Dream of the Dolphin
a.k.a.
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore

Free Story!

Saturday, November 30, 2002
 

Scene from Kichani

She shook her head angrily and dove, swimming as deep as possible to the coldest part of the lake in an attempt to clear her head of the muddled mess that filled it. Finally, when her lungs were bursting and her teeth ached from the cold, she twisted and surged back to the surface.

"Enjoy your bath?"

Kayla smoothed the hair out of her eyes and smiled. "Very much. It's good to be clean again." She looked past the basking griffin to her packs beyond. "Would you mind passing me my blanket?"

He cast a pained glance skyward. "Honestly, you humans are the most body-conscious species I have ever encountered. Get out of the water and get it yourself."

"Variel!" Her eyes widened. "That is not appropriate behaviour."

"I thought you weren't being a princess at the moment."

"I'm not--"

"Then I fail to see the problem."

"Would you stop that." She wrapped her arms around her chest. "Please, just give me my blanket."

He raised his head and eyed her intently, which only served to force her deeper into the water. "What are you ashamed of?" he asked finally.

"I'm not ashamed of anything," Kayla protested weakly. "It's just not appropriate."

"And why not?"

"Because I'm naked!" she shouted in desperation.

"So am I."

"That's different. You have fur."

"So do you."

"Variel!"

"What? You do. I've seen it."

"You should not be looking there!"

"Why not? It's perfectly natural."

"AAAAUGH!!!"

( 10:30 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, November 29, 2002
 

Housekeeping

I was supposed to do a thorough cleaning of the house today, which kinda ended up falling by the wayside. But that's all right, because I got other things done.

I did some blog maintenance -- the new webshot is an accidental photo that looks rather in keeping with the "Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow" theme until you hold the mouse over it for the caption. :o) I'm going to be tidying up the expansinations blog soon, too -- I just have to figure out where the hell I sent Mirror, Mirror.

I also have a winner for the Anniversary contest! Congratulations, Erin! Actually since Crista was the only entry for SOOO long, she's in there, too. Everyone's a winner! Hurrah! I already have some idea of which story you guys get a cameo in, too -- I'll let you know when I start work on it, and of course I'll snippet relevant bits on the blog.

But the bulk of my time has been taken up trying to figure out a dedication for "Tides of Change". It's actually harder than writing the story was. We get three sentences of dedication space at the front of the book, and I can't for the life of me figure out who to dedicate it to. I have a list of seventeen people to whom I want to dedicate something, but none of them seem to fit this story. I got one idea this morning and sent it off for professional advice, but I suspect it may be a masterwork of cheese. Oy. Elysium, now that one will be easy -- the dedication is already written.

And finally, for those of you who have noticed my spiral down into increasing verbosity these days, there's a reason. I'm gearing up to something. Or rather, someone. Because in order to write as Mariella Penningham, you must first think like her. Expansive vocabulary and all.

( 2:09 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, November 28, 2002
 

Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow

Ever have one of those moments? You know the one I mean. Moments where you feel like your life has been reduced to a frantic dash across the top of a cliff. At your heels you can hear the pursuit of the Rest of Your Life, snapping at your heels like a pack of ravening hounds. You run along the precarious edge, struggling to keep your footing, feeling some days that the slightest misstep will send you plummeting down to the sea-swept rocks below. You can't leave the edge of the cliff because the forest around you is too thick to press through, you can't stop moving or the Rest of Your Life will catch up to you, so all there is to do is run and run and hope you don't fall.

And then you come to a break in the trees, and you look down the edge of the cliff. Below you is a pool, calm and still as glass, not at all like the angry surf pounding on the rocks at either side. The pool is deep and dark, and you can't see past it's shining surface to what lies underneath. It may be a deep, endless chasm, or perhaps more rocks lie beneath the surface, ready to catch the unwary diver. Or perhaps those still waters conceal a treasure greater than you ever dreamed.

You have two choices, then. You can continue along the edge of the cliff, hoping you don't fall, hoping that eventually there will come a break in the forest through which you can escape, or a path down the cliff you can take safely. Or you can jump, not knowing what lies ahead of you, knowing only that your life will either continue as it has before or be changed forever... depending on what unknown lies beneath the surface.

Today, I jumped.

In a couple months, I'll let you know where I land.

( 9:21 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, November 27, 2002
 

Episode Two: The Rant

I warned you it was coming. :o)

Right, so despite the vociferous protests of my sibling, I rented and watched Episode Two. And you know, there's a pretty good hour-long movie in there somewhere.

Episode Two actually makes me a little sad. It's definitely better than Episode One (which my sib refers to as "Star Incident"), but that little bit better serves as a reminder of how good the movie could have been.

There were some bits I thoroughly enjoyed. The design was gorgeous, the yoda fight was great, and that scene at the end with the imperial ships lifting off just gave me chills. That part was truly epic. But then there were all the annoying background characters, gratuitous CGI shots, and bad BAD dialogue getting in the way.

I don't deny George Lucas is (or at least, at some point, was) a great storyteller. I love the original Star Wars trilogy, despite Mark Hamill cutting his teeth on the scenery (actually, that's part of the appeal). It was fun, the chemistry between the acting leads was great, and it brought filmmaking to a new level. The man invented his own effects studio, for crying out loud, that's pretty damned impressive. But it's like he's gone mad with power for these new movies, and the endless re-editions of the original trilogy.

My sib and I talk about odd things sometimes, and one of our odd turns of conversation strayed into "what if the US government hired big Hollywood filmmakers to make new Bin Laden videos with the newest CGI technology". My sib noted that you'd be able to tell if it was George Lucas's handiwork by all the Miscellaneous Background Arabs running across the shot, yelling and making nuisances of themselves. Extreme political incorrectness aside, that's one of the things that gets me about Lucas's revisitations of the Star Wars universe. He can put a million billion weird aliens into the shots, so he does. Without really looking at whether or not they detract from the main action. Say it with me, Jen: "Just because you can CGI, doesn't mean you should."

Now there have been good things come out of George's obsession with the computer. The animatic storyboards are a pretty neat idea, and have definitely changed filmmaking. They were such a good idea that Peter Jackson and his team hung out on Skywalker Ranch for a while to learn it. George used them in Star Wars. Peter Jackson used them in Lord of the Rings.

See, that's conclusive proof that George is doing good things that can be a great benefit to filmmakers. Peter Jackson used the technology really well, using the animatics to conceptualize scenes like Gandalf's escape from Orthanc and the breathtaking prologue. George used them to create the speeder chase.

Peter Jackson's movie is a masterpiece, but that comes not from George's technology, but Peter's judgement in putting that technology to use. Jackson used a huge combination of techniques, from CGI to miniatures, "bigatures", forced-perspective, and bluescreening to create his world. George used CGI. With a few notable exceptions (can we say "cave troll"?) Middle Earth comes across as a "real" place because Jackson has used real people, miniatures, etc. whenever possible. Star Wars has this patina of artificiality that prohibits suspension of disbelief because everything has that CGI slickness to it.

And this brings me back to my puppet ranting. When Jackson made LOTR, he used as many techniques as he could to get the actors interacting with each other. Instead of replacing his actors digitally, he used forced perspective or size doubles so that the actors had someone to work with. This is precisely the reason I'm a big advocate of puppetry (i.e. Farscape) rather than CGI characters. When someone or something is there on set with you, you can interact with it. There's a relationship that comes from contact that you don't get from acting off of air. As Ben Browder said, "when you touch the puppet, it makes it real". The puppeteer is giving a live performance, so the actor and the puppeteer can play off each other, react to each other, improvise to an extent. You lose this with CGI. Like Yoda. Ohhh, don't get me started on Yoda.

The light sabre fight was fabulous, and couldn't have been done without CGI. Yes. True. And the use of CGI to put Christopher Lee's face on Count Dooku's stunt double was great (this is what is known as "using CGI for the forces of good". As a contrast, Jar Jar is "using CGI for the forces of evil"). But you didn't need to CGI Yoda for the whole thing. In his close up scenes, he just didn't look real.

Watching the behind-the-scenes stuff was really educational in this case. Lucas was aware that the fans didn't like the CGI. He noted that even thought the CGI characters moved in a "more realistic" way, the fans wanted the rubber puppet. He wanted the CGI character looking more like the rubber puppet. But it still didn't work, because there was something false about the CGI characters that kept throwing me out of the narrative. I mean, those guys in the water city -- they looked pretty damn cool, but I wasn't thinking "wow, neat character", I was thinking "wow, neat CGI."

Some people will tell me that we'll always be looking at the technology of a specific era of moviemaking and sneering at how fake it looked. To an extent, that's true -- look at the stop-motion dogs in Ghostbusters, or for that matter some of the stop-motion bits in the original Star Wars trilogy. But there are ways of doing it right, too -- look at Labyrinth. The only really fake thing in that movie is the CGI owl. The actors themselves say it -- look at interviews with the Farscape cast or Jennifer Connelly. The phrase you hear most often is "after a while, you forget you're acting with puppets." If the actor forgets it, so does the audience. The audience is aware that a character is a puppet, but because the actor is so into it, your brain just stops acknowledging it. You can mix puppetry and CGI with great results -- look at Jurassic Park. But when you start taking CGI for granted, you get really pretty artificiality.

Okay, that's just my beef on FX, and I realize it's a lot, but you can't talk about these movies without discussing the FX because these days Lucas seems to care more about them than he does about the actual movie he's making. Star Wars could still have been a great movie despite the whizz-bang CGI, but there are so many other things that just went horribly, horribly wrong. The acting was terrible -- you had chemistry with the cast of the first trilogy, but the new cast are so wooden I'm surprised they didn't get splinters. Jen's right -- whining must be a Skywalker genetic trait.

The fall of Darth Vader could have been this huge tragic thing, but in order for a character to have that kind of literary Tragic Fall, he had to have been great. Anikin Skywalker was an annoying whiny little boy who became an annoying whiny teenager. There's absolutely nothing likeable about him. In order for us to care about his fall to the Dark Side, we have to care about him, and that ain't happening. Part of it is Hayden Christensen's acting (or lack thereof), but to give the boy some credit, he doesn't have a lot to work with. "Ohh, no, I'd be much too scared to tease a senator." Oh, for pity's sake.

Natalie Portman is actually capable of acting, but you don't see much of it here. Probably because she's trying very very hard to figure out why Amidala would fall in love with this whining, petulant brat. Watching the cut scenes was kind of amusing -- there was one really great scene of Amidala addressing the Senate that really showcased Portman's talent and built on Padme's charater. But of course, it was cut. And the reason cited most often? "Well, it was a great scene and developed a lot of character, but it really didn't do much for the plot".

So there's another big problem with Lucas these days. Character. Or lack thereof. He's perfectly willing to sacrifice character for another whiz-bang chase (I mean, come on, did Anikin and Padme really have to spend half an hour running around the droid assembly line to "further the plot?"), and as a result, the movie is populated by more cardboard cutouts than an episode of South Park. Samuel L. Jackson is a great actor, but he never gets to do anything in except walk around looking stern (even when he's fighting, he just looks "slightly more stern than before"). The attempt at ambiguity with Count Dooku failed miserably (all I could hear in my head was Jason Taniguchi yelling "Of course I'm evil, I'm Christopher Lee!") In contrast, you have LOTR, into which Peter Jackson gave a much needed dose of characterization to soften Tolkien's strict archetypes -- Gandalf could be downright grandfatherly, and you could actually tell Merry and Pippin apart. Notice that the impact of big emotional plot points is heightened when the audience actually cares about the character.

And then Lucas tries to cater to people on top of that. Excellent illustration: Greedo shooting first. When Lucas revisited A New Hope and stuck in all those Miscellaneous Background Aliens, he also rigged it so that in the scene in Mos Eisley, Greedo shoots at Han first before Han kills him. I guess because somebody objected to Han being that callous or something. But setting aside the fact that having Greedo aiming right at Han and firing off to the side just looks stupid, you lose a HUGE amount of character development right there. By having Han shoot first, you establish him as a pirate with no morals and no care but himself -- something that changes over the course of the three movies. He grows and starts caring. But some of that great Han edge is lost by making Greedo shoot first. Episode II is filled with stuff like that. All the good guys are so pure, they squeak. Except for Anikin, but he still squeaks when he's whining. I had MST3K voices commenting in my head when he was whining to Amidala about killing all the Sand People (SERVO: (falsetto) "Ooh, I am so turned on by your homicidal urges.") And Emily has a really good point: All the "rah rah Democracy!" stuff is so overemphasized that it's just plain confusing.

And personally, I think Amidala should get tossed out on her democratically-elected ass for doing anything as monumentally stupid as leaving Jar Jar Binks in charge, even if he does sell 90% of the Star Wars toys.

( 1:56 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, November 25, 2002
 

Shock the Monkey

Ah, weekends. Days I usually take to sleep in till noon and just relax for a change.

Found out yesterday you can't do that when you're on a schedule for antibiotics.

Yup, there I am, sleeping in till noon on Sunday, as is my wont. My body, however, is used to getting the prednisone at 8 am. Consequently, I wake up at 11:30 and promptly start going into shock from the withdrawal. And of course, I can't just take the pills (I'm down to 6 at a time for the prednisone), I have to have substantial food in my stomach first.

I managed to stagger downstairs, make my sandwich, bolt it, then stagger back upstairs (harder when gravity's not working for you) and after three tries to get the pills out (my hands were seriously shaking by that point), managed to get them down and then collapse back into bed waiting for them to metabolize.

Scary shit, that. I'm fine, and the pharmacist did warn me that's what happens if you go off the pills without tapering off, but damn. For all the prescriptions I've been on, I've never been through anything like that before. And I was absolutely fine as soon as the stuff metabolized. But I won't be sleeping in again until these meds are done. Alas.

So I ventured out after the shaky start to the morning in search of a copy place to print my letterhead in colour -- I'm sending out a writers' grant application and I want it to look professional. Unfortunately, in my area all the little shops are run by families who observe Sunday as a Holy day, so I was stuck wandering down to Kinko's.

I've had problems with Kinko's in the past. When I received the gorgeous cover for "Mirror, Mirror" last year, all I wanted to do was print it on nice hard stock so I had a cover to go with that year's Christmas Story. But when I went to Kinko's and tried to explain what I wanted, I was rudely instructed to print it myself at the public stations -- the quality was not great, but I thought it was the best I could get. When I went back to print a second copy, the colour printer was broken so I had to take it to the counter -- where the assistant manager told me I could get it on glossy card stock, nicely printed, and cut so that I had a full 8.5" x 11" page with no outline. I wish I had taken down his name, because that man deserves a commendation for his professionalism -- especially as he seems to be the exception to the rule.

My sib and I walked into Kinko's yesterday and were greeted by the employee behind the counter not with "Hello" or "Welcome to Kinko's", but with "Awwwwwww! Are we cooooold?"

Umm... excuse me???

I wanted to say "no, I did have business I wished to conduct with you, but in light of your unprofessional manner I shall be taking my business elsewhere." But I really needed that letter, so instead I tried to explain that I needed to print my letterhead in colour.

After informing us that Kinko's would charge the utterly ridiculous fee of $15 per file (there were four designs) to open the files and print them, we were advised to log in to a computer and do it ourselves. So we went to the computers, and waited 20 minutes for an employee to log us in, while watching other people who entered after us get served before us. We finally got logged in and were given extremely perfunctory instructions, and when we printed the letterhead (at $2 per page), there were spots due to some glitch in the printer. However, we were not waiting any longer (getting charged for computer use all the while), so I took my spotty letterhead and buggered off.

Kinko's is getting a letter from me, because that was absolutely ridiculous. I'm sending the grant application anyway because it has to go out, and the spot's not obscuring any text, but honestly. When you're paying that much money, you expect a certain degree of quality and professionalism that was sorely lacking. Having been an employee in a busy retail environment I usually have a great deal of empathy for such employees, but this went beyond ridiculous. There was no excuse for that kind of treatment. I haven't been that irritated by customer service in a loooong time.

And that's not just the pills talking.

( 12:51 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, November 21, 2002
 

Hobbit Hug

Okay, so Billy'd stopped hugging by this point and Dom has this little smile that you kinda lose in the digitization and shrinkage, but thanks to Tami (who is a GOD!), it's actually presentable now. I love you, Tam!

Hugged by Hobbits




( 11:27 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

A Month 'Till my Birthday

Twas a month 'till my birthday, and all through the house,
No appliance was stirring, except for my mouse.
My acceptance was hung on my bright yellow wall,
Framed in hard plastic in case of a fall.
My roommates were nestled all snug in their beds,
Though I have no idea what danced in their heads.

And I with steroid pills in vessel and vein,
Couldn't settle down enough to turn off my brain.
When into my head there arose such a thought,
I sprang to my keyboard and wrote down a lot.
I swore I'd be published this year come what may,
And I went and did it as of last Friday.
The feeling it gave me was wonderful, so
I still hadn't lost that "new author" glow.

When what to my sleep-deprived eyes should appear
But a seven-foot griffin and it soon became clear,
With his glare predatory that made me feel ill
It could be no one but my own Variel.
"Well done, Creator" the predator said.
"But there's more of us here who want out of your head."

"Now Yasha! Now Rabbit! Now Kayla and Eldan!
On Cera! On Neela! On Jenny and Kevin!
Come Sealach, Fiona, come Alli and Kerry!
Out Tara! Out Maya! Out Gavin and Mari!"


As a toaster expelling its slices of bread,
Did all of my characters spring from my head.
So into my bedroom they piled with glee,
Then all of them turned and were staring at me.
The griffin said, "Now, this one sale is quite decent
But we've talked, and we won't have you getting complacent."
"I'm not," I said meekly, "I have much to do,
But I'm just one author and there's many of you."

"No," said the griffin, "I think you'll do better."
And a talon reached over and shredded my sweater.
"Hey!" I objected. "It's damn cold in here!"
"Ha!" Kayla said, and preened Variel's ear.
Their eyes -- how they glittered! Their faces so scary!
Like they were the cats and I was the canary.
Their approach began slowly and filled me with dread --
I knew that I must get them out of my head.

"All right, I surrender!" (The griffin looked smug --
I couldn't help picturing him as a rug).
"I'll work on your stories! I'm starting right now!
God help me, I promise I'll finish somehow!"
"Splendid!" cried the griffin. "I knew you would do it.
Now sit yourself down and let's see you get to it."
I started to type, but bared talons are not
Exactly conducive to creative thought.

"All right," Kayla said. "I'll take featherhead home --
Quit whining, you bullies, just leave her alone.
She cannot write with us breathing down her neck
So stop all your protests. Go wait on the deck."
They nodded together and all fled the scene,
Leaving me there staring at my blank screen.
But I heard Variel say as he vanished from sight,
"I want progress or I'll be back tomorrow night."

( 9:43 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Fun Graffiti

Occasionally I see some really interesting graffiti when I'm traversing the city. On a streetcar shelter, someone had written:

FREE TIBET!

beneath which, someone else had written:

(LIMITED TIME OFFER! WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!)


( 9:13 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Scenes from My House

[INT: SARAH'S ROOM. OS a door slams, and we hear stomping up the stairs. SARAH enters, clearly unhappy]

"No way, no frelling way! I can't be NSF, I have a five hundred dollar overdraft and there was five hundred dollars in there the other day! Even if Mark cashed the rent cheque and Scotia cashed the $400 in loan cheques, there should still be at least a hundred dollars in there! I'm checking PCF, I bet somebody's ripped off my card again. Grrr. Okay, www.pcfinancial.ca... what the frell am I sitting on? Oh, right, the receipt for my $150 prescrip--"

::DIIIING!!!::

"Oh. Ohhhhhhhhh. Ah. Aw, crap!"

Yup, I'm frelled through my own spendthriftiness. Other than that, it's been a pretty great day (thanks in part to 9 hours of sleep and the euphoria pills). After work, I finally got to go out and celebrate my story sale by buying a new outfit for Saturday, and with the 25% holiday sale it only came to $40. Okay, there was some indulging of the magpie at Goldfinger, but I'm only human (magpie). Russell asked me to be a pro guest at Ad Astra today (HURRAY!) which really gave me a kick -- I had SO much fun last year. I'm actually breathing on my own without the aid of any sprays, creams, tinctures, potions, lotions, draughts or brews, and my sense of taste has returned, which bodes well for dinner with Amanda and Peter on Saturday (which I can only afford now because they're reimbursing me for the LOTR exhibit tickets. Phew!) And then I tried to buy Alexandra's Christmas present, and came up NSF with a $30 purchase. Thank God the steriod pills are producing euphoria today (yesterday they had me sobbing because my soup was lumpy), or that would have seriously depressed me.

So, I'm Broke-with-a-capital-B until next Wednesday, and I'm going to have to be really miserly for the next couple months. Curse you, Christmas! Cuuuuurse yoooooouuuu! I'll scrape by -- I transferred $100 back from my savings account, I have a $60 cheque from Emily that I'm cashing tomorrow, I get reimbursed by Amanda and Peter on Saturday and my sib is feeling out my parents to see if they're planning on reimbursing me for THEIR tickets... Oy. I have a feeling I'll be down to condiment sandwiches by the time I'm back in the green. Ah well. If I completely run out of food, I still have a nearly-full box of nutribars left over from the "I'm working 11-hour days and don't have time to eat" stint at the lab.

And I just checked in on Jen, and the news is not good. Dammit. They say that having money brings its own problems, but I think I'd much prefer those to the "okay, what can I make with pickles, cheese whiz, and half a box of rice?" problems. Now, if I could win that $17.5 million jackpot on Friday, that'd help a lot. I did manage to get a ticket before my finances crashed. Universe? Hello?

( 5:04 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, November 20, 2002
 

Sarah Jane Elliott, ROM Reporter

I wrote two articles for the Hands-On Bio newsletter, and I thought I'd share them. They're short, but fun. (I'll post the Hobbit picture as soon as I get a retouch I like -- I'm not kidding, it's a BAAAAD picture of me) :o)

The Bells! The Bells!

One of the best things about volunteering at the ROM is the amount of weird and wonderful trivia you can pick up from our visitors.

During an animated discussion on animal intelligence I was having with a recent visitor to Hands-on Bio, he cited 'elephant bells' as a prime example of animal intelligence.

"Elephant bells?" I asked, confused.

"Yeah, elephant bells in Asia," he said. Of course, I had to ask him for the whole story -- it was way too good to pass up.

In Sri Lanka, a frustrated banana plantation manager was tearing his hair out because mass quantities of bananas kept disappearing at night, and no one ever noticed anything until it was too late. Though elephants are fond of bananas, everyone knew that they couldn't be the culprits, because the elephants were fitted with wooden bells around their necks that rang whenever they moved -- they could hardly be the silent thieves that were baffling the plantation manager. Finally, he came to the conclusion that a gang of local thieves was to blame, and mounted a series of all night, armed vigils to catch them. He caught his thieves all right, but they weren't exactly the gang he was expecting.

The stunned plantation workers discovered that a local elephant herd was going down to the river at night and stuffing their bells with mud, so that the clappers couldn't ring. The elephants then sneaked into the plantation and ate the bananas. By morning, the mud in the bells would dry and fall out, leaving several sated elephants and no one the wiser.

You can learn some truly amazing things from an enthusiastic visitor. Who would have thought that elephants could sneak?


Lord of the ROM

One badge to rule them all,
One badge to find them,
One badge to bring them all
And in Toronto bind them.


There's much more to volunteering at the ROM than just showing visitors around the galleries; your ROM badge opens the doors to some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities if you choose to take advantage of them.

On one of my shifts last month, I found a flyer for the ROM's "…from the printed page to the silver screen…" series. The ROM was hosting a screening of "Fellowship of the Ring" on November 1, featuring a special Q&A session beforehand with members of the Lord of the Rings design team, who'd been busy setting up the Two Towers Exhibit in the Planetarium next door. On the schedule were John Howe and Allen Lee, the world-renowned artists who had worked as conceptual artists on Peter Jackson's trilogy, and Art Directors Chris and Dan Hennah. Being a huge fan of the movie, I jumped at the chance to go.

When I arrived at the screening, I was thrilled to discover that Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, who played Merry and Pippin, were in town doing promotions and had decided to drop in on the panel. Indulging in an extremely fangirlish impulse, I went up to chat with them before the panel and managed to snag a picture with the two Hobbits.

What followed was a spirited half hour, during which the panelists shared their unique experiences working on the trilogy. Allen Lee talked about the challenges of having to maintain one's creative output 12 hours a day, seven days a week. John Howe admitted that he was singlehandedly supporting the New Zealand pencil industry. The Hennahs revealed the incredible attention to detail that went into designing and creating Middle Earth. Billy Boyd confided that it's really hard to stay in character when all you can think about is how cold your feet are, and Dominic Monaghan discussed the difference between reacting to events as a human and reacting as a Hobbit (at which point he demonstrated the "wide-eyed innocent Hobbit stare", to the delight of the audience).

It's opportunities like this that make me glad to be a ROM volunteer. Where else am I going to get the chance to be hugged by Hobbits?

[this bit isn't in the article, but that verse at the top? It's seriously how I feel sometimes when I'm waving my ROM ID around. I love that thing!]

( 3:03 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Those Side Effects... Oh, Those Side Effects

Two days in, and I'm already experiencing the "may have difficulty sleeping" and "increase in appetite" parts of the big long list of side effects.

The not sleeping isn't so bad -- I'm used to insomnia and going on 4 hours sleep isn't that bad anymore. But the increase in appetite... man is that ever an understatement. It's not so much an increase in appetite as the bottom of my stomach seems to be missing. It doesn't matter what or how much I eat, I'm still hungry after. And I'm not talking peckish, I'm talking stomach-wrapped-around-spine hungry. Remember M'Lee in the "Bone to be Wild" episode of Farscape Season 1? That's me. Since I can't rely on hunger to tell me when to eat anymore, I'm stuck obsessively tracking what I eat and using that to try and figure out if I'm actually hunrgy or it's the drug. It's not so bad now that I'm aware of it, but I'm starting to wonder if it might account for the "weight gain" and "irritability" side effects too.

Emily was telling me about a friend of hers who was once prescribed something whose side effects included "spontaneous orgasms". And all I can think is: Damn! Why can't I be on that?

( 2:54 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, November 18, 2002
 

Hallelujah!

Praise the lord, I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel!

Ladies and gentlemen, WE HAVE A DIAGNOSIS!!!!

Oh, I like the new guy. The old ENT held a mirror under my nose and then started talking about breaking my nose and poking holes in my sinus cavities. The new guy said "hmm, let's just take a look, shall we?", stuck a camera up my nose, and said "Ah. There's the problem."

Remeber last June, when I kept insisting it was allergies, and then as I got sicker and sicker, realized it was something more? I should have listened to my first reaction.

It's polyps in my nose caused by an allergic reaction to something. They caused all the secondary complications which are making my life a living hell. That explains why I'd start sniffling again when I ran out of Flonase, which I told every doctor I've seen, but nobody actually listened to me until Kolenda. Instead of throwing drugs at the problem and hoping it goes away, Kolenda actually looked for a CAUSE! I could kiss the man.

I've had a choir singing the Hallelujah chorus in my head all day.

I'm on a crapload of antibiotics and antiinflammatories now. This latest batch cost the most yet, at a whopping $150. Ouch. No luxury spending for me for a while. And check out these instructions: "Take 8 tabs daily for 4 days. Then 6 tabs daily for 4 days. Then 4 tabs daily for 4 days. Then take 2 tabs daily for 2 days." The antibiotics are only once a day, but come with a whopping list of stuff I can't take it with, and last for 3 weeks. Side effects of the whole shebang include severe stomach upset, weight gain, and mood shifts (either extreme irritability or euphoria -- I'm hoping for the latter). But you know what? I don't care. Because this is it. This should take care of the problem for good.

You have no idea how happy this makes me.

( 10:02 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

That Sinking Feeling

Busy weekend last weekend.

Much of it I spend plumbing. Yup, our sink clogged again. After several rather nasty hours pulling unmentionable things out of it with a bent coathanger, I went for the industrial strength drain cleaner.

I AM NEVER TOUCHING THAT STUFF AGAIN!

You remember I said it had warnings on it that amounted to "do not use this product or you will DIE!!!" Well apparently I missed a bit. What it actually says is: "WARNING!!! Do not use this product or you will DIE HORRIBLY, screaming in agony while this product devours your very SOOOOOUUUUULLLLL!!!!!"

I'm not kidding. I started pouring a little bit in the drain and there was this horrible roaring sound like the end of the world, and this cloud of something billowed out of the drain. It wasn't anything hazzardous, I'm still here and perfectly fine, don't worry. I aired out the kitchen real good. My theory is that the cloud consisted of the souls of the hapless minions sacrificed to give the drain cleaner its devestating evil powers. Never, EVER again, unless it's a huge emergency. But the sink works now (after the liberal application of some nice, sensible drano) and I bought a new strainer to keep gunk from ever making me require the Evil Drain Cleaner again.

But I did manage to get the last of my boxes unpacked this weekend. Except for the final bits of clutter remaining to be put away, I am DONE! Hurrah! So I celebrated by watching the Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, which raised many warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, and then watching Attack of the Clones last night. I have much to say on that, but it's a post for another day.

( 9:53 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Go give Jenny a hug

She needs it.

( 9:44 PM ) Sarah Jane
~


 

Another Hint

For the Lame Anniversary Contest:

Question 5: A certain member of the first (somewhat bloodthirsty, mythical) species has a habit of popping out of my subconscious and bossing me around. For the second animal, just look at the title of the blog. :o)

( 8:45 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, November 15, 2002
 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did it! I did it! I finally, finally did it!

I MADE MY FIRST PROFESSIONAL SALE!!!!!!!

Oh, it was beautiful. I'm sitting in my office all depressed, and I get new mail on my personal account. I open it up, and there's my acceptance letter from Julie, telling me she wants to buy "Tides of Change" for TALES FROM THE WONDER ZONE 4: ODYSSEY!!!!! AAAAAHHH!!!

Well, that was pretty much the sound I made (and the staff came charging upstairs to make sure one of the residents hadn't tried to murder me or something). I'm so excited right now, I can't think straight. I'm shaking, I'm so excited, and completely incoherent. I mean, I've said "wow" more times in the past hour than most people say it in a month.

THANK you, Tami, for giving me the reaction I needed! (It's really hard to put into words, but it was loud, shrieky, and included the phrase "About. Fucking. Time." Tam's been waiting for my first sale for almost as long as I have). My mom's reaction was a little subdued -- I probably shouldn't have called her at work -- and I needed somebody to be as hysterical as me. You have NO idea how BAAAAD I've been wanting this! And Tami made the very cool point that since it's the Grade 7/8 anthology, Nick (who just got a job teaching Grade 7 -- go Nicky-chan! I'm so proud of you!!!) can use it in his classroom! How FRELLING cool is that!!! AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Must go hyperventillate for a while. I DID IT!!!!!! AAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!

( 3:35 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

It's A Small World

I found this absolutely hilarious -- workers on a church restoration project in Malta uncovered a 700-year-old fresco of St. Christopher and Mickey Mouse. I wonder how the Disney Goons are going to sue a painter who's been dead for over 600 years.

In health news, the Toronto doctor is not pleased with the ENT that the respirologist sent me to, so he wants to send me to "our guy". He says that there are new treatments that come before surgery, and he's not impressed that Dr. Chow (the ENT) gave me a cursory glance and then cut me loose for two months. So it's off to another doctor on Monday. For those of you keeping track, here's a reference guide:
  • Dr. T -- my family doctor in Newmarket. The one I like.
  • Dr. Strigler -- the doctor I see when in Toronto. I'm liking him more now that he actually seems concerned that I'm still sick.
  • Dr. Kolenda -- "our guy"
  • Dr. Chow -- the ENT
  • Dr. Cheng -- the respirologist
  • Dr. Chang -- the allergist I'm supposed to be referred to.
Yeah, I'm having trouble with it, too.

I was talking to Megan the other day, and she told me that everyone she knows is sick these days. A friend of hers has a theory that everyone is getting sick because the FBI satellites are irradiating North America as a side effect of surveillance/defense procedures, thereby depressing immune systems. Pretty good conspiracy theory, but I don't think it insignificant that this round of serious health problems started at the end of September, 2001, and hasn't really gone away since. I dunno. Maybe I'm just broken.

So to get my mind off things for a while, my sib and I are heading out to Harry Potter tonight (for those of you in TO, it's playing at the Uptown -- we're going at 7 pm). I really need this -- just a chance to get away and have fun for a while. I keep realizing more and more as the days go by that I need to get out of this job and into one that has sick days and vacations. I’m going absolutely crazy here, which is not healthy, so it's off to Hogwarts for some much needed escapism. Huzzah!

( 11:45 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, November 13, 2002
 

Good Times, Bad Times

My life has more ups and downs than a yo-yo.

I won a gorgeous $35 scarf from Burlesque yesterday, which made me very happy, as did picking up the extended edition of Fellowship of the Ring (though they cut the "Aragorn! These woods are perilous!" line! I loved that line! Which means I'm going to have to go get the short edition LOTR. Dammit. I'll pick it up secondhand -- no doubt there'll be a flood of them now that the new ones are out). But great Gimli lines aside, there's enough really cool goodies on here to keep me happy for a long time.

The one thing that's missing though, is the thing I most hoped would be on there. In so many books, interviews, etc., we've heard the story of how they were desperate to find a Frodo and Elijah Wood, hearing about the casting call, was desperate for the part. However, he just couldn't get into it reading a page in front of a blank wall, so he rented a costume, grabbed some friends and a video camera, and took off into the woods to film his audition tape.

Am I the only one who REALLY wants to see that video????

I think I'm going to write to Alliance Atlantis and suggest it for one of the other two DVDs. I REALLY want to see it.

In the not so good news, Jenny's interview with the Era Banner didn't go so well (scroll down to the "my interview" post). Granted, in my sage sibling's words, "it's the Era Banner", but bad press is bad press. Hopefully (touching wood) there's nothing for her to worry about, but that kind of attitude is a huge sore spot with me. Jen's absolutely right. If you're not bleeding from the eyes, people assume you're not sick. Honestly. Does Jenny have to apply prosthetic lesions to get people to take her seriously? Sheesh.

( 1:40 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Hinty Hint

Hint number two for the Really Lame Anniversary Contest:

The answer to question 10 can be found in the May archives.

( 12:50 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, November 10, 2002
 

Hint, hint...

Hint number one for the Really Lame Anniversary Contest:

Question 8: The first has a direct link under "Posts of Note", and the other can be found in the August archives and refers directly to the first freaky-ass insomnia vision. (see the sidebar)

Come on, guys! Use the archives! Perfectly good story cameo awaits!

I bet there'd be more interest if my name was, oh, Rowling or something. Someday somebody'll actually consider this a really good prize. :o)

( 4:12 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, November 08, 2002
 

In other news...

Just got back from Shoppers, having spent another $65 on prescriptions, which are going to have the lovely side-effect of wreaking havoc with my GI tract. Oh joy. According to the sheet, I'm supposed to contact my doctor immediately if I experience unusual fatigue or loss of appetite -- so what if I've already got those? Ugh. My neck is incredibly sore right now, and that's translating somehow into nausea -- and this is before taking the frelling pills. Gack.

I got the pictures of me with Merry and Pippin -- unfortunately, there's a reason you're supposed to take pictures of me from above and not below. I look terrible (though Dom and Billy look adorable), so I'm taking it in to somebody to have it doctored. If I'm going to have a lasting record of one of the most thrilling moments of my life (which in and of itself is kinda sad; what can I say, I'm a fangirl), I don't want to cringe every time I look at it.

I'm going to the Two Towers exhibit again on November 23 (Saturday) at 2pm, so if you're planning on going and you'd like to hook up and go together (so you have someone who understands when you squeak "oh my God, I'm touching Legolas's clothes!!!"), you can buy tickets for that date and time here.

Due to the lack of entries in the Lame Anniversary Contest, I'll be giving hints starting tomorrow. Also, you can enter more than once -- I'll even tell you which questions you got right. So come on! A part in an as-yet-unwritten novel awaits!

And that's all for now. If you'll excuse me, I need to go lie down for a bit. ::sigh::

( 7:08 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Begging the question...

Jen's gotten a fair bit of hate-mail since her site started, which she was intellectually prepared for, but emotionally is having a hard time coping with. Totally understandable, I think. A number of her detractors post about her in their blogs. Whenever I find one, I have to restrain myself from jumping in and ripping into the blogger. Often, I'll go away for a while, simmer down, and post a calm, reasoning response explaining why they're wrong.

One recent one bashed Jenny for lying about OHIP and Welfare (which she didn't -- the blogger was wrong) and proceeded to call her "retarded" etc. (really classy move there -- Lyme Disease causes brain lesions. It's about as tactful as calling a cancer patient "baldy"). I responded quite calmly (after deleting three very rude responses before posting them) and set the record straight. Jen also saw the post and responded not-quite-so-calmly, but still very composedly despite the fact that she was hurt.

The blogger responded with the following snide remark:

"well, sorry that your family and friends suck, but mine sure don't. yeesh. in fact, i've seen my family go through hardships and you wouldn't believe the help and effort everybody gave to this one individual. so, you really don't know. [ed. -- if there's one thing Jen's familiar with, it's hardship. Oh, she'd believe it, kid. She knows.]

but anyway, that anonymous poster seems to be as well informed as you, there wouldn't be any coincidence in that now... would there? that's kinda funny, maybe it's just me.

thirdly, if i had known my journal was that popular, i would've added a few more cents. but really, what's the use now? this post has come and gone and quite frankly, no one really cares. sorry jennifer, try your luck elsewhere.

oh actually, one more thing. before you respond bashing me about bashing you, note that i own this public forum, and i have my right to speak my mind, and voice my opinions, if that bugs you, well...*plays little violin*. and besides, i plugged your damn site, you should be THANKING me. meh, i say."


I tried to respond re: paragraph two (I posted my comment anonymously because you can't fill in a name if you're not a livejournal user), but I think she blocked my IP, so I'll try again when I get home.

Snideness aside, it begs an interesting question.

Yes, it's her forum, and she has a right to say whatever she wants (and really, we weren't even responding to the original poster so much as the commenter who called Jenny "retarded"). But if you're going to talk about someone in a public forum, doesn't that someone have the right to defend themselves?

Hypothetical situation: I post a link on my blog to someone's site and call her a fuckhead. Should she be thanking me for promoting her site, or getting upset because I called her a fuckhead? She decides to be upset, so she posts a comment in my comments section. Do I leave it or do I delete it?

I think this is the reason I deleted my expletive-laded posts and went with the calm logical explanation approach. I believe people should have the right to defend themselves. If fuckhead responded to my post with a relatively calm rebuttal stating why she is not a fuckhead, I'd leave the post alone and possibly even reconsider my opinion re: her fuckheadedness. If she responded with "no, you're a fuckhead", I'd probably delete it and ignore all subsequent posts from her.

The Jenny-basher is free to post what she wants. She doesn't have to give Jen money; she doesn't have to go to her site. But I wonder if the reason she's so defensive and snide is because some part of her feels guilty or embarrassed or realizes she's wrong (and again, it wasn't even the original poster's comments Jen and I responded to so much as the serious Jenny-basher who commented on it). I do think she should have taken the time to read Jen's site first before she started throwing stones (there is a huge difference between someone like Karyn, who asks for money despite making $1000/week, and Jen who makes nothing and is constantly required to shell out more money in order to survive), and I think she should have looked at Jen's comments and been big enough to admit that even if she disagrees with the concept of cyber-panhandling, she shouldn’t look down on Jen because of it. She has no idea what Jen's gone through, and you'd really be surprised who sticks by you in a pinch. Prolonged difficulty is a tricky thing. People may rally around you in the beginning, but they lose interest very quickly even though you haven't gotten any better. And unless you're bleeding from the eyes or some equally graphic demonstration of illness, people don't realize/believe how bad it is (says the voice of experience).

Jen is in this situation through no fault of her own. Jen wants drugs she needs to survive, not luxury items like a car or a trip. She's not sitting back and letting other people bail her out of trouble; she's tried everything else. She's had to give up almost everything that mattered to her because of this illness. This is what sets her apart from the other begging sites out there and what makes her friends (the ones who haven't deserted her) so very very angry when someone bashes her. We watch Jenny being helpless in the face of this illness and want to do something to make it better, getting increasingly frustrated when there's nothing we can do. Hence, the appeal of jumping on a Jenny-basher; it makes us feel like we're doing something to help and alleviates some of the feeling of helplessness (even though Jenny really doesn't need defending -- she's more than capable of doing it herself. Watch out, she'll flip you). Plus, bashing Jenny because of her site is wrong. Period. It was not an easy decision for Jen to make, and I keep wishing that her naysayers could walk a mile in her shoes.

Let them cast stones then.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm angry. It's the griffin in me.

(an aside on that note -- Jenny mentioned something to me the other day that really rang true. She told me that Variel was like a real person to her, and she summed up my relationship with him as "like Calvin and Hobbes, if Hobbes were homicidal."

You know you're doing something right when... )

*****

I pause, my fingers on the keys. "Variel."

He freezes halfway out the window and casts a glance over his shoulder at me. It might be called innocent if griffin were capable of such expressions; as it is, it just makes me very very nervous. "Yes?"

"Where are you going?"

He maintains his attempt at innocence. "Can't I just be going out to enjoy the unseasonable warmth?"

"No." I fold my arms. "This wouldn't have anything to do with the Jenny-basher, would it?"

He examines a talon. "Whatever would have given you that idea?"

I sigh and turn back to the keyboard. "Variel?"

"Yes," he says.

"Don't kill anyone."

He stares at me until I meet his gaze, and something in it raises the hair on the back of my neck. He smiles slowly. It's the kind of expression a small, terrified creature might see just before it becomes lunch. But his voice when he responds is the epitome of nonchalance.

"I can't promise anything."

( 4:28 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Health Updates

I just got back from Dr. T in Newmarket, so here's the situation:

I've still got chronic sinusitis. The reason it's chronic is that, for some reason, once you get a bad sinus infection, every subsequent respiratory problem (cold, sniffles, flu, what-have-you) tends to become a sinus infection (she told me Dr. Adams is going through the same thing, which makes me feel a little better).

I have two options. I can keep enduring this and shelling out for antibiotics every time I get sick (I'm on a new course of new stuff the bugs shouldn't be resistant to) or I can go in for surgery. What that means is they'll go into my nose, undeviate my septum, and poke holes in my sinus cavities so they'll drain. You can understand why I'm not terribly enthusiastic about this course of action. Dr. T. says that the people she's talked to who've had the procedure done say it's excruciatingly painful -- feels like somebody's trying to kill you and they never want to see their ENT again. Aargh.

So we're holding the course of antibiotics and nasal antibiotic, and she's referring me to an allergist in Newmarket to see if I'm reacting to anything I've been exposed to/ingested.

God, I'm sick of this.

( 4:28 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, November 05, 2002
 

Happy Anniversary to Me

This should have been up yesterday, but I crashed when I got home, so you'll have to settle for it today.

My blog, as of yesterday, is one year old. It's hard to believe I've been gabbing for a year, but there you have it. One whole year of me crowing over my triumphs, musing on my personal philosophies, and bitching about my health.

I wish I'd started the counter at the same time as the blog, but I've had over eleven thousand visitors to my little corner of the web since the end of May, which quite frankly blows me away. Many of you are regulars (hi! ::waving madly::) and I'm really glad you're here. Some of you are silent, some of you are... not... (not that I mind when it's good). I've had a few bashers, but not enough to cast any kind of negative light on my blog.

I love this blog. I love having my own little corner of the web in which to vent. I love the friends I've made and the readers I've gained over the last year. I've kicked at the template, rearranged the furniture, and made it my own, and I don't intend on leaving.

In honour of my first anniversary, I've posted links to some of my "Posts of Note". These would be the posts that gained the most mail, attention, marked big events in my life, or were just plain fun to write. Occasionally there were two subsequent posts, and I combined them to save link space, hence links like "Homosexuality & Stick World." Two different posts there. :o) I haven't checked them all yet, so bear with me if they don't work, and I may take a few out as more are added. So I'm counting on you guys for feedback, which'll tell me if a post is worthy of a link or not. ;o)

But that doesn't seem enough, so without further ado, here is:

The Really Lame Anniversary Contest

Dream of the Dolphin (sometimes known as The Mystic's Dream, The Octopus's Garden, Sarah Danger and the Apartment of Doom, and others) is one year old today, and so to celebrate, I'm holding a really lame contest.

This blog is about me, and about my writing. Sooooo, the contest is about me, and the reward is about my writing.

The following ten questions about me have answers contained somewhere in this blog. Some are harder than others, but they're all there if you look through the archives (okay, I've never outright stated the answer to #5, but if you can't figure it out, you really haven't been paying attention. Okay, okay, hint: one real, one mythical). The first person to answer all ten correctly in the comments attached to this post gets to be a character in one of my books.

The fine print: You're on the honour system -- don't look at the comments before you post your answers. I'm trusting you (yeah, I know, foolish me). And if you've already got a part in a book (Tami, Jen, etc...), leave the contest for others. You can still post answers if you really feel you must, but make sure you clarify that it's a non-qualifying post. ;o)

Good luck!
  1. If I could meet any person, living or dead, who would it be?
  2. What is the full name of the main character in Elysium?
  3. Who are my two roommates?
  4. What big writing award have I won?
  5. What are my two totem animals?
  6. What local band do I love to go see?
  7. What is my favourite TV show?
  8. What are the two weird insomnia visions I've blogged about?
  9. Where do I volunteer on Mondays?
  10. What critter was the bane of my existence at the fish lab?

( 2:25 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, November 04, 2002
 

Jenny's in the Globe!

The Globe and Mail did an article on Jenny!

I'm so happy. Jenny needed some good publicity, and I think this article provides that (and pick up the print edition if you can -- there's an adorable picture of Jenny and Twister). Granted, there's a lot more detail the reporter could have gone into if it had been a human interest article or an article on the Canadian health care system, but for a technology article it cast Jenny in a very good light. I really hope it helps, because as I've said before, there's nobody who deserves it more than Jenny.

( 12:52 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, November 02, 2002
 

Hugged by Hobbits!

I JUST GOT HUGGED BY MERRY AND PIPPIN!!!

Okay. Breathing. Backing up a bit. Today was the special LOTR screening and panel, and by the time the day was over, I was having serious doubts about going. I was feeling physically rotten, headachey, and all-around-craptacular, and emotionally I was in pretty poor shape, too. When I got home, all I wanted to do was curl up in a corner and go to sleep for a year. But I couldn't back out of the panel and movie, because Amanda and Peter had committed, my sibling was on his way, and I did want to go. So the sibling arrived and I mustered up the energy to get out the door.

Only to find that Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd were in town and decided to attend the panel too.

Now, up until today, I would have said that I'd prefer a nice calm normalcy to this tossing ocean of highs and lows I've been experiencing lately. But at the moment, I'd rather feel crappy every other day and get nights like tonight, because my God, this is a pretty spectacular high.

My sibling and I saw a girl go up to the two of them and ask to have a picture with them, and my sib, being the wonderfully shameless person he is, dragged me up, too. And they said yes! So after a rather embarassing moment of not being able to get up on the stage (my frelling arms were too frelling weak after all this health nonsense), they picked me up, hauled me up between them, and I've got a lovely picture (forthcoming) of the two of them hugging me.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

You have no idea how unbelievably good I feel right now, despite the absence of appetite and the splitting throat. I got to see Amanda and Peter, and introduce them to my sib, Alice, Alexandra, and Paco, I got to watch the movie I love on the big screen again, and I got to meet my favourite hobbit! (I love Pippin) I know, I know, it's terribly fangirlish of me, but they were very gracious and really funny, and I got hugged by Merry and Pippin! How often does this happen to a girl, I mean really? God, I love my city!!!

I can't wait to get these pictures developed.

( 1:18 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, November 01, 2002
 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The snow is coming down! Break out the dogsleds, people, winter is here.

( 11:13 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

Paper Faces On Parade

So last night was the masquerade.

As masquerades go, it wasn't really a masquerade. Everyone was in costume, but until (God, I'm blanking on the name...Shauna?) showed up, the only people wearing masks were me and David. It was pretty low key -- just sitting around and talking -- but that was fun.

The food was fabulous, and I'm sorry I couldn't appreciate it (my appetite is just dead, so everything right now tastes like "I-don't-want-to-eat-this".) Alice is a fabulous cook and as such, most of the cooking duties get relegated to her -- Bronwen (one of her roommates) kind of summed it up by saying "well, I could make grilled cheese or soup, or you could make roasted mustard chicken with a side of sautéed shallots..." And it was nice to be able to dress up.

My costume looked great. The hair was a royal pain in the ass (I hate having to do fancy things myself), but I ended up twisting two-stranded braids like a crown around the back of my head. I wrapped them in a string of little pearls, shoved little white ribbon roses into it, and then stuck the rhinestone crown on top. And then went outside and glitter sprayed. LOTS of glitter spray. I looked fabulous, but ended up leaving a trail of glitter behind me. We'll be finding it around the house for ages (sorry Megan -- btw, what exactly are you doing to the shelves? I kinda like them.) It made for some interesting subway conversation. I got lots of compliments, and as I was sitting there waiting for my stop, I felt a tap-tap on my arm. I looked over, and this cat was smiling at me. "I just have to say," she said, "you look really, really good."

That was nice to hear.

It's a testament to the kind of people we are that one of the big events of the evening was David's decision to assign sins to everyone's costume and enact a tableau of the Seven Deadly Sins, with Death (David) looming over us all. I was Pride (royalty and all that), Medusa (Alexandra) was Envy, holding on to my ribbons enviously. The Queen of Hearts was Wrath, Bronwen was Sloth (I'm not sure exactly what she was, but the major part of her costume was the vines covering her, so we decided that was because she'd been lying around getting overgrown), one of her friends was Lust (the costume is self-explanatory). The Pirate (Paco) was Avarice, and I can't remember who Gluttony was -- there wasn't an appropriate costume so we just gave somebody a plate of food.

I'll post the picture when I get it.

I really love this group of people, because the conversation can turn so damned intelligent. These are smart, smart people, who share interests with me, so conversation is actually the high point of the evening. And you end up laughing a lot. I had a really great time.

And man, do I have a great idea for next year...

( 10:32 AM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

And 'round we go and 'round we go and 'round we go again...

It never ends. It never fucking ends. Every time things start going well, the universe has to come along and kick me in the shins.

It was going great. I was going to the Two Towers Exhibit (and for those who've been asking me, the official website with all the info is here), I was going to the Fellowship screening tonight with my sib and Amanda and Peter, my writing was going well, I had the masquerade. Things were looking up. Until I woke up yesterday morning feeling like I was trying to swallow a mace.

Understandably disturbed by this development, I went to the doctor yesterday after work. I can't have strep or any other throat infection because I'm on all these antibiotics. Which I told him. His response: "They put you on ceftin? Why'd they do that?"

Rii-iiight.

As it turns out, not only is this latest round of sinus nastiness showing a resistance to the ceftin, there's a 99% chance that the inhaler the respirologist has me on (the one he's not even sure I need because he can't do the test that would determine whether or not I have asthma, since I get hives in the cold sometimes) has given me thrush.

Fucking thrush.

It hurts to swallow, it hurts to talk. My appetite's gone and I'm dropping weight again. My B12 is low so I'm having trouble making it up stairs and things. The ceftin is giving me stomach problems. But more than anything else, I am so fucking angry right now I could scream. As evidenced by the swearing -- not exactly my normal mode of speech. It's been so long since I've been genuinely healthy that I've almost forgotten what it feels like. I'm angry that I'm sick, I'm angry that I'm going to have to pay for another antibiotic, and I'm really angry that this has destroyed my happy mood. I don't get many of those these days, and I'm mourning its loss. I just want to break something. I'm talking full out gryphonic need-to-eviscerate rage (for those who've read Kichani and wonder where Variel's homicidal tendencies come from, you're looking at it. I told you he was the male part of my psyche). It's put me on an emotional precipice that's extremely easy to tip over, so if I snap at you (or, conversely, if something you say causes me to burst into hysterical tears), I apologize. I'm not really mad at you. I'm just mad.

To make matters worse, I got accosted on the way home from work yesterday. Not bad, but enough to freak me out. There's this guy I think I've seen before, because he kinda reminds me of Wolverine (not in a good way). I was walking past him yesterday, and he said "You are so cute." He's got an accent, but he's fluent, so it's not like he didn't understand what he was saying. Bear this in mind. I laughed and kept walking, and he said "Hey." I turned. "You are absolutely adorable." He came toward me. The jabbering in my mind started. I should have kept walking, but I'm too damned polite sometimes. "What's your name?"

The worst thing I could have done was give it to him. So, of course, that's exactly what I did. "Paul," he said, holding out his hand. Worst thing I could have done was take it. Guess what I did.

I thought he'd just shake it, but there was no shaking. He just took it and didn't let go. "You are beautiful, you know that?" He was ignoring my attempts to leave.

"I'm also extremely late," I said, trying to pull away.

He let go, reluctantly, but as I hurried away, called after me "bye beautiful, see you again."

AAAAARRRRGHHH!!!! This is the sort of thing I would kill to get from TOOMUA, but coming from a complete stranger who looked like he'd walked out of a bad vampire movie was just freaky and distressing. And made me heartily wish for my griffin at my side.

I need to get over this. I'm in my new shirt and my evenstar pendant today, because I just felt the need to look pretty. It's sad that such things make me feel better, but there you go. I'm thinking some retail therapy tomorrow. There's a necklace at Tribal Rhythm in Kensington I haven't been able to stop thinking about -- it's set in a base of pseudo-gold, with blue Swarovski crystals set like flowers, and a little drop crystal at the hollow of the throat. It's sparkly, it's pretty, and it's only $12. I need to appease the magpie. It's the only complaint I'm capable of appeasing at the moment.

God. I need a change. YTV is auditioning hosts right now, and I'd totally send in a tape if I had access to a video camera. But I can't get one before the November 5 deadline. Ah well. Maybe next time. I'm sure this lovely stuffed-up voice would have gone over reeeeeally well.

Sorry for the bitchfest -- it was that or heave my computer through my office window. I'll report on the masquerade separately, because this post was just depressing.

( 10:31 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sarah Jane Elliott
The often frustrating progress of my life and writing...

(Once known as "The Mystic's Dream", now known as "Dream of the Dolphin", but inclined to change title depending on what's stuck in my head)

Okay, I liked "Confessions of a Post Graduate Pity Whore" a lot more than I thought I would. That line is still hilarious. But I've started writing again, so it's time to go back to before. :o)





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