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more blindo, more blindo, more blindo

Paid a lovely visit to the state rehab office yesterday to find out about services for my sad, moldy, imploding little retinas. It was okay!

I've been dreading it because applying for The Ride was so horrible (I got turned down, btw), but State Rehab Guy spent two hours filling out forms and listening to everything I had to say. The more questions he asked, the more I kept thinking of interesting new ways my eyes are fucked. Like: Stairs are a new thing. Ascending is fine; descending is a problem, especially if the edges aren't marked with that super-cool reflective tape. I realized that it's affecting social stuff at work, too: I can't see if someone's extending their hand for a handshake or if they're handing me something.

The new line for people who know is: I can see, it just takes me a little longer. But I don't know what to tell people who don't know.  "Ha ha, I have night blindness" doesn't work if you're trying to get down some stairs in broad daylight.

At one point, State Rehab Guy said, "You know, you really downplayed this when you first came in, but it seems like you're having some issues." And, yeah, I did, because part of it is that I feel defensive and embarrassed because WHY I CANNOT GET STUPID EYE THINGS TO WORK.

I told him that things change day to day, and I'm still learning what I can and cannot do. That's the most frustrating thing: I don't know what the fuck is going on, I don't know how to deal with it, and I don't know how to tell people about it. It sucks!

State Rehab Guy was colorblind, so we spent some time commiserating about how the world is not set up for us. Re: stoplights: "Why can't they show, like, pluses or something instead of solid colors?"

In conclusion: The thing is ongoing and I'm hoping to get some help with the thing.

some thoughts

Or: What I was thinking while reading this, which was a freebie at Readercon:



1. Yay, it's set in western Mass!
2. At one of those private schools! Always did wonder about those private schools.
3. The writing is...not bad! Almost like the guy knows what he's doing! Cool, good writing and story set at the spooky private school!
4. Wonder which "New York Times bestselling author" Nicholas Wolff is.
5. Wait, did one guy just congratulate another guy for sleeping with a lot of women?
6. Wait, did one guy just think about cheating on his wife because she's "bad in bed" and we're supposed to feel sympathy for him?
7. Oh shit, does the mid-thirties psychiatrist who sleeps with a lot of women have the hots for his nineteen-year-old patient?
8. There's a black female character. I am warily optimistic! Do not screw this up, Nicholas Wolff.
9. Wait, the guy who wanted to cheat on his wife actually started cheating on his wife and I think we're supposed to be rooting for him?
10. Wait, the mid-thirties psychiatrist is now obsessed with the nineteen-year-old patient?
11. Yep. I'm rooting for you, crazy kids!
12. Er, kid.
13. Back to the black female character! She's cleaning the kitchen!
14. Back to the psychiatrist. He's...
15. NO
16. GOD, NO
17. HE'S READING ABOUT VOODOO
18. WHY IS THIS A VOODOO STORY
19. NO, DO NOT
20. NO, **DO NOT** CUT BACK TO THE LONE BLACK FEMALE CHARACTER
21. NONONONONONONONONONO

I'm out. Fuck you, horror.

exciting times

A person with a cognitive impairment, a person with a mobility impairment and a blindo-in-training walk into an assessment center...

OH WAIT THE BLINDO IS ME. Haha!

This morning I went all the way over to Charlestown for an interview for eligibility for The Ride, the Boston-based free bus thing for disabled people. Not sure if I'll get it. The interviewer looked very suspicious and asked all kinds of questions that weren't relevant to my situation AT ALL, and wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. She took one look at my medical report and said, "Oh, your vision is 20/20...?" and I was like, sure, except for the NIGHT BLINDNESS and REDUCED PERIPHERAL VISION and REDUCED DEPTH PERCEPTION and the fact that I BONK INTO EVERYTHING and it takes me FIVE MILLION HOURS to go up and down stairs. Sure. Also, I cannot read the station stops on the signs inside the T trains, because the font is too fuckin' small and the sign is too far away because it's above the door. But, you know, aside from that.

"And is this temporary or permanent?"

Oh, you know, the impending total blindness is pretty much permanent. But please continue to look at me suspiciously, because it's not like it's hard to talk about a disability or anything.

"And do glasses help?"

Oh sure, except for the NIGHT BLINDNESS and REDUCED PERIPHERAL VISION, etc.

Basically, it was an hour-and-a-half-long ride for a five-minute interview. It sure would help if I got it; I'm already dreading trying to get home in winter, when it gets dark at four.

In other news, a dude yelled at me in the library the other day because I bumped into him. I am thisclose to adding "you asshole" to the next "Sorry, I didn't see you." That'll fix it, I'm sure.

Things I never want to see in horror again

1. Any stories about sin eaters
2. Any stories about vampires who are something else (businessmen, gardeners, hockey players) but also vampires
3. See #2 re: zombies
4. Twin serial killer lesbians
5. Any military story written by someone who's never actually been in the military
6. The Weird, aka vaguely explained plots with ambiguous endings
7. Your ex-girlfriend turns into a cat and you accidentally eat or are fed the cat somehow
8. Radical feminist serial killer cult members
9. Tentacles
10. ANY MORE FUCKING STORIES ABOUT SIN EATERS

The end.

boskone recap

Still my favorite, I think. This year it was the same weekend as the boat show (next door), the travel show, and the beer show (both at the World Trade Center across the bridge). I hit up the travel show in the morning and picked up some stuff on Newfoundland and the Azores, both of which are on my blindo bucket list. And a nice lady in Canada told me about Ile de Orleans, an island right outside Quebec City, which apparently is really bikeable and has all kinds of interesting things to see along the way. So I'm adding that. And a nice lady in Thailand gave me a fun list of things to do in Bangkok, so I'm thinking about that now too.

Also the nice lady in Portugal said, "When you come to Lisbon, you will stay with us in Sintra!" I said okay.

(None of this will ever happen, because I have no money. But a girl can dream. And I won a travel mug from Turkish Airlines, which was nice.)

Then I went to Boskone and immediately, like within three seconds, tripped over someone's rolling suitcase. He apologized and I apologized, so it was cool. It's nice when people are polite about that stuff. And I like the Westin; it's pretty easy to navigate overall.

I hung out with the knitting group for awhile (I brought my hand-sewing and asked someone if it was okay, and she shrugged and said, "It's all fiber"), and then went to Jo Walton's reading, and she kindly signed my new copy of Among Others afterward, even though she was officially signing stuff later. She also recommended Ada Palmer's Too Like the Lightning, so now I have to look that up.

I missed Mothra vs. Godzilla, but let me say that I'm thrilled that they even showed Mothra vs. Godzilla.

I bummed around the con suite and bought a wristwatch I really shouldn't have afforded, and got yelled at by the guy at Auntie Arwen's spices per usual, and had some pretty good sun-dried tomato bread. Then I went to the complicated-plots panel, which was supposed to be about how to keep track of complicated plots, but pretty much everyone answered that question in the first five minutes (answers: Excel, Scribbler, Microsoft Project, outlines) and then they talked about what happens when your characters totally get away from you and change the plot. Which, I don't know, you're the writer, don't you have control over that?

I'd planned to stick around, because there were a couple of panels with possibilities at 8, but then the SO found me and we were hungry and worn out, so we had dinner at the "Irish" "pub" and then came home.

I don't know. I'm still no huge fan of panels (and never will be, I don't think), but I like the vibe at Boskone so much. Really laid-back, lots of places to hunker down and read, and I enjoyed the shit out of the knitting group. In your face, all cons without knitting groups.

That's my story. It's nice today, so I'm going outside.
Dear horrah!1!!!! fans,

In the middle of the utter dreck that is VHS: Viral is a surprisingly good short by Nacho Vigalondo (who also made Timecrimes and Open Windows, and apparently was nominated for an Academy Award at one point?) called Parallel Monsters.

It's...REALLY good. You should see it. Go stream it on Netflix right now and skip to the third one. (It used to be on Youtube, but it's gone now.) The storytelling is bang-on and if I were still teaching fiction and allowed to teach horror, I'd teach that.

Don't bother watching the rest. Really, it's crap.

Now I gotta go watch Timecrimes and Open Windows.

Love,
Me

P.S. Don't judge me. It's winter and i'm bored.

oh God oh God oh God

This book:



Was so bad and it was really bad and I feel bad now, the end.
1. hello

2. werp

3. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeerp

this is just to say

I'm so sick of people bleating at each other to "check their privilege." As if someone's going to say, "Wait, you're right, I DO have privilege! Thanks so much for the reminder."

readercon

This year's haul.



I got two copies of We (which I've never read) because the translations are really different and I thought it might be fun to read them side-by-side. I have a copy of The Separation already, but this one is signed! And I binge-read the Jo Walton book the second we got home on Saturday night. It's so good.

(Bookseller who sold me The Separation said, "I've been trying to convince Readercon to bring Christopher Priest here for years and they don't seem interested." YES, READERCON. DO THAT.)

Also enjoying nick_kaufmann's and pgtremblay's books and picking and choosing stories at random from various anthologies and collections. (Especially V.H. Leslie's "The Quiet Room," in Shadows & Tall Trees 2014, both nominated for  Shirley Jackson awards. Never heard of V.H. Leslie, but I'll be tracking down more of her stuff.)

I met Ellen Datlow (who signed my copy of After) and had nice conversations with various booksellers, one of whom recommended Tom Disch's poetry from Johns Hopkins University Press, so I have to track that down.

And it'll be interesting to see if Nic Pizzolatto reads like...um...anyone else. (Spoiler alert: I've already started it, and it kind of does.)

The panels were panels. Two were great. The "in praise of older women writers" panel was fantastic, except for the part where I had to go into the hall and ask people to pipe down because I couldn't hear. (Only five people, but it sounded like thirty. They  looked mortified and left immediately.) Best line, about Ursula LeGuin: "She looks like a cute little old lady, but she's an intellectual terror." Also liked the "shout out the names of your favorite writers" portion (for the record: LeGuin, L'Engle, Carol Emshwiller, Karen Joy Fowler, Kit Reed, Octavia Butler, Judith Merril, Kate Wilhelm, Tanith Lee, Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood). I didn't think to shout out NANCY FARMER till the end, though. Or JEANNE DUPRAU. There, they're shouted.

I'm gonna shout Nancy Farmer again because I wish she would get mentioned more at cons. NANCY FARMER. NANCY FARMER. NANCY FARMER. PLEASE CAN WE HAVE A NANCY FARMER PANEL ONE OF THESE DAYS, READERCON.

I was also kind of gobsmacked by Readercon's Code of Conduct, positioned prominently in two separate places near the entrance.



A closeup:



I'm just...amazed that anyone needs to have this explained this thoroughly. With examples, for crying out loud. (Don't get me wrong. I'm glad it's there; I know it's needed. Just makes me sad, that's all.)

The one picture I did not get (and am still kicking myself for not getting): Larry Correia's bio from a jacket flap, which went into great detail about how he owns guns, shoots guns, teaches guns, guns guns guns. GUNS, Y'ALL.

I think that's it. Side note: I'm glad Readcon's moving next year—I like the Burlington Marriott, but I find it kind of hard to navigate (I kept having the nearly-crashing-into-people-and-stepping-on-toes issue because everything is fairly jam-packed together), and noise is perpetually a problem.

And I hope the new hotel bar has Allagash Black, because that shit is delicious.