Monday, June 28, 2004

2 strange dreams

Last night I dreamed that my brother's wife thought she was pregnant, and kept running to the bathroom to check. She had a whole purseful of little tester strips that you have to urinate on.

I also dreamed that my apartment complex was planning to build an astronomy observatory on some of the buildings, so Crystal and I had to have our new move-ins sign an addendum to the lease stating that they knew we were building it, that they knew their rent would go for partial payment of the observatory, that they accepted the noise and mess that went with building it, that they wouldn't interfere with the building or attempt to use to observatory until they were given permission to do so, etc. This dream is rather amusing to me, given all the other nonsensical papers our lessees have to sign.

I woke up at 2:30 this morning with a sharp pain in my lower right abdomen. Either I'm ovulating or I have appendicitis. Let's hope it's the latter.

Friday, June 25, 2004


Somebody foolishly abandoned a collection of Roald Dahl's short stories in the lending library at work. I grabbed it and ran.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

possible projects

My husband and I will be moving in about three weeks. We're debating whether to leave the cat behind (just kidding--don't send me hate mail). We will be moving all of 12 feet straight up, into the vacant apartment above ours. We hope that this will cut the dampness problem we've been having, as well as our high heating bills in the winter. I'm telling you this so you realize that I have plenty to do right now, what with working two jobs and all. Nevertheless it makes me feel better to have a project or two in the works--composting, if you will. Here are the leading contestants:

1) The Angry Doll. This is a little rag doll concept that my husband came up with a couple years ago. She's also known as a PMS doll. I think she's supposed to act as a little warning sign whenever I get particularly crabby. She will be about 7-10 inches tall, with frizzy pigtails that stick straight up, and a little scowling face. I think I'll make her some denim overalls. She's kind of the anti-Raggedy Ann.

2) The silk tai chi suit. I've been wanting to make a tai chi outfit for years, which is not to say that this is a traditional-style tai chi uniform, with the baggy pants and long sleeves and frog closures. No: this suit is to appeal to my vanity. It is also for me to be photographed in, while doing tai chi. (Amber has been trying to catch me in action, on film, for about five years now.) I have a pattern for loose-fitting, slightly low-rise pants with a zipper and/or drawstring, and I plan to make a sleek, fitted, button-down vest to go with. The fabric I have is silk shantung (dupioni) in a lovely cinnamon shade.

3) I could work on one of my stories, in various stages of discompletion. Again, the leading contenders:

A) Seth in the lab (untitled)--an exploration of madness, depression, medical ethics, and what it might be like to develop both psychic abilities and multiple personalities at the same time.

B) Fungus--A spoof of Con-Dom. Two ad executives find themselves at a SF con in the same hotel as their advertising convention. The attendees of both cons start dying, mysteriously. Can our intrepid heroines solve the crime? Of course they can! The vindictive part of me wants to get this finished and on the web as quickly as possible.

C) Galatea--At least this one has a name. Quinn Taylor in the early days. Justin takes her out on a job, possibly the first they do together. Justin makes snide remarks, Quinn beats up some people. I have no idea what happens after that, nor what redeeming social commentary may be gleaned from all this. It may simply be vanity masquerading as ennui and I should probably give it up for something more worthwhile.

Thursday, June 17, 2004


I have come to the conclusion that while I may be a good writer--which is to say I have an enjoyable, mature style--I am not necessarily a good plotter.

I could blame it on MW, or the fact that I have watched/read too much stuff with no plot in the last few years.

But I think it's just laziness on my part, because I claim to like to write organically, but my best pieces have been thought-out beforehand. Leviatech had forethought. Mobius had forethought. Both of those were outlined, loosely overall, and the outline was revised as I went.

I'm thinking I'll go back to work on some of my short fiction, see if I can salvage it--"Donor," in particular. It'll be a good exercise. I must stop being so lazy. If a dress doesn't fit, I rip it apart and fix it. There's no excuse for not doing the same with a story.

Monday, June 14, 2004

weekend review

We had a massive thunderstorm here in KC on Saturday night. The northland was the hardest hit. We were watching TV about 9:00 or so, when we heard it move in like a train roaring up toward us. I said, "It's heeeere." We have a basement apartment, so we weren't particularly concerned. It did get loud, though. We could hear the trees beating against the building. Some time between nine-thirty and ten, the power went out; flickered once, and died.

We dug out flashlights and, like any midwesterner, went out to watch our doom approach. The temperature had dropped severely; it had been 85-88 degrees all day, but it was around 65 at 10 pm, and the little fussy spits of rain were cold. We stood under the overhang of our building's breezeway and watched the sky roll.

It was awesome. The trees were being whipped and twisted, bent almost in half under the gale. It wasn't raining much, just in sporatic whips, as if some little kid was flinging water out of a pool with his arm. But the cloud ceiling was so low it seemed you could stand on the roof and touch it; it was flat and rippling, like wave shallows along a beach. The entire neighborhood was dark, so I'm not sure where the light was coming from, but the sky had that weird glowing gray quality. Maybe there was lighting above the clouds we could see. At any rate, the cloud cover was simply racing past overhead. If we were tiny humans standing in a fishbowl, and some cosmic power had dragged a piece of cotton gauze across the top of the fishbowl, it might have looked rather like that.

It was too cold for me, in my shorts and tank. Plus it was ten o'clock, and I had to work in the morning, so we just went to bed. The electricity didn't come back until six a.m., but the place stayed cool and a little damp, and I had a great night's sleep. Go figure.

We also saw the new Harry Potter this weekend. It wasn't nearly as exciting. I have come to think of those movies as visual aids for the books. I was slow to convert to Harry fandom, but as I have been reading I've been increasingly impressed by Rowling's careful plotting--both in the overall arc and book-by-book--and her knack for visualization. I think the characterization of the three principle characters is a little thin, but they get the job done, and it's not really a character-driven story, is it?

Never mind. This third movie, yes, is darker than the first two. It also has a sense of whimsy, where I found the first two movies stiff and overly literal. This film makes use of Rowling's rich visualization--I found myself thinking of The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Dark Crystal. The director has added some visual gags of his own, but they fit. The problem with this movie--and it's jointly the fault of the writer and the director--is that it leaves out too much exposition. The third book introduces a large faction of Harry's family and supporters, and expands widely on the legacy that Voldemort left behind. Most of this crucial exposition takes place in two scenes near the end: the climactic bit when Harry et al confront Sirius Black and Prof. Lupin in the Shrieking Shack; and the denoument when Dumbledore tells Harry what's what after the dust has settled.

The climax is abbreviated so harshly, and directed at such a frenetic pace, that even I could barely tell what the characters were saying. My husband, who hadn't read the book, couldn't tell what was going on and was vastly irritated. He had no idea who the little rat man was or why they wanted to kill him.

The denoument has been completely excised, which is a grave error, in my opinion. The moviemakers are going to have some serious catching-up to do with Dumbledore's character when they get to movies four and five and Dumbledore starts going Yoda on some people.

This movie could have safely removed some eye candy--such as the bus ride, with the utterly gratuitous shrunken head--and added ten minutes of explanation. They would have been better for it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

lasagne for Mom

My mother's been waiting for me to send her this recipe for ages. Figured if I was going to type it up, I might as well share.

Note: This is a BIG recipe and very filling. I make it on Friday nights sometimes and me and my husband have it for lunch until Wednesday. It will probably serve eight, at least.

Prep time, about 30 minutes. Bake time, 1h 30 min.

Start with: 1-1/2 to 2 pounds Italian sausage. I like Mendolia's, which I believe is local to Kansas City. If you buy links, remove the casings and chop up the insides. Cook the meat in a medium-hot skillet with a little water and olive oil. Don't let it get brown. Break it up into smallish bits. Throw in some minced sweet onion.

Add a 12 oz jar of tomato sauce, any brand or flavor that you like. Also add an 8-oz can of diced tomatoes, with or without seasoning. Add more Italian Seasoning if needed. Simmer this for a few minutes.

Combine a 16-oz carton of full-fat ricotta cheese with:
1 egg
1/2 cup grated parmesan,
2 cups shredded mozzarella,
and some parsley. A little extra basil is nice, too.

In a 9x12 baking dish or sheet cake pan, put down a layer of reduced-carb lasagne noodles. (Dry noodles, you may notice, do not fit well into a pan. I lay three long ones side-by-side and then break off a forth to lay across one end.)

On top of the noodles, ladle in half of the meat-tomato mixture. Drop spoonfulls of the ricotta mixture on top; smooth out a little. Repeat layering with noodles, sausage, and the second half of the ricotta. Top with extra mozzerella. Sprinkle with parsley.

Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. (Place a drip pan underneath because it tends to overflow.) Remove foil and bake for 15 min. more. Remove from oven and let sit while you make salad.

Enjoy! Better the next day.

awesome potato salad

This is for those who like it salty:

Take 5-6 medium red potatoes: peel, dice large, and boil just until they will break with the edge of a spoon. You don't want them too soft.

Drain and rinse in cold water. Dump into a bowl. Add:

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
generous dash of ground mustard
generous dash of celery salt
lots of black pepper
about 2 tps. dried onion flakes (or finely diced real onion)
a little parsley

Mix gently to coat potatoes. Cut a 3 oz brick of cream cheese into small pieces, then mix pieces with potatoes and let sit for a while until the temperatures even out. When the potatoes are at room temperature, mix in about 1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise (real mayo is best), a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard, and a little minced dill pickle.

Let chill until good. If desired, garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs, and sprinkle with paprika or Lowry's seasoned salt.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

con pictures

Here are some pictures of the Con, taken by people other than me or Shara.

My buddy Ratman's page (he's got a lot of interesting stuff on there; have a look around.)

The MidAmerica Fan Photo Archive. The "official" con photos. Most of them boring. The good ones are on the "masquerade" pages.