Anthology kickstarter recommendation.

Sep. 19th, 2017 05:40 pm
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[personal profile] brooksmoses
For those of you who haven't heard of it, David Steffen has been doing an annual collection of short stories, novelettes, and novellas called The Long List Anthology, collecting stories from the Hugo "Long List" -- the stories that were nominated for the Hugo but didn't get quite enough nominations to make it into the small list that goes on the voting ballot.

There are lots of good SF stories being written these days, printed in a wide range of places, and the first two editions of this collection have been full of really good ones.

I mention this now because the Kickstarter for the third edition has just opened. You can get e-books of the first two editions there as well as ebook and print copies of the third edition.
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[personal profile] brooksmoses
[personal profile] mrissa, the 4H shows and all that made me think of you, and of this story. ("Blue Ribbon," reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine. The rest of you should go read it, if you haven't already.)

But the thing I particularly have to share is that, tomorrow, on the Livestock Lawn between races by the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, they are having a "kids pedal-tractor pull".

This sounds kind of amazing.

No time for old laments

Sep. 11th, 2017 12:01 pm
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[personal profile] muckefuck
So I think I'm ready to call it quits with Lakshmi.

Our relationship has always been characterised by me listening to her complain. She's basically a sweet person with a difficult row to hoe, so this hasn't been too onerous. She's been very thoughtful and generous over the years and I have good memories of laughing and sharing food with her. But lately it feels like the balance has shifted permanently. If you'd asked me before this year, I'd have put the ratio at like 70/30 bitching/niceness. Today it felt like 99/1.

What happened was this: I had a bad night and overslept, and then struggled to make it into work. My hope had been to slip in quietly. But that was dashed when I arrived at the door of the workspace and saw Lakshmi there with one of my direct reports. She's dropped by completely unannounced and then tried to see me, thus drawing attention to my absence. She was just leaving; another minute and I'd've dodged her completely.

I had to approve timesheets before the deadline so I begged her indulgence for a moment. She stood over me while I sent the approvals. I asked if she'd like to sit, but she begged off, saying she was "in a hurry". Not so much of a hurry, however, that she couldn't bend my ear for fifteen minutes out in the hallway while I hardly got a word in edgewise.

The last time I heard from her was two months ago when she lost her job. She called me at work to complain and ask for my help finding a new position. The time before that was when she declined the invitation to Monshu's memorial back in March. And before that...I couldn't tell you. The most recent e-mail I have is from three years ago when she was moving back to town and wanted my help finding an apartment in Rogers Park.

Generally, if I run into someone who knew Monshu and who I haven't seen since his death, the very first thing they do is offer condolences. It doesn't matter if they've conveyed them already via phone, letter, or e-mail. She didn't even mention him. She just started in recounting her woes. After a few minutes, I fell completely silent. Several minutes more, and I stopped even trying to look sympathetic; I just stared at her stony-faced. She was not deterred. Finally I couldn't wait for her to stop talking and leave.

Yes, looking for work sucks. Yes, it's particularly difficult when you're middle-aged and female. But this was a degree of self-centredness I just wasn't prepared for. Plus I was in a shitty mood to start with from the lack of sleep and something else that happened as I was struggling to get ready this morning.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of Monshu's aborted homecoming. I say "aborted" because while it started well, things got progressively worse until he was readmitted with an infection. My mother told me later that he'd started to go septic and could easily have died then rather than three months later. Serendipitously, friends invited me to join them at King Spa and I spent most of the day there. But I needed a little bag to carry some necessities and the only halfway-decent one left the cat hasn't pissed on is one Monshu used to use. I dumped out the contents on the coffee table and told myself I'd deal with them later.

This morning, alongside the gloves, sunglasses, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, I noticed a couple of printed sheets of paper. One was a list of bp readings. The other was a detailed fourteen-day summary of the Old Man's diet and ailments. I looked at the dates and they were for the two weeks before his doctor's appointment in March of the last year. Yes, that appointment: the one that resulted in him being admitted and scheduled for an operation two weeks later.

Maybe if I weren't feeling so fragile, I'd be more inclined toward forgiveness. But this is still my Year of Being Selfish and if there are people who can't or won't understand that, then I simply don't need them in my life. As she was leaving, Lakshmi vowed to keep me posted on her job search. She needn't have bothered.
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