More specific slices of life will be forthcoming, I promise. Just now, however, I need to pass along an offer from my e-publishers at Uncial Press:
In absolute terms, this is a small gesture on Uncial's part, but I'm pleased and proud to be a part of it (even as it appears the current shutdown may be about to conclude), and I hope that any of you caught in this situation will take advantage of the opportunity. There are a host of talented writers with work available through Uncial Press, and you shouldn't be disappointed no matter what you might choose to try.from The Uncial Letter (January 2019)
If you are a US Government employee on unpaid leave, we owe you a free read. Browse through our offerings. And then write to us and tell us which one of our titles you'd like and what format you want (epub, mobi, or pdf). Only one apiece, please.
Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at https://djonn.dreamwidth.org/46912.html); feel free to comment here or there.
He lives! (This is what happens when one has two DW identities; one gets out of the habit of switching, so that most of the -- still minimal -- updating happens under the ID where one is logged in. I will try to be better about this going forward; OTOH, do see also the dedicated Webspace over at lonepenman.net.) At any rate:
It's time to venture once again from Darkest Suburbia to the spectacle that is OryCon. This year's schedule has a unique wrinkle: I've been tagged as the moderator for all five of the panels I've been assigned. I hasten to note that this is not a complaint; in all cases, I checked the "willing to moderate" box on the survey of my own volition, and I'm pleased with the range of subjects I've drawn in the scheduling lottery. Here's where you'll find me at the front of the room:
Friday • 2:00 pm (Overton) • How to Design the Perfect Politician
John C. Bunnell | Bob Brown, Mike Shepherd Moscoe
How do you design and implement a career-development program to produce elected officials and high-level administrators who can break free of the broken adversarial paradigm and actually work together with one another to solve society's problems?
Saturday • 10:00 am (Pettygrove) • The Right Writing Advice
John C. Bunnell | Elizabeth Guizzetti, John Hedtke, Esther Jones, Kat/K.R. Richardson
Panelists discuss how to handle feedback from beta readers, writing groups, friends and strangers-- including how to know whose advice to take, and how to accept criticism gracefully!
Saturday • 11:00 am (166B) • Care & Feeding of a Successful Book Group
John C. Bunnell | Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Theodore J. Williams
I want to talk about books year-round, not just at con. Where to look for like-minded souls, how to go about setting things up, and how to keep people interested once you've lured them in.
Saturday • 7:00 pm (166B) • Paths into Fanfiction: Challenges & Exchanges
John C. Bunnell | Elinor Gray, Kara Helgren
Whether you're a writer looking for a fresh challenge or a reader hunting for a particular kind of story, there's probably a curated fanfic exchange on the Net that can supply just what you're looking for. From Yuletide to Holmestice, from Kink Bingo to the Ficathon that Goes Into a Bar, we'll talk about how challenges and exchanges work, where to find them, and catalogue some of the more memorable works they've produced.
Sunday • 10:00 am (166B) • Holmesian Apocrypha: Women of Baker Street
John C. Bunnell | Karen L. Black, Elinor Gray, Shawna Reppert
This isn't a panel about Sherlock and his adventures – it's one about the rapidly growing number of tales featuring his sisters (Enola), multi-great granddaughters (Charlotte), rivals (Irene Adler), and other notable women in his orbit (Mary Morstan, Mrs. Hudson, Mary Russell). And then there are the universes in which the original Holmes was a woman all along.Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at https://djonn.dreamwidth.org/46644.html); feel free to comment here or there.
I don't want to be alarmed about the new LJ Terms of Service, I really don't. But a couple of those on my friends-list have pointed out, quite correctly, that the new language includes an unusually broad and egregious rights grab:
This is not, by itself, enough to make me fold my LJ entirely. However, it's going to change my posting habits.
I'll still be reading on both DW and LJ, and I will still crosspost short off-the-cuff thoughts and comments. However, new "Tales of Darkest Suburbia" entries, detailed reviews or commentaries, and any and all fictional content will not be crossposted to LJ. Those will appear on the Dreamwidth journal and/or my "Lone Penman" Webspace.
I dislike doing this (not least because I honestly doubt that the Russian readership, if any, is much interested in my particular work), but I retain enough writerly paranoia that I think it's prudent. Again, I am not actually leaving LJ as yet -- but as of today, my LiveJournal is a secondary Web presence, and there will be content elsewhere that does not get reposted to LJ.
Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at https://djonn.dreamwidth.org/45622.html); feel free to comment here or there.
You’d think that two free restaurant dinners in one day would be grounds for celebration. In practice, it didn’t actually work out that way….
It so happens that, after the closing went through on the condominium that’s now Lone Penman Headquarters, the realtor on our side of the deal sent along a respectably generous gift card for one of the new online restaurant-delivery services. For a one-person household who (a) doesn’t drive and (b) occasionally works multiple graveyard shifts in sequence, this was an especially happy gift, and I have been whittling away at that gift card balance with good results.
Until this past Wednesday, that is, when I placed an order for a shrimp ravioli dish from a nearby Italian place, one from which I’d ordered happily before. As on the prior occasion, the delivery driver actually beat the estimated delivery window by 15 minutes or so, and handed me a hot takeout box (the entree) and a sturdy small-sized pizza box (the extra side of focaccia). I thanked him, closed the door, headed for the kitchen, and was actually dividing the entree — enough for two meals, as before — into a bowl and a plastic storage container when I realized that Something Was Wrong.
I had gotten not shrimp with ravioli, but shrimp risotto.
And sadly, I am not at all fond of risotto. Also, even good risotto tends not to travel well.
The ensuing online chat conversation unfolded like a classic series of good news/bad news jokes. The chat agent promptly got on the phone with the restaurant…but I couldn’t get the right entree sent over, because there wasn’t a driver available. They were happy to refund the entree price…but we ran into enormous trouble trying to verify that the refund had actually landed on my electronic gift card (neither the delivery service or its gift card vendor had a way to look up the stored balance without the long alphanumeric code on the paper card I’d originally been given).
And by the time I looked up from typing a highly annoyed email to the gift card vendor, two hours had gone by, during which the shrimp-risotto-not-ravioli had been sitting out on my counter getting cold. I sighed, tossed it (between not liking risotto and the food safety lectures one hears about not leaving hot food out, I wasn’t going to take chances), and went off to take an abbreviated pre-work nap.
Now, one of the few shortcomings of the shiny new Lone Penman HQ is that while the bus stop is a mere five-minute walk from my front door, and the bus ride to work takes maybe seven minutes, the buses stop running much too early at night for someone working a graveyard shift. And the weather is not yet good enough to commute via bicycle. I have therefore taken to riding the last bus up to the relevant intersection and hanging out in one of the available hangouts until it’s actually time to report to work. The night in question being a Wednesday, the McMenamin’s was closed by the time I got there, and I was too hungry to be satisfied with Taco Bell, so I went into Shari’s, thinking that at least I could get some dinner there. [There is also a Mysterious Seedy-Looking Sports Bar in one of the shopping centers that no one ever talks about. Someday I may explore the Mysterious Seedy-Looking Sports Bar. Last Wednesday was not that day.]
And indeed, I ordered a small plate of fish & chips, ate the salad that preceded it, took a bite of fish, and was just picking up an herbed French fry…
…when there was a dramatic BLINK, and all the lights went out.
“We’re sorry,” came the sad but still cheery voice of the Shari’s night manager out of the darkness, “but we have to
kick you all out into the street send you all out into the parking lot. You can’t be here when there’s no power. It’s not safe.”
“On the other hand,” she added, in a cheery but still sad voice, “whatever you were having tonight is on us.”
I managed to snag a couple of the herbed French fries before following the crowd of customers out of the restaurant into a night which was now not just dark, but extremely dark — it wasn’t just Shari’s that had lost power, but everything for at least several blocks in all directions, up to and including street lights and traffic signals. And as matters turned out, the outage only lasted perhaps half an hour. I was able to clock in on schedule at work, and the computers were up and running again.
But what I’m going to remember most about that particular night is having been given two free dinners, and only being able to eat half of one of them.Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at http://djonn.dreamwidth.org/45469.html); feel free to comment here or there.
Sometimes, customer service really is just that good.
Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at http://djonn.dreamwidth.org/45066.html); feel free to comment here or there.
Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at http://djonn.dreamwidth.org/44934.html); feel free to comment here or there.
The least significant in absolute terms (but the one with the most immediate visible impact) is the quick cosmetic makeover I've done on my Dreamwidth journal style in the wake of recent migrations. I'm reasonably pleased with the new look, though if something is acting peculiar as you read this on the DW side, do let me know.
The weather has also been somewhat more than usually exciting, as my more local readers are already aware; Portland has had two impressive-for-us snowstorms already this winter and the forecasters are hinting darkly at another flurry on the horizon -- which may or may not arrive just in time to strand my monthly SFnal book group in the Beaverton branch of Powell's overnight.
Then there's the bigger news: after 25 (gasp!) years in my present apartment, I am actually preparing to move to a different part of Darkest Suburbia. A combination of factors -- a change of workplace (same job, different location), a concurrent move on my mother's part, the state of the Portland rental and housing markets, and some other familial considerations -- means that I'm about to shift status from Apartment Dweller to Condominium Resident. This has the inevitable pluses and minuses: in absolute terms, I'll sacrifice a little bit of square footage, and the new place is a second floor unit (more stairs). But I'll have a much larger kitchen space, the new neighborhood should be more bicycle-friendly, there's a high-grade movie theater in (longish) walking distance, and I won't need to change buses to get to the aforementioned Beaverton Powell's.
Now I just have to pack 25 years' worth of books. And declutter. And try to sell off a comic book collection, and etc., etc....
If I'm a little scarce online for the next few weeks, that's why.
Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at http://djonn.dreamwidth.org/44623.html); feel free to comment here or there.
This journal has for quite awhile now been duplicated on DW and on LJ -- partly because I like having backups, and partly in the wake of one or the other the-sky-is-falling memes. We have another one of those circulating this week, with news that LJ's servers are now based in the opposite hemisphere from Darkest Suburbia (specifically, in Mother Russia). This is apparently viewed as a Harbinger of Doom and a sign of the End Times.
We shall see; in any event, what I'm here to tell you is that while I continue to do most of the heavy lifting on the DreamWidth side, I have no intention of departing LiveJournal until the last light goes out and the last bit of tinsel is vacuumed up. (Those in the gallery who remember GEnie will recall that I was there till the very end of that party, too.) As a practical matter, my friends-list on LJ is much larger than the one for this account on DW (I do read both regularly), and I honestly don't think it likely that anything I've posted here is sufficiently controversial to draw the attention of any Minions of Evil that may be reading this over in that other hemisphere. And even if it is, I've got the DW import of this journal, so there's no question of actual content being lost for good.
OTOH, if anyone wants to set up housekeeping on the DW side Just In Case, then let me know if you do so that I can add you to the reading page Over There. (Or if you are already there under some other name, which I know does happen, tell me that too.)
We now return you to your regularly scheduled winter morning....
Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at http://djonn.dreamwidth.org/44423.html); feel free to comment here or there.
Crossposted from my mirror-journal on Dreamwidth (at http://djonn.dreamwidth.org/44203.html); feel free to comment here or there.