February 11th, 2006

bear by san

Dear World:

...a public service announcement.

I'm not sure how to say this politely, so I'm just going to say it. If you happen to have my IM information, I would really appreciate it if you didn't IM me randomly just to chat when my away message is up. Usually, the away message is up because I am working on something, and do not really wish to be disturbed except in the case of things that actually require my attention.

The little flashy icon distracts me, and my response is usually "Oh, for the love of Mike, what now?" But I feel constrained to answer. And I lose my train of thought and my focus, even if I only answer the message long enough to say "Sorry, I'm busy." Since it takes me a good ten or twenty minutes to settle into writing mode, and since there are about ten-fifteen people IMing me for pulse checks in any given day...

...well, you see the problem.

Admittedly, I could go invisible, but then I'm not easily available if I'm actually needed.

Anyway, for non-time-constrained things, email is *much* less likely to make me cranky.

NB: This request does not apply to situations where you actually, you know, need me.

Also, I'm going to be reading a lot less livejournal and probably answering comments less often, because I need to get off my ass and do some actual work. So, yanno, if you need me, post a comment or something. And if I don't answer it, it's not that I hate you. It's that I'm trying to focus on cleaning off my desk and there aren't enough weeks in 2006 for my purposes.

Thank you for your kindness.
bear by san

The most unrealistic thing about science fiction

...is the idea that the conventional wisdom about the structures of the human mind and the the universe in a hundred years will have any resemblance to what we theorize today.

Which I guess is my problem with mundane SF. Well, that, and aliens are so pretty and useful from a narrative perspective, and I don't believe in letting my ideology get in the way of the story telling. (I'm going to have a great time watching people assign me to one side or another of the philosophical arguments in Carnival, lemme tell you. My favorite character in the Jenny books in the pacifist, and my second-favorite is the wisecracking bandy-legged old academic, but of the various ideological stances I've been assumed to be taking with those books, nobody's yet twigged to that. My favorite character in Carnival is consistently and creatively wrong. And kind of a bigot.)

You dance with who brung you.



I had a conversation with arcaedia and mcurry recently in which mcurry asked me about author insertion characters. Which is a funny thing to try to answer.

Almost none of my characters are people I'd like to be. Elaine is crazy as a sack of hamsters and a pain in the ass to boot (she's a bit of a deconstruction of what truepenny calls a Byron Sue), Muire is self-absorbed to the point of needing a swift kick, Jenny is pretty much incapable of happiness and has enough post-traumatic stress disorder to power Cleveland for three days in spring or autumn, Whiskey likes to seduce and drown virgins for fun, Will's a manipulative jerk, Kit suffers... what we will generously term "poor impulse control," Cathoair is even crazier than Jenny, Mingan eats people who annoy him, Vincent is a stone cold son of a bitch with a completely plausible shell, Michelangelo is this close (--><--) to a sociopath and I mentioned the bigot thing, Lesa's ideology is suspect, Tribute is what you get when you take the world's oldest spoiled teenager and turn him into a vampire, Abby Irene is a sad old drunk, Ian acts exactly like you'd expect an intentionally emotionally retarded eighteen year old to act, Valens is... the evil that exists to oppose other evils, and Matthew... poor Matthew. He's such a nice boy. He's got Hamlet Issues, Matthew does.

Which does leave a few. Sebastien and Jack Priest are good men, and Sebastien certainly deals with his, er, special needs more successfully than Tribute does his. And Jack is just delightful. Of all my characters, I adore him the most.

The other Jack--Jackie--and Stewart have their moments of denial, but they're good eggs, doing their job the best they know how. Gabe Castaign is pretty much a profoundly decent human being, his temper aside. Autumn and Annie and Lily are all much better people than they have to be, or, really, than you would expect of them.

Fyodor Stephanovich... I love Fyodor Stephanovich. He's not good. He's not nice. He's just right. Morgan, too, though Morgan is even less nice than Fyodor is. Morgan is the Not Nice. She's the witch; we're the world.

Jack Priest and Leslie are the characters I'd probably most like to be. Funny, nurturing, sharply intelligent, accomplished in their own ways, unconcerned with what anybody thinks of them. As for the characters I am most like, the actual author-insertion characters? Elspeth the pacifist, who alternates the paralysis of being afraid to decide wrong and hurt somebody (though she's also kind of  parody Mary Sue, with her multicolored hazel eyes and her Giant Brain and the way everybody likes her--but I got away with it because she was chubby, I think) with snap decisions that maybe are or aren't so good. And Matthew, who lets himself be swept along by events, taken advantage of, underestimated, and can't get out of his own damned way to save his life.

They both pull it out in the end, more or less, though, so I guess I have a soft spot for myself after all.

bear by san

the undiagnosed dietary deficiency as way of life.

So, about four months ago, urged by retrobabble, I started taking fish oil and borage oil for my intractable acne. (I also started using the oil cleansing method, on cpolk's advice.) I've always had kind of lousy skin, tending to rosacea and skin plugs and zits galore, and my skin is very, very oily, a problem that got worse when I lived in dry, polluted Las Vegas. Also, one beer or fifteen minutes of exercise and I go bright red enough that people comment worriedly. Don't fret: not dying, just Irish and Ukrainian. I have no melanin to speak of, so when the capillaries blow open, it shows. (I also look really spectacular with even a mild sunburn.)

I always have had a pretty good diet, by American standards (whole grains, oatmeal, lean protein, olive oil, fruit and veggies) and I take stress vitamins when I feel myself getting run down. I probably eat a little more saturated fat and drink a little more alcohol and caffeine than is strictly good for me, and I do abuse processed sugar on occasion (I really like gourmet jelly beans, tea, good chocolate, stinky cheese, good beer, and single malt scotch), but I've taken pretty good care of myself, mostly. (Exercise has not been taken care of adequately in recent years, but that's a project for this year; getting back on the cardio, yoga, and weight lifting wagons.)

Anyway, I didn't expect any spectacular effects from the dietary supplements.

...the Omega-3, -6, and -9 treatment has worked an amazing change. I still have acne, but it's no longer the first thing one notices when looking at my face. But the thing that really boggles me is that I have fingernails. I have never been able to grow fingernails. And by that, I don't mean long fingernails. I mean fingernails that reach the ends of my fingers and show any white at all. My hair and nails are baby fine, and soft. And while the fingernails still don't reach the ends of my fingers, and I'm not sure I really want them to, because I do type about twelve hours a day, they do, in fact, currently show a good three sixteenths of an inch of white stuff.

Huh.

Who would have guessed?
bear by san

(no subject)

Progress notes for 10 February 2006:

"Gretchen & Tamara Go Bowling"

New Words: 323
Total Words: 396
Pages: 3
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
396 / 7,500
(4.0%)


Reason for stopping: End of scene. Still have no plot.
Mammalian Assistance: ashacat's felinoids ignoring me loudly
Stimulants: orange stir-fried chicken
Exercise: dump run. bicycle.
Mail: nomail
Today's words Word don't know:  nubby, curveless
Tyop du jour: n/a
Darling du jour: "a metaphor more ironic than prophetic"
Books in progress: Alastair Reynolds, Century Rain
Interesting research tidbits of the day: n/a
Other writing-related work: I queried the New Yorker (again) on a story they've had nearly a year.

This would be easier if I had a plot, but I am determined to get something done no matter what. I haven't written since December, and it's getting old. I want to finish this story, and "Love Among the Talus," and "Paddareen," and "Chatoyant," and "1796," and "The Death of Terrestrial Radio," and "Babylon, and On."

And then, when those are done, I will be allowed to start some of this other shit. Like "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree." Which is being shiny at me, but I am not starting another short story. And "On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera." Because I bloody well like finishing things, and I want to get my desk clean before I really start on undertow.

Of course, I'd prefer it if I were producing anything but thrashing at this point. I kind of had a plot idea for the hound girls, but it was pretty trite. So I threw it out. Nobody needs another demonic anorexia story.

Nobody.

*sigh* I think I've run out of stories for the time being. This is very frustrating. I have characters and settings. I just seem to be lacking in problems for them to solve. Maybe I'm broken.

Hmm. That would be inconvenient. I might have to get a job.