Monday, January 30, 2012

I Just Love Stuff Like This

Even if I don't ... oh dear - there's no other way I can think of to say it (my apologies) - take it at face value ...

Ahem.  Neat, though.  At least to me.  (Your morbidity may vary!)

There are links, as of course YouTube would have it, to all sorts of other "portraits" like this - most of them idealized, all of them rather airbrushed looking.  Marie Antoinette in particular gets quite the cosmetic job.  Oddly, a couple of the ones from antiquity are the ones I have the easiest time accepting as (nearly) "authentic".  And one of them is actually a character in my next novel.  Shhh!!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Anthropology Ain't What It Used to Be ...

The following comment (on this post) is slightly edited because I wanted to publish it, but the advice of its maker IS right on - so I've thrown an asterisk into it ...

Bots is bad, but the human search strings that led to my blog after I used the word "f*t*sh" in a title,...ugh-gh-gh-gewwww. You may not wanna post this comment, lest they find you too.  --Anon.

I know some years ago, the word Ary*n was largely retired in favor of "Indo-European" for obvious reasons.  I wonder what the new anthropological term for f*t*sh objects is now ...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Double Standard Much, Mo?

Okay, I called my friend whose husband has been with Colbert since the beginning, and said only this about this week's highlights.  "I haven't had cable for like thirteen years, and I did not miss it.  But I am so glad I got it again in time to see Stephen interview Maurice Sendak."

Truer words:  never spoken.  Please give parts one and two a spin.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Workin' It Girl

The past two weeks have been extraordinarily busy and productive, and I could not be happier that tomorrow is my half day (and one of the diminishing numbers of days the darling B will be at work, too).  The administrative tasks for my weekend include hitting the PO, dropping shoes at a shop for repair, canceling my old ISP, joining a new online community I am excited to learn some more about ... and WRITING/REVISING ...

Pray for me I will be able to find what I need to do to Ax.  I still feel like I have no idea.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today's Spambots ...

... gun safes and vaults.

I don't even get it when ripoff purses 'bot me, nor the inexplicable slew of sites hawking watches not so long ago.  But gun 'bots?  I need a bath.  And a therapist.  Ugh.

X Overload!

He emails me just after I finish the poem below, as I'm looking at Barnabas Depp online (X ... rather strongly resembles The Depp, except he's not a wee little metro-gnome), just before the cable-flipping brings me to Kill Bill II (we met David Carradine one time; that is a great story), and after the dress I bought myself as a birthday present arrived.  Man has a way with timing.

No Patient Griselda, I. No Gothic Heroine.

through a hundred blankets
my skin my fat my blood my bone
pressed—my heart
imprinted with a brick

‘gainst  this wall I’ve been so long
every grain known to every hair of me

I’m fitted with rage—
yet it becomes such a sweet and aching
plangent note
when I go to growl it, a voice sings it

Pen’ned me in, making me free
my dreams’ bed a rooted a tree
there’s nothing in me doesn’t know you
nothing doesn’t falter—love you

I am made of rage
soft on my tongue even when it’s a blade
full of you
nothing but honey
prayers blessing you
font of my joy, which has never been softness
—never reflected
—never given
That prayer I prayed the the most—never attained

nobody put me against a wall
nor holds me
nor could
nor would

every grain of sand in the clay
known to every hair of me
the brick by my heart intimate to me
touching, always—my heart, my skin, my fat, my bone
blood runs to the rest, whispering, overeager—never stops
though nothing has gone in twenty years

I am fitted with love
a hundred and eight dreams
fitted with the wrong faces

year on year
—rested on roots

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Thing About Research

When I was researching Clovis, one of the things I found frustrating about the lack of direct and contemporary sources was the fact that this led to an awful lot of echoes.  "Facts" about his life are picked up and reported frankly, without citation and without clarity.  And thus does common wisdom become history.

Your less deeply analytical sources will repeat the knowledge that Clovis' baptism, for example, took place immediately upon his conversion.

Reading Ax is going to irritate these people.  Because I chose to hearken to other sources.  Sources which analyzed everything from the extent of Clovis' Romanization (did he really convert from Roman paganism? or was he a Thor sort of fellow?) to his dalliance with Arian Christianity to the likelihood of his wife's thirst for blood against her own uncles.

Gregory of Tours said Clovis was a Roman pagan, and an awful lot of pearl-clutching has gone on over the past century and a half or so, regarding how this is a terrible assertion to take at face value.  Historical scholarship needs its pearl-clutching, and I am glad people are willing to think twice about the word of a somewhat less than contemporary cleric not writing history quite to the standard we might (for little reason, really) expect of a scholar today.  Greg had a character to create, a point to make, and either he or Clovis himself was interested in making our man a second Constantine.  The patterns can be drawn ... and so one must ask oneself - how much of this is fact?

I actually used that template - the recreation of Constantine in Clovis - as a choice on the monarch's own part.  And it was this which led me to separate the baptism from the conversion.  Constantine was converted for a LOT of years before he had himself moistened over the whole thing.  And so I took Clovis' Christmas consecration and removed it by many years, too, from his dramatic battlefield conversion experience.

Even if I didn't accept this removal (which, for the record, I wholeheartedly *do*), the fact is that, as an author, the separation of these events provides opportunity for drama.  I am able to build in the tension of a man who has always believed himself descended from a (pagan) god renouncing the tenet of ANY divine descent at all, and setting the standard for Europe of divine *right* ... which is, in fact, ongoing today.  If any of you thinks Elizabeth II considers her position as a simple inheritance, like you or I might inherit a painting or a gold pocket watch - think again.  She expects of herself adherence to a divine placement in her throne.  And it may not be she is alone in looking at her seat that way.  And if she didn't think it her right, G-d-given (and a responsibility to live up to) it's unlikely she'd keep sitting there.

Fifteen hundred years, divine right has been with the cultures extant and born of Clovis' time - and decision.  He had a thing or two to do with the way the world has developed, this guy.

And even so, what we know about him from anyone who ever met him even once:  absolutely nada.

The story about five thousand of his followers following him to the altar right after the battle of Zulpich becomes history, when nobody who was there has a voice we can hear.

The tales of SAINT Clotilde's cruel whispers, to kill those uncles (we also hear sometimes as if it were hard-history) who murdered her father and mother (a mother who, there is POSSIBLE evidence, lived into the sixth century!), are repeated as fact.  Even by those who acknowledge her a saint.

The stories are good, to be sure.  I won't pretend I didn't cherry pick the ones I found most intriguing.

But read with care, *any* history.

And read with joy, historical fiction ...

Bad Whig

I've talked before about whig history before, but one of the things I have never gotten into is the key thing any amount of research on a subject should teach ANYone, if they read enough.  It doesn't matter the subject, nor even the depth - if you get enough breadth, the thing you should notice from using multiple sources:  is that your sources are, fortunately and not, for good or ill - human.

People have a tendency to think of history texts as having a fairly hard-stop sense of authority, but it's like the Bible - read more than a little bit, and the multiple tracks, the contradictions.  You notice the many voices, and you learn, if you're wise, how spongy "learning" really is.  Historians may be lazy, they may be head-bobbing celebrities, they may have passion ... but passion, necessary as it it to pursuing anything, can lend itself to bias and selectiveness.

And, really ... all of us are lent to storytelling.  We read it - and we tell it - history - as a progression of events.  Progression.  And frequently, we expect progress to be evolution - to be a process of constant improvement.  This gives us an unconscious presumption of superiority over, say, The "Dark" Ages (leavened only by liberal scholarship's bias to tout Arab learning of the time, in one of those Noble Savage tropes we depend upon to make ourselves feel better), or a certain fear of The Enlightenment (ask any social conservative:  Humanism sucks!).  It also gives us Star Trek - that future in which we've gotten it ALL right.  Instead of just having *most* of it right, which history reassures so many that we have now.

This maybe why I like DS9.  It looks at the future and sees sentient life as being just as messy, just as conflicted as ever.  It may be the most diverse show in the canon; and it questions the supposed perfection of The Federation - that entity so often presented as utterly enlightened, perfectly advanced; all that humanity (ahem) is headed toward.  The birthright; history's inheritance.  DS9 was that Trek story people balked at for its darkness - at its heard, a giant war.  And on its periphery, not at all rarely:  explicit commentary about the vulnerabilities, the inherent arrogance of The Federation's presumptions of superiority ...

It's been a long time since I believed evolution was a story with the happy ending of perfection.  The fact is, I don't believe in perfection.  This is why, in those times I have told Mr. X he is perfect for me, when he resists being called perfect, I explain he isn't - but that those flaws he has are suited to mine.  Belief in perfection is a kind of belief in bigotry.  If there can be perfection:  there is always a way to look down on anything else.  There's prejudice against whatever isn't perfect.

The Dark Ages, of course, is hugely reassuring to your whig-storian.  We get to peer down our noses from the inclined path of or position, toward the descent which is the past - assured that it's all ascent from here.  And, of course, that we are so high up now.  No more slavery (untrue).  No more dying of smallpox (and those people who die of minor things aren't in *our* lives).  No more feudal system (ever peek at some of those governments we like to peer down our noses at today?).  We are Better, now.  And on our way even somewhere better still.

The fact that institutionalized exploitation isn't designed to survive, and despots fall, doesn't remove the urge to exploitation from the human equation.  Exploitation ... is what we do.  It starts at small scale - and exists there in all time periods - and always, someone shares enough of its rewards (while gripping hard to their own outsized portion) to make it worthwhile to enough someone else's to make it grow.

Greed is what we do.  Shutting out those unlike ourselves is what we do.  Hatred is a seasoning deeply mixed in humanity stew.  We don't improve on that.  Some of us believe in *attempting* perfection.  Some believe in perfection itself (and maybe they are right after all.  Maybe I am wrong).  Some believe in perfection - but that it is beyond us.

Some believe in hatred.  There's an abundance of these successfully delivering racism, sexism, and homophobia, running for president these days.

Prejudice against time is no more enlightened than prejudice against race, or gender, or sexual preference.

And believing that we are "advanced" is a danger which excuses us from working for advancement.  We aren't "done" with anything.  There *is* no done.  And, for now, we aren't perfect.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow-Magnon Man?

This makes me miss playing in the snow with my bro.

Monday, January 16, 2012

3.5 Day Weekend

The FIOS install was Saturday, and I have almost recovered from it.  Heh.  I have the adorable Roku working again, and have begun the process of updating my email to something identifiable as myself (and remotely grownup sounding), from an address I kept - apparently since 2003; and, I would suspect, probably even years previous to that - which was derived from the phonetic pronunciation of the name of a character I first wrote in NINETEEN EIGHTY-FIVE.

So, um, yeah.  Time to retire *that*.  I've gone Twitter-tastic, and been working genre fora, and created at least a minor presence in my real name online, and laid down at least a minimal groundwork for The Diane (L) Major Brand.  Yes, it's all very schmoopy, "branding" myself - but the fact is, it's going to be a part of my work once I am agented and, then, published.  The identity matters.

The email doesn't loom particularly large.  But it is a small thing, a piece of the larger work of being an *author* - as distinct from being a writer.  It's a job.  And to do my job best, I do it down to the details.  This was a detail I should have cleaned up before the querying process.

I'm cleaning it up before the publishing process.  That is enough.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pages Here - and Working the Finer Points

The Pitch page over here to the right has never been updated.  I gave it live this year at JRW's Pitchapalooza event at the Conference, was given excellent feedback, implemented a lot of it with help from the SBC ... and have continued delaying really FINISHING that work (I still fee it needs a final polish), and posting the result, for - holy smokes - three months now.

I'm old and all, and time moves faster for me, but even to a late middle aged broad that's a noticeable time gap.  The excuse that I am not actively querying, as I work on revisions, too would carry a LOT more weight if I were working in a more focused way - but, even with wonderfully clear critique and suggestions, actually putting those into force has been a difficult job for me for some reason.  I understand the direction, but the object I must apply them to is just so BIG (it's a lot of book, and cutting it down is in fact one of the things I need to work on ... but only ONE) I lose sight of exactly where to work.  I know I need to cut the subplot with the bastard brother.  I know the rape thread needs work ... but what work?  I know the loquatiousness needs to come down a number of notches, and in fact THAT is the one thing I have had the easiest time with. Tightening bolt by bolt comes easily for me, and cutting only feels good, not bad to me.

But I can't work the entirety of revisions by actually reading this thing, and taking minutiae apart, cutting it down sentence by sentence - moving microscopically, beginning to end.  It's got to be necessary to see this thing as a whole and find ELEMENTS - not mere paragraphs or pages - which need work, or surgery to delete them cleanly.  And I just can't see the whole novel.  It isn't possible to stand far enough back ... AND wield the nippers to cut it down, from that distance.

I'm not smart enough to have learned, yet, how to stand back from something, to see it, and to be IN it, working on it, at the same time.

Advice and observations always welcome.  In the meantime, the work is not going well - unfocused, and unguided.  And so slow.

I have a feeling this weekend will prove far less celebratory of the advent of cable in my home, than it will (I hope) provide opportunity and motivation to at least find ONE aspect of Ax to get into more substantially.

I hope.  We shall see.

Friday, January 13, 2012

More (Gross) Tangentiality

Yes, this is supposed to be my author blog, but ... I just finally got around to eating lunch.  One of my pre-made Ukrop's meals, a Mediterranean pasta I usually like (lately, the herbs have been a bit crunchy, rather than fresh and soft).

If my appetite had not been badly affected enough by the illness this week?  The FINGERNAIL I JUST FOUND IN MY FOOD would certainly have done it.  The fingernail which appears to be stained with ink, or who in blazes knows what ...

So my weight now is 8 pounds down, and the only thing this could cause to come up is the lunch I just tried to eat.  Holy crap.  Fingernail.  Ew, guys.  EW.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


A very nice post about gossips.  Etymology nerds, click away!

Not Mrs. X

When I first moved into this house, I got a lot of calls for someone who did have Diane for a first name, but her last name actually happened to be the one I later encountered attached to Mr. X.  It's been *years* since I got one of those wrong numbers, but just now someone rang and asked to speak with Mrs. Diane X.

Um - yeah.  But no.



I had wanted to write about my confirmation in the church this past Sunday, but seem to have let myself get distracted.  It's the sort of thing you want to think of as important, but "no big thing" in the sense of epochal personal development - sometimes, it's too hard to contemplate the magnitude of the spiritual, and for me it is just too presumptuous.  It is hard enough for me to give myself up to guidance.  Harder still, when the power of my own emotional experience asserts itself - and my emotional assertion tends to take the form of attempts to control my life.

When I started to look for a church (my gracious, it'll be three years ago in spring), I was on guard against exactly the emotional experience I think some people hope for in this sort of a search.  Being a drama queen, I found I wanted something else to take me where I needed to be, rather than to turn this into A Very Special Episode in the mental narrative I tell myself as the story of my life.  In the end, it was fellowship and prayer which  bound me to my congregation, and the beauty and sense of comfort I felt in our sanctuary.

When the search for a leader yielded the Priest In Charge, getting to know her, I felt the blessing of her coming, and have been as grateful to know her as if I had been a "real" member of the church family.  So "getting my papers" now, so to speak, it is like a confirmation of something more than simple congregational validity.  And, to my honor, I was blessed by our Bishop on the same day she herself was named Rector.  We get to keep her; the ministry is hers, and that is wonderful.

Against those early wishes against being dramatically swept up in the moment, on Sunday I did feel a bit of that impulse.  The bishop's hands on my head as he prayed over me - a sensation I will remember, clearly.  And he meant it to be memorable - his hands were firm and direct, not avoiding really touching me.  His fingers moved, his pressure wasn't impersonal.

It was a little hard, this high-churchy-ness, on my mom.  A lifelong Baptist, there is a mild sense of her giving me over to another team, and as much as she wanted me to find a church home, she did hope I would find one more familiar to her.  The maternal dynamic of confusion at a child's rebellion was in play.  But she was there for me; as was a friend, my dear and generous B.  When the service was over, I got a "mazel tov" from her - and then from the priest.

Another step, and a blessing both in the religious, AND in the personal sense.  I am confirmed.  It feels good.

Experiments in Alt-Drugs

The headache was still a bit much most of today, so I decided to try what yesterday was seriously unthinkable - I boosted the NSAIDs with a taste of caffeine.  This appears to have been a smart move.  My back still hates me, but my head is back to Diane-manageable headache proportions.  Though my headache threshold appears to be unnatural by most people's standards, if it's working for me, it's working for me.

It's working for me.

Have lost several pounds, but apart from the tall icy soda today, I have not been drinking as much for the past few days, so likely rehydrating to a proper level will regain me a bunch of weight.  So it goes.

At least for now I can contemplate both my screen and the workday tomorrow without dread.  Which definitely works for me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Silly String

Leading to my site today:

spotty guy with long hair

(The image result was one of the Peedah Steele ones (not the prettiest, I'm afraid).  Heh.)

I'm all hot and cold right now.  But still capable of humor.

Clever Fluey Pun

It hit around 4:30 or 5:00, and I was surprised I couldn't ride it out, but the dizziness I sometimes just get with stress or a headache or carsickness seems to be up to somehting else.  I was selfish enough a jerk to drive home in this state (having nearly thrown up just leaving my building - and I would not have cared one bit if I had, except for the aftertaste), but did so because I am at heart an entitled, heedless, headstrong cow in need of better manners, and in no need of further delays between me and comfortable pants.

I was running 94.7 when I came home, which explained why I (a living space heater) was so COLD.  Here three hours later, I am suddenly growing really hot, and my feet are not freezing for the first time.  Fun.

X just asked me about it, and I said the cold was not a natural sensation, but something like the synthetic things drugs do to you - like the way a sleeping pill causes you not to be awake, but doesn't induce genuine slumber, or really give you rest properly speaking.  The leather couch felt like a painful assault to recline on.

And now the opposite faux-temperature is already overwhelming.

At least there is this.  I am having to correct 60% of the words I am typing here, as typos do keep synthetically asserting themselves.  But with my experience and endurance of headaches, THAT symptom is a piece of cake so far.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


The Ax and the Vase is a book of men, focused on masculinity, monarchy, and the Church.  The work in progress (still obstinately untitled) moves into another world - and, while the focus remains similar, the characters do affect the particulars.  We're in a more southern clime now, and moving less among the men.

This gives me the opportunity to indulge the scholarly side of what appear to be my more "traditionally feminine" interests.  I can study the history of perfume, and revel in the details of costume and cosmetics.

This comes not in service of tarting up an empty story, but in adding depth to aspects of storytelling I consciously did not give full rein in A&V.  Clovis tells his story himself - and, because of that, I felt that certain specifics (touching the detail regarding the appearance of the characters - including himself - and more fanciful descriptions of feeling, or omnipotent observations) would be a bit precious.  His character is not introspective, and it can hardly be expected of a "Barbarian" prince that he would expend consideration on fine points of this type.  So they are less in evidence in that novel.

The shift is not merely from the focus on masculine characters, but also a transition from first person point of view to an omnipotent voice.  Telling the story from the point of view of a single character is not limiting as such, but does prevent an author from poking around in other minds, or contemplating the corners of rooms in which he is not actually standing.

And so my new researches will spoil the theater major in me with the opportunity to look at textiles and kohl pots, coiffure and headdress, etiquette and protocol.

I call this a shift into the feminine, but let it hardly be thought that I am devolving into characters obsessed with pink and ruffles.  For one, even the most cursory education in the history of costume will teach anyone that pink, in its association with modern, facile notions of vacuous femininity.  For two, my joy in this work is that I will be able to present full-bodied women in my work, authentically constrained within the world women occupied for all the millennia before my own privileged life was given to me - and yet exerting the remarkable nature of human autonomy, in all the ways we find to express it between and beneath the limits we impose on each other.

Femininity may indeed allow me to focus on "girlie" things.  I promise, though:  it won't prevent my writing actual characters ...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Still Obstinate

One of the "musts" of being a writer in 2012 - apart from "must" be on FB and "must" be on Twitter and even "must" do some things I am actually willing and EAGER to get into in support of my novels - is that one "must" read what is out there now, know the market, be educated both in my genre and in what is likely to sell.  Stylistically, one "must" study contemporary lit and mass market.  Professionally, one "must" understand how to become a part of it.

I've gotten over my Special Snowflake phase, in which we ALL, every damned one of us, presume exemption from the work that is querying, polishing, shilling, meet-and-greeting.  I've gotten over my initial reluctance to create a presence (under my real name) online, and joined genre discussion boards and, yes, gone on Twitter to get myself some low-hanging follow action.  I've learned to enjoy and clearly respect the function of these activities (in the case of Historical Fiction Online and Absolute Write, this has hardly been a chore, though putting myself out there has always been difficult).

I still can't get over the fundamental feeling in my heart, though, that reading is such a deeply intimate experience, and so essentially a form of *entertainment*, that to forgo consuming what I want in it is still anathema.

This isn't to say I don't dig Iggulden's Conqueror series, or failed to notice Cornwell's latest Saxon release, nor that I'm not excited about Ben Kane and Spartacus (I need to ping the local bookstore to see if we can even get him to come visit!).

Oh, but it so IS to say that the Charles Major I have read recently, and the Edgar Rice Burroughs I am reading now, I would not trade, I would not give up.  There is only so much time for reading, and I am still a pouty and petulant child, obstinate in my believe that It Is Not Fair to ask me to follow any sort of scholastic reading program when ... I am a big girl.  I have earned the right to read what I wish to - not what I "have" to.  Not what I "must" ...

At its heart, reading is entertainment.  Part of entertainment is that it takes place in a space and time of personal autonomy.  We decide what we enjoy.  Entertainment fails when it's imposed on us by someone else (as opposed to inspired by someone else, shared with someone else, or SUGGESTED by someone else, and then catches fire for us personally).  How many times has someone pressed a book into your hand, sweaty with passion over it, told you you MUST read this ... and you just hated it?  Openmindedness is all very well, but without personal identification - and therefore personal motivation - the entertainment aspect of the picture is lost.  Time spent reading for anyone but yourself (or watching a movie or whatever you do for diversion) is a chore.

Even the research reading I did was something in my control, and though I became so absorbed in it I actually realized at some point a few years ago that I had not "read a book" for the sake of enjoyment for a period of months, that was because I became absorbed.  It was an act of will on my part to dunk myself into reading for work rather than pleasure - but of course even that had immense pleasures too.

Someday, perhaps, I will consider the "must" of reading the market an equal pleasure.  It isn't as if contemporary publishing is of no interest to me.  It's only that the loss, for me, of the incredible autonomy and intimacy, magnificent experience of reading, which for me is necessarily independent, rather nonconformist, perhaps a trifle contrarian and definitely antiquarian ... seems too much to ask.  And of a writer, of all the ironies.

Still obstinate.  But my mind is not utterly closed.  Only afraid.  I've lost enough of my childhood.  It doesn't seems sporting to kill off those ruins still standing.

"Cultural" Landscape

This is what it has come to.  Last night, I signed up for a package deal in which one company will deliver me wireless internet access, cable television (over 195 channels - and this is the SMALLEST package option), and telephone service for one flat monthly fee.

Now, being a proud luddite, I have not had cable since the nineties, and that is not a fanciful joke, it is the plain facts.  In the ten years in my home, and the two years in my apartment before that, plus a portion of the closing months I believe, of my living in the apartment before THAT - back when I was still a wee lass of thirty - I have not had cable.  TEO and I once joked about the someday we still believed in, in our economic naivete' and middle-class entitlement (and when television was pre-digital) - when we would "get cable JUST FOR THE RECEPTION" ...  Ooh.  Ahh.

I did have it for a while, when I felt (in my late twenties, and in an economy long long ago and far far away from today's) I was Moving Up in the world.  I lived in an end unit, so I had a big "yard".  I was suddenly an Executive Administrative Assistant (for a company which, during that splashy economy, went on to make some nastily splashy headlines in the WSJ ...).  I was Going Somewhere ...  Clearly, cable was an accepted part of my lifestyle, right?

Plus:  there used to be fairly regular Trek marathons.  My only fond recollection of 1990s cable TV.

For one reason or another, I canceled the subscription.  I don't remember missing it initially; probably did - I am a vidiot of extreme proportions, and have never denied it - but certainly, during the past ten years, I haven't felt any pinch.  As naturally one does, there is also the mild sense of personal superiority which comes with (a) nonconformity (*GASP!*  She doesn't have CABLE!  Who ever heard of such ... ?) and of course (b) the absence of dependence on broadcast media.  The bliss which comes with never having experienced Mad Men, the Sopranos, or ... (*shudder*) Sex and the City can hardly be described, to those who have been forced into addiction and submission.

In all this time, I've always said that I'd only really WANT cable if I could pick something like six or eight channels I don't already have, and leave it at that.  Cafeteria cable - give me the History Channel, Sci Fi (I refuse their current spelling flatly), Comedy Central (Colbert, fella babies - I'd shamelessly go for Stephen Colbert, not least as I know someone who's been with the show since the beginning), maybe Bravo and VH1 for some of their kitschier offerings (if they still even do programming like I remember).  That'd be it.

The prospect of 195+ channels frankly depresses me.  My plan already, even before installation, is to simply learn how to use "favorites" on my remote(s), program those few stations I give a damn about, and hope to be able to flatly ignore the rest.

Like, you know, Fox news.  Oy.

So why did I do it.  Well, it has finally, in our country, become CHEAPER to have cable than not to have it.  The package deal I got runs about $80 a month.  Right now, I am paying $72 for a standard telephone service alone.  AND internet, which is a separate bill.

Yeah:  no.

Getting cable will restore to me the major networks which seem to have gone a bit squiffy since getting a new TV for Christmas (the new digital antenna picks up LESS signal than my giant black rabbit-eared antenna did, even with fundamentally broken pieces!).  It'll clean up a bit of the equipment/cord picture I have going on now (the new antenna is hanging within the frame of one of my "art posters" in the living room; classy - it has a white tail - yeesh).  But, mainly, it'll streamline my bills (Heil Phone Company) and save me money I'm currently spending quite pointlessly.  It's basic math - with the equation not solving for "I get cable" but for efficiency and ease of use.

So it has come to this.  In our nation, in our society - in our "culture" - it is cheaper to live drowned in television than it is to remain independent, at least of cable (yes, big brother - I know you have no TV at all; let me know how your math works in the comments if you like!).  Bits of me remain queasy at this prospect.

The bits that don't are already programming my remote(s) mentally when I could be sleeping.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Unnecessary

Oh, Peter Egan.  I love you even more than Tim Curry.  My crush is deliberate, undying. Don't you sit there in the UK and try to read on a PBS special about Egypt, hoping I won't recognize the marvelous modulation of your dulcet tones.  You utter babe you.

And, no.  It *doesn't* hurt that he used to look significantly like X does now.  But lookit that shot in the tux.

As my niece spells the sentiment:  osum.

Monday, January 2, 2012

*Sputtering Speechlessness*

I *GET* that this is hardly a serious assessment of my job.  But it DOES represent what all too many people expect is its worth.

There are an AWFUL lot of us admins in the world, doing what you need to have done and guarding the gates to the things and people you need the most.  Thinking of us as the irrelevancies the picture dismisses us as being is dead-sure certain to get in your way at some point or another along the way to your goals.  This includes business (you won't get to the boss if you don't respect the admin) ... and PUBLISHING, too, by the way, writers.  You do realize:  admins read your work too.  They might even be your first-line to "this goes on the desk" (or "stays in the inbox").

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Entendres

In exploring the new TV and its streaming capabilities, I started watching the premiere episode (a full length movie, actually) of "Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century".

Quite aside from Princess Ardala's Studio 54 deluxe edition lipgloss and glittery-ness (and her extensive, healthy midriff), some of the dialog in this is howlingly funny - and even MEANT to be.  "Your father's rear is the farthest thing from my mind" says our hero to The Foxy Villainess.  On the plus side, she's actually written as possessing some intelligence - which, given her Barbie-tastic wardrobe, and that hairdo I wanted so very badly, went completely unnoticed to me as a kid.

I have to admit, though, considering this show started airing when I was eleven, I'm fairly surprised I was allowed to watch it!  Freeow.