Dream of the Dolphin
Confessions of a Post-Graduate Pity Whore
ChangesLife continues to careen merrily along. Pyewacket's still sick, but her appetite and energy remain boundless, so I'm not overly worried.
Megan's packing. She's moving out September 1st, so Erin and I are entering into the fun process of interviewing roommates.
I'm frantically working on the story-formerly-known-as-Blood-Ties-formerly-known-as-Kichani revisions whenever I get a minute to spare. Which isn't often.
And soon it will be September. Erin's going back to school, choir is starting again, and I... I'm still doing what I always do. Working frantically to make ends meet. But it's good (more about work quirks when I'm on a keyboard I can actually use), and I'm hoping that September will bring a change for the better at the ROM too...
But I don't want to jinx it.
( 12:21 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Heart AttacksMy cat is bound and determined to give me a heart attack.
So after the Thursday attack of deep bowel distress (she's on a special diet and meds and is recovering nicely), she slipped my roommate's keeping on Saturday and left the deck.
I went down to try to track her down, and found her in the yard next to our neighbour's. Felina's cat was between me and Pyewacket. The Wacket, upon seeing me, started to screech and vaulted the chainlink fence to get to me. As soon as she touched the grass, Felina's cat was on her. The cat chased her through the plank fence, through a hole about half the Wacket's size, which the Wacket hit at an all-out run, into the alley.
The alley, I just have to add, is filthy. There's a family of stray cats living back there and the lots, particulary the one Pyewacket was chased into, are swimming in urine and feces. I was back there looking for her collar -- I never want to go back there again. Anyway. Back to the story.
As I'm standing there having a fit, Felina's cat saunters back through the gate in the neighbour's fence. Beyond her, I see Pyewacket. Being chased down the alley by a big grey rottie/dane/shepherd mutt with a bobbed tail.
The Wacket ended up back on the deck, collarless and covered in burrs, limping from where she'd bashed her leg on the fence.
And this is a regular occurrence with this cat. She has the survival skills of a doorknob.
( 1:03 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Thursday, August 12, 2004
GodDAMMIT!And now the cat's sick.
( 12:12 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
D'OhLast night I dreamed (in between yoga classes and alien invasions based out of Stuart Scott public school) that I became romantically involved with Simon Tam, but broke it off because in my heart I knew he belonged with Kaylee (who, as it turns out, is just as nice in a dream as she is on TV).
When I woke up, I could only think one thing.
You stupid idiot!
( 9:37 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
More Reviews and a PingChris sent me my latest Marillier reviews for your perusal, but before I get to them, does anyone out there have my copy of TAM LIN by Pamela Dean? I can't remember when I lent it out last and I can't find it anywhere.
JULIET MARILLIER. WOLFSKIN.
JULIET MARILLIER. FOXMASK.
( 12:47 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Ups and DownsAnd here we go again...
In the good news department, we learned this week that Karina received two honourable mentions in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, and Gavin Grant. Go Karina.
And we spent some much needed time (and too much money, but we won't go into that) at the Renfaire on Sunday. Pictures will follow later, if I can ever get into my webspace again.
And I just finished reading FOXMASK, the sequel to WOLFSKIN by Juliet Marillier, which is so beautiful it makes me want to weep. God, that woman can write.
But on the downside, the question of housing has reared its ugly head. We're now waiting for the landlord to get back from his vacation and let us know whether or not we need to vacate the premises.
And I just received an e-mail by someone acting as secretary for a very dear friend and sometime mentor -- basically, she's more than swamped and the only way to take her life back is to move and cut off all contact with her online friends -- of which, this e-mail would indicate, I am a part. And I understand completely. Last time I talked to her on the phone, just listening to her schedule made me tired. It's the kind of schedule that makes you wonder how the person is still alive, unless she's found a way to cleverly make robot copies of herself. This is something she needs to do, I am incredibly happy for her because her career is soaring, and if it lets her put out more of the books I love, I come out pretty well, too. And yet, she's someone I care for very much, and knowing that chances are I won't hear from her again makes me immeasurably sad.
All I know is, I'm in rather desperate need of a vacation. I hear there's a rather large lottery jackpot this week...
( 10:24 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Saturday, August 07, 2004
On ReviewsPart of why I love working at Bakka is the reviews. They're short blocks of text on an index card that get plonked in front of the book. I'm actually encouraged, as part of my job, to read books and tell other people what I thought of it. And hopefully convince them to buy it.
I'm not a professional. I can't talk about reflections of postmodernism or crafted ambiguity or anything like that. I don't get three pages for the review. The reviews have to be short enough to fit on an index card. But they're concise, and honest. They let people know whether or not I liked the book.
And oddly enough, a book that has a review in front of it will sell better -- even if the review is bad. Mine tend to be overwhelmingly positive, because if I don't like a book, I don't finish it, and if I don't finish it, I don't write a review. Oh, I do have a couple of negative reviews, but mostly for books that were on the poorer side of "meh" rather than downright crap.
You can see the kind of thing I write on the Bakka review page. If I compare a book to chocolate, you can tell I liked it. As a lark, here are the two I wrote yesterday.
For RAVEN'S SHADOW by Patricia Briggs (ignoring the fact that the title sent me screaming into the night, because it's an "'s" away from being the title I laboured so hard to come up with for The New Thing. And it fits The New Thing better, dammit!):
Those gifted with the magial Orders have always been rare among the Travellers, but now they're disappearing. When Seraph's husband Tier vanishes, she must reclaim the magic she set aside when she married. Together with her not-entirely-human sons, Seraph sets out to find Tier, before the evil her people thought imprisoned forever is once again unleashed.
Patricia Briggs is good. Really good. RAVENS SHADOW is no exception. The world is rich, the characters complex, and the story engaging. The only problem -- there's obviously another book to come, and you're to want it. Now.
And for HEAT STROKE by Rachel Caine:
Tired of waiting for the next Tanya Huff or Kelley Armstrong? Miss the way Laurell K. Hamilton used to write? Looking for something new to fill the holes in your favourites shelf? LOOK NO FURTHER!
Things have been going well for Jo. She's got a fast car, a hot boyfriend, and her new phenomenal cosmic powers mean she can create her own designer wardrobe in the blink of an eye. Okay, so all her friends think she's dead. And the more cosmically powerful want to kill her. And thanks to the mind of a teenage boy, she keeps getting stuck dressed as a Rocky Horror reject. Oh, and there's that pesky rift in time and space that's threatening to destroy life as we know it... but other than that, life is great.
I loved ILL WIND. I really loved HEAT STROKE. Rachel Caine is fabulous, and I can't wait for the next one.
I'm not entirely happy with the way I ended that one, but I was running out of space on my index card, so what're you gonna do? I think it makes my point. :o)
( 7:43 PM ) Sarah Jane ~
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Fresh AirContinuing to frantically update...
The selfish book indulgence of the past couple weeks has been great. Oh, there were a couple of "meh" books I had to read and review for work, but in amongst that there was some really good stuff. Sheila Viehl's latest, plus the latest Undead book by MaryJanice Davidson -- imagine what would happen if Cordelia in her selfish-but-doing-good phase on Buffy became the Vampire Queen, and you've got a fair approximation of Davidson's books. Elizabeth the first, Empress of the Undead, etc. etc. etc., known to her friends as Betsy. It's marketed as a Romance, but it's actually a vampire story with romantic subplot.
And Chris turned me on to Rachel Caine, for which I am incredibly grateful, because she's the best new author I've added to my shelf since Kelley Armstrong. Despite the fact that Heat Stroke also ends in the worst "ARRRRGH, I HAVE TO WAIT TILL WHEN FOR THE NEXT ONE????" since Beyond Varallan. I may review it, but Chris has dibs (she reviewed the first one), so I'm waiting till she gets back next week before I start trying to write anything. I still have some stuff on the TBR pile, but it's about time to get back to business. ::attempts to ignore the snickering from the peanut gallery:: No really. I'm serious. I will be productive this week. Maybe.
Anyway. The whole digital thing.
I've gushed on about the ROM's Digital Gallery before, so when my dear friend Jihane visited from Paris, of course I had to take her to Digital. On our way into the show, I remarked "yeah, I've seen it before, but I kinda want to see it as much as I can, because I'd like to run the shows someday, once I get training and stuff, and it's good to be as familiar with it as possible. You know, just in case some disaster should happen and someone comes to me and says 'okay, you're on, GO!'" And we laughed and I forgot about it.
Until the following Saturday.
Lindsay was giving the pre-opening orientation when the phone rang. It was Melanie, one of the digital staffers, calling in sick for the morning. Lindsay was calling around frantically trying to figure out what to do. I sat in the office, sewing the bat wings back together, and listening to her talk about how she could do it, but then all the stuff she needed to get done for the day wouldn't get done, and they'd probably just have to cancel the shows.
"Um, Lindsay," I heard a voice saying, only belatedly realizing it was me, "if you show me how to... you know, make it go... I could do it."
So half an hour later, I found myself in the digital gallery, in front of sixteen glowing screens and thirty expectant faces, with a butterfly the size of a Buick rampaging around in my stomach.
See, I haven't had the training. Oh, I can do the "no gum, no food, no cameras, no leaving" stuff, and teach about the touchscreens, and even fudge my way through questions about the touchscreen artifacts, but the video in the Ancient Egypt digital show also features Nakht, a real live non-digital mummy, and the current centrepiece of the digital gallery. When the video concludes, everyone traipses over to Nakht and gets introduced to him.
I'd briefly skimmed through his autopsy report in the half-hour before I'd gone down to digital (he's one of only three modern autopsies ever performed on a mummy), but that was pretty much it, aside from what I'd heard other people talk about. I had been told at some point that I shouldn't worry about a presentation, because people usually just ask questions and you go from there.
"So," I said, when everyone had assembled around Nakht. "Does anyone have any questions?"
Crickets chirped. A small tumbleweed drifted through the silence. The Buick-sized butterfly acquired a friend.
"Okay, then," I said. "This is Nakht..."
I honestly have no idea what else I said, but according to the volunteers who were working the shift with me, it was pretty good. The people seemed happy anyway. And I had a blast. This is something I wanted to do, both for myself and yes, I'll admit, to give myself a broader base of experience for when the next supervisor post opens up (cause I'm gonna keep trying until I'm working enough hours at the ROM to quit my third job, the one I hate). But I'd thought I'd be prepared for it.
Instead, being thrown into it without warning was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I've had all year.
"Okay, you're on, GO!"
Oh yeah. Bring it on.
( 11:53 AM ) Sarah Jane ~
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Yeah, I know, I know...I promised an update. So here's what's going on.
I'm coming very close to burnout from the three jobs. I'm still hanging in okay, but it means my one day off is spent doing selfish me stuff, and when it comes to my priorities, "read new Rachel Caine book" sits above "update blog". I love my blog and all, but when I spend half my time at a computer typing case notes, I just want to be away from the computer when I get home.
But that aside, I'm okay. Tired, but them's the breaks. I'm hoping that by some miracle I manage to land the Toronto Arts Council writer's grant in October, at which point I fully intend to use it to take a vacation, sit down, finish Elysium and send it off.
In other news:
There's a review of ODYSSEY up at tangent online. It's a fairly mixed review, but I think I fared pretty well. Thank god. This reading reviews thing is stressful. I think, when I've actually published a book of my own, I want somebody to go through them for me and let me know which ones are safe to read. I know not everybody will like my writing, but I really don't want to hear about the ones who hate it. ;o)
The stoplight story (cause some people were asking):
I was walking to the ROM when, at the stoplights, I was stuck behind two women. You know the type. Trendy, perfectly coiffed. One was swigging from a bottle of $4 mineral water (I know, because one of my ROM supervisors drinks it too). She was explaining to her friend that "no, I will never put any of that tapwater crap into my body. I know better than to pollute myself with the garbage that's in there..."
She paused, lowering her water and lifting her other hand to take a puff of her common, garden-variety du Maurier cigarette (she had a see-through purse).
And I'll talk about digital a little bit later. I promise I'll try to get to it in the next couple days.
( 4:47 PM ) Sarah Jane ~