this fictionette is doing it all over again
- 1,097 words (if poetry, lines) long
So here's last week's Friday Fictionette, "Making Friends," which could as well be called "Baking Friends" without really spoiling anything. It's about a lonely little girl who knows just how fortunate she is and is always glad to help her benefactor to whom she is very grateful. It's also about witchcraft, because what would a Fictionette be without that speculative element?
It's a week late, and this week's will be a few days late, because I have been unexpectedly slow at getting back to any sort of regular working routine since playoffs. Your patience is, as always, appreciated. My hope, however, is that September will run like clockwork. With playoffs behind us, my roller derby team is now officially in our off-season, and we're taking a little time off to rest and recuperate. I won't be entirely off the hook for league stuff, but I won't be practicing 9 hours a week either. I'm going to try to put that time toward getting the writing work day back on track.
("Was it ever on track in the first place?" "Hush.")
Speaking of playoffs, I intend to post a big round-up of archived game footage, photo albums by various derby photographers, and text coverage of each of the games we played at D2 Wichita. I've been meaning to do that all week, but, well, see above. I still mean to do that, despite that we are now a full day into D2 Lansing. Late or not, it'll be useful to have a repository of links that isn't a bunch of open Facebook tabs I've got to preserve in my browser forever. (Facebook kind of sucks for searching for things. It's great at searching for people, but if there's a particular two-week-old post you're trying to find, forget it.)
Stay tuned through the weekend for updates on both the Fictionette and roller derby situations.
a short story for when i can't manage a longer one
OK. So. D2 Wichita. That... was a thing that happened.
It is much easier to talk about vegetables.
Yesterday I managed to drag myself up to Longmont for chiro and then back down to Boulder to drop off the rental car. Then I managed to walk home from the Hertz establishment (via the Parkway Cafe for brunch and the bank for check deposits). Today I managed to get out of the house like a regular human being and bike up to the farm for CSA pick-up. I keep saying "managed" because it feels like an accomplishment.
Quite a few of my teammates--and my coach, too--had to go back to work on Monday. I am not sure how they managed it.
While I was at the Parkway Cafe, one of the waitstaff looked at me and said, "So who's been beating on you? Roller derby, right?" I said, "Yeah, about four teams worth. It was playoffs." When she brought me my check she told me to "go home and heal up." I have come home from derby looking bruised before, but this time around, I looked like a plague victim. It was ridiculous. And I had a swollen, tender lymph node on the right because apparently sufficient blunt force trauma can trigger an immune system reaction. Turns out that four games against D2-level teams can do that to a body.
Nevertheless, like I said, I did manage to bring home the veggies today. What we have here is the weekly loaf of bread plus kale, collards, kohlrabi, tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, and radishes. I immediately broke into that bounty to use up most of the rest of my stuffed chard leaf stuffing from Thursday: breakfast sausage, wild rice, garlic, chives, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper, and an egg. This time I blanched all the kohlrabi leaves from this and previous weeks, and some of last week's kale, to wrap it up in, overlapping leaves where a single leaf was too small. That, plus some cucumber-and-tomato salad, was dinner.
The stuffed chard leaves worked out quite well, by the way. I munched half of them on the ride over to Wichita and the other half on Friday between games.
Do I sound a little scattered? I'm still a little scattered. Getting better. Managed to get some writing done and also some league admin stuff--mostly the bout production and forum admin stuff that was waiting for me. Spent most of the evening pruning spam registrations out of the database, as that takes mercifully little brain.
The weekend used up all of my brain. Well, most of it. What little mind it didn't use up it simply blew. Lots of minds were blown. Because out of our four games, we won three. We came in as the #8 seed but walked away with 5th Place. We came within 15 points of beating the #1 seed, and we did beat the #2 seed, making WFTDA history thereby. Then we drove home, essentially going "That game. OMG that game" to each other pretty much all 550 miles of the way.
OMG that game. Those games. OMG this weekend.
That's the short story.
I may manage the longer version tomorrow.
it's 1:30 am and we made it to wichita
The hard part starts tomorrow.
tomatoes, wftda watch passes, and the dangers of 12-hour pseudoephedrine
So, pro-tip about those 12-hour Sudafed tablets. Turns out, it's not such a good idea to take one at 5:00 PM, not if they're the Non-Drowsy Maximum Strength variety. I did not actually get to sleep until... well, almost 5:00 AM, about 12 hours after I took the dratted thing. I really should have also bought a box of the 4-hour tablets, just for scheduling flexibility. Well. I'll know for next time.
Anyway, there's no way I can make it through a work day on only three hours sleep, especially if there's roller derby practice at the end of it. The last roller derby practice before playoffs, in fact. Kind of important. So once I was able to sleep I tried to stay that way for as long as I could. Which meant I wasn't out of bed until after one in the afternoon. Which meant not a lot of things got done other than the absolutely necessary.
One of those absolutely necessary things, of course, was biking up to The Diaz Farm for my CSA share. Yay, pretty pictures of delicious veg! Those two Early Girl tomatoes were the high point of this week's pick-up--the first fresh, ripe tomatoes of the season. I immediately ate one with about half a cucumber, sliced up and dressed with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. I've been fortunate to have been getting a few small tomatoes here and there from my back porch plants--Sungold cherries, elongated San Marzanos, and little round Brillantes, all of them more orange than red (expected behavior for the Sungolds, not quite so much for the others) and probably a little stunted from their growing conditions. But these plump two tomatoes coming home from the farm today were quite a treat.
I've been thinking about ways to convert some of this bounty into road trip snacks. The carrots are obvious--just bring them like they are. Maybe chop the largest ones into sticks. Zucchini is also tasty raw. I still haven't made those carrot-and-kohlrabi fritters; those would probably transport well. My latest genius idea is sausage-stuffed chard leaves--blanche the chard until tender, put a dollop of ground sausage cooked with onions and garlic into each, then just roll the leaves up into little bundles. Kind of like dolmades, but with chard instead of grape leaves. (Baking may be involved. I forget. I need to check my recipes.) Then stick them in a plastic bag, shove 'em in the ice chest, and eat 'em cold in the car whenever hungry.
Speaking of D2 Playoffs, I've had a request to post ALL THE LINKS here. The link above features our tournament bracket (there's that link again!), showing who plays whom at what time. You can see that we start out in Game 2 against the Chicago Outfit at
10 AM Central (9 AM Mountain) Noon Central (11 AM Mountain) on Friday, August 19. After that, our schedule depends on wins and losses.
Edit: I keep saying our first game is scheduled for 10 AM because for a hot minute it was. But then they changed the schedule, giving us the noon game, and we all breathed a sigh of relief because a lot of us aren't getting into town until midnight that morning. Still, I seem unable to wrap my brain around it for the purposes of telling people when to watch us.
If you want to watch it live--and why wouldn't you? Three days of non-stop derby derby derby featuring some of the best teams internationally!--you can get set up to do just that over at WFTDA.tv. You can buy a watch pass just for this weekend, or you can buy the big ol' humongous package that covers your live derby viewing pleasure for both D2 weekends, all four D1 weekends, and Championships too:
- D2 Playoffs: Wichita, Aug 19 – 21 – BUY WATCH PASS ($12.99)
- BUY PLAYOFFS + CHAMPIONSHIPS BUNDLE (U.S. ONLY) ($75)
- BUY PLAYOFFS + CHAMPIONSHIPS BUNDLE (NON-U.S. ONLY) ($75)
- View all available watch passes for the 2016 International Playoffs & Championships
Links will take you to the page on which you'd watch the stream, where you'll be prompted to log in. If you haven't yet bought your "virtual ticket," you'll click the green button with the price tag on it. That will pop up a window in which you'll log onto Cleeng.com, which is the outfit that WFTDA uses to manage the sale of watch passes.
I'm guessing that the bundle is divided into a U.S. and a Non-U.S. version because it includes Championships, which is being carried by sports channel ESPN3 for the second year running. When major cable TV gets involved, national borders become a Thing. The pass just for this weekend does not specific U.S. or Non, and the broadcast is just your regular WFTDA.tv livestream, which is essentially an HD Youtube video--it ought to be viewable from anywhere in the world. But I have had one friend in Canada (a flagmate on Puzzle Pirates, of course!) tell me that it wouldn't even let him log on because "it hates Canadians!" I have not yet confirmed that the link above is the link he tried, though, so I'm really not 100% certain about this. I double-checked Cleeng's FAQ, and it had a lot to say about watching from within the EU and so forth; besides, Cleeng is what they're using to sell the Non-U.S. watch pass bundle. (Maybe you should log onto Cleeng via the Non-U.S. bundle, but then back out before actually buying it, and then see if you can buy the watch pass via the D2 Wichita link now that you're successfully logged in?)
Anyway, if you're outside the U.S. and want to watch us skate this weekend, let me know whether the single weekend D2 pass works for you. Inquiring minds etc.
If you don't want to, or aren't able to, watch us live, then keep your eyes on the archives, as all D2 Wichita games will probably show up there early next week. Archived footage at WFTDA.tv is always free to watch.
That's it for me tonight--I'm going to be very good and do my at-home traction, but after that I'm down for the count. I took a 12-hour Sudafed just about 12 hours ago, so with any luck I'll actually get to sleep tonight. Good luck me.
this fictionette registered late for grad school
- 1,150 words (if poetry, lines) long
OK, so, I'm not sending "Late Registration" anywhere tonight. It needs more than a quick once-over in order for me to feel happy with it out there bearing my by-line. But! I did finally post the Friday Ficitonette for August 12. Revel in it! It's called "Dr. Green Ascends to the Nether World" and that is not a typo. It's about BEING A SCIENTIST even when that means breaking through barbed wire fences and climbing sheer cliffsides to FIGURE SHIT OUT.
Here's the thing I never count on when I say "I'll be able to get so much done Saturday afternoon!" Getting sick. It starts with post nasal drip and that itchy, raw spot high up at the back of the throat, and next think I know I'm in bed, sniffling and miserable, and then I'm in the bathroom pawing through the medicine supplies and saying things like "I don't care if the doctor says it'll raise my blood pressure--pseudoephedrine is necessary for me to function. What do you mean I only have five more of the 4-hour tablets left? And how did we wind up with an odd number? We better not have dropped one on the floor. This stuff is gold." Sudafed is a modern day miracle. It makes the difference between 1. flat in bed wishing for unconsciousness, and 2. upright at the desk getting things done.
But the things I get done are still only getting done slowly. And not with a heck of a lot of concentration. So after I got the Fictionette up today--which took most of the day because I couldn't wrangle enough concentration to work straight through it (and also because I took a brief walk to the drug store to get more pseudoephedrine, the 12-hour kind this time)--I kept getting distracted by stuff rather than moving on to the short story. Besides, I really doubt I'd have any better chance of getting it ready had I started at 6 PM as opposed to 10 PM.
My initial thought was, "It's an anthology that pays only token rates. I can send it something from the college file. I mean, I'll need to polish off the obvious infelicities and maybe update some references, give the main character a cell phone, that kind of thing..." Then I settled down to work on it, and I had a second thought. "I don't care how little the market pays. It's going to have my name on it! It had better be perfect." And, well, maybe perfect is the wrong word, but... I have standards. And it was going to take more than just a handful of hours to bring this old story up to those standards.
On the other hand, hearing about the anthology did get me to dig this story up and reread it. And, having read it, I've decided I really do want to rehabilitate it and get it into the submissions cycle. It's a good little story. It's got characters I'd like to reacquaint myself with. I mean, hell, back in the day I had the idea of doing a series of related stories starring these characters. It's good to be reminded of these old goals that once fell by the wayside. I can pick them back up, brush the dust off, and breathe a little life back into them.
So even though I didn't end up submitting to the anthology I had in mind, a great deal of good came out of considering submitting to it. Neat.
YPP Weekend Blockades, August 13-14: Quiet seas and greedy brigands
Your blockade report is late again, but it seems like we didn't miss much. Just the scuffle on Corona Reef on the Meridian Ocean round about noon Pirate Time--that one's gone into its fourth round as I post this. After that, Icy Sun will be attempting to oust Madam Yu Jian from Havoc Island starting... now, and that's pretty much it for blockades until next week. Slow weekend, y'all!
A big update is coming soon, though. "Greedy Brigands" have been released for testing on the Ice Ocean. The changelog has the details, and here's the official announcement in the forum. Here's the gist:
While vessels are configured for pillaging, they will have a chance of encountering a new "greedy" variety of brigands during sword fights. These brigands are identifiable by their extravagant jewelry that they collect and hoard for themselves, such as gold eyepatches and flashy necklaces.
During the sword fight, if you have a greedy brigand targeted, your puzzle board will highlight a specific color of fused blocks on your board. You can destroy these blocks for a chance of knocking treasure from their clutches. The larger the fused block you destroy, the better your chance.
If you have a subscription to Cerulean, then you've got access to the Ice Ocean to test out this brand new exciting feature! Some intrepid pirates have already been doing just that and discussing the results here.
Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.
Doubloon Ocean Blockades
*** Saturday, August 13 ***
if it was good enough for 20-yr-old me maybe 40-yr-old me should be cautious
The Friday Fictionette for August 12 will be coming out later on in the weekend because Aarrgh. That isn't an OMG ALL THE THINGS "aarrgh." That's a self-disgusted "aarrgh" which acknowledges personal responsibility in terms of an ongoing trend of badness which is in my personal power to fix but somehow I still haven't fixed. Aarrgh.
So instead what I've got to blog about is being in the preliminary stages of resurrecting a college-era short story for possible submission to a paying market today, nearly 20 years later.
Among writers, a perennial topic of discussion is "What do you do with your old/'trunked' manuscripts?" Opinions seem to range from "BURN THEM ALL" to "Dig them up occasionally to see how far you've come and maybe laugh." I do not often see the viewpoint "Consider submitting them for publication today" represented, and no wonder. 20-year-old me had a great facility with words and ideas, and she wrote things that impressed her peers and sometimes editors, but she did not have the same standards as 40-year-old me. She had a tendency to show off her witty dialogue skills and her overly clever metaphors. And she was, more or less, despite the 2 in the tens digit, a teenager.
I have a lot of sympathy for teenage me, but I think it would say something unflattering about my current maturity level (such as it is) if some of my teenage memories didn't embarrass me. I mean, for example: I'm a huge fan of the rock band Rush today. I was a raging fanatic about Rush when I was in high school and college. One difference being, I have more reservations and less uncompromising enthusiasm these days about some of their lyrics. Thinking about "Cinderella Man" from the A Farewell to Kings album (1977), only because that's the song that got stuck in my head the other day:
Because he was human, because he had goodness
Because he was moral, they called him insane
Teenage me waved that lyric like a battle flag. Present-day me winces a little and thinks it sounds like something you'd read in the diary of a teenager who thought they were the first person to discover moral intergrity. (Both of me cringed a little at the unfortunate phrase "had goodness," for whatever that's worth.)
So there's an element of that sort of combination of lack of life experience and fervent intensity in my early writing. Some of it makes me flinch. Still, I'd want teenage me to be proud of present-day me, or at least not be disappointed by what she has or has not become. I stand by a heck of a lot of what teenage me wanted and needed in terms of, yes, moral integrity and justice. ("Hang on to your plans / Try as they might they cannot steal your dreams") I just think that maybe present-day me might be able to express adjacent concerns with more nuance, less willful blindness to complexities, more acknowledgment of other points of view.
In the case of "Late Registration," the writing problems are less about that, thank goodness, and more about the "Look at ME!" school of writing. So it may be possible to have something worth submitting on Monday after a relatively quick revision pass.
It was surprisingly hard to find the story. I have a record in my personal database of submitting it to two places in 1997 and '98. The first was Mind's Eye Fiction, one of the earliest venues for online short fiction. They preferred submissions to be as close to web-ready as possible, with a break indicated between the first part of the story which could be read for free and the second part which would be for paid accounts only. I must have had a master manuscript document, undoubtedly in Word Perfect for DOS 5.2 format, but all I could find on my hard drive at present was the HTML version I prepared for submission to Mind's Eye.
So that's what I imported into Scrivener and am using as a basis to type up a new version, lightly edited, that is acceptable to present-day me.
i get distracted
I was going to blog about what I did today, but then John and I came home from scrimmage and ordered pizza and watched the most recent* three episodes of Steven Universe, and then we proceeded to geek out for like an hour about what we just saw, what we loved about it, and how it shook our understandings thus far of the characters and their history and their world, and also just what our understandings of these things were, and furthermore what questions we still had and what we speculated might be revealed... but then I did say "geek out," so pretty much everything past the first comma after the bit in italics was sort of redundant.
Anyway, can't blog, too busy making fannish squee noises.
*most recent: ok, well the most recent we had access to. Apparently there's more still. Already. MORE STEVEN UNIVERSE TO WATCH. Glee!
there's a reason these things become cliches
- 3,339 words (if poetry, lines) long
Two big good things accomplished today: Finished preparing the June and July Fictionette Artifacts for mailing out to my very patient $5/month Patrons and submitted "It's for You" to the next pro-paying market I would like to introduce it to. As I get slowly caught up on All The Things, I'm beginning once more to feel like I can manage to continue pursuing a career in commercial fiction and running a four-times-monthly self-publishing gig simultaneously.
Tomorrow's task in short fiction: Review, and probably revise, an old, old short story of mine (circa 1995) and see if it's appropriate to submit to an anthology I just now today heard about. This temporarily displaces a couple other short fiction tasks because the anthology has a submission deadline of Aug 15.
I might have got even more done today had I not slept in. Last night's practice was exceedingly effortful. (Also exceedingly bruising, but nothing new there. It makes me weirdly happy to look in the mirror and see bruises polka-dotting my shoulders and upper arms. Like ink-stains on my fingers after doing my Morning Pages with a fountain pen, it's proof that I Showed Up.) Last night's sleep was also exceedingly interrupted--like, four visits to the bathroom, something ridiculous like that. And I woke from it with that stuffy almost-headache that I used to get constantly before I went on blood pressure medication, probably because I forgot to take my blood pressure medication last night. Gah. Stop reminding me that I'm getting older, body!
As usually happens when I sleep in, I had vivid dreams. My remembered dreams have possibly been extra vivid and also more numerous due to rereading Jeremy Taylor's book Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill. I have a sizable library of books about dreaming, lucid dreaming, and astral projection. Rereading them tends to have an immediate effect on my dream recall. I value my dream diaries; they go back to my elementary school days and have been the inspiration for a lot of my fiction.
What was unusual was that I continued the same dream from where it had left off each time I went back to sleep. I honestly can't remember ever managing to do that before. Gods alone know why I would want to; it was a terribly frustrating and anxious dream about scrambling to get my things packed up to check out of a hotel room on time. Well, late. In the dream, it was already something like two hours past check-out time when I realized I had a hotel room to check out of, and my car was at the wrong end of the hotel, and the hotel was long and winding and rambly like a monster shopping mall, and as I packed up things I kept finding more things that needed packing up (hiding not only in drawers and stacked on tables but also under the covers of an impeccably made bed) that I couldn't believe actually all fit in my luggage in the first place. And as I frantically grabbed things and stuffed them into containers, two housekeeping staff members stood patiently watching me, waiting to clean up the room when I was done. One was a small woman with a cheerful demeanor who kept telling me "It's OK, no pressure." The other was a tall, solidly-built man who loomed over the proceedings, clearly there in the role of Unspoken Muscular Threat.
I don't think I was actually trying to get back into the dream each time I hit SNOOZE. I think I was just trying to cement it in memory, because I wasn't ready to get up and write it down. But every time I went back to sleep, there I was again, wondering how all these snack items ever fit into one snack bag, or why I thought I'd manage to work on all of these many quilting, needlework, and knitting projects over an 8-hour drive and weekend stay.
I think the dream had us in Wichita, but I don't think it was WFTDA D2 anxiety so much as other anxieties using the next trip I have planned as their setting. This is actually a recurring subset of a recurring category of anxiety nightmare--I had almost exactly the same dream last month, only in that dream, I raced back to my hotel room only to discover it empty because a member of the hotel's maintenance staff had a policy of confiscating anything left in the room after check-out time.
Since I just this week moved all my data back over to an aging laptop with a noisy sub-performing fan, my immediate interpretation is that I'm anxious about getting all my data backed up NOW before it gets "confiscated" at "check-out time," i.e. before the old Asus tanks and takes my files with it. I've already burned the most immediately necessary writing projects to R/W DVD, along with my Thunderbird and Firefox profiles, but it feels like a drop in the bucket. Another option that occurs to me is the lifelong anxiety about needing to get all the stories in my head written and published NOW NOW NOW because you never know when you're gonna DIE. This is a thought that regularly inspires me to close my eyes, cover my ears, and sing LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.
The nice thing about both those anxieties is, there's positive action I can take to ease them. I can't get everything done in a day, but I can do a little bit to address each issue daily. I can, say, finally activate my Dropbox account tomorrow, archive the next chunk of data to disk, and, as mentioned above, get the next story ready to submit for publication.
If there is a moral to this story, that's about it: Don't panic because you can't get everything done at once. Just try to do a little every day. Not very deep, I grant you, not exactly innovative, but it's surprising how practical a cliche can be. (I guess there's a reason they're cliches.)
close only counts in horseshoes and i am declaring this a game of horseshoes
Another Tuesday, another pile of gorgeous edibles coming home with me from the farm. We have cucumber, zucchini, garlic, kohlrabi, rainbow chard, rainbow carrots, mixed salad greens, and bread. I'm thinking tomorrow I'm finally going to try the kohlrabi carrot fritters recipe I came across the other day.
Heavy duty cooking was out of the question today. Today I had to use my lunch break to package the Asus X540 and bring it to FedEx for shipping. That was fun. And by "fun," I mean unnecessarily worrying. I was filling out the checklist, writing up a description of the problem, and I thought, "Hey, let's just double-check that it's still happening." AND IT WASN'T. I had the laptop unplugged and sitting next to the box I was going to put it in, and just for fun I pressed the power button, AND THE DAMN THING STARTED RIGHT UP. Stayed on, too, until I shut it down some forty-five minutes later. Didn't matter what I did--opened and closed the lid, picked it up and swung it around, tilted it this end up or that end up, carried it around the house--the dratted thing acted like it had never had a battery problem in its life. Like it had never refused to turn on while I was at lunch with no AC power. Like it had never crashed and died upon my unplugging it for travel, then cheerfully reported a 98% charge when I next plugged it in and turned it on.
I wrote up an addendum. "Problem is sporadic. Please investigate battery stability regardless of whether problem replicates." Also, "Problem may be with battery incorrectly reporting a full charge. After notebook had been plugged in for several days, I was unable to recreate the problem."
Then I biked the package to FedEx and sent it on its way. Then I spent an hour or so illustrating Fictionette Artifacts over pho and spring rolls. Almost done, y'all!
I still haven't submitted the story I've been meaning to submit, which feels kind of stupid. I should do it tonight, except I'm a little worried about my ability to assemble a respectable submission in Standard Manuscript Format with post-derby brain. Maybe I should just keep typing up and illustrating that last Artifact. Only, again, there's the post-derby brain problem. Typos! And there's only so much you can do with correction ribbon, especially when you've been back and forth over that ribbon about four times. (I really should order a new typewriter ribbon.)
Things are mostly on track. It hasn't exactly been the Tuesday I was planning on, but, y'know, close enough for horseshoes and rock 'n roll.