matociquala: (criminal minds fate)
Holy shit, how did I forget to listen to TMBG for so damned long? That was a terrible idea.

It's amazing how having kittens gives me something to blog about again. The giant ridiculous dog is wonderful and adorable and my best friend and walking buddy now that he's too old to run*, but he is a creature of steady habits, especially at the age of 11, and doesn't give me much to comment on: "Today we went for a walk and played kickball for ten minutes and pooped twice and had breakfast AND dinner AND cookies AND a piece of cheese, were teased by the cats, had a series of profoundly satisfying naps and were interested in a squirrel, briefly."

It's a dog's life. One day is pretty much like the next and they're not always noteworthy. Except when the ice hurts his poor feet, or I expect him to go outside and pee in the wet like some kind of barbarian, or he has the best day of his life and gets within six inches of actually catching that damned fat squirrel.

Six inches, Zack! I would have had him!

Kittens are still having adventures.

This morning's adventures started at 6:30 (roughly) with me getting up and realizing that there were no kitten noises in the usual places and no kittens on the bed, or in the guest bedroom where they sometimes hang out, depending on the availability of local sunbeams and the phase of the moon and other Important Kitten Reasons.

I walk down the hall to the bathroom. The bathroom is also where we feed kittens, and as soon as I entered its sacred precincts, I had two boy kittens on my heels. 6:30 am is not, however, the time of the feeding. We're not naive about what the result would be.

The boy kittens stayed in the bathroom. I walked back toward the bedroom, and saw that a door that should not be open was open. A door that leads to the downstairs, and several non-kitten-proofed rooms full of potentially hazardous and/or breakable objects and furniture that one could hide under indefinitely. Not to mention house plants, great for chewing on and excavating around and peeing in.

I saw that beyond that door, there was a stairs. And on that stairs was a Molly, looking freaked out as only a feral kitten that is outside her comfort zone can look.

I went back, and shut the bathroom door with the boy kittens inside. And said to Scott, who was in the office typing, which is, after all, what we do for a living, "Houston, we have a problem."

We found her under a futon in the front room, which was fine, and which has a door that opens onto the front hallway, which the kittens DO have access to generally speaking and which has a second stair to the upstairs, which is designated kitten territory. We opened the door to the front hall and closed the door to the rest of the downstairs, and Scott went upstairs to make sure the door that had been left open accidentally was closed so there wouldn't be a second escape.

I lay down on my stomach and stuck my head under the futon.

"Hello, Molly," says I. "Surely you want to go upstairs?"

The freaked out look intensifies.

I offer her a Magic Finger. You know the one.

She looks at it like it's a snake.

"THAT'S A SNEK!" says her.

I make sure I am physically between her and the hiding places it would be harder to retrieve her from. Slowly, I reach out, with the Molly Approved (occasionally, maybe) back-of-hand petting gesture. (Sometimes you're allowed to use the grabby side of the hand, but not always. Because Apes are horrible, and also Grabby.)

Molly says, "YOU WANT TO GRAB ME!" and skitters away. (Her primary form of movement is still skittering, though there has been a certain amount of sauntering and scampering recently. She really is coming around.)

Fortunately, she skitters through the open door into the front hall.

And freezes. And looks around, stunned. SHE IS NOT LOST FOREVER. THIS IS HER HALL. SHE BOUNCES GLITTER BALLS DOWN THE STAIRS. She relaxes. Her ears perk up. She looks around some more.

"I KNOW WHERE I AM!" says her.

And then Scott said, from upstairs, "The light is green," and I had to close the hall door really quick to keep her from running away back into the room I was in in a panic because a Horrible Ape said something in a moderately loud conversational tone three rooms away.

But now she's on the bed ignoring me, though there were no Morning Cuddles today. Horrible Ape. This Was All Your Fault Somehow.

Such is life with a semiferal.

Gurney, meanwhile, is a toddler. A very sweet toddler, not a tyranty one (that's Duncan), but a toddler nonetheless.

Gurney has a best toy, which is Mousie. Now, there are many mousies in this house. There are three different KINDS of sisal mousies. There are five other sisal mousies that are identical in every way to Mousie, except for being less battered and chewed on, and still having feather tails. Also Mousie is bright pink and hardly rattles anymore, and the other ones are yellow, green, blue, grey, etc.

Mousie is the toy Gurney plays fetch with. It is the toy he carries around and talks to in low tones and crouches over and won't let the other kittens play with. Mousie is his Friend.

He likes to take Mousie up to the broad, flat surface of the credenza in the bedroom, and bat Mousie around.

Today, Mousie fell behind the dresser. This was at 7:20, when I had just gotten back into bed after the Molly Experience, and was planning a little more rest before work started.


Gurney is NOT a semiferal, and you can tell this because when something goes TERRIBLY WRONG, he looks around, finds the nearest monkey, and demands we fix it. Well, NOTHING would do except I go get a yardstick and a flashlight and retrieve Mousie. At 7:30 am.
And then, once retrieved, he had to take it and jump up on the credenza again and start playing with it right where he lost it before
Now, "But mousie wants to be here" is the excuse I'm getting for him and mousie being loud on the bookshelf that serves as my night stand.
Mousie is very inconsiderate.

Here, in the aftermath of the morning's great trauma, is a picture of Gurney and Mousie, and Molly and Duncan too:

Here, Duncan has liberated Mousie, and is teasing Gurney with it. The offending credenza is in the background:

Mousie is a very important member of our household, as you can probably imagine.

*(and I've had to quit, at least for a while, because of a really stubborn tendon problem in my right foot. So I'm giving it a year to fix itself and then I either decide I'm not a runner anymore, or I look into surgery. La.)
matociquala: (bear by san)
matociquala: (writing karen memory)
Karen Memory is the January 2017 selection for the Goodreads SciFi and Fantasy Book Club, so if you've been waiting to read it with friends, here's your big chance!

Here's a bonus photto of me and Ace, and a bonus kitten. Because I know what you guys are really here for.

And now I have to get up and put a goose in the oven and walk a dog, when I really want to stay in bed and write for a while longer.
matociquala: (bear by san)
The adventure of a lifetime! with squirrels.

(reposted from Patreon)

This is Ace. Ace is a dog, fondly known on the internets as the Giant Ridiculous Dog.

He's a Briard, which is a French shepherd breed.

Ace loves a few things in life: walks, cheese, car rides, carrying stuffies around the house, herding sheep, his soccer ball, and chasing squirrels. He's had a vendetta against all squirreldom since one bounced an acorn off his head back in 2009.

He has not forgotten.

Today, as we were going outside to play some kickball in the fresh snow, Ace ran over to the large lilac bush that dominates our dooryard. He had located a miscreant squirrel lurking in the bush--no doubt calculating how to get to the bird feeder on the porch roof, which is what squirrels spend 95% of their processing power on.

The squirrel, who was safely high in the rather large bush, made an extremely poor life choice. It decided to jump down and run for it.

The reason this was such a poor life choice is that, as you can see, there is approximately one squerrel's depth of snow on the ground currently.

The pursuit was on! My own little patch of BBC, with the David Attenborough replaced by me yelling at the dog to "Leave it!" at the top of my lungs while lunging after him, the squirrel floundering through five inch drifts, and the dog--soccer ball still in his mouth!--in hot if slidy pursuit.

Spoiler, the squirrel lived to pass its poor judgment on to its offspring.

The fluffy little rodent made it to the driveway that our semi-feral plow guy (more on him later) had plowed not five minutes before, and finally got some acceleration as it headed for the pine trees on the other side. The dog tripped on the berm the semi-feral plow guy had left at the edge of the asphalt, and tripped... soccer ball still in his mouth.

And I caught up with him a half-second later.

Then we had to play a game where he checked EVERY SINGLE BUSH on the property for rodents before he'd agree to come play kickball, which was the original purpose of the exercise.

So about that plow guy. He sort of came with the house, you see. The previous owners opined that he was somewhat erratic, but they weren't sure how to make him stop. Or even get him to reliably cash checks for his services.

Sometimes he does a great job. Sometimes he plows about half the driveway and wanders off. He's nice, though, and when you basically live in an episode of Newhart, you kind of have to roll with the punches and accept the hand you're dealt.
matociquala: (sf doctor FANtastic!)
Just sent "Margin for Survival" back to editors, and now I'm setting in for a day of awards jury reading. Tonight, though, I will be over at r/Fantasy answering ALL YOUR QUESTIONS. You can go ask them here!

This weekend, I'll be at the Tucson Festival of Books, talking about books! With people like Sam Sykes, Gail Carriger, and that boy I like.. among others!

In the meantime, here's a photo of a dog who's just discovered that I have leftover pot roast for lunch:

matociquala: (loose tea for loose women)

Give us this day our daily Giant Ridiculous Dog.

matociquala: (ace the wonder dog)

This dog is inverted.

matociquala: (muppetology animal deadlines)

Apparently I am in the middle of a cycle of stories taking the piss out of academia. I finished one already this year--"The Bone War"--and it's a central theme of the thing I'm contributing to Worldspinner. And I'm finally getting some traction on "On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera," a story I have been working on literally since 1989.

I also have a thing called "And The Balance in Blood," that'll be finished as soon as I think of a climax, and a snarky-ass library story that has no title yet, but it does have an epigraph: 

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

? Jorge Luis Borges

Of course, none of these are the things that are due in January and February.

Of course not. Those are still looking for plots.

(I've been cooking a bunch too, as writing breaks--tomato soup and purple sweet potato biscuits yesterday, green tea agar (it's delicious with rosemary simple syrup), and today a batch of [ profile] standuponit's root veggie muffins and some tangerine cream cheese spread to go on them.)

Here, have some pictures of tea. I've been using my beloved and cracked Royal Doulton irises teacup for days, for the moral support, so there's not going to be a lot of variation. *g*



And here, have a bonus picture of my dog.

matociquala: (ace the wonder dog)
Best typo ever: "souled dove."

It's been several days of writing guest blog posts, and I got nothing.

So here are some dog pictures.

Same dog. Same tongue. Same rug. Six years difference.

matociquala: (always winter)

This dog is really asleep.
matociquala: (wicked fairy bowie)
I think I might have tired this dog out.

Tea today: Stash White Christmas
Teacup today: Queen Anne "Marilyn," which is snowdrops. Snowdrops, and not, as some misguided ebay seller recently claimed for a similar cup, lily-of-the-valley. Botany is not an ebay teacup seller strong point.

We did some decorating last night. I present the Christmas cactus!

matociquala: (drive train _ netcurmudgeon)

Well, so far today I've started soup, answered some email, made some green chili that came out spicier than planned but was awfully good on beans for lunch, eaten two meals of real food, and... I'm sure I did something else. Listened to two episodes of Welcome To Night Vale.

Somehow, that all took five hours. No, I don't know either.

Now, however, I bring you Indicators & Warnings with a reaction to Hieroglyph, and my story "Covenant", and also some interviewing of me!

And now some words must happen. Ish. If I hit 100K tonight, I get a cocktail and some How to Get Away With Murder, which is terrible and I can't stop watching it. And hey, Viola Davis, such wow.

Tea today: Trader Joe's coconut green
Teacup today: Grace preppie roses
Dog: It's chicken soup day! It's the best day!

matociquala: (criminal minds jj hit what she aimed at)

Tea today: Stash White Christmas (white and green tea with mint and ginger)
Teacup today: Azul teamug
Dog: Snore festival city

97164 / 100000 words. 97% done!

"If I do not finish this book today, I will only have to finish it tomorrow."
"They call it a draft because it's full of holes."

I have finished what I think is the antepenultimate chapter. Two chapters left, one of which will doubtless turn into Zeno's Chapter. But now I get to go climb.

Manuscript stands at: 97,164
Words added: 6719
Hours since commencement: 27:53
Sleep: 6
Bathing: 1
Sustenance: crackers and cheese, almonds, a PJ's chicken burrito with extra cheese, two clementines, an apple, half a cider doughnut, hot cider, chicken, brussels sprouts, acorn squash, brown rice, english muffin, vegetarian refried beans, more cheese, an egg, sun-dried tomatoes. another apple, more almonds, more clementines
Tea: coffee, jasmine, Upton gen mai cha, mint and green, decaf pumpkin spice, Stash White Christmas blend, more coffee, maple spice
Liquor: a Stormy Holiday, which is a Roman Holiday with some Gosling's rum splashed in.
Exercise: nada
Dancing: in the ruins
Distractions: Cover art! Reviews!
Research: the Oresund
Mean things: existential threats 
Current project: Viking physics and meteorology
Darling: --

matociquala: (writing goddamned verbs slithytove)
It's work, work, all the day long.

I'm recovering from Windycon, and managed to get a solid day's work done yesterday in spite of all the fuss of re-entering my life after being away for nearly a month. (The dog is clipped and bathed, as he managed to turn himself into one giant mat while I was gone. And the house is tolerably clean.)

90449 / 100000 words. 90% done!

As for the welves, well... that's where I'm starting off today with regard to An Apprentice to Elves in draft. It's just climax from here on out.

And I had damned well better be in the final push on this book, is all I'm saying. I can see the finish line from here, and while it's probably going to come in a bit longer than 100,000 words, the end is within sight. Now I just have to catch back up to my NaNoFinishMo goals, because I'm lagging behind there.

The good news is that I have all day today to write--once I eat something, anyway, because I forgot about breakfast again.

(Oh, yeah, and I'm really back on the Discipline again, because wow none of my pants fit after all the travel and food and failure to exercise sufficiently this year. Aiee.)

So, as if the tradition of my tribe, here's a picture of some tea and another one of my supervisor, who is camped on the couch with me while I work.

Tea today is a green Darjeeling from the Tindharia Estate, via Upton Tea. Teacup today is Royal Albert confetti roses, which was a gift from [ profile] thecoughlin and my mom.

And now, that food and those words.
matociquala: (literature sally and encyclopedia)

Oh, adventure.

Dear Reader, it's been a dratted long time since I did any serious updating, for which I apologize. Let's just say it's been busy, and I'll provide a few highlights to convince you.

To start with, here's a fun thing. I will be appearing at a couple of the Project Hieroglyph book launch events September 30th-October 2nd, in New York City and Washington DC. Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future itself is of course available at fine book retailers on and off line, everywhere.

Also, here's my Hieroglyph story up at Slate: "Covenant."

Here's what I will be doing this week:

Project Hieroglyph Book Launch and Celebration
Tumblr and ASU Center for Science and the Imagination
Tuesday, Sept 30th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Register for free tickets here.

Can We Imagine Our Way to a Better Future?
Keck Center of the National Academies
500 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
(This event is booked full, but there will be a live webcast.)

In other news, I finished my third official half marathon on September 13th--the Milford CT Gulf Beach half, which was lovely and I felt like I did well in, despite being twenty pounds up from where I was this time last year (blame a hard winter, too much convention, and France. You would not believe the subcutaneous layer of cheese and butter from Normandy I still have to haul up walls) and otherwise out of shape from a long summer of hotels and bar food.

Here's the obligatory pre-race shot:

Finish line:

Post-race with swag and new contact lenses.

The Europe trip was lovely, if hectic. And Scott and I were both incredibly giddy by the end of it. Iceland was gorgeous; Normandy was spectacular; Sweden and Finland were fantastic and England was just as I left it, though we saw some new bits this time. NB: I highly recommend tramping the downs on the Isle of Wight.

I have never quite felt so slow-witted as I did at the Worldcon panels. Wow.

Anyway, I did the race in 11:25 miles, finishing in just under 2 and a half hours. Not a PR, but very respectable given my lack of training. (Now I'm working on doing better at the Monster Dash in Minneapolis on October 25th!)

Also, we've been scraping and sanding the porch preparatory to painting. I hope the damned thing magically paints itself before I get home.

Anyway, tl:dr, here are some photos.

One does not simply WALK into London...

Re: what I said about the Isle of Wight.

A Bear in Iceland:

Snails and barnacles:

It's been a good year for the morning glories:

What else? Oh, Omaha Beach and Mont St. Michel are both totally worth a visit, and I have written a couple of stories and some gaming content, and as soon as the Hieroglyph publicity trip is up I'll be diving back into An Apprentice to Elves. That's what I'll be doing at Viable Paradise while my colleagues are all teaching. I feel like I ran a great scam this year.

Here's a blurry photo of Carlos and his perfect hair holding the first copy of One-Eyed Jack I ever personally saw, at Nine Worlds:

And here. Have a fuzzy caterpillar, and the Giant Ridiculous Dog, for his fans, with the shark Sarah Monette sent him for my birthday: ...hey...


matociquala: (sf farscape d'argo's your daddy)
I ran twelve miles today. Because virtue is not actually it's own reward, I have invented a cocktail.

2 ounces bourbon
.75 ounce creme de menthe
three drops Bitter End Thai bitters

Serve over ice, garnished with mint, kaffir lime leaves, and a slice of fresh ginger.

Here's a bonus picture of my dog hugging his stuffed Lambchop.

matociquala: (ace the wonder dog)
Ace got his clip today. He's as happy to be naked as any three-year-old.

Here's what came off of him:

matociquala: (atc)

Soup for lunch! (And interested party)

I've had a couple of people ask how I make my Giant Bowls Of Lunch Soup, and so I will post the directions here. It takes fifteen minutes and only enough technical skill to boil water, and makes an enormous bowl of healthy satisfying warm food.

Get two cups of broth or stock. If you have home-made, that's the best, but don't stress it. Of the box brands, I like Swanson's low-sodium fat-free chicken stock, and Trader Joe's Miso Ginger broth (for the vegetarians and vegans in the audience. Or people who like miso. Yum.) You could also make a quick miso broth with dashi (dried fish stock), and whisk some live miso into it at the very end once it comes off the boil. (So as not to murder the poor little probiotics before consuming them.)

Please don't use boullion cubes. Those things are not food.

Season the broth with any or all of the following: sliced ginger, lemon grass, cilantro, lime leaf, coconut milk, red peppers, sweet chili paste, hot sauce, fish sauce, Italian seasoning, star anise, dried seaweed... whatever takes your fancy.

While the broth is coming to a boil, put any or all of the following things in a great big bowl: greens (baby greens are best--spinach, kale, mesclun mix, whatever), thin-sliced veggies (radishes, sweet peppers, celery, carrots, avocado, jicama, leftover cooked vegetables, pea pods, red cabbage, precut broccoli slaw from a bag, whatever), and if you want it some protein (cooked chicken, tofu cubes, tuna, you name it.) and some fresh herbs (I am really partial to cilantro, but basil or rosemary would give a more Mediterranean flair), lime or lemon zest and/or juice...

I like carbs. They fuel my brain, and long runs. So once the broth is boiling, I either add some frozen potstickers, some quinoa, some leftover rice, or some noodles or pasta of some sort. (If you are using a sticky kind of noodle you may want to pre-cook it in a different pot of water, then drain and transfer, to keep from clouding your broth, but this is optional.) You want a relatively small quantity, because otherwise you use up all your broth.

Once the carbs are cooked (or, if using precooked carbs, the broth has come back to a boil) you may either add some frozen shrimp or fish (if you like) or a raw egg. If using an egg, lower the heat to a simmer before adding it. Either will only take a minute or two to cook, covered. (I like my eggs soft-poached in this application. Then you can open them up and dip things in the delicious creamy yolk before you eat them.)

Once that's accomplished, take the whole pot of soup and pour it slowly, while boiling hot, over your greens. Poke the greens down until they're submerged. They will blanch in the boiling broth and be perfect.

You could sprinkle something crunchy on top if you wanted, like chopped peanuts or crumbled nori or sesame seeds or that red and black stuff they put on sushi rice in your chirashi if you're lucky.

I usually eat this with chopsticks, because it has big chunks and there's nobody around who cares is I slurp the broth after, but the utensils are up to you. This is obviously pretty easy to customize for any dietary need you might have, as well, except "hates soup."

It serves the purpose of a really satisfying lunch that has a ton of veggies in it and feeds my dumpling/noodle habit in a non-destructive way!

NB: The combination of premade frozen potstickers and even the low-sodium packaged broth is a salt bomb, FYI. Since I eat very little processed food, it generally doesn't send me over for the day, but if it concerns you, look for lower-sodium alternatives.

matociquala: (criminal minds boom)

Karen Memory just keeps on trucking. I should be done by now, but my nice little 80K book has burgeoned to 90K and climbing. Like this:

90358 / 80000 words. 113% done!

Yeah, I'm 113% done, all right.

And I just wrote two of my favorite paragraphs ever, but I can't share 'em because they're spoilers. Just so you know, in 2015, they're the ones involving Boris and Ivan and the hairpin.

I have written the Boom and the Before I Kill You Mister Bond. If I can get through the Daring Hexcape tonight, there's nothing left but the Climactic Space Battle and the Denouement.

Things I have discovered while stumbling through the end of the book: You know how cocoa powder is hydrophobic and it's an absolute bitch to get the hot milk stirred into it without lumps of dry powdery shit interfering? Well, if you stir a tablespoon of booze into the cocoa and sugar first, there's no problem!

Let's hear it for solvents and chemistry!

Best tyop of the last while: I pressed my burned face to the cool meta and sighed.

And back to the book mines, and Andrew Bird who is keeping me from crying with book not done.

March 2017



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