delphipsmith: (zombies)
I can't believe it's been six weeks since I posted anything, woah. And I was pretty spotty for a while before that. Real life has been keeping me pretty busy -- our local Ren Fest started which takes up most of our weekends, I've been deep into a re-read of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, we did a ten-day trip west to see family and take care of some business/financial stuff, there's been a bunch of aggravations at work, we've got family coming to visit, there have been some tough times for a close friend, and underneath it all is the constant barrage of nonsense coming from Washington, D.C. which I find more dispiriting every day.

Still, that is no excuse for not keeping up with friends, whether real or virtual. I hope some of you are still around lol!! As a kind of apology for being AWOL so long, I have some books to give away :)

These four I would love to get in the hands of a teacher or home-schooler. They're terrific activities for kids -- math, English, etc.

And then there are all of these:

The Hobbits: The Many Lives of Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin
A Window Opens by Jennifer Egan
After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Ghosts, Demons and Dolls
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates
A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates
The Elementals by Michael McDowell
A Darker Place by Laurie R. King
The Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart
Twenty-Five Years of American Short Fiction, Vol 19 No 63 Fall 2016 -- 8 short pieces by established authors (e.g. Joyce Carol Oates) as well as brand new ones, winnders of ASF's writing competition.

First come, first served. No need to pay postage; if you want to do anything in return, please donate to these folks or these folks or your local animal shelter.

Also of course if you get one and read it, come back and tell us what you thought :)
delphipsmith: (Luddite laptop)
Yay, I have successfully backed up my LJ over on DW!! For the time being I'll be staying over on LJ, but will cross-post so as to keep them both up-to-date. Not that I think anything will happen, but what with LJ's servers moving to Russia and a few other things, I just feel better having things backed up. Plus, y'know, I am an archivist so I kinda feel like I'm obligated :) I'm the same person over there as I am here, so if any of you are also on DW, please feel free to friend my DW account.
delphipsmith: (BA beta)
So I've started roughing out various ideas for my [ profile] sshg_giftfest recipient, thinking about the different prompts, how they might be fleshed out, where they might go, how I can work in various elements. And I'm in so much trouble. Because I want to write All The Things. In fact multiple versions of All The Things. Seriously, I have at least seven different stories that are all tugging at my sleeve and whining, "Write me!" "No, write me!!" "Shut up, she's going to write ME!!"

This is a good thing, right? Right??
delphipsmith: (George scream)
Good Thing the First: I am caught up on reading [ profile] mini_fest, yay! So many wonderful little stocking stuffers, and one or two more substantial offerings. My favorite so far is a Minerva/Severus piece entitled Dark and Deep. Doesn't that title make you want to go there right now and read it?

Good Thing the Second: Real life is FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY slowing down, and I am so looking forward to getting back on LJ more. Since October when we moved house, it's just been one thing after another and woah, am I ready to slow down a little. I can also take on more of the mod-ly burdens for [ profile] sshg_giftfest, which to date have been shouldered almost entirely by the valiant [ profile] amorette, whom I owe big time for doing SO much more than her fair share. She is a true rock!

Good Thing the Third: Mr Psmith graduates tomorrow!!!! I am so proud of him I can hardly stand it :)

Good Thing the Fourth: This, shared with me by a fellow nerdgeek at work today. There are no words for how very much I love this:


8 October 2015 01:33 am
delphipsmith: (busy busy busy)
Having a new house is awesome beyond awesome.
Packing up the old house sucks nuclear weasel penises.
That is all...
delphipsmith: (busy busy busy)
I'm supposed to be packing today, because the movers are coming on Thursday and the house is sooooo not ready for them. We have loads of random crap everywhere that has to be dealt with: plastic bags of candle stubs, odd gloves, cracked pots, old shoes, clothes we no longer wear, ancient jars of herbs in the back of the cabinet, mysterious keys that unlock who-knows-what, dessicated magic markers, old cans of paint, and oh, the swarming hordes of dust bunnies...

Le sigh.

I'm also supposed to be writing an article for the next issue of Carpe Nocturne, which is due on Friday, but I can't seem to come up with the hook to make it all fall into place.

Instead of doing ANY of that, I went and signed up for this, because the mods put out a plea for a few more folks to ease their matching, and because [ profile] nursedarry taunted me into it:

[ profile] happy_trekmas is open for signups until October 4th!
delphipsmith: (George scream)
My god am I glad the last two months are over. Major projects behind or plunging into crisis mode at work (again, or still, depending on your point of view), a visit to my mom (which was lovely but included much discussion of legal/estate stuff, which always depresses me), a conference whereat not only was I on the Board of Directors but I had to teach a brand new workshop I'd never taught before, my godson graduating high school (there is NO WAY he is that old, it's impossible), taking on co-mod responsibilities for my online writing group, an overflow of editing work for my freelance clients, Marvin the laptop died and I had to migrate my entire life onto Marvin II...arrgghh. I'm sure there were other things but I must have blocked them out in a vain attempt at mental self-defense. They'll probably surface later and cause me to leap up screaming at some awkward moment. In the middle of dinner, say, or while at the theatre.

Somewhere along the line, though, I did manage to watch the last season of Mad Men -- what a wild ride that was! -- and last night I finally got caught up on Wolf Hall. I want to have Mark Rylance's babies.

Now all I have left to do is finish my [ profile] sshg_promptfest fic which is due in nine days, get ready for my trip west for [ profile] nursedarry's dad's 100th birthday (!!), and write a paper for a conference in August. It'll be like shooting fish in a barrel.

And of course I have to catch up on what's new with all of YOU, my flist. So, what's the single most interesting thing that's happened to each of you in the past two months, since I abandoned you all in the middle of March? Tell, tell!
delphipsmith: (busy busy busy)
...because a Certain Someone (::waves at [ profile] teddyradiator::) likes keys and I found these on Etsy and had to share:

Keys of Azhar
Keys to Atlantis

I devoutly hope to be back on LJ more regularly in another week or so. I have been so busy with freelance work, regular work, co-mod duties for my writing group, prepping for teaching a workshop in a couple of weeks, and getting everything settled for my upcoming two weeks of vacation that I have had zero time for anything else. Not only have I not posted here, I have not even had time to read and so have no idea what's going on with y'all (though I did catch [ profile] shiv5468's post about the hoo-ha fairy which made me laugh immoderately). I hope everyone is well and happy.

In other news, it's actually really truly finally spring here!!!!!!
delphipsmith: (Sirius/dementor)
...just crazy busy. I'll be back soon, I promise!
delphipsmith: (George)
...I have been crazy busy, thank you for asking. Taxes, bills, "real" job, freelance work, writing, keeping up with my weekly minimal wine consumption requirement, you know. On the plus side, whopping big tax refund (which will go towards the kitchen re-do) and paying clients, w00t!

And hey, it's National Poetry Month! In honor of that, I give you a wonderful bit of Snape-ish sonnetry: He Wears His Cloak Like Moonlight Wears the Night. As some of you may know, I'm a big fan of sonnets. Like medieval miniatures, or the short story, the compressed space means that not a single line or word can be wasted; everything has to be carefully and precisely chosen. It's difficult to do well, and lovely to read the results.

Also in the exciting world of sonnets: in honor of Shakespeare's 450th birthday this year the New York Shakespeare Exchange is creating a whole slew of videos: 154 sonnets read by 154 different actors in 154 different locations in and around NYC. The project was funded by $49,255 raised on Kickstarter -- go crowdfunding!! And at the end of the project, you'll be able to buy the DVD. Since Sir Pat has been lurking about NYC with his rawther young girlfriend, I'm hoping very much that he'll be one of the 154 :)

Finally, an odd but very cool new art form: People attaching LEDs to their Roombas and setting up a camera with long-term exposure, et voila! time-lapse robot vacuum spirograph. Ah, technology...
delphipsmith: (gumbies)
Well, I did not get accepted to Clarion West. It was a very complimentary and encouraging rejection ("very competitive group...our readers were impressed with your work...please apply again..blah blah blah") which of course I immediately think, "Oh, that's what they tell everyone."

How could they not recognize my genius? How??! Grrrr.

However, this means that Mr Psmith and I can once again do season tickets to our local Ren Fest, which is a Nice Thing. A chance to ponce about in hoop skirts and a tight bodice while drinking ale and singing bawdy traditional folk songs is not to be sneezed at.

Things have been mad busy on other fronts, between trying to finish a freelance job which has been postponed twice (by the client, not by yrs truly) but is now nearing completion (which means yay, I can soon get paid), Mr. Psmith's birthday yesterday (which required baking the family-tradition Grandma's Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Boiled White Icing, a terrifically sticky endeavor with a profoundly delicious conclusion), a two-week guest lecturing stint for a graduate-level course, the need to assist in the testing phase of a standards revision, and of course the usual work stuff.

Plus I'm in the middle of re-reading Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, which is soooooo good I can hardly put the book down. I nearly came to an untimely end yesterday as I had my nose buried in the second volume while walking from the parking garage to work and tripped merrily off the curb into traffic. Good thing that lady in the green Kia had had her morning coffee.

Phew. No wonder I'm tired.
delphipsmith: (gumbies)
Ack, what is this new posting interface?? Bleah, LiveJournal, I loved you just the way were, why must you change? And on Valentine's Day, too >:|

I did manage to ship all the books claimed by my lovely flisties (watch your mailboxes, y'all!), and write a little ♥ Valentine note ♥ for Mr Psmith and prop it on the coffee pot before leaving this morning, but other than that All The Things have been work work work for about the last ten days, to the point that I am so far behind on [ profile] sshg_exchange I fear I will never catch up and even missed my scheduled post on [ profile] one_bad_man.

"What?!?!" I hear you gasp. Alas, yes.

Among all the things: helping to pack and load 40 pallets of material for transfer to another institution (involving dust, red rot, and the occasional mouse skeleton), dealing with a fit of pique from one of my direct reports, reviewing grant applications, filling out annual evals for staff, spotting (aka dodging) a bat in the hallway, absorbing two new staff members from a freshly dissolved department (said dissolution being spectacularly sudden and unexpected, even by the now-former head of said department), being handed a new part-timer (at the behest of Powers that Be; fortunately she appears qualified and I do have work for her to do), and finalizing the Specification That Shall Not Be Named. There was more, but that's enough to be going on with.

Oh, and the freelance work. Mustn't forget the paying customers.

So yeah, life is pretty crazy busy at the moment. How are things in your world?
delphipsmith: (gumbies)
A week's trip out of town, catching up from a week's trip out of town, and mass quantities of freelance work = no time for anything, including reading, writing or (in some cases) sleeping. Grrrr. Note 1 to self: Say no to any and all jobs for the next, oh, two months. Note 2: Spend newly acquired free time gloating over the lovely SSHG Exchange prompts gifted to me by the mods. Can you say Plot Bunnies??

In other news, the transit of Venus is way cool. Watching that little circle move across the sun makes my brain feel funny as I try to wrap my head around the reality of giant flaming balls of gas floating in space. It's no wonder ancient man invented things like the celestial spheres and Prolemaic model. Much easier to grasp.

In keeping with my 100 Things (Surprises) commitment, I can add that I was quite surprised to learn how important the transit of Venus was in terms of astronomy and cosmology. Scientists used it to calculate the distance from the sun to the Earth, of all things -- the NASA guys cleverly glossed over exactly how they did this, saying something about the parallax method and trigonometry (bane of my existence) before zipping on to show pictures of the sun that make it look like some sort of hell dimension (oh great, our solar system is situated on the Hellmouth...). Other surprising Venus trivia: its surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead, its surface pressure is 92 times that of Earth, it rains sulfuric acid, and it suffers from pretty much constant hurricane-force winds. So not a good place for a vacation. Oh, and it rotates backwards.

None of which I knew before, so today was a net gain in that I learned something. Yay me!
delphipsmith: (why a spoon?)
I've just come off three very intense weeks editing a 300+ page tome for a client -- excellent content but the wording/phrasing needed considerable massaging, plus there was a good bit of fact-checking he wanted done (well there would be with 600+ footnotes, wouldn't there?). So the last three weeks have been 9-5 "real job" and then 6-midnight freelance job. I've hardly spoken to Spouse other than to mumble "Pizza or chinese? Can you go get it?", I've had zero time to read (fic or otherwise), and have subsisted mostly on coffee and take-out. Blargh.

The deadline was yesterday and I delivered, so tonight I came home and had NOTHING TO DO. Do you hear me? NOTHING AT ALL, I was free to do what I wished to do. I got to cook! I got to read!! I got to have a glass or two of wine and play with the kittehs!!! I got to read all eleventy billion prompts at [ profile] sshg_exchange!!!!!! Plus, as a bonus, I got to go a bit sentimental over tonight's episode of Big Bang Theory. "Oyyyy veeeeeyyyyy!" and *gasp* Sheldon took Amy's hand :D

Indeed, I am a happy camper.

Tomorrow I get back on track with LJ and posting my 100 Surprises. Teaser: The next two, or maybe three, will involve the reptilian hindbrain. I'm sure you just can't wait...
delphipsmith: (bookgasm)
I have five -- count 'em, five -- books that I am reading AT THE SAME TIME. Granted, they're five very different books (Victorian bad-boy fiction, librarians are awesome, medieval roman a clef, women's colonial history, and World War II brit-love), that still seems excessive. Some have been lingering a long time, I admit. The WWII book has been in progress since, oh, May of last year, but hey, it's still on my nightstand within the top 5" of the pile, so it counts, right?

This is the only way I can read multiple books. If I were to try to read two or three fantasy novels at the same time, or two or three histories, my brain would go all bobcat-pretzel on me. But as long as I can file each one in a separate location, I seem to be able to deal with it. I'm not sure this is necessarily a good thing. Many recent articles debunk the Myth of Multitasking (apparently we can't do it, we just THINK we can), so perhaps I'm really only half-reading -- or in this case, 20-percent-reading -- each of them. But I disagree. When I'm reading one, I'm totally involved in it. I don't read a page of this one, a page of that one, a page of the other one. That would be multitasking (and actually a pretty accurate description of what I do at work, where I'm constantly discovering a window buried underneath several others, and saying "Oh look, I totally forgot I was in the middle of that email/document/analysis/presentation/YouTube video..."). Reading a chapter or two of a different book each night is more like having something different for dinner, eating what you're hungry for instead of having turkey every night for a week.

So yeah, I'm OK with the multiple book maintenance thing. Anyone else do this? Or is it just me?
delphipsmith: (magick)
Holy *%&$*. Busiest week ever in my whole life, I think, between winding up commitments at work for a grant-funded project that ends Nov. 30th and (on my own time) two freelance jobs, one editing, one indexing, not to mention the usual housekeeping duties. Made my usual 4am delivery of the index (note to self: polish time management skills). Now indulging/rewarding self with Cupcake chardonnay and a positively decadent eclair. Ooh the chocolate...ooh the pastry...ooh the creamy puddingy stuff in the middle. Nom nom nom.

Earlier today I tore through No. 10 in the Sandman series, The Kindly Ones. Features one, or three, or possibly six or nine, of my favorite characters depending on how you look at it. There are the Erinyes, the Furies, but he conflates them with the Fates (Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos) as well as with the Celtic triple goddess of maiden, mother and crone. The speech patterns of the three suggest that Gaimain read, and enjoyed, Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain. The Fates appear in at least two of Alexander's books as Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch; they use terms such as "My duck," "My gosling," "My little tadpole," and one of them -- Orgoch, I think -- is always eating something unpleasant. The same goes for the Kindly Ones: they use similar endearments and one of them has a dead mouse for tea. As usual, Gaiman leaves me speechless at the immensity of his talent. The books are so rich, there are so many tales hinted at in passing; you whiz past, carried on by the main story arc, but constantly brushed by wings and tailfeathers of other things, glimpses of myth and legend and fairy tales, saying, "Hold on, what about -- and wait, what was that there? And...oh, that one, I want to know about that!" He's brilliant.

To balance it out, I'm also reading about the most conventional, tidy, suburban, boring person every invented: Sinclair Lewis' Babbit. I can't stand him already, I hope he turns out to be better than he forebodes at present. Mostly he makes me think of the line from Auntie Mame: "Should she know that I think you've turned into one of the most beastly, bourgeouis, Babbity little snobs on the Eastern seaboard? Or will you be able to make that quite clear without any help from me?"
delphipsmith: (gumbies)
I like this article about Law & Order because it manages to work in the word Thersites; I can't decide if that's a tribute to the NYT or L&O, but either way, I give props to them.

This week was what I like to call a Sprinkler Week. You know those automated sprinklers with the little lever that goes chk...chk...chk...chk each time whacking the sprayer into a slightly different direction, and then eventually it gets to the end of its rotation and goes chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga back to its original starting point? These things.

My entire week was like that. email comes in, I fire off a paragraph about this...chk...another one comes in, I send off an approval of that...chk...another one, I shoot off my best effort at a list of the other things...

By the end of the day I'm my brain is spinning round and round going "chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga!!"

Wine....where is my wine...
delphipsmith: (gumbies)
As usual, some cruel conjunction of the planets has placed SSIAW* during the same month as three freelance jobs, a two-week teaching gig, and oh yeah, my wallet got stolen. Needless to say, I'm well on my way to having just as good an SSIAW this time around as I did for the last two -- i.e., very bad indeed. Zero for two so far. Ah, well. At least my two favorite teams made it to March Madness, the bank is refunding the $1200 the Sinister Gang of Thieves managed to spend at Macy's before my cards were shut down, and the pub where it was stolen gave us free beverages on Saturday. Life is not all beer and skittles, but neither is it all dust and ashes...

* Short Story In A Week, see here.
delphipsmith: (gumbies)
A long lacuna in posting, partly due to being very busy with regular day job, partly due to some freelance deadlines, and last but not least, partly due to some very intensive beta-ing of the latest chapter of Downloaded, an excellent and intriguing Star Trek/Battlestar Galactica crossover fic.

And oh joy!! This week IFC Channel is doing a six-day Monty Python-a-thon -- a new documentary with interviews, Life of Brian, Holy Grail, episodes from the series, etc etc etc. I'm in heaven. Because John Cleese doing his silly walk really is the funniest thing ever done by a human, and quite possibly by any non-human as well, not excepting any yet-to-be-discovered aliens.

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delphipsmith: (highway2hell)
So the last few days I've had two freelance jobs, a fanfic beta, plus the regular day job. I'm getting NO writing done, which irks me no end. I'm the database droid for my online workshop this month so technically I don't owe any crits, but I desperately wanted to get started on at least one story. I have ideas! I really do, honest!! I just can't seem to find time to sit down and hack it out. If I don't have an externally imposed deadline I just slither from one excuse to the next: I have to work on this freelance job. I have to make dinner. It's too nice out. I'm too tired. I gotta prune the rosebushes. I'll have lots of time tomorrow. I wanna finish my book. I'm behind on my British comedy. I wanna go out to dinner. Oh look, someone sent me a funny video! Oh look, someone sent me some fanfic!!

Totally distractable, that's my problem. Good thing spouse took the initiative and got the veggie plants into their containers today, otherwise we'd be harvesting sun-dried tomatoes.


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