lunes, 25 de febrero de 2008

Here, have a secret

I just discovered that Sybil's Garage has put up Six Questions About the Sun, by Brian Conn on their website. I read this story on the paper version of the mag, and it keeps coming back to me, little snippets of crazy jumping me from the shadows as I go about my life. It's a quirky little story, and it's utterly delicious.

An excerpt:
: Should you look directly into the sun?

A: Yes. Everybody should look directly into the sun at least once. It is not necessary to look directly into the sun regularly, because it is possible to remember the experience after looking there only once; but if you ever forget what it is like to look directly into the sun, you should look there again.

One of the reasons I love small mags is because they feel private. The stories in these mags are little jewels, just for you. All over the World, there are maybe a few hundred people who have read this particular story. Small press mags are like special editions or collectors items. Enough of a secret pleasure to bring a mysterious smile to a reader's lips. Of course, now that it's up on the web, the cat's out of the bag with this one, but still, you can go read the story now and remember what it must've felt like to hold the original in your hands.

viernes, 22 de febrero de 2008

Family Values--Cosmos Online

Family Values is up on Cosmos Online .

Here's what the girliejones had to say about the "Family Values" in the Last Short Story project:
Another story I really enjoyed recently was Sara Genge's in COSMOS 16 called "Family Values". The writing is really beautiful and smooth, drawing you in totally to the story. It's a wee bit naughty but you're never really sure if it really *is* naughty because it's never really clear if this is an alien story or a scientific one. I'm not sure if that makes sense but I don't want to ruin it. It's clever and fun and does strong female characterisation. The ending left a big smile on my face and I'd love to see more of this world.

Check it out - I guess you will be able to find it online soon.

And online it is. Enjoy and come back to tell me if/how much you liked it.

miércoles, 20 de febrero de 2008

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Due to my sickitude, I haven't done much but watch TV/vids for a couple of days. This morning, I watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age. This isn't a craptacular film and there's something about regal historical dresses/hair/makeup that makes any film entertaining. Besides, it's always nice to watch Clive Owen strut around the place (does Clive Owen ever walk, or is strutting his natural means of transportation?)

However, there were a couple issues that seriously bugged me.

1) The Spanish. Jordi Mollà (Spanish actor) plays Felipe II which means that the Spanish isn't completely awful. This is good. After watching The Tudors, I unconsciously brace every time someone on an English speaking movie starts twisting their mouths into the wide open vowels of Spanish. However, someone (probably the director) told Jordi Mollà not to speak his perfectly good Spanish like he normally would. The director (or whoever botched this up) just couldn't believe how fast real Spanish is, so instead, he has the King talking... reaaaally slow... as... if... Spanish monarchs... were for some reason... in love with the ellipsis.

Now, listen people. There's a reason Reptilian Humanoids favour Spanish: you can carry out a complete conversation and still clickety-clack encrypted second and third messages for Alpha Centauri in the same amount of time it takes an English Speaker to say "I'm from Texas".

Furthermore, the script writers must have forced him to say the subject in every single phrase (Hint: native speakers don't say the subjects, since subjects are included in the verb tense. Perfect accent+subject in phrase=CIA operative who needs a couple more month's training. Aka: not native speaker)

2) The Queen SUCKS. This is the scriptwriters fault. The Queen sucks BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN. There's ample film tradition in this respect. In this version of Joan of Arc, Joan is not only a raving lunatic (which is historical fact) but also quite the idiot and the men around her only follow her due to their utter and complete desperation. The movie also makes an effort to appear as a farce, hence robbing Joan of Arc of as much power and historical punch as physically possible.

Ok, I know the Middle Ages weren't great for women's lib, but in all ages and time periods there have been women that have been followed because they were
a) religious leaders
b) great Queens or political leaders
c) hot.
This happened. Denying that there powerful women existed before the twentieth century is insulting in the extreme.

Back to Elizabeth: the Golden Age. Great care is put to portray the sovereign as powerful and majestus--that is, until it matters. The moment hot guy (Clive Owen) arrives she comes apart like a fifteen year old schoolgirl. Much has been made of the Virgin Queen's ehm, virginity, but I doubt she would have kept it for so long if the first pirate to arrive in court caused her to lose control like this. Even if the pirate was Clive Owen.

There's a metaproblem here that I find even more worrying. I sense that the scriptwriters felt that if they didn't make her vulnerable, she wouldn't be likable. Because, you know, a woman who can keep a lid on her emotions isn't an actual woman? Cold bitch, anyone? Cough, cough Hillary Clinton.

Elizabeth's strengths, as portrayed in the film, are gender neutral (English snark, intelligence, eloquence) or stem from her suppressing her femaleness (virginity), while her defects (jealousy, doubt, fear) are all sort-of, but-not-quite pinned on the fact that she's a lonely female monarch in a man's world.

But it's one o'clock in the morning and maybe I'm reading too much into a stupid film.

lunes, 18 de febrero de 2008


Yes, it hurts to breathe.

My sister was a princess and ran out this morning to get me some cough medicine, even though she was running late.

The upside is that I'm managing to be asleep more hours than not. It is possible to sleep 20 out of 24h and I plan to prove that today.

domingo, 17 de febrero de 2008


I'm sick, but that's not the bad part.

A friend of my mother's kindly organized for someone to give me the tour of an Intensive Care Unit, the better to help me decide which specialty I want to chose come April 3rd. The appointment is tomorrow and I'm sick and getting sicker.

My parents seem to be even more technologically challenged than usual: their phones are on, but they're not answering. So, I have no way of contacting this woman and letting her know I can't go.

Should I:

a) Drag my sorry contagious ass over there tomorrow morning and act stoic through the whole explanation.

b) Stand this guy up, knowing that this is a Hospital that is high up my list and that I may end up working with him. He'll probably have forgotten me in a couple of months, besides, I'm probably not going to be working in Intensive Care.

c) Profusely apologize later when my Mother gets around to giving me her friend's phone number. Hope the apology makes it all the way to the guy who was giving me the tour (unlikely)


Edited to ask: crisis solved. My parents came back from the beach and called me. Now I feel bad about calling them "technologically challenged", but I promise other times the excuse is a lot less convincing. Usually it's "we forgot the phone home", "we didn't hear it ring" or "oh, so that was the ring tone that was going off all night!" Of course, when it's the other way round, we're expected to have the phone on us 24/7.
(Don't mind me huffing: I'm feeling really sick)


viernes, 15 de febrero de 2008

More Carnival Pics

Because I do remember that I owed you some.

As you can see, the dresses were wild and it was a very inclusive party, with people of all ages. There were also quite a few older or bigger ladies completely unabashed in their sexy costumes. Kudos to them. They seemed to be having a blast.

There's still one last post left: the Entierro de la Sardina, the best day at the Carnival. I was adopted by a bunch of locals and had a blast, but its a long story and I'll save it for tomorrow.

jueves, 14 de febrero de 2008

Sale and proation

Asimov's wants "Prayers for an Egg". This story was work-shopped in Villa Diodati, where the magnificent writers there said something along the lines of "more alien, less patchwork". The aliened-up version seemed to be to Asimov's liking.

The world needed a story about tentacles, tri-gendered aliens and their ambivalent relationship towards their own eggs. I've only written two stories with tentacles in them, but both have been accepted by pro mags. I think I'm onto something here. What's with editors and tentacles, anyway? Because yeah, I find them cool, but then I wouldn't put them in my stories otherwise. It just seems peculiar that, for once, the universe and I are on the same tree. I'm tempted to graft tentacles onto my trunk stories, see if they get sapped up... That's a fun writing exercise if I ever heard of one.

This is my third pro sale, so I guess I'm on proation, that ample space-time continuum wherein writers reside who have sold three or more stories to pro markets but who haven't yet achieved the level of excellence and consistency of say, Nancy Fulda, Jay Lake, Ruth Nestvold etc. For me the consistency thing is a big issue, I can sort of get things sort of right like 10% of the time but 90% of my writing is wasted on unfixable drafts. If anyone has suggestions to help with this, I'm all ears.

Now, should I join SFWA or not? The fact that I can doesn't mean I have to, but there might be cool stuff in that organization that I'm missing. So far, I've only seen the icky stuff.

Sorry if this blog post doesn't make any sense: I'm kind of giddy. I may have to go eat some chocolate.

Edited to add: Thanks to Marshall Payne who helped me with an early version of this story. I don't know how I forgot to mention him by name. This story has gone through a lot of fazes and there's probably other people who have critiqued it and who I've forgotten to mention in this post. Among them are several Hatrackers and several Liberty Hallers. Thanks to all of them. I doubt there has been a story that's been more critiqued and edited than this one has.

lunes, 11 de febrero de 2008

He's "not ready" to be President

Susie Bright puts it better than I ever could in this post.

And since today I feel functionally illiterate, I'll just quote her when she says:
I've often been in this place, where I am not "in love" with either candidate— by a long shot— and yet I'm outraged when either of them are damned with euphemistic racist or sexist evaluations.

Karnythia, on ABW, states the obvious: people, whether they belong to minorities or not, usually chose candidates for their politics and not for their race/gender. I hope you're not surprised.

On a totally unrelated note, John Scalzi has some financial advice on the Whatever, for all writers who actually believe they can make some money writing. Oh, and Nick Mamatas also has a money piece up on his blog. Weird. It must be tax time again for freelancers or something.

God, I'm so happy I'm planing on enjoying my non-writing career... And don't you love it when other people write your blog posts?

Anyway, there'll be a megaCarnival post soonish. I'm just too lazy to write it right now.

martes, 5 de febrero de 2008

Carnival in Tenerife

Yes, you're jealous.

The Carnival in Canary Islands is supposed to be the best in Spain, followed closely by the one in Cadiz. I've certainly seen a helluva lot of costumes, most of them incredibly elaborate. The attention to detail is amazing, from the little pocket watches hanging off a clown costume to the bright shiny stuff painstakingly attached to almost anything.

I missed a bit more dancing and the little I saw was far from proficient. The crowd was a bit stayed, but that may be a Canary Islands thing. My mom went to see a Joe Cocker concert and she said everyone just sat through the whole event.

There are several parts to this party. Let me go through them one by one. I'll probably miss something, so bear with me.

The Queens.

Probably the most spectacular part of Carnival. Local businesses shell out to commission and build huge dresses which are worn by the aspiring queens throughout the carnival. For the contest itself, the girls tow these monsters around, so the dresses have to be light enough for them to carry. Thankfully, for the parades, the dresses and the girls get put up on a platform and towed.

Here's one of them at the contest ceremony.

And here's the one who won the Sta Cruz de Tenerife contest.

On top of the young girls vying for queen-hood, there are also contests for queen in the child and over-65 category. I particularly liked the older women's pageant, since the younger girls seemed to disappear inside their dresses. The older women wore their dresses better and the fact that most of them were a little bigger helped them to hold their own against the dress and in the end, they looked more majestic.

This was one of the older ladies "dresses". She's in there somewhere, but you can't see her because of the angle of the pic.

A couple more:

The Murgas.

These are groups of people who dress up alike and dance in the parades. This years theme was "Magic" and you can sort of see that in the costumes in a roundabout way. The kids in particular are really sweet.

There were all kinds of people parading: little kids, old people and everyone in between and nobody seemed sky of showing skin, even the older heavier ladies.

Everyone else

You can dress up or not. Most of the crowd didn't. There were a variety of themes, mostly low-cost.
I was particularly surprised by the amount of guys dressed as women. Over thirty percent of the men who were dressed up, had chosen to do so as women, nurses and maids being the most common. There seemed to be no minimum age for this and I kind of wondered what the point was sometimes, since I have a hard time telling a ten year old boy dressed up as a girl from a ten year old girl. Well, I guess they know they're dressed up and that's what counts. One or two solved the problem by painting on mustaches to achieve the total man-to-woman effect.

There are a lot more pictures. I'll try to post a few more tomorrow.