Dream of the Dolphin
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore
WWJD?The following was originally posted in response to a comment that was posted in response to a very heartfelt rant on my friend Vicki's blog. But it turned out to be ridiculously long, so I'm posting it here instead.
What Would Jesus Do? Look at what he did do: He's bombed abortion clinics, beat anyone different to death, drug people behind trucks until they started falling apart, intimidated children who didn't fit in, preached intolerance from the mount, enlivened the eye-for-an-eye bit.
Okay, I know I should be getting out my ten foot pole, I know it, but, well, this kind of thinking is just as dangerous as the kind that believes all Muslims are evil and all homosexuals are child molesters.
Fundamentalist Christians can be scary (as someone once said to me, "at least the Fundamentalist Islamists know they're dangerous"), but they're not representative of Christianity as a whole, or of Jesus.
I know a lot of Christians who are jerks (like the ones who told me I was going to hell in high school because I refused to sign a petition protesting the passing of a bill that would allow teachers to acknolwledge that homosexuality exists). But then, I know atheists who are rampant homophobes and bigots. I know Christians who have tried to force their faith on me, and I know Christians who have demonstrated themselves to be the most caring, generous, selfless, and understanding people I've ever met. I've seen people standing outside churches handing out anti-gay literature, and I've seen churches proudly displaying a rainbow triangle on their welcome signs.
People are people. Some of them are nice. Some of them are jerks. Some of them are jerks in the name of Christianity. Some of them are nice in the name of Christianity.
Vicki's post was totally valid. Chick is a moron and representative of everything that's wrong with Fundamentalism. But he doesn't speak for Jesus. Because when you've met someone who actually does, like my best friend Jenny, who remains to this day the most caring selfless person I've ever known, you learn what true faith actually is. True faith is following the teachings of your religion, and not using them as an excuse.
( 3:36 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
FrustrationOver a year after sending in the requested rewrite of "Mirror, Mirror", I finally heard back from the editor of Weird Tales. He was very nice, apologized profusely for taking so long and thanked me for my professionalism, and sent me a very thorough, very professional, very well-thought out two-page rejection.
His reasons were perfectly logical. Perfectly valid. Perfectly justified. And I want to break something into very very tiny pieces. I thought I was used to rejections, but I found out that one coming after a year of getting my hopes up still has the power to reduce me to tears.
But at least things weren't all bad today. I got my very first piece of fanmail for the Kesh stories (hi, Michelle!), which was very, very nice.
And I got something else.
UPDATE: After having time to think through my funk (and reading Chris's copy of The Princess Diaries that she lent me yesterday), I have decided to get over myself and send Mirror, Mirror off to realms tomorrow. Also, I've decided that never, EVER again will I assume that I'll sell something until I have the contract in my hand.
( 4:03 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Five QuestionsVia E.L. Chen, here are my answers to the five question blog meme (is it just me, or is the phrase "blog meme" just another blog meme? Ooh. Head hurting...)
1. What is the one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
Hmmm. Probably that during a party at Tami's house one summer (I think it was when we were doing Best of the Musical), I was the one to initiate the skinny-dipping. Which really wasn't that big a deal, seeing as it was only girls and it was the middle of the night, and we didn't actually take anything off until we were out in the lake anyway. And we were WAY too far out for the guys on the shore to actually see anything.
I also tend to shock people a lot when I say "fuck". As in, "It's Sarah! Sarah doesn't say things like that!" I do, just not often. I save it for when I actually need it.
I think I tend to come across as uber-innocent and of somewhat old-fashioned sensibility, which is why it surprises people when I say or do something dirty.
The people who really know me know better.
2. If you had to move to a foreign country, in which no one speaks English (or any other languages you may be familiar with) and you had to immerse yourself in the language and culture quickly, which country would it be?
Japan, most likely. I really like Japanese culture (no, it's not just because I watch a lot of anime, either). I think it's absolutely beautiful I keep seeing pictures and videos of shrines set back in the trees and thinking how much great writing would come from an afternoon spent wandering around one.
Although Africa would be cool, too (though, with my heath, it'd probably kill me). I DID apply for a job in Kenya, once. It was to put together a children's museum. I didn't get the job, but had it been offered, I probably would have taken it.
3. Do you like living downtown?
I love living downtown. One day, when I have a stable career and am ready to buy a house, I'd like to find one that's somewhat isolated, with a big back yard large enough for a dog. But for the time being, I'm perfectly happy where I am. I love being able to walk to all three of my jobs. I love being able to find really neat gifts for people in little out of the way shops. I love the cast of characters that populate my street, including Crazy Psychic Lady and Yelling Guy. I love being able to get bubble tea at 3 a.m. at the shop on the corner. I love being able to go out whenever I'm bored, no matter what time it is, and find something to do, because there's always something going on in this city.
4. What writer(s) send you wallowing into the depths of despair because you think you'll never be as amazing as they are?
Neil Gaiman. Almost every time I read something of his (especially his short stories), all I can think is "damn, I wish I'd written that."
I suppose I'm envious of Meredith Pierce (although, as far as I'm concerned, the last two chapters of Pearl of the Soul of the World do not exist). She has this incredible, lyrical style that awes me. Connie Willis, too (yes, I bitch about Passage a lot, but that doesn't mean I'm not fully aware that damn, the woman can write).
And I would love to be able to write books like Meg Cabot. She kept me up way too late last night.
But really, though there are a ton of authors I love to pieces (Emma Bull, Sharon Shinn, Robin McKinley, Julie Czerneda, etc.), there isn't much despair, because though I know there are a lot of writers better than I am and that I'm still learning, I'm still well aware that I am learning (a point that got hammered home when I compared the new Kichani to the original), and I've got a long time in which to learn how to write as well as them. So maybe someday I'll be the one creating envy.
I am nothing if not an optimist. :o)
5. What is the most embarrassing fashion item you've ever worn - which you thought was really cool at the time?
Hard to say -- I've worn a lot of crap.
I do recall one black t-shirt spattered with this puffy neon latex-y stuff in yellow, green, and pink. Textured and fluorescent. I thought it was pretty nifty. In hindsight, it was pretty bad.
I once wore a pacifier for half a year because the rest of the girls in my class were wearing them. Then I found out what it meant, and stopped.
Ooh, okay, in the summer between grade 8 and 9, I had this Mary-Sue-ish SF story on the go about this genius girl who was on the run from pretty much everybody because she'd developed an AI, which was small enough that she installed his processor in this bracelet around her wrist (if you've ever seen the Australian show "Girl From Tomorrow", you should know exactly what I mean). My grandfather gave me a watch for my birthday, and I figured out that the black velvet thing the watch sat on in the case would fit around my wrist. So I sewed silver beads on the thing (they were the "sensors") and wore it to class pretty much every day, and whenever I'd get bored (which was often, especially in the bigger classes), I'd start daydreaming with the AI (named DJ -- again, see Girl From Tomorrow) to keep me company.
This would have been a LOT more embarrassing if any of my classmates had ever found out about it. Fortunately, this was one of geeky things I did that actually stayed a secret for a change.
So. Want to play?
1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed
( 12:58 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
DONE!It's done! The second Variel story is done!
GOD, that was hard! Now all I need to do is polish it up and send the both of them off. Whee!
Karina, check your inbox this afternoon. :o)
( 1:01 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, January 26, 2004
The Art of ProcrastinationNote to self: try to keep a better eye on the time. Staying up on Saturday till 5 a.m. writing makes you very tired on Monday, even if you did managed to get 8 hours in on Sunday night.
I also got sucked into a really good book over the weekend, which, in addition to the awesome 10th Kingdom Marathon on Sunday with Karina, meant that I did not actually get the new Variel story finished as I was so sure I would. Dammit. But the book was great. It's Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot (author of the Princess Diaries). Chris gave it to me at Bakka because she'd gotten two (in case I haven't made it abundantly clear yet, I think my Bakka job rocks), but I hadn't yet touched it, having a rather large To-Be-Read pile. But during a moment of story procrastination (following a rather intense and wringing emotional scene) I got up to stretch and decided to take a peek at first couple pages of the book.
Four hours later, I finished it.
It's great. It's absolutely hilarious, sweet, and touching, and it's told entirely through e-mails, IM transcripts, notes scrawled on menus, answering machine messages, deposition transcripts, and journal entries. It's very hard to make that kind of story structure work, but this does. It works perfectly. I'm ecstatic to find out that she's got a sequel on the go.
Check out her blog, too.
In further procrastinatory measures this weekend, I discovered (Via Neil Gaiman) The Most Lamentable and Excellent Text Adventure of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and spent a good half of Friday (I worked the evening shift at the ROM) playing. Kill Claudius. Kiss Gertrude. Throw skull at gravedigger. Kick Othello (I do NOT recommend that one). Great fun.
( 12:50 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Friday, January 23, 2004
Friendship Acid TestYou know somebody knows you really well when...
I called Tami up on my break, with 5 minutes to go and my batteries dying, so I had to talk fast. Everything that she knows has been on the blog at some point.
"Hi," I said. "Thing of great importance. Guess what's shipping to me next week!"
::GASP:: "Are you serious????"
So. How well do you know me? ;o)
( 8:08 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
MehHoo boy. Yup, sick again. Just a cold this time, but a nasty one. Had some trouble breathing yesterday, but the doctor gave me inhalers, which seem to be helping. Back at work today and squeaking by.
I did make it to the ROM on Sunday, which was probably a stupid thing to do, but I was at that transitional point where the cold stops being one thing (throat pain) and hasn't yet become the other thing (sinus and chest congestion), so I foolishly thought I was better. Ha. Still, I got to see Nathaniel and (briefly) meet his friends from England, so it wasn't all bad.
Met an interesting kid. I was checking out the hive trying to find the queen, and this small blond child comes to sit next to me. I asked him if he wanted to help me find the queen. He said yes, and once I explained what we were looking for, he set out to help.
"I like bugs," he said.
"That's very cool," I told him. "A lot of people are scared of the bees."
"Yeah, but I'm not. What's your name?"
"Sarah," I said.
"Hi Sarah, I'm Clay. How old are you?"
"Twenty-five," I said.
"I'm seven, going on eight." He examined the hive again. "I like other cool stuff, too."
"Oh," I said. "Like what?"
"Huh?" I thought, thinking Man, isn't this kid a little young for John Norman?
"You know, gore. Like blood, and guts, and people dying and stuff."
"Ah," I said. Completely at a loss for anything else to say.
There followed a perfectly normal conversation during which he asked about bees, my I.D. badge, told me what a cool job I had, just normal inquisitive kid stuff, which is usually refreshing, since it's sometimes hard to get the kids to talk to us.
"That's a cool ring," he said, pointing at the one Jenny gave me. "Have you seen Lord of the Rings?"
"Oh, yeah," I said. "I love those movies."
"Me too," said Clay. "I've seen all three. I really liked it when that guy was on fire."
"Uh-huh," I said.
"You know what would be cool?"
"What would be cool, Clay?"
"I think it would be really cool if someone who wanted to die covered himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire and ran around going 'Aaah! Aaah! Aaaah!' I'd like to see that. Wouldn't that be cool?"
"I don't know," I said. "I think that would be kind of sad."
It was about then that Clay's mother told him it was time to go.
Sometimes, I'm left not knowing what to think. This was one of those times.
( 10:04 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Imagery, Anyone?Last weekend at the ROM, I was standing up at the Mossy Frog tank with a couple who were caught between amusement and horror at the frogs'....erm... recreational activities (no, they don't always stick to opposite genders or single partners. Carlos swears he had nothing to do with it). I explained that since they have no predators in the tank and we provide them with tons of special vitamin-coated crickets, there's really nothing to do but... recreate.
"Wow," said the guy, staring into the greenery. "It's like their own little Garden of Eden in there."
Later that day, I was standing down on the lower floor trying to keep Bob the Ball Python away from Max (the overly inquisive kid with odd mental wiring). As I'm standing there with a very large snake wrapped around me, Nancy goes tearing past me after a little girl calling, "no, I'm sorry honey, you can't eat that apple!" as, over in TGP, a little boy watching the prairie burn videos called out "look Mom, a burning bush!"
Huh, I thought and, hoisting my snake, went off to impart more knowledge.
( 5:37 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, January 11, 2004
The International Language of BatmanYesterday was a full and productive day.
It didn't start out or end so well -- we have to clean Pyewacket's wound every morning and evening, which means I sit on the floor holding her as tightly as possible while both of us cry -- her from the pain, and me from having to do it to her. Yuck. But that was the only dark point of the day.
Nathaniel and I went to the Whitfield family Christmas, which was delayed this year because his newest cousin Helena was still too small to travel. She's absolutely adorable, as is Julian, who is the only child I've ever seen who can be cheered out of tears by whacking him on the head with a tin pie plate.
After a fabulous lunch (and presents), we headed out to Mississauga for a party at Rob Sawyer's house. It was great to see people that I only have a chance to meet up with a few times a year (Russell, I had some more ideas -- I'll e-mail you later), but the biggest surprise was Rick Wilber. Apparently he lives just across the border now, so it's only an hour and a half to Toronto. It was great to see him again (and Karina got some information that came as a great relief), and I'm really excited that I'll be seeing him more often now.
And then there was Nathaniel, who discovered what Karina called "the International Language of Batman". There were two small children there, one of whom brought his Batman toys, but one spoke English and the other French. So Nathaniel played with them for a while (and translated) -- one French Batman, one English Batman, and one Bilingual Batman -- before discovering that they didn't actually need a translator. Apparently Batman knows no boundaries.
Then I had to come home and torture my cat again, but I went to bed motivated (as I always am after these things) to finish the Variel story and get it published.
Now, to find the time to do it...
( 1:55 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Saturday, January 10, 2004
There's A Hole in My Kitten (Dear Liza)It's been another nuts week. I haven't had time to breathe between the jobs and the Wacket. See, the Wacket managed to get hurt last week and ended up with a nasty abcess. Long story short, we had to take her in for surgery today, which cost way too much, but hey, I'm not ready to lose this cat. She's in really good spirits -- the vet loved her, said she was playing in her cage and stuff while waiting to be picked up. She's still playing with her mice, though she's having trouble jumping (on account of the large hole in her side). The only down side is when we had to clean out the wound (we have to keep it from scabbing over for a few days). She didn't like that at all -- enough to kinda sorta bite me (even then, she didn't actually hurt me). I felt horrible. The vet was vague on how long we have to do it, so I'll call tomorrow and ask. I don't want to do it for any longer than I absolutely have to.
It was nice having a day off for a change, though. I got some of my room cleaned, though I have yet to get to the new Variel story, which is driving me nuts, cause I REALLY want to write it now. Tomorrow's out, and I'm working Sunday, and Monday is back to the office. Blargh.
But at least I had fun today (in and around the hauling Pye to the vet). Alice and Karina and I went out for a girls' night -- we had dinner at a lovely crepe place and then went to see Peter Pan, which was fabulous the second time through, too. None of us can figure out why it got such bad reviews, because we all love it. It's beautifully filmed, the kids are fabulous, it's dark in all the right places and yet genuinely funny too, and it's touching. It makes you feel really, really good.
Ah well. I can't wait for the DVD.
( 12:17 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Monday, January 05, 2004
Ow.Oh, was it ever a LOOOONG weekend. The only day I had off this week was the 1st -- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was working all day at the ROM. At the very busy, it's-the-holidays, last-day-of-Art-Deco-and-Peter-Rabbit's-Garden ROM. Oh. Dear. God. I hurt so much now, it's not even funny. I can't even answer the phone without pain. But my God, did I ever have fun.
For the most part, despite the fact that the museum was a zoo, I had fun. Lots of fun. I got to help out with the Life Sciences Safari on Saturday, which meant two hours interacting with a dodo puppet at the bird station (though I kind of wanted to be the puppet after a while). And since I didn't get to spend any time with the live animals on Friday or Saturday, I got Bob to myself for two whole hours yesterday. Oh, bliss.
The only "urk" point of the weekend came yesterday, when I came closer to smacking a kid than I have in my almost three years at the museum. And it wasn't that this kid was a brat, because he wasn't. He was genuinely inquisitive. But Max is one of those kids who just doesn't listen. His parents drop him and his brother off at the gallery and then leave to look at other things in the museum, which they're not supposed to do -- we are not a daycare -- but when they came back, Nancy and I got the feeling that he doesn't listen to them either.
See, there are two rules when interacting with the snakes. 1) touch them gently, in the direction of the scales, and 2) stay away from their heads.
Well, Max kept trying to get around the rules. He petted the snake gently at first, but he wasn't satisfied with that. He wanted to hold the snake. I'll pass them off to people sometimes, but only if I'm sure they'll be careful and treat the snakes with respect. Not so with this kid. I wouldn't let Bob go to him, but he saw that if Bob went to one of the other staff or volunteers I didn't do anything. So Max was determined to make Bob come to him. Bob will crawl up your arm if he finds your hand, so Max was RIGHT THERE every time I turned around, his hand up, trying to get Bob off of me. Bob spent a lot of time hanging over my shoulder, so Max was always RIGHT BEHIND ME. Like a magnet. Or a limpet. Every time I moved, he was on top of me. This really got to me because even if I hadn't determined that Max just wasn't careful enough to hold the snake, I do not want people touching the snake when I can't see them. Nancy and I told him till we were blue in the face "keep away from his head", but he was always trying to squeak around the rules, if not outright ignoring the "Max, keep in front of me" rule. He was always there, asking questions (which is fine) while poking, prodding, and jabbing at the snake (which is not). He'd pet Bob (which is fine), but then he'd come up and flap paper in his face, ostensibly to see if he'd go toward the green or red part he'd coloured on the paper (which is not).
Nancy was fabulous, and I wouldn't have gotten through it without her. But even with both of us going at him, he was still there every time I turned around, picking at his tail ("Max, would you like it if someone came up and started poking you in the butt?") or running pennies along his scales. Max kept insisting he wasn't doing anything to bother the snake. Of course, Bob coming to your hand is one thing, but if he decides not to and the hand chases him around and bumps into him, it makes him really nervous. Especially since he can smell that it's the same hand every time.
Now, when you're holding five pounds of muscle twined around both arms, you can feel everything that muscle does. Trust me, I know when the snake is nervous, because I can feel him clamping down on me. When a snake flinches, he does it with his entire body. Bob is the mellowest snake I've ever held. He's the oldest of the snakes (he's 8) and has been with the museum the longest (he was poached when very young, the poachers arrested, and Bob turned over to the ROM) so he's been doing this a long time. Very little fazes him. I've never felt him flinch quite so much. And when you turn the five pounds of predatory muscle into five pounds of jumpy, irritated, nervous predatory muscle, don't be surprised if the snake's handler isn't too fond of you. Nancy kept trying to explain that if Bob felt threatened, he'd end up biting Max (or me), but the kid just didn't seem to get that a hand coming at your face repeatedly could be a threatening move. Either that or he wanted to see the snake bite something. We were never really sure.
Still, limpet-kid aside, it was one hell of a great weekend. Even if I can't move today.
( 11:45 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Thursday, January 01, 2004
A Year In the LifeAnother year over and a new one just beginning. So here's a look at the memorable events in my life for 2003.
This New Year's Eve was a marked contrast to the uninspired blah-ness that was last year.
No, it wasn't a large or raucous party. In the end, due to issues of illness and timing, it was just me and Nathaniel (and Erin for the countdown). But it was wonderful.
We went to see Peter Pan, which I adored. I knew I'd like it, but I really, really loved this movie, and want very much to see it again. I think everyone involved did a wonderful job. Though we ended up in one of the VIP theatres at the Varsity, which turned out to be dinky. It's something like 24 seats, total. But it was sweet, and charming, and just dark enough to be really, really cool.
Then we headed back to my house for dinner of snacky-things and Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, which is a really fun game. Sometimes it pays to be a geek.
Then came the countdown with Erin (we used the sparkling wine my uncle gave me for my birthday). Shortly afterward, sleep caught up to me like a tide and I don't remember much after that, though I'm assuming I made it up to bed, since that's where I woke up (no, I wasn't drunk, I had half a glass of fake champagne. I was just that tired).
But though it wasn't loud, or crowded, or particularly eventful, it was wonderful. Because this year I had someone wonderful to share it with.
All in all, it was a pretty damned good year.
( 5:21 PM ) Sarah Jane ~