week's listening § next week's listening


Martin Millar's omnibus of three novels, The Good Fairies of New York, Ruby and The Stone Age Diet, andLux The Poet got steadily more interesting. I got it from the library because someone mentioned the first novel as a good example of punk elf urban fantasy. Well, that it is. It's about fairies travelling from Britain to New York, and the adventures they have there, messing in the lives of New York humans and the already resident immigrant elves. while not utterly captivating, I was entertained and it kept me reading. The second novel is about life as a contemporary slacker in the squats of London, and I found it even more interesting. The final one is set in the same milieu as the previous one, here with some fascinating characters.

Their tone reminds me very much of the Francesca Lia Block novels I read a short time ago. Overall I thought they were interesting and enjoyable.

Kate Atkinson's Human Croquet is about a young girl whose parents have disappeared, and her father returns a few years later with a new wife. The writing is wonderful, sometimes exquisite--and witty--and the main character was delightful. There's some playing around with time that I also found fascinating. A wonderful novel, and one that I would highly recommend.

last week's reading § next week's reading


As my afternoon and evenings this week were taken up by evaluating curriculum vitae for the dean search committee I'm on at work, I've been storing up comp time for future writing hours, rather than present writing hours. However, I haven't being utterly inactive. I revised last week's sestina, pondered bits of the novel more and more, and I sent out a batch of poems--prompted by the journal's editor emailing me and asking for some as he'd seen and liked my poems in the archives of the Lynx: Poetry from Bath pages.

I also got unofficial (note written on the bottom of my letter querying if they'd received the poems because I hadn't heard promising formal confirmation soon) word that two other of my poems have been accepted for publication. This is one from the upcoming book, and one from the Scotland poems.

Oh, and the publisher of my 1994 book, Spells for Clear Vision

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: The Phonosnout

About the Phonosnout

June 1976

450. Lack of Phonosnout

I'm suffering from lack of Phonosnout, ran out of book. Oh dear. I've just got paper now. Well, that's really all i need. Paper and pen. And my life. What an ego trip! Four hundred and fifty chapters on me.

451. Walk backwards down the stairs

From Larry Norman's record [about walking backwards down the stairs while intending to go up them]/ I'm facing the right direction (up) but i'm going down. [Quote omitted from lyrics later in the song about wondering how to get anywhere in this situation.] How, how can i, Lord? My answer only "love".

452. Message from Gipp

Nancy--I just want you to know... that of all the girls I have ever known... throughout all of my travels...of all the girls... Nancy... you are one of them. Gipper, June 1976

453. Sitting

Sitting here on the carpet at Paul's house eating M&Ms. Far out. And crazy. New phonos are hard to break in. A drag. I wish i was in the middle now. No, i don't. I'd get too wrapped up in writing and i've got more important things to get wrapped up in now.

454. Getting near escape

It's getting near escape time. Near end of school for the year (i can hardly wait). I wonder what will happen with Paul gone all summer. Will i end up by hibernating the whole time, will i work on the streets?1 His will, wait for His will.

455. Running out of Phonosnout?

Am i running out of Phonosnout? Word running dry? No more to say? Oh dear! What on earth would i do if i ran out of Phono? Die of boredom, cry a lot. Sadness, pain. No words for my love. Just no words. None at all. I don't think i could ever shut up. Not me. I run off at the pen like other people do at the mouth.

456. Everything's over

Everything's over. Grad. School. Now there's a new horizon (crossroads of life nonsense). Time for a lot of quick growing, and i mean a lot. I've got a free summer, well, not exactly free, the Lord has claimed it. My summer now belongs to Him, and it seems He has given it to the street. I'm slowly and painfully preparing myself for Paul's departure, and my selfish side is exposing itself for all to see. I don't want him to go. I can't handle it, but i'm going to have to learn. It's for his good her's going and it won't do either of us any good if he stays. Grow up, Nancy! (quick, please).

457. Lyin' here restless

Lyin' here, lazying in the sun. Nice, but i'm too restless so i must write. At least a Phono-chapter if nothing else. Graduation's a week over. The end of twelve years now. Too bad, so sad, how glad. Nothing and everything to do all summer. Paul's going to be away and pain. I wish summer was over already. I'm glad it's barely started.

458. Time to ride

Now i'm sifting through memories. Thinking about days gone by, also about the future. Making and unmaking the plans of mice and me. Dreaming. Time to decide, time to ride. Learning how much of joy consists of pain (a lot). I've only got one through for tomorrow, and i'm glad it's mine.

459. I'm not making much sense

Not making much sense, but i understand what i'm saying, mostly. A sun-bright dreamy day, i don't have to make much sense, do i? (Please don't insist). I'm lying on foam on Paul's driveway. Paul beside and up in a hammock. He's not so restless as i an can take the lying down doing nothing. I thought i was that sort of person but it doesn't seem like it. Paul just woke up and asked what i was writing. Answer?

460. On a bus

On a bus, Seed-heading on a gray and raining summer afternoon. It's hard to write while jolting away here. Wondering about the people who are sharing this ride. Today was the las day of school, picking up report card day. Had a phone call from Paul on his way to work when he dropped in for a second at The Seed. That's why i'm going to The Seed. To pick up whatever remains of his presence. I wonder if anything is there for me to find? I hope so. So little i have to feel his presence. I'm going to have to keep very busy, to keep my mind numbed enough against the absence-pain.


1. No, I wasn't about to become a streetwalker. This was the term we used for scouting around Victoria's street looking for the street kids we worked with at The Seed. Without Paul and Phil, it would be hard to do this.

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