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

Free Story!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
 

Even Educated Fleas Do It

I don't know if it was the cold or the lightning or what, but something was seriously messing with my dreams last night.

It began with Karina and me winning tickets to a theme park run by a corporation much like Disney, only far more sinister. Things started to go awry almost as soon as we arrived, with children disappearing, strange people dressed as cartoon characters walking through walls, and a seriously creepy soundtrack.

It got weirder when Enter the Haggis showed up (dressed like some movie costume department decided they needed to look hipper). As it turned out, they like to solve mysteries in between gigs. They all piled out of the van, and it got stranger. There were wild plane rides, several romantic subplots, a near-death chase in the Haggis van, and Trevor (the ETH guitarist) and I leading everyone in a full-scale production number of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It."

Yes, my dream turned into a musical. I need to have dreams like that more often.

( 10:54 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, April 26, 2004
 

Sage Words

And here's yet another reason why I love Meg Cabot:

Anyway, Hellboy--oh my God, I LOVE Hellboy. PLEASE tell me there'll be a Hellboy 2, because this movie was so, so good. I was a huge Beauty and the Beast fan (yeah, the TV series, and yeah, and I'm not ashamed to admit it) but I thought Ron Perlman was even better as Hellboy.

Maybe that's because Hellboy has more of a sense of humor than the poor Beast did. Although I guess the Beast didn't have much to laugh about, living under the subway and all.

But this raises--yet again--the problematic question of: Why are fictional mutants so often hotter than real life guys? This is just wrong. But really, Hellboy and Wolverine are way hotter to me than Orlando Bloom. Except when he’s Legolas. Then he’s hot too. What is UP with that?
God, HOW long do I have to wait until her next book comes out?

( 5:26 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, April 24, 2004
 

Ella Enchanted

Karina and I decided that our Friday afternoon would be well spent going to see the matinee of Ella Enchanted. We ended up being the only two in the theatre. Which was fun -- we could talk all we wanted during the trailers. Then the movie started.

Oh my lord. It was exactly what I needed.

No, it's not faithful to the book. Much in the way the Princess Diaries wasn't faithful to the book. In PD-the-novel, Mia's grandmother is a chain-smoking, drinking nightmare with no eyebrows, tattoed-on eyeliner, and a neurotic poodle who won't stop licking himself bald. In PD-the-movie, she's Julie Andrews. Both wonderful, but in very different ways.

Well, the same goes for Ella Enchanted (and, not coincidentally, both movies are helped out by the presence of the absolutely fabulous Anne Hathaway). It's not the Gail Carson Levine book. But it was a really fun movie.

I've heard people compare it to Shrek, or the Princess Bride, and they're not far off, but the comparison that comes closest is Tenth Kingdom. If you liked Tenth Kingdom, you'll like Ella. True, both have their what-the-hell-were-they-thinking moments (in Tenth Kingdom, it was the singing ring. In Ella, it's the talking snake), but you can look past those and just enjoy the movie. The comparison was also underscored by the fact that Hattie was played by Sally Peep. But it created that same happy, slightly-silly, I've-come-home feeling that I get when I watch Tenth Kingdom, and I had a silly grin on my face for pretty much the whole thing.

Oh, and the Cary Elwes role is EXACTLY what I said it would be -- a way to externalize the conflict at the climax of the book. In the book, it's entirely internal, which is lovely on paper, but on screen would just have been Anne Hathaway making pained faces for five minutes. Cary's role makes the threat immediate, rather than implied. And it worked really, really well. So long as you ignore the frelling snake.

I am SO buying this when it comes to DVD. It will live happily on my shelf between Ever After and Bend it Like Beckham (and I wish Parminder Nagra had more to do, but Arieda's role was cut WAY down to accomodate everything else in a 90 minute movie).

I just wish I could figure out why, when half the cast was British, they made Minnie Driver adopt an American accent. ::shrug::

( 11:10 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, April 22, 2004
 

On the Sick Shelf

Sick today -- the nasal drippy thing that started after Doctor Dingbat speared my brain ended up settling into my chest after all.

In the meantime, I found myself dipping into my sick shelf -- the one loaded with comfort books I save for when I'm unwell. So far today, I've read:
  • The Princess Diaries 3: Princess in Love - Meg Cabot
  • The Princess Diaries 4: Princess in Waiting - Meg Cabot
  • Endurance - S.L. Viehl
  • The Ragwitch - Garth Nix (okay, I'm reading this for work, it's still good)
  • Boy Meets Girl - Meg Cabot
Hmm... I'm sensing a trend...

( 10:32 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Wednesday, April 21, 2004
 

Ummm.... WHAT???

Okay, I was listening to the radio, and this commercial came on, which basically went like this:

"Dandelions are popping up all over Toronto, and thanks to an unreasonable bylaw, we can't do anything about it. Golf courses are exempt from this bylaw. So there's really nothing you can do unless you turn your yard into a golf course. Do something about this bylaw. Write to your city council demanding responsible weed control. Keep Toronto green. Paid for by the Toronto Environmental Coalition."

What. The. FUCK????

I'm stunned. I don't even know where to begin. "Waah, waah, waah, they won't let us dump toxins on our lawns any more. We can't do anything but stand here and watch the dandelions come up." Ummm... here's a suggestion -- get off your butt and WEED!

The kicker is the whole Environmental Coalition thing. I'm just dumbfounded. If you want to form the pretentious homeowners lawn association, be my guest, but don't hide behind the "it's good for the environment" flag. I can condone using herbicides on introduced species that are threatening to out compete native populations (provided said herbicides don't subsequently wipe out other native populations), but your lawn does not count. Especially when you're Joe Idiot who will liberally dump herbicides without any thought to what else your herbicides might be affecting, so long as your lawn says nice and green. This is the kind of faulty ecology Mike Harris employed with his whole "well clearcutting is okay because it's like a forest fire, and forest fires are natural" thing, and it seriously pisses me off. Of course, the Toronto Environmental Coalition is composed largely of lawn care professionals. Which actually explains a lot.

You know what? I'm writing to my city councillor commending them on showing some thought toward environmental preservation.

Take that, Environmental Coalition.

( 11:22 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Monday, April 19, 2004
 

Happy Days Are Here Again...

Seriously.

Saturday was another one of those "God, I love my job" days at Tanya Huff's book signing, which went really well, despite Tanya's walking pneumonia. Michelle started off the day in leather pants, but when Simone (our resident chainmail maker) saw them she made Michelle add a chainmail vest as well. As it turns out, I was the only staff in the store not dressed entirely in black (Michelle's top under the vest was black), which is going to make the staff photo look pretty funny. Someone made a comment about receiving a message about the different types of goth, and one of them listed was "perky goth", which conjured up the disturbing image of a vampire with a pink bow in her hair. I didn't go quite that far, but I was all colourful and sparkly.

Tanya signed my book and I survived probably the busiest time on cash I've ever had -- go me! The food was great -- Felix and Norton cookies and sushi. The sushi trays came with these little plastic fish full of soy sauce, and John Rose narrowly avoided death after threatening to squirt Michelle with one, but I think they're adorable. I took one with me (they were being liberally distributed, though I think part of that was to keep them away from John).

And I had kind of the reverse moment from how good I used to feel when I realized that Chris actually knew who I was, back before she hired me. Lara and Robbie came in to get books signed, and I chatted with them for a while (while Rob made interesting poems out of the magnetic poetry on the cash register), and when they left, I got a goodbye hug from Rob. Which was about the point at which I realized "hey, I now have my own regulars!" Which, for some reason, thrilled me immensely.

I started crashing around the end of it, though -- it happens these days around 6 -- so coffee with Dan is pretty much a blur.

Yesterday was more ROM, during which Sharilynn told me that I was one of her strong staff so she wasn't worried that we were shorthanded or training a volunteer -- more go me! I stopped by the scilla carpet on the way home to unload half a roll of film on it. I'm not sure if all the rain had anything to do with it, but the fragrance wafting from all those flowers was beautiful.

Today wasn't starting out as well -- I went to the new ENT I got referred to, and I swear to God, he tried to impale my brain with his endoscope. I'm about ready to give up and follow Dr. Kolenda to Oakville.

Fortunately, the afternoon's looking better. Around about lunchtime, I thought to myself: hmmm... I haven't won anything for a while and managed to win myself a copy of Some Like It Hot from MIX 99.9, for being able to identify the movie clip. Go me again!

I had a conversation with Leslie today, which reminded me just how lucky I am. I'm (relatively) healthy, I have great friends, and I absolutely adore the majority of my jobs. It was one of those conversations that just leaves you feeling happy. Despite the exploding yogurt cup at lunch.

And the Angry Girl Mix I'm making for M. is coming along. So far the tracklist is as follows:

1. Kim Stockwood -- You Jerk
2. Gloria Gaynor -- I Will Survive
3. Meredith Brooks -- Bitch
4. Devo -- Girl You Want
5. Avril Lavigne -- Don't Tell Me (and possibly Complicated).
6. Alanis Morisette -- You Oughtta Know
7. Sarah Connor -- Bounce
8. Tori Amos -- Precious Things

at which point I get kinda stuck. Any other suggestions?

( 1:10 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Saturday, April 17, 2004
 

Joy...

Today was a good day. Karina and I went to see Hellboy, which was most enjoyable, and then went to show off her hair at Bakka. Then, after dinner at Ginger, I took her to see the scilla.

See, Spring just makes me giddy. Seriously giddy. Giddy enough that I'm practically skipping everywhere, and singing almost constantly. Which, granted, can garner me the odd look or two, especially when I'm singing Carmina Burana (which is odd enough on its own) and have the tenor solo running in my head, and only occasionally spontaneously (or so it would appear to Joe-on-the-street) burst out with "Wafna!" But I digress.

There is much I adore about spring in Toronto. I love how the buds swell, and swell, and then you walk past a bush on the way to work and when you're walking home, BAM! Leaves. I love the robins sitting on fences with nesting material in their beaks. I love how the grass just keeps getting greener and greener. I love the crocuses and the tulips and the dwarf irises. But most of all, I love the scilla.

See, there are certain areas of the city that are rife with scilla. So when Spring has finally arrived, you can tell, because the scilla bursts across the ground like a magic carpet of blue. Some people think I'm indulging in hyperbole, but I took Karina to see the scilla carpet outside the Faculty of Music today, and she can now vouch for me. It truly is like magic. And one of the many reasons why I love this city so very, very much. Especially at springtime.

( 1:01 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, April 16, 2004
 

A Free-Write Snippet

Cause sometimes you just have to write something. Why not collide two worlds and see what happens?

***********

He wasn't the usual sort of customer one would find at Hidden Treasures. His jersey was about three sizes too big for his scrawny frame, his hat looked ready to fall off, as did his pants -- the crotch hung somewhere in the vicinity of his knees. A classic example of what Fiona had dubbed the "too damn stupid to dress myself" look.

Alison cast a wary glance at Fiona. The pen had slipped from her hand and she stood, staring agape, at the newcomer. "You have got to be kidding me."

He zeroed in on the counter almost immediately. "Yo, yo, yo! 'Sup?"

Fiona shuddered. "Oh, let turn him into a frog. Please?" She whirled and clutched at Sheila's sleeve, forestalling any comment from the older woman. "Please? Please?"

Sheila didn't bother looking up from her book. "No frog-turning in my store."

"Dammit." Fiona nudged Allison in the ribs. "Go see if you can find me an unwarded muffin, will you?"

"Fiona," came Sheila's quiet warning.

Fiona blinked at her. "What?"

( 12:56 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, April 13, 2004
 

I REALLY Love My Job

Okay, here's yet another stellar example of why I love my job -- after a long hard day of shelving stuff (sadly in need of it, only made it to the F shelf, though the Lost Corner of E got excavated and brought pretty much in line), Chris decided to close the store ten minutes early so that we could go see The Prince and Me (which was warm and sweet and exactly what I needed).

There are many reasons why I love my job, and many why I love my boss. This is one of them.

And in other news, CHECK OUT KARINA'S HAIR!!!

( 11:26 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Sunday, April 11, 2004
 

No, seriously. Bugger off.

Okay, the thing that set me off on Friday was a forty-something father of four getting me going on science and homeschooling, only to find out it was all an excuse to ask me out. Which, granted, I should have known from the "you don't find pretty women with brains much" or "ocean in Hawaii" bits. But bear with me. So that was creepy enough to warrant the invocation of Fictional Boyfriend.

But then I went in to work today and found out that he'd come BACK with his kids yesterday and, with no me, started hitting on Amie (who is much more wise in the ways of the world than me and made herself scarce back at "but I only have my kids for the weekends"). I mean seriously, it's just bad form to make advances on people in their place of employment unless you're DAMNED sure they want you to.

Gah. I mean, maybe he's just a perfectly nice man who really liked the museum. But I've already had one stalker to deal with (which, believe me, was one too many), and I'm kinda creeped out at the idea of possibly having another. And he knows about the bookstore, dammit.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to come out from my happy little bubble.

So I stopped at Blockbuster on the way home to get myself some chocolate and a Colin Firth movie. Which would have been an "ehh" kind of movie were it not for the fact that Colin Firth was in it. Colin Firth + pretty much anything really = happy Sarah. And yes, I'm aware of the irony of geeting skeezed out by the idea of these guys twice my age hitting on me and soothing myself with Colin Firth... but dude. It's Colin Firth. And trust me, the guys coming into the museum are not Colin Firth. Now that, I wouldn't mind. I mean, I wouldn't even need a relationship, all he has to do is talk at me for a while. Ooh. Let me think about that one for a minute.

Okay, so basically, to sum up, hitting on a girl in her place of... no. No, hang on. Back to that Colin Firth at the ROM thing. Okay. Gonna dwell on that for a while... Yup. Definitely happy thought...

( 11:44 PM ) Sarah Jane ~





Friday, April 09, 2004
 

Hurrah For the Walnut Bladder!

Most of the time, having a bladder the size of a walnut is really annoying. But there are times, like this morning, when it comes in handy. I woke up early (about the time my alarm usually goes off) for the pre-dawn trip to the bathroom and, for some inexplicable reason, thought "gee, I wonder if I should have checked the ROM schedule (bearing in mind that I always do this for my 5:45 - 9:45 Friday night shifts, and it always reads 5:45 - 9:45). And lo, I forgot it was Good Friday. I was scheduled for 9:45 a.m. - 6:15 p.m. I made it to work with 5 minutes to spare. Go walnut bladder!

So, despite the fact that, thinking I didn't have to be in to work until almost 6 p.m., I stayed up till almost 3 a.m. reading Tanya Huff's new book and was consequently a walking zombie, the day went pretty smoothly. Aside from the small hitting-on-me snafu.

Charlene has proposed we amend the "ASK ME" buttons to read "ASK ME (just don't ask me out)". And honestly, half of them are perfectly nice (and not actually old enough to be my father). But one can only hear "your eyes are the colour of the ocean" or some variation thereon so many times before it gets creepy. You wouldn't think so many single guys would come up with "gee, I think the Hands-on Biodiversity gallery at the ROM would be a good place to pick up girls", and yet you can't swing a cat these days without hitting one. Weird.

Anyway, my day at the Bio/Singles Gallery ended with me running into Jen, a girl I shared a floor with in first year. Which was odd, in one of those reminiscent sort of ways. I was in an odd mood walking home. Spring has emphatically arrived (though I'm still waiting for Winter's final hurrah) and walking home seeing flowers blooming and robins building their nests always makes me feel kind of gooshy inside. I got a few odd looks, since I was grinning like an idiot, but it's all good.

And speaking of good (nice segue, huh?), Enter the Haggis needs your help. If you want to see their ENTER THE HAGGIS: LIVE AT LANIGAN'S BALL special (You do. Trust me.), follow this link and add your voice to the throng.

( 11:15 PM ) Sarah Jane ~


 

A Little Night Music

So last night was the Toronto Choral Society's first concert of the season -- part two (of three) of Toronto: A Musical Mosaic. The dress rehearsal was abysmal. The concert... rocked. Okay, rocked as much as smarm-pieces from the early 1900s can, but rocked nonetheless. O Fortuna sounded incredible. Regina Coeli was lovely. And Begin the Beguine was phenomenal.

Apparently there's a CD coming.

And despite last-minute wardrobe malfunctions (yes, I'm serious) that saw me ripping buttons off and frantically stitching up seams ten minutes before I had to be out the door, and appealing to Megan for her slinky skirt because my black velvet one reflects the light too much, I had a great time. I really missed being in a choir, and last night's concert brought back exactly why I love singing so much. Because when an 80-person choir pulls together at the last minute, and you hear the music hanging in the air after the conductor has cut you off, there's a certain magic there that I was sorely lacking.

Here's hoping our June 2 performance of Carmina Burana goes as well.

And speaking of music, Enter the Haggis has four tracks of the new CD available for your listening pleasure on their website. Go. Listen. Covet. Wait in breathless anticipation for the Toronto CD launch on April 29.

For a fun piece of randomness, check out the Random Kitten Generator.

And finally, courtesy of Krista, another fun blog meme.

1: Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 16, find line 13. Write down what it says:

"is being devoured by a distant relative of Cthulhu."


2: Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?:

A mirror.


3: What is the last thing you watched on TV?:

On English TV: Survivor. On Japanese TV: Inuyasha 145.


4: WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what the time is:

1:30 a.m.


5: Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?:

1:19 a.m.


6: With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?:

Pyewacket going apeshit over the moths in the hall, and the 24-hour streetcar going by outside.


7: When did you last step outside? What were you doing?:

This afternoon, coming home from work.


8: Before you came to this web site, what did you look at?:

Kelley Armstrong's "when Clayton met Elena" online novella-in-progress.


9: What are you wearing?:

Winnie-the-Pooh pyjamas and a green cardigan.


10: Did you dream last night? What about?:

I dreamed more of The New Thing. There was a beach with diamonds in place of sand, and reeds that played music when the wind blew through them. And a lake that devours things.


11: When did you last laugh?

A few minutes ago upon hearing, from the next room: "Oh, Alistair, that is not your goat! I don't like finding pieces of dead animal in my bed!" (my roommate Erin, referring to her cat's obsession with Megan's sangoma stuff -- which is constantly finding its way from Megan's altar to Erin's room)


12: What is on the walls of the room you are in?:

North wall: A griffin stained glass I got at WorldCon in the auction, the snow queen mask from two halloweens ago, the firebird mask I got this christmas, the me-and-Variel picture by Peter Maloney, a to-do list, a dentist reminder, a Josephine Wall calendar, anda Mirror.

East wall: My brag wall for when I start getting those "why the hell did I think I could WRITE?" feelings -- my Odyssey acceptance and copy of cheque for same, my Lightner grant certificate, my favourite letter on writing from Sheila, and my Asimov Award. A bookshelf full of DVDs, a pair of my baby shoes, a renfaire wreath, a griffin wall plaque, and a photo of me in queen garb at the renfaire.

South wall: The Mirror, Mirror cover, and a peacock feather fan.

West wall: A dream catcher, a scented wax thing Mum bought me at the renfaire, the Tides of Change artwork, a photo of me with Pyewacket. Froud's "Fairy Godmother", Froud's "Morgan le Fay", my B.Sc.


13: Seen anything weird lately?:

I just came from a Sci-Fi con. Goes without saying. The businessman with briefcase commuting to work on his unicycle this morning was pretty weird, but I see him at least once a week.


14: What do you think of this quiz?:

I'm doing it, aren't I?


15: What is the last film you saw?:

Secret Window. For a movie that places so much emphasis on "it's the ending that matters", they really should have made sure that theirs didn't suck. I really, really want to see Ella Enchanted.


16: If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?:

Jenny's meds.


17: Tell me something about you that I don't know:

The summer I worked for the Cancer Society, I managed to inadvertently moon most of Newmarket on three separate occasions during a walk home. Talk about your wardrobe malfunctions...


18: If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?:

Make Variel as corporeal as he wants to be.


19: Do you like to dance?:

Only with the newsgroup or at Enter the Haggis gigs.


20: George Bush: is he a power-crazy nutcase or someone who is finally doing something that has needed to be done for years?:

Let's just say I'm very, very glad I live in Canada.


21a: Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?:

I'll be one of those horrible parents who, having hated my really boring name, wants to give my daughter something not-boring. Like Findabhair (Finn for short). Or Quenn. Or one of the Elysium names.


21b: Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?:

William, after my dad. Will for short. Billy is right out.


22: Would you ever consider living abroad?:

Certainly, for a while, but I never want to permanently leave Canada. I'm quite happy here, thank you.


( 1:40 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Tuesday, April 06, 2004
 

Ad Astra Report 2004

You knew it was coming. It's just taking me a while -- I'm still exhausted. But here's what I remember. As always, if I've forgotten something, let me know and I'll put it in. Pictures will come eventually. :o)

Thursday

Yeah, I know, Ad Astra started Friday, but the weekend really started here, with the ODYSSEY book launch at the Merrill Collection. And oh, what an experience it was.

See, I've been waiting for this for pretty much my entire life (my first "published" work was a poem my teacher posted on our class board in Grade 2), and it finally came to fruition last night. And though some might think it would lessen the experience sharing it with 5 other people, it actually just made it that much more fun (and it helped to stand at the back of the room comparing hand-tremors with Francine and knowing I wasn't alone).

I can't believe how many people came out for it. Some I was delighted to see (waves at Amanda and Peter), and some surprised. I didn't think certain members of my family actually cared, and it was really touching to see them there. Even Chris made it, selling books for Bakka.

So we all told stories about how we were rejected by Julie (which became a running theme over the weekend) and got to read about five minutes of our stories. I read up till the first ellipsis of "Tides". Doug, Peter, and Francine were also there from ODYSSEY and got to read their stories too.

I discovered two interesting things about reading my stories aloud.
  1. It's really, really fun, and
  2. my cheeks have this disturbing tendency to fluoresce the first time the audience laughs at the funny bits, and stay flaming red for the rest of the night.
For the rest of the evening (or as long as he was there, anyway), Dad went around bragging that he was the one who taught me to read like that. Which is true. Oh, yeah, the ten years of community theatre certainly helped, but one of the first memories I have is of dad reading to me. The Princess and the Goblin, Narnia, Oz. He read every night, and he always did the voices. It was Dad who taught me what reading a story should be.

Afterward, Karina, Bryan, Amanda, Peter, Leah, Roupen, and I went out for bubble tea, ostensibly to meet up with Shannon, but also because we were having too much fun to let the night end. We got to the bubble tea place about 8:30. We left somewhere around midnight (the waitress was lovely, and kept us well-plied with free sweet popcorn, despite Amanda's sorrow at losing her glass). The look on Amanda's face when she got her first bubble was priceless. The conversation was more so. We discussed many things -- how everyone's version of Fantasy Toronto is slightly different, but wouldn't it be fun if we could combine them, Karina is a projection of my mind (I'll explain later, Karina), many things Joss Whedon -- but what stands is how much fun I had with everyone, just sitting around a tea shop talking. We really have to make a habit of that...

Friday

The big day. Having barely gotten everything accomplished (business cards, packing, clothes), Karina arrived and we headed off to Bakka to cram Karina's car full of books and haul them off to the con, blasting Enter the Haggis and singing all the way (yup, car trips with Karina are lots of fun).

Arrival at the con involved going to the dealer's room (with books), going where we were directed, and then getting the hell out of Michelle's way as she organized the table. Karina and I helped as best we could, but we really didn't know what we were doing and it kinda sorta showed (and Michelle can be scary when she's being efficient). Then Chris showed up and BOOM, table was done. Like magic. "You'd almost think they did this for a living," Karina remarked.

Then we really didn't have time to do anything but check in to our room, grab a quick dinner with Dan's guidance, and change for the second ODYSSEY book launch, which resulted in:

SURREAL CON MOMENT #1: Rob Sawyer stopped me and asked me to sign his book. Now, I don't do the whole pedestal-hero-worship thing, but it was just this "whoa" kind of moment. Hugely surreal. I'm pretty sure I had a really stupid grin on my face. He told me he was proud of me, which was really sweet, and then zipped off, which is typical of cons.

We got to read our snippets again, and there was more book signing (the whole time, pretty much all that was going through my head was people who don't know me want me to sign their book!. I need to come up with a good line for my Odyssey autographs. My favourite line in the story, "Trees are smarter than you!", doesn't really come across the right way unless you really know me.

After the launch, we dropped in on the last half of the Buffy Musical Sing-along, and then laughed ourselves sick at Jason Taniguchi. "I LOVE YOU, SAMWISE GAMGEE!" Aah. Such fun.

Then it was off to the meet-and-greet, where Julie ran down CJ Cherryh (Nathan, have you found your jaw yet?). There was a neat game the con people came up with, where the panellists wore nametags with quotes of theirs, and people had to turn them into a story. Mine was "after much tinkering, dickering, fiddling, and vehement cursing...", which I'm fairly certain was from a blog entry about my website. Karina didn't fare so well -- "there are certain phrases that one does not want to be wearing on one's chest, and mine is one of them." (no, that wasn't her quote, just her feelings about it). Unfortunately, the Taniguchi show meant we'd missed much of the meet-and-greet, so we didn't get to stay long before we were off to the consuite.

Julie: I wasn't the only one to run over Carolyn. The first, maybe, but you all did it too!

Karina and I had to duck out early, since we hadn't had the chance to time our readings yet. We hijacked my sibling and went back to our room for pizza and practice, which was soon crashed by a small group of newsgroupies. We didn't much mind, and ran the stories, after having them promise they'd still come to the reading. That took us to 2:30 a.m., at which point we decided that some sleep was in order.

Saturday

Saturday began bright and early (and I do mean early) with the Julie breakfast. It was a small breakfast, since the hotel wouldn't book parties larger than 10. When we arrived Nicole, Jana, and I met up with Julie, Russell, Ruth, Jane, and Mark, and Don. And then Julie's special guests arrived. CJ Cherryh and Jane Fancher. Which resulted in:

SURREAL CON MOMENT #2: Sitting in the hotel restaurant discussing dolphin behaviour with Jane.

Nicole and I weren't too impressed with the $10 continental breakfast, which consisted of 2 croissants and a tiny glass of juice. If it weren't for Mark's mysterious toast and Julie's hash browns, we would have starved.

The sibling showed up at one point, and saved the day by reminding me of The Plan: To raise money from the newsgroupies to buy Amanda and Peter a weekend membership. I began badgering, and by the 10 a.m. SF in the Classroom panel, we'd done it.

So, the SF in the classroom panel was a blast. The panel consisted of me, Erin, Julie, Mark Askwith, and Heather Bruton. I had a great time, and was delighted when Tami and Shannon arrived about halfway through. Hurrah!

This was about the point at which I discovered that I didn't have a leisurely schedule. Every year, Julie talks about how you can catch her in the halls as she runs between panels. Well, that was pretty much what it was like for me this year. Fun as hell, but I always had to be somewhere.

So we dashed back to the hotel room for lunch (courtesy of Lara and Dominion) and to prepare the business cards for the reading, and my sib fetched me and Invader Zim DVD. Various newsgroupies (and Tami and Shannon -- hurrah!) trickled in, as Karina whipped in and out in a panic for the panel on which she was moderating CJ Cerryh and Will McDermott (she was fabulous). Whipped in to Karina's panel, and then I was off to the dealer's room to put in a couple hours at the Bakka table (have I mentioned that I love my job? Cause I love my job). I completely screwed up my first attempt at doing a credit card slip, but managed to get it right the next time.

5:30 was Julie's reading, which was a hoot, as Julie's readings always are. Then it was time to pop next door for Team Banzai, which due to the absence of Peter Watts and Isaac Szpindel, resulted in

SURREAL CON MOMENT #4: Being asked to fill in. It killed me to say no, but Karina and I had to leave early to prepare the cards for our reading, so I had to. Dammit. Karina and I ended up leaving because the room was WAY too small for the panel's draw, and we were stuck in the bathroom (having had to stay at the back to be able to duck out early).

So then came our reading. Which we decided to do together, as "The First Realms of Wonder Reading Series". With the absolutely gorgeous SUMMONED BY DESTINY cover done by the newsgroup's own Kenn Brown and Chris Wren as a visual aid, it went fabulously well. Karina has a haunting reading manner -- so much so that I was very tempted to segue into my story with "and now for something completely different..." Simon insists that she reads like the narrator from The Neverending Story. Which isn't far off, actually.

In the interlude between her reading and mine (I had to wait, just in case somebody showed up for my reading at the half-hour mark -- I wasn't in the program book so they had a huge sign at registration -- a picture will be forthcoming, since they forced me into one), we got into the whole "and then it was rejected by Julie" discussion again. I learned many interesting things (Julie was praying I didn't send her anything for SUMMONED because she already knew she wanted a Variel story, and doesn't want any repeat authors in either Wonder series because of library omnibus editions -- Annette doesn't count), and also learned her reasons behind picking "Blood Ties" over "Warmth" (she wants to be able to say that she was the one who first published the origin story). Which was about the time that we came up with Survivor: Newsgroup, during which we have writing challenges for immunity and Julie has to reject a story every week. Julie shot it down pretty fast, on the grounds that she'd be in tears by the end of the first half-hour. Have I mentioned that I love the newsgroupies? Cause I really, really do.

Julie: I must add, however, that I don't always reject everyone first. Really. It just looks that way. Emphatically that way, after Ad Astra.

Ruth: That's correct. Sometimes she says yes right away and then has you rewrite the story 4 times.

Julie: ::shuffles off, head down, muttering while waving the red pen::



So then I read the fight scene, which entailed a lot of yelling like a lunatic, and had a grand old time doing it. It seemed to go over well (everyone laughed when they were supposed to, leading to the fluorescing cheeks again), and then it was off to change for the masquerade.

The masquerade was fun -- Clinton, Robbie, and Andrew/Nicole were entered in the lightning round, and were really good. And the girl who went as Jack Sparrow was phenomenal (I think she won Best-In-Show).

Then it was back up to Ruth's room for Julie's surprise birthday party. We made Julie cry, in that truly satisfying, "we done something good" kind of way (as witnessed earlier that day with Amanda -- all in all a good day for do-gooding). I gave Julie a box of Granny's Gweny Day squares, which appeared to go over well. Of course, since I decided that THIS was going to be the secret recipe I pass onto my grandchildren, I couldn't share it, which led to my promise to bring some to all future newsgroup gatherings. I have GOT to find a cheaper source of crystallized ginger, cause I don't think I can afford to feed the whole newsgroup at $16/lb at Noah's.

Then it was back downstairs for the dance. They had a new DJ this year, who didn't seem to quite grasp that it wasn't a high school dance and we weren't all 17, but Karina and I did manage to get him to play both "Lanigan's Ball" and "Half-Fast Jam" from the Enter the Haggis mix CD, so it wasn't all bad. And the moment at which John (literally) had to drag Jana from the dance floor was hilarious.

Funny thing -- this is the only place (aside from ETH gigs) where I dance. And the only people (aside from ETH gigs) I dance with. I hated high school dances because I'd always feel self-conscious. But with the newsgroupies, it's different. It's all about having a great time.

We left the dance to make the party rounds, but when it started pushing 3 a.m., we decided it was time for bed. The "springing ahead" of the clocks at 2 did not help.

Sunday

Sunday started early again for me and Karina, and we stumbled, bleary-eyed, into the green room to find... REALLY GOOD FOOD. "Okay, WHY have we not been coming here all weekend?" The staff was fabulous (and made REALLY awesome maple-pecan-walnut brittle), and, loaded up on tea, Karina headed off to her first panel of the day (which, as she reported later, was really a bunch of boys talking about machines and she suspected she was placed on it as "token girl"). I had to miss it, because I was in the Art Show seeing a woman about a griffin. Which is really all I can say about that until a) I know more details, and b) I know I'm allowed to talk about it. But there's something very, very cool in the works.

After that, I had to dash to my 11 a.m. Myths for the Modern Age panel, which was great fun despite the fact that Pat Forde and I had met in the green room on Saturday and admitted that if we were supposed to be sticking to Greek and Roman myth, we were both sunk. I was trying to keep my shameless-self-promotion of ODYSSEY to the ODYSSEY-related panels, but Pat did my promotion for me on this one, which resulted in more fluorescent cheeks.

I stopped in the hall to accost Heather Dale and ask her if she had any relatives in PEI or was related to any Rodds. She looks so much like Megan it's uncanny, and I had to ask. I did buy one of her fabulous CDs, though.

Then it was back to the room where we ordered pizza and packed up to check out. We stored our stuff in Karina's car and then hit the dealer's room, where I made my second splurge of the weekend -- a great brass cuff bracelet that looks like -- well something out of my stories.

2 p.m. was my Magic in the Streets panel, consisting of me, Tanya Huff, and Michelle West. I'd confessed my nervousness to Chris beforehand, but she assured me that on a panel with those two, I wouldn't get a word in edgewise.

The panel was hilarious. And Michelle and Tanya did make sure I got to put in my two cents, but honestly, it was much more fun just listening to them rant, and I was delighted to be up there (close enough to hear the muttered comments that didn't reach the audience. Heh).

And that was pretty much it. We left to say good bye to the newsgroup (much sniffling and trying to get in my con hug quota with Ruth), and then went back to the dealer's room to help ship stuff back to Bakka. The sibling left (and had an interesting ride home, sitting on the bus next to Jason Taniguchi), and Karina and I followed Chris back to the store (blasting Haggis all the way).

After unpacking, we headed off to Mr. Greenjeans for dinner, where we did battle with a dessert called Ebony and Ivory (nut brownie, with chocolate so rich it was black, smothered in ice cream and hot fudge). The brownie kicked our butts. Still, it was all good. We realized that it was really hard to pick a weekend highlight, because the whole weekend was just so wonderful. I really, truly love Ad Astra. Though it wouldn't be half as special without the family Julie's put together on her newsgroup.

And now I'm off to crash again. I still haven't had nearly enough sleep, and I'm in Conflict management training for the next two days. Tomorrow we're learning how to break choke-holds, and as I had to sign a waiver absolving the training centre of responsibility in the event of my death, I'd really like to be lucid for it.

And I have a dress rehearsal for my choir concert on Wednesday. I've been so busy this week that when Chris said "good luck at your concert" when we dropped the books off on Sunday, I honestly had no idea what she was talking about.

Definitely time for bed.

( 12:13 AM ) Sarah Jane ~





Thursday, April 01, 2004
 

Oh Sure, I Look Calm...

But inside my head, it sounds like this: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!"

So. Sneaked in the printing business cards at work, cause my printer died last night, which would have mattered more had I actually HAD card stock. Which I didn't.

Hammering out the details. Apparently, my absolutely, positively, no-more-changes, really, truly, honest, we're-not-fooling-this-time final schedule is:

Friday 8:00 PM: ODYSSEY book launch
Satuday 10:00 AM: SF in the Classroom
Saturday 7:00 PM: Reading (with Karina)
Sunday 11:00 AM: Myths for the Modern Age
Sunday 2:00 PM: Magic on the Streets

(pending finalization)

I still don't know what I'll be reading, but I know that it'll be something from the really-long-as-yet-unsold Variel story, "Warmth", and there will be prizes. :o)

Must run. Let's see if I can remember what I'm forgetting now...

( 1:33 PM ) 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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