Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Story

Writer Joe Ekaitis sent me this. I thought it was very much worth sharing.

Joyeux Noel, everyone. Every year that passes, I continue to feel blessed by your presence.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The longest night

Solstice morning in Newgrange, 2007:

Happy Solstice to you. May the turning of the year find you warm, loved, with plenty.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Very Merry Thanksgiving, All

I so want to deep-fry a turkey, one of these days.

Just not in this tiny little third-floor apartment...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

End of Summer 2009

Fall in the Pacific Northwest really is incredible. Today was one of those crystalline-perfect autumn days, when the air is just cool enough for a jacket, but the sun is bright and slanting golden, and the sky a brilliant watercolor wash of blue. Definitely a fine day for a walk, since anyone who has lived here long enough to see the seasons change a few times knows that the weather can't last, and soon enough the rains will come sweeping in, then stay for months.

A walk down to the fish hatchery, then up Whatcom Creek, past the back of the library, stopping to buy a bottle of cheap wine and a quarter's worth of fine sea salt at the public market, made for a very pleasant stroll of about three and a half miles. Admittedly, it always makes me miss having a dog, watching other people in the park playing frisbee with their pups.

I'm utterly smitten and enchanted by the salmon working their way up the fish-ladder at the fish hatchery. And even more enchanted by the fish working their way up through the water spilling down the rocks of Whatcom Creek. And, for a wonder, I remembered my camera today, too.

All I can think about, watching them, is all the different stories about magical fish. There are stories about salmon, specifically, from lots of different cultures and folk traditions, too. Local First Nations traditions include many anecdotes and intersections between salmon, people, coyote, and the waters that run out to the sea:

A disagreement between Tyee Salmon and Steelhead resulted in only Tyee Salmon going up the north fork of the Puyallup River and red salmon only going up the south fork. Salmon run all the way up into the Cascades because Coyote broke the weir constructed by the Sandpiper women and cleared the way for salmon to go upstream. Because of that, the Naches people could also fish for part of their food.

And in Celtic traditions, salmon figure into stories of heroes, bards, and kings. Fionn Mac Cumhail caught and cooked the legendary Salmon of Knowledge at Rossnaree, according to legend.

And in about ten days I leave for the east coast, for Viable Paradise. It's odd to think that the rains could come while I'm gone, and this all might look very different when I come home again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Requiescat In Pace

Mary Travers has died.

My mom had all their records, stuck in the very back of the big console record player, with her previous name written with indelible marker, using careful and pretty cursive, on the album covers.

I asked about those albums, once. The resulting conversation was one of those odd and slightly disconcerting experiences that result when children discover that a parent was complete human being, with stories of her own, before having children.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Health Care

There was a Bellingham rally for the single-payer option, today, and as the chanting throng of people wended their way under my window, I could hear the occasional heckler shout from a passing car.

The cat sat in the window and growled at the commotion.

And I haven't been able to stop thinking about the discussion on Jay Lake's LJ post where he posted a short list of questions, polling his readers about their positions on illegal immigrants and American health care.

I gave my own answers on LiveJournal instead on in Jay's comment thread, because there's plenty of sound and fury there, already -- and if ever we needed a meme, folks, a meme about things that really matter is worth the time to at least think about deeply, even if you don't want to say anything out loud for whatever reason. These are questions everyone in this country needs to look at head-on, though.

And there comes a time that you have to decide what's right and what's wrong, and oddly enough? I've never actually found, in 42 years of living so far, that there's any meaningful and intrinsic relationship between a price tag and doing the right thing.

Finally, that oft-repeated right-wing meme about illegal immigrants sucking off of everyone else? How come the people repeating that never mention the estimated 7 BILLION dollars paid into Social Security by undocumented workers? Or the estimated 1.5 BILLION dollars paid in Medicare taxes?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday, Monday...

If you Google-search "Amazon rank" this morning, the top three hits don't actually take you anywhere near Those top hits either take you to this page, instead, or to commentary about why the Google-bombing happened. And I'll confess, I was deeply, seriously tempted to link the words "Amazon rank" above to the page, too, because I think it's funnier than heck, and I'm spitting mad about pretty clearly not caring enough about this Easter-weekend "glitch" (that apparently has been going on since late last year, in actuality) to issue any sort of substantive statement beyond what amounts to, "Gosh, there seems to have been some sort of glitch."

More Amazonfail links:
LA Times book blog
Wall Street Journal blog on Amazonfail story
Dear Author, on metadata, has the best theory so far

I dunno. Maybe I'm just not in a demographic that Amazon cares about. Right now, though, I'm looking at the Amazon ad in AW's sidebar, and thinking a button that goes to Powell's would look pretty good there, instead. Making Light has a cogent and rational discussion about the #amazonfail debacle, with a smarter-than-average bunch of tech-savvy commenters participating.

And speaking of Twitter, we're playing a query-writing game on the AW forums, inspired by Agent Colleen Lindsay's blog contest back in January, and by this exercise (via agent Janet Reid, on—you guessed it—Twitter!) It's a fairly difficult exercise, which makes it a lot of fun. If you don't want to post in public, think about playing along at home to sharpen your own query hooks.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Okay, big changes a-coming

I've managed to fix the archives. That's the good news.

The bad news is, I had to nuke and pave the customized template.

However, that's okay -- it gives me a fun reason to start all over, and my sidebar links were pretty out of date, anyway.

So, umm -- Hi, folks. Welcome back. In the meantime, you can find me blogging at Northwest Specialties, at The Horse Forum, and Blues Talk. I'm having rather a lot of fun doing it, too, so I hope to see you there.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A summer of diversity in E-fiction

My own response to the Great Debate 2009 regarding post-colonialism, cultural appropriation, sexism, racism, etc. in Science Fiction and Fantasy is this:

Let's stop wanking, and do something constructive.

I run a small ezine, and a large website/newsletter for writers, as well as a pretty big message board. I will commit my energy and resources to spotlighting fiction about and from the "Other" all summer.

Join me?