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i'll do this thing

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Extended trip to the Netherlands! Three whole weeks. The longest trip we've ever taken, I think.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I had three sewing resolutions and did one (hand-sewing a dress from start to finish). Sew-lutions for next year are to make a pair of pants PANTS GODDAMMIT PANTS

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

Do cats count? That sucked, incidentally.

5. What countries did you visit?

The Netherlands, Belgium, and Iceland (overnight on the way). I came around on Amsterdam -- wasn't thrilled with it the first time I went there, liked it a lot more this time.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

More trips. More non-computer time with my eyeballs. More money for #1 and #2. More pitches accepted (writing articles is fun!)

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Three guesses. I remember the SO waking up at 2 a.m., checking his iPad in the dark, and going, "It's Trump."

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Aside from the dress (which took eight months), freelancing enough to pay the bills. (Including three nonfiction pieces!) Woo.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don't know. Apparently I failed at social media at my day job, which is okay with me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Aside from my eyes going way the fuck downhill, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

In Antwerp, at the best thrift store in the world, a Dries van Noten skirt. I just love looking at the construction of the thing. It's kind of amazing.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The Obummers. Really going to miss those guys.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Three guesses.

14. Where did most of your money go?

The mortgage, credit card bills, and fabric. Possibly also beer.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Antwerp. I love that city so, so much. If I could choose a second city to live in, it would be that one.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

The Blue Aeroplanes' "Action Painting," even though it's from 1985.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Happier! Making enough to pay the bills, sleeping as much as I need to, eating what I want, not spending all day every day in a cubicle. Life is good. All I want is more trips. And to be able to contribute to a retirement fund again.

ii. thinner or fatter?

2 pounds up. Gonna fix that.

iii. richer or poorer?

Poorer, but it's ok. Except I want to pay off credit cards and buy more trips.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Travel. The lights, they're still goin' out.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Spending money (on fabric -- I should really watch that). And eating sugar. Found out my blood sugar levels are borderline. (Yes yes, I have a sweet tooth, so what.)

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At home, in pajamas all day, except when we had friends over for dinner. It was great.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Love remains the same!

22. How many one night stands?


23. What was your favorite TV program?

Supergirl. Shut up.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

A certain president-elect, but I think that's about it.

26. What was the best book you read?

Roberto Bolaño's 2666.

Am I not allowed to talk about the bad stuff? Because seriously, some shit was horrible.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Them Are Us Too, because one of them died in the Oakland fire, dammit.

28. What did you want and get?

A trip! And books and DVDs and an Ex Officio wrap for Christmas.

29. What did you want and not get?

A trip to the Azores.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

Kubo and the Two Strings, which (in addition to being jaw-droppingly beautiful) helped me deal with some grief-related stuff.

31. What did you do on your birthday?

Don't know what I did exactly on the day, but we took the usual weekend trip to western Mass to go to the Big E.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More trips. Less computer time. The return of my eyesight.

(Those are 3 things, so I'll take #3.)

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Hot Topic Goes to the Office, or Captain Picard's Personal Assistant.

34. What kept you sane?

Hand-sewing, weirdly.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

No idea. I'd say the kid who plays Rodrick in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, but I don't really fancy him. I just think his facial expressions are hi-lar-ee-ous.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

I'm trying to avoid them at this point because everything's too depressing.

Oh, wait. The War on Cops. I mean The Non-War on Cops. The Please Stop Shooting All The Non-White People, Please.

That sucked, incidentally.

37. Whom did you miss?

My cat, every damn day.

And my friends in New York and Virginia. I miss those guys.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Hmm. First thought was, "I didn't meet any new people." But I did finally meet someone in person whom I've known online for years when we went to Belgium. We had dinner and met his family. It was fun.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

When in doubt, Do The Thing.

40. BONUS QUESTION: What were your best meals of the year?

This isn't much of a meal, but: At the Big E, the Spencer Trappist monks had a tasting, and they gave us a piece of smoked Gouda and homemade peach chutney with paprika and raisins on a cracker. Honest to God, that was one of the best things I had all year.

41. Other new question: What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Honestly, writing more pitches (so far that whole process is really fun and seems to be working out, in general). And maybe a trip or two.

Dear fragile author with a blog,

The reason litmags take so long to respond to your (amazing and earth-shattering, I'm sure) submission is:

1) They have piles and piles and piles of amazing and earth-shattering submissions just like yours;
2) Readership is declining, but submissions are increasing (see #1).

Please go ahead and "fight back," though. I'd sure love to see that.


P.S. It's "cubicle." And "that."

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
19. NO, DO NOT

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...


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?"


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

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.


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