Archive for September, 2008

Sep 29 2008

Day 1 of the conference (at least, what I remember)

Published by Reesa under Kit, conventions, travel

Kit and I missed the panels that happened before ours, but thanks to the wonders of sexy technology, we can go listen to them as posted mp3s at Arse Elektronika’s website. The conference was aural ecstasy: voices from all over the globe filling the air with delicious ideas and discourse, echoing in a space that appears as a blend of an industrial warehouse and a theater.

I took a few scattered notes on the two panels that came after ours. The first was a two-person presentation and talk about transparency, oversharing, and how you decide how much to share of yourself on the internet (and the consequences of those choices). I felt the speakers, Susan Mernit and Viviane, raised a couple of interesting questions that I will enjoy thinking over and discussing with other more local minds.

The second panel was an informal two-person discussion about sex in science fiction from the 50s through the 80s, between author Richard Kadrey and AE host Johannes Grenzfurthner. I found the talk interesting, but more immediately noticed that it is hard not to adore Johannes; he’s the perfect person to lead the conference, full of vibrant energy and thought-provoking ideas and questions, funny and personable. Not to mention the hot accent–add German to the list of languages I enjoy hearing spoken (on the level of “here, read from this menu, I’ll just listen moistly over here”).

We came back to the hotel to rest a bit and eat, intending on attending the AE readings going on nearby starting at 9pm. We chatted a bit about notes I’d taken on our presentation–parts we’d glossed over or skipped, physical notes about fidgeting, gestures, and the like, what to improve next time–then dozed off for “just a few minutes”…

Yeah, missed the readings. We were tired monkeys. It was a good rest and obviously needed, but I was pretty disappointed to miss the evening’s event. Our hotel room is strange; the hotel itself is historic and very nice, but our room was discounted, I assume because its room window is permanently boarded up (probably due to the humming machinery outside it) as well as plywood covering the broken bathroom window. And no towel rack or thermostat. Thankfully, the bathroom plywood was loose enough that we didn’t have too many problems with air circulation. Still, weird that they would rent it out at half-off rather than repair it and charge higher rates. The doors carry sound but the walls themselves are some of the thickest of any hotel in which I’ve stayed. The wood replacing the windows means that very little light gets into the room–waking up Saturday morning was fairly disorienting.

And that’s as good a lead-in to the next Day as any, so I’ll end the post here for now. Must check out of this historic hotel and go back to our little glorified motel near the airport for our final day’s stay in San Francisco.

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Sep 27 2008

travel update blip

Published by Reesa under Kit, Writing, conventions

Made it through our presentation, about as perfectly as it could go given our level of preparedness and non-rehearsal.  Other talks were good.  We’re running a bit behind this morning, as we needed to walk to a drugstore to get an ankle brace since Kit’s ankle is still bothering him.  Now we have snacks and just need to clean up, re-dress, and catch the bus to the conference.  This is Day 2, Technology, and all the talks promise to be quite interesting.

I hope to be working on a more detailed post about Day One, but no time right now as we need to be as little late as possible.  Everyone at the conference is cool and interesting and sexy and beautiful and quirky and the pigeons here are HUGE.

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Sep 25 2008

Alive in SF (better than the alternative…)

Published by Reesa under Life, Writing, conventions, travel

Well, our flight here certainly could have been MORE eventful, but I’m glad it wasn’t. Specifically the first leg out: we had last-minute deals on plane tickets, which meant we were doing a bit of airline hopping during our transfer, and also meant that for the first leg we were stuck with US Airways. Seriously, I have a strong inclination not to book another US Airways flight again, regardless of the bargain advertised. In addition to the plane’s layout contributing to us feeling like so many sardines in an overfull can (and the flight wasn’t even sold out), the seats were less comfortable than the airport seating. It felt like we were sitting right on those inflatable vests, rather than cushions.

But you know, when I think “plane travel”, the first thing I think to prioritize isn’t a flat, rock-hard, lumpy seat; nor even the inconvenience of legroom just about right for a toddler under age 5. The inability to keep the plane in the air definitely tops the list for me as far as flight no-nos go, and there were severe questions about that during this flight. Thankfully, we were too sleepy to do more than doze most of that leg, otherwise I’d be twice as physically stressed from worrying for two hours whether we’d just fall out of the sky at some point. (Keep in mind I normally love flying.)

We spent about 20 minutes at the gate, waiting for a guy to “fix some computer issues”.  This involved, at one point, shutting off all the lights and air circulation on the plane, one presumes to “reboot”.  The take-off was choppy, and I was jolted awake from my dozing every time we hit a pocket of turbulence that was poorly corrected for. But the landing I wasn’t sure we were going to walk away from; definitely the worst landing I’ve experienced without something actually going very wrong. We circled at least 5 times, during one approach actually doing a sudden pull away and upward climb like we were avoiding a collision with someone. We finally hit the runway like we were going to keep diving into it, and the braking process felt as if it were panicky, too little, and too late, surging and slowing like a rank beginner sat at the controls learning to drive with Mom or Dad. I just grabbed Kit’s arm and watched through the window, my hand on my phone. We made it! (The flight attendant giving the farewell talk as we taxied to the gate sounded very shaky, so I watched her, and when she put away the intercom handset she wiped her eyes as if she had been crying. Coincidence? Or barely-avoided fiery death?)

…to Phoenix. Now of course we didn’t learn our lesson from the Phoenix airport last time, but the message is this: never, never fly into Phoenix if you are on a time-crunch transfer. Double those nevers if you plan to transfer airlines. Triple them if your airline has delayed your flight in an attempt to kill their passengers. The short story is, with both Kit and I on gimpy feet, we landed with 27 minutes to get to our other flight–which was two terminals away and through security again. Amazingly, we reached it two minutes before they closed the plane door behind us.

United was a much better (and less eventful) experience, with seasoned professionals in the cockpit that took us up and set us down again with a feather-light touch. Plus they didn’t charge us $2 for three gulps of juice. And we arrived 17 minutes early, rather than half an hour late. I could keep delineating the differences, but you get the idea.

We grabbed pitas on our way out to wait for the hotel-airport shuttle, and had plenty of time to eat our snack before it arrived. Another revelation: don’t sit at the back of an airport-hotel shuttle if you can avoid it, especially if you are on bad streets with a maniacal driver, and triply so if you are large-breasted. But they did NOT bounce off, and we made it to the hotel by the charmingly quirky San Franciscan navigational technique of driving directly past it first thing, then looping back around making sure to service all other hotels on the route first.

Check-in was surprisingly fast and un-eventful. We are staying tonight and Monday night at a hotel near the airport, with these two nights gifted us complimentarily by Kit’s mom. Thanks, Siun! (We also figured not having a long way to travel between airport and hotel during arrival and departure days was a smart-monkey thing to do.)

We’re meeting with Kit’s sister this evening, and we haven’t seen her since she came to visit Kit a couple of years ago, so we may or may not manage to reach the conference in time to watch the fucking-machine contest. I’ll be disappointed if we miss it, but family takes precedence over things you can watch later on video. And we’re here in plenty of time to take in the rest of the conference.

Now to quit procrastinating and get back to talking about this presentation with Kit…hopefully we’ll see any of you Californian readers at the conference this weekend! Hmm, perhaps a snack…wait. $9 for buttermilk pancakes? SRSLY? You can, even here in SF, buy two entire boxes of pancake mix for $9. Methinks I will not dine upon hotel fare, here. (Kit’s favorite entry from the breakfast menu is “The Healthy Start”: one grapefruit half, one bran muffin, one low-fat yogurt, and one small box of Special K cereal with milk…for $11.50!)

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Sep 24 2008

Where in the world is Reesa?

…Well, it’s busy season up at work.

…We’re about to launch our 10th anniversary sale special which will hopefully make it even busier.

…Working like mad to put the finishing touches on the paper we’ll be taking to Arse Elektronika this year. There’s more detail over at the household blog, Words Words Words, here.

…Working like crazy (a really fun crazy) on the collaborative creative project, which you’ll start seeing signs of any day now.

…Having my brain torn apart by my novel I’m figuring out I’m going to have to redraft, and the question now is simply whether I’ll do that before or after I get through the last few chapters.

But more literally…this weekend I’ll be enjoying the hills and experiences of San Francisco with Kit, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be taking a version of talk and paper to Israel, traveling with Steve to ICON festival in Tel Aviv.

And then, hopefully, staying home and finishing about 6 projects before the end of the calendar year.

I’ve had very little online time lately, but I’m adjusting daily routines so I can spend more time on my computer. I love comments and blog interactions, so readers keep in touch!

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Sep 21 2008

Anthology Table of Contents published!

I am very excited about my short story “Memory Box” appearing in the Dark Scribe Press Unspeakable Horror anthology. They’ve been releasing information about the book a bit at a time, and they just published the table of contents on the anthology blog. Check it out!

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Sep 13 2008

Writing growth happens in spirals

Published by Reesa under Writing, voice and craft

And I just realized that I want houseplants. I have desired them for years, but I’m rather a brown thumb sort (not all the way to black, but brown’s enough to kill most plants). But I’m sitting here in our lovely wooden farmhouse, and these rich brown walls are screaming “Put plants against me!!! Trail ivy over doorways, hang ferns in corners, maybe even on an end table one of those spirally bamboo plants they sell for way too much in stores!”

If the walls are talking to me, guess it’ll be an interesting day.

I’ve been learning a lot of very uncomfortable things lately about my writing, and my creativity, and how much I’ve compromised it, and how much of that I’ve done without realizing what I was doing. For someone who’s pretty much always working on understanding the internal landscape, finding out where you shoved whole skillsets that became inconvenient or complicated to maintain is fairly disconcerting.

So I’ve already learned this year (and I think mentioned previously) that though I’ve been writing since I was seven or so, the first creative calling–well, technically the second, but the first path I chose *on my own* to dedicate myself to learning–was acting. And furthermore, my development as an actor has heavily informed my writing development. But lately, I’ve learned just how much I’ve damaged my creative expression, my writing, and even myself, by walking away from acting.

I’m not at a place in my life where I can commute to acting jobs. I’ll look into the local community theatre options, but last time I checked those out I strongly disagreed with the local director’s opinions about Shakespeare, so he was pretty impossible to work with. But I have to, need to, figure out something that will substitute for or ameliorate enough of the acting urge that I will no longer feel I am ignoring that calling.

This year I have made tentative efforts toward picking back up that first creative skillset learned–music. Steve is (or was, I’d like to get back to it) teaching me guitar. I’m hoping to finally get some voice training sometime in the next year so I can do something other than intuitively with this crazy voice and natural resonance of mine.

And the pursuit of better body health is ongoing, though still not as consistent as I would prefer. The hot tub has now been non-functional for about as long as it was in our possession and functional. As soon as they fix it, I plan a scathing report on who to NOT buy a pool or hot tub from locally, but I’d rather wait on that on the off chance that someday they might screw up their delaying tactics and come fix it. But ye gods, unethical businesspeople drive me nuts.

I invented a not-entirely-safe but quite fun exercise routine involving a 5-foot-long staff and a trampoline. The recent rain makes it just a bit too unsafe to actually do until the trampoline dries off, but I’ve been told that it looks very cool to those watching from ground level.

Maybe I could take up bonsai gardening. Could I manage not to kill a tiny tree? Perhaps I’ll start with the ferns and ivy…

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