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Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse


April 26th, 2016

Reading Tomorrow (Wed. April 27) @ 10:57 am


 So, if you're local to the Twin Cities, I'm going to be at Dreamhaven Books & Comics tomorrow night starting at 6:30 pm.  I'll be there not just for shopping (though I'm sure I'll do some of that), but also to read to anyone who shows up from Sidhe Promised (my newest release from Tapas Media) as well as my current work-in-progress.

It'd be cool if you could come.
 

April 11th, 2016

NEW BOOK OUT TODAY!! @ 02:18 pm


 

So... I have a brand-new book out!  It's called Sidhe Promised, and it's available through https://tapas.io

 

The way Tapas Media works is that you download their free app, and then, from there, you can sample all of the novels and other works they have available. Search for me, and you should be able to start reading right away!

 

new cover

 

"I'm a dyke, not a fairy!"

 

"When a lesbian college student is magically transported to a fairy-tale Ireland full of mythic creatures, mystery and intrigue, she discovers the boundary-crossing nature of love that respects not the limits of gender or sexuality."

Go! Go get it!  

*kermit flail*

 

March 9th, 2016

What's The Point... @ 12:43 pm

 ...of being nearly 50, and still being surprised by my period.

Happy International Women's day (belated), everyone.
 

March 7th, 2016

Fandom, THIS is Why We Can't Have Nice Things @ 08:30 am

Tags:

 So... my big plan to talk up MarsCON?

I CAN'T DO IT NOW, NOT WHEN CRAP LIKE THIS HAPPENS: https://www.facebook.com/MariePorterCostuming/posts/528923627286996


Seriously, how can any of us wonder why it's so difficult to get women and PoC and NEW BLOOD to come to conventions, when an emcee decides that not only is the costuming contest all about him, but also is an opportunity to drag out all the sexist, sexualizing "jokes" that stopped being funny in 1983.

 

March 6th, 2016

MarsCON Report @ 04:47 pm

Tags:

This weekend was MarsCON.  

As I mentioned earlier this week, I was a bit of a last minute addition to programming this year.  MarsCON kind of snuck up on me, and despite getting all the appropriate emails, I almost didn't make it this year.  

Generally, I had a good time.  It was noticeable this year, however, that I was the only woman on a couple of panels (which, given my last minute volunteering makes this phenomenon, perhaps, more notable. Because had I NOT signed up late, there would have been NONE.)  

The first one was the Marvel Cinematic Universe panel.  I thought we had a great discussion, and it was a fun panel, in general.  But it's sort of fascinating that my final panel was "The Rise of the Female Superhero," which had a very decent crowd for late Sunday, and the audience was was JAM PACKED with extremely knowledgeable, funny, well-read (younger) female comic book fans... and yet somehow MarsCON couldn't find more than one woman to fill a seat on the MCU panel? Given what I see on Tumblr and fan fic sites, women seem to make up a fairly large percent of MCU fandom.

The other one I really noticed the gender disparity was the Cyberpunk panel. Again, I have nothing but nice things to say about my fellow panelists.  I really enjoyed our discussion.  To be fairl, cyberpunk has always had a problem when it comes to women... which is to say, Pat Cadigan is _not_ the only female cyberpunk author to have ever lived, but many people seem to have no idea that plenty of women not only have written cyberpunk, but also really enjoy it.

I would like to think that mine was an isolated experience, but I heard from another female panelist that she ended up being the only woman on at least one of her panels, as well.

This is not a prelude to bashing MarsCON or its organizers in any way, shape, or form. I've been very proud and honored to have been one of their guests of honor, not once, but twice.  I love the organizers and the programming is often quite spectacular.  However, this is still a problem... and I feel like it's a problem that could get worse over time.  Given the recent kerfuffle at CONquest with Mark Oshiro, I feel like one of the big issues at stake here is how do we cultivate "new talent" and guarantee the survival of con culture.

One way is getting new and different faces on panels.  We need more women, more PoC, more queer and non-binary folks, and more diversity of all stripes. 

Of course, that's easy to _say_. This is why I don't feel like the blame can fall on programming. I'm absolutely sure that programming does the very best it can with what it gets.  The problem, of course, is actually getting people to not only volunteer panel ideas, but also then follow-up and volunteer to actually be on the panels themselves.  

This is an open process, but I don't now if people know how it works.  Thing is, one of the reasons I nearly missed this year is that it's easy to miss deadlines for proposing panel ideas, and the deadline for volunteering for programming.  You kind of have to follow a particular con fairly closely to know when to put in ideas, etc.

I wish that I had taken down some of the names of the interesting people in the audience of my "The Rise of the Female Superhero" and, like, actively recruited them to be on paneling next year. The thing about MarsCON panelists is that they're all volunteers (this is actually true at most cons). There is, as far as I know, no other requirement. You don't HAVE to be a pro writer or a pro anything, you just have to be willing to sit in front of other people and talk about the stuff you love.  The thing that's nice about MarsCON is that it's not going to be a room of two thousand. The audience is usually moderately sized (sometimes even 'intimate,' as in only a few other folks). So, you don't have to even be HUGELY extroverted, just... enough.

But, probably, if a random person volunteered for programming they might get a bit of the "and... you are?" blowback--like what I got from WorldCON, which is legit to some extent because panelists are, in essence, the entertainment during the daytime hours, at any rate, and there should be some kind of vetting of expertise, etc. To counteract that, I would, in point of fact, be very happy to vouch for anyone reading this who wants to be on paneling at MarsCON in the future.  You don't even have to be female, a PoC, or queer...  so long as you're new, I'd be happy to help you figure out how to be on paneling. 

Maybe I just need to get out there and talk up MarsCON more, you know?  There are a lot of cons in the Twin Cities, so it may just be that people are choosing to go a different con. Given its musical bent, I suspect MarsCON will always survive, but, I'm not a big music fan, so I'd like the programming to continue to be vibrant, exciting, and relevant as well. 

Perhaps this is a problem specific to MarsCON, since CONvergence certainly seems to have less trouble drawing in talent. On the other hand, I was also once the only woman on the Marvel Movie panel at CONvergence, too.  So some of the problems are there, too, despite the size difference.   

So... um, please come to MarsCON next year?  Pretty please???
 

March 4th, 2016

Damn it Feels Like Mercury Retrograde Again @ 12:17 pm


 Except it isn't.  We're not due for another bout of Mercury Retrograde this year until April 28th, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

Unfortunately, this means I have no one to blame, but myself.

I had a hell of a day yesterday.  It started out quite nicely, but then quickly spiraled into a very retrograde kind of day.  The Loft contacted me about teaching a writing workshop on the craft of writing science fiction and fantasy short stories (to adults) in August. (Don't even ask me about how many times I went back and forth with her about the dates, because I apparently am determined to have only MIScommunications with people).

I've had a handful of short stories published, many of which I'm very, VERY proud of, but... you know, I also I happen to be rather close friends with a person who has won the Asimov's Reader's Choice award and who is CURRENTLY UP FOR A NEBULA AWARD IN THE SHORT STORY CATEGORY.  

So, I said to the Loft coordinator: Yes, of course I will teach, but I think the class would be a much bigger success if I can coerce my friend Naomi Kritzer into co-teaching with me.  Naomi has foolishly said yes, and yesterday, I went to talk to her about how we might structure the workshop and maybe start figuring out a course description and all that sort of jazz.  Anyway, we met up at the Dunn Bro's attached to the Roseville Ramsey County Library.  We're talking and all of a sudden my phone rings.  

It's my boss at work.

Can I work at the Roseville Ramsey County library today?  I think... I guess so, I mean, ironically, I'd have to go home long enough to change into more work appropriate clothes and grab my ID badge, but you know, sure?  I mean, part of the problem with saying 'no' too much this month is that I somehow completely spaced on getting any FIRM hours this month. Usually, as a sub, I get both firm shifts, where I know in advance where I'm going and when, and fill-ins, like this one.  My boss calls one day a month with a schedule and if I miss that call, I kind of miss getting any guaranteed hours.  This would be a bigger problem if we were really hurting for hours/money, but it occasionally happens and I still tend to pick up enough fill-in to make it all work.  Anyway, feeling the pressure of no guaranteed hours, I said, "Oh sure, I can work 11 to 3!"

I hung up and instantly had to dial back.  Because, somehow, once again, I forgot that I can't teleport.  I have to actually BE at Mason's school AT 3... Roseville isn't that far away, I could MAYBE make it in ten minutes, if I broke the speed limits and had perfect traffic conditions, but, yeah, NO.  My boss was apparently already on the phone to Roseville, because I rolled into her voice mail.  I said that I would talk to the local branch manager and see if it was okay for me to start a little early and end a little early and that she should call me back if that's not an okay thing to do.

I didn't get call back, and so I drove home briefly, and then back to the library.  I actually brought Naomi with me so she could see the new kitty, and since I was basically going back to where we were....because, yeah.

I show up at work a few minutes early, make my deal with the branch manager, and go along with my day.  When I call Shawn to let her know that I got called into work, she asks, "Uh, so... I should cancel my B12 shot for today at 2 pm?"  I'd totally forgotten I was meant to take her to that appointment... so she cancels.  AND THEN I SEE THAT I'M ONLY SCHEDULED UNTIL 2. (I figure my boss must have called back and said, "Lyda can only work until 2" but neglected to tell me, figuring I'd figure it out, but that would require me NOT TO BE COMPLETELY STUPID.)

So, yeah... I could have maybe taken Shawn in?

Especially since I ended up arranging to LEAVE EARLY FROM WORK at 2 instead of 3....

Oh my God.

And it was kind of like that all day.  I never did entirely recover.  *checks Mercury again*  *still not retrograde.*
 

March 3rd, 2016

Uh... So, We Maybe Have a New Kitty? @ 07:40 am


 Last night when we came home, a very skinny, friendly orange striped kitten was loitering around outside.  We stopped to pet it, like you do,figuring it would head home after a few friendly pets.  

Nope.

When we opened the door, the kitty hopped onto the porch like he thought he lived here.

And... I think he might be right.

We let him stay on the porch for a while. Mason kept him company and instantly named him "Buttercup."  As the evening wore on, he ended up inside, in our downstairs bathroom, away from the other kitties with food and water (all of which he gobbled up.)  I gave him a box and blankets to sleep in, and... our family debated about what to do with "Buttercup."  We decided to put out signs letting the neighborhood know we have found a cat.  We haven't done that yet, but we will.  But, I think it's no coincidence that several weeks ago a neighborhood kid knocked on our door and desperately asked if we would take in the family cat because his mom was pregnant and can't have cats around any more.  Someone has also snipped this kitty's whiskers, deliberately.  I highly suspect, given how hungry and thirsty this kitten is, he was dumped.

So... I think we have a new kitty.  We're trying not to attach, while simultaneously doing all the things you do to slowly introduce a new cat into a pre-existing household of cats. This morning, I've moved Buttercup upstairs to the TV room, and have left his overnight room, the downstairs bathroom, open for inspection by the other kitties.  He's basically going to get a tour of the rooms in the house that have doors that close, so that everyone can get used to everyone else's smells.  Of course, if he stays everyone goes to the vet. We've been very careful not to let the cats get within nose-touching range (and they were all inoculated against feline leukemia and everything else), but you know, it pays to be careful. Plus, I don't think Buttercup has been neutered yet.  He's very little, all ears and eyes at this point.  

If he ends up staying, I'll try to post a picture.
 

March 1st, 2016

Terrorist by Any Other Name.... @ 07:39 am

 Sometime ago, Shawn and I were forced to join the 21st Century because the ancient TV we got from a friend some time in the 90s finally died. As i'm sure all of you know, TVs today come equipped for 'fire sticks' and other means of watching on-line programming.  So Shawn and I have been enjoying curling up on the couch together in the evening and trying out various programs that are on Hulu or Netflix or Amazon Prime.  We loved Broadchurch (both seasons), Bloodlines, and River.  A few days ago, Shawn noticed that the new X-Files was available.  

We decided to watch it.  

I was a fan of the show when it first aired.  I wasn't a super-fan.  I don't think I saw either of the two movies; if I did, I forgot them.  Even so, I was pretty excited to see the old opening credits rolling.  I also want to note that, for most of the episodes, I was perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief.  In other words: I wanted to believe.

Even though there were a few rough bumps, I was really enjoying even the cheesiest episodes.  Then, last night, we hit "Babylon."  Shawn and I turned the TV off before we even got to the (in)famous mushroom trip scene.  Nope.  We quit when it became obvious Read more...Collapse )

Anyone else watch it?  What were your thoughts?
 

February 29th, 2016

Last Minute MarsCON addition @ 10:37 am


Yeah, so... I nearly entirely forgot about MarsCON this year. But, I was saved, last minute, by the lovely and talented Eric Heideman and Krushenko's programming. So, here's my MarsCON schedule:


SATURDAY, MARCH 5

10:00-10:50 AM, KRUSHENKO'S (ROOM 1117). PANEL: WHAT DO YOU LIKE (AND DISLIKE) ABOUT WRITING? Writers discuss what they like and dislike about the process of writing. Some writers love first drafts and hate revising. Others like the third draft much better. With: Eleanor Arnason, mod.; G. David Lordly (and now me)

NOON-12:50 PM, KRUSHENKO'S (ROOM 1117). PANEL: MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE Catch up on all of Marvel films and TV shows. With: Tony Artym, mod.; Aaron Grono, David J Schwartz, (and now me)

4:00-4:50 PM, RE(A)D MARS II EAGLE'S NEST). PANEL: DYSTOPIA VS. UTOPIA VS. JUST DIFFERENT Sometimes dystopias hold up a distorting mirror to the place and time they were written, while utopias explore possibilities of what our world could be. And sometimes fiction writers explore other worlds and dimensions not for what they can teach us about our world but for the inherent interest of those worlds, because “what if” is such a fun game, and lets our minds roam. Let's explore all three forms. With: Rick Gellman, mod.; Haddayr Copley-Woods, Naomi Kritzer, David J. Schwartz, (and now me)


SUNDAY, MARCH 6

NOON-12:50 PM, RE(A)D MARS II EAGLE'S NEST). PANEL: CYBERPUNK: WRITING AND READING What makes a cyberpunk story? What are the necessary elements? What can come and go freely? What books, stories, and writers have influenced and shaped the genre? Come to discuss the genre that some say we're living in right now. With: David Stegora, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Patrick W. Marsh (and now me)

2:00-2:50 PM, RE(A)D MARS II EAGLE'S NEST). PANEL OR DISCUSSION: THE RISE OF THE FEMALE SUPERHEROES Let's talk about some awesome female superheroes who have become bright sensations in recent years! Why do we love them so much, and how can we get more? With: Cynthia Booth, mod. (and now me).


Marscon is this weekend, March 4 - 5, at the Hilton Minneapolis/St Paul Airport/Mall of America.  For more information check out: http://marscon.org/2016/
 

February 28th, 2016

Life and Reading/Reading and Life @ 04:24 pm


I feel somewhat responsible for the snow that fell this morning.  I was out of coffee in the house and decided to 'turn that frown upside down!' by using that as an excuse to fetch a fancy latte for me and muffins for my family.  At the coffee shop, I was talking to the barista about the weather (like you do in Minnesota) and I said, "It's raining, but I wish it would snow, instead."  Everyone in the coffee shop looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head.  Thing is, it's only February.  The warm is nice, but it's not natural.  More than that, it's going to break our hearts when it does start snowing again, because March hasn't even started yet!

Here on Sunday evening, I can say I've had a pretty good weekend.

Mason had the day off on Friday, and so we ended up taking a friend of his Christy out to lunch and Japanese candy shopping at United Noodle.  Then, she came over to ours for a little otaku bonding, aka watching anime on our TV in the basement.  The funniest interaction I overheard was this:

C: Um, so... would you be willing to watch dubbed?
M: Oh. In English. Um, yeah, sure, I guess.
C: A true otaku friend! Someone who prefers sub, who will watch dub with you!

Meanwhile, upstairs, I was thinking: Man, I don't know if I like anyone THAT much.

That same night, I had an invitation to a board gaming night at a friend's house. Shawn and Mason were also invited, but they are true introverts and had filled up on their people quotients.  Mason was pooped from having entertained Christy, and Shawn has been having to deal with Swedes all week (guests to the Minnesota Historical Society, naturally, but Shawn has been required to do those dinner out with work colleagues things that tire her out).  So, I went to the party on my own, which was still a great deal of fun. I played Cash 'n Guns, which was a tremendous amount of fun, and had also brought along a card game called Sushi-Go, which Shawn had bought the family for Solstice, but none of us had figured out the rules.  The nice thing about bringing along a game you haven't played before to a party like that was that someone usually has played it and/or is willing to read through the rules and figure it out with/for you. It was a fairly fun game.  Low-key, I'd say.  Not like getting to point a foam gun at your former martial arts head instructor.

Saturday was the insanely beautiful day here, and, so of course, I had to work.  It was one of my tiny 3 hour shifts, however, at North Saint Paul.  I really enjoy working there because not only is my shift super-short (3 hours, from noon to three,) but also so is the library.  It's so small that usually by the time someone turns in a book, we can have it back on the shelves within the hour.  There just aren't that many books (or patrons.) Plus, I've done so many shifts for them there that the regular patrons sort of know me and the staff trusts me enough to set me up on the desk or wherever and get their other, backlogged work done.  Which makes me feel useful.

Today, I just didn't feel like doing much, and I absolutely managed it.  I mean, I did some basic maintenance things like taking out the garbage and doing the dishes, but a lot of they day was spent like a Sunday should be, IMHO: relaxing. I finished a book that is up for the PKD award, (R)evolution by PJ Manney, which I'll have plenty to say about on Tuesday, when my review goes up on BitterEmpire.  (Not a good book, IMHO. Actually, I'm kind of surprised there hasn't been a fail, because there is much fail in this book.)  Last night, I started Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong.  I can no longer remember which award that one was up for, but I had to read it because of the title.  I should probably be reading either of the last two PKD nominees: Brenda Cooper's Edge of Dark or Windswept by Adam Rakunas.  I will say I've hesitated to rush out to get Cooper's book.  I was not overly fond of Creative Fire, the first book in the series that this new one continues.  I just bought Windswept for my Kindle, so we'll see if that one is any good.

I have to say the PKD has been a mixed bag this year.  I liked both Archangel and After the Saucers Landed quite a bit, but the rest have been really hit and miss (including one serious stinker.)  I feel like last year the quality was consistently much higher.  Out of the 5 books I read (I skipped the short story collection), all of them were at LEAST more than passably entertaining and well written, if not knock-your-socks-off amazing like Memory of Water, Elysium and Book of the Unnamed Midwife.

There are new judges every year, and I did a little research into the two groups (not hard, as their names are published on the PKD awards page.)  Out of the five judges, one was a woman... The previous year, the year with all the books I found fantastic?  THREE out of the five were women (and women I know and respect like Ellen Klages and Laura J. Mixon.)

 

Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse