akashiver: (avatar)
Hello folks!

I'm still alive, and still on lj. But (like many?) I'm suffering from excessive guilt re: the time writing entries takes away from Other Things I Ought to be Writing. Ergo, I do not post.

But I will try to do drive-bys now and then. To note things like:

1) I'm teaching a Transatlantic Gothic graduate seminar this semester and it's AMAZING. My students have enormously smart things to say about some interesting material and, my God, I actually LIKED Udolpho this time around.

2) I'm neck deep in cover design etc. for the academic book. Very exciting.

3) My TV obsession de jour is _True Detective,_ although, like many, I'm disappointed by the show's lack of interest in its female characters.

4) I seem to be making regular trips out to Boston & Princeton this semester, so if you live around there, give me a shout.

5) I'll be at ICFA in Orlando in a few weeks. Hopefully I'll see some of you there.

6) I just finished reading my CW classmate J.M Sidorova's striking debut novel The Age of Ice, about a Russian prince plagued by his special relationship with cold. Sidorova marries luminous language to historical detail in a saga of the promise and despair of Enlightenment science. Fans of historical fantasy and Russian novels should definitely check it out.


Still here

Sep. 1st, 2013 07:43 pm
akashiver: (avatar)
There's been a flurry of 'return to lj' posts from some of my f-list recently, so for the record, I'm still here & still reading. I'm also going gangbusters on academic book revisions right now, so I have basically no time for writing that is not let's-get-shit-done related. So: no posts from me for a while.

But I will quickly say that my semester has started up again and, for the first time ever, I have a student who needs accommodations after being struck by lightning.

(!!!)
akashiver: (avatar)
In a perfect world, I would post more on this lj. In a perfect world, though, I'd also have one of those Harry Potter time turners so that I'd get 36 hours out of every day. And various things like The Power of Habit (good book, you should read it) have convinced me that my writing/creative time is limited. So I'm focusing right now on academic manuscript revisions, which is tricky and irritating and occupying most of my time.

Also this week - a Barenaked Ladies concert (I have to say, they're fun performers), a local version of the Texas Chainsaw Musical, Pacific Rim, which satisfied a monsters-fighting-robots urge I didn't know I had, and Side Effects, which was a slickly made, well-acted and disappointingly misogynist movie from some very talented people. If they'd at least made the wife's character sympathetic, or anything other than a bitchy plot decice, I could have taken it. As it is

Books: I'm reading Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable; Parry's Account of 3 Voyages to the Polar Seas (research); and The Mad Scientist's Daughter.
akashiver: (avatar)
Green Card!!!

It arrived when I was at ICFA. It is, in fact, green! Apparently I'm supposed to keep it on me at all times. I'm going to ask other immigrants about this, because I don't like taking important, hard-to-replace documents with me to the gym.

Green Card!!!

As I sat down to write this post the following Guardian article popped up in my Facebook feed: Why the Left is Wrong about Immigration .

I read it with interest, obviously. And I was left scratching my head. Maybe it's because I'm in the USA rather than Britain, and I don't know Britain's cultural immigration battles that well. But as an argument I thought it was deeply flawed.

Read more... )

As an argument against easy immigration, I give this article a C- . Being what Americans would call a "big government" person, I'm for the government exerting careful control over immigration,* but I'm anti-stupidity.

At some point I'm going to post a reflection on my immigration  experience & American politics. But not today.

*P.S. Americans: Why is it that the same people who support small government and free markets tend to be the  ones calling for more government control over the mobility of international laborers -- mobility that's dictated by the supply and demand of the free market?

Boskone

Feb. 18th, 2013 11:49 am
akashiver: (avatar)
On my way back from Boskone where, yes, I had a lovely time. [livejournal.com profile] matociquala introduced me and Fran Wilde to "Drink," a bartender's bar in which they make pale fruity things called Bohemians, which I'll be hankering after for a long time. Other things I'll be hankering after for a while included the Boskone art show, which had some of the strongest pieces I've seen so far at cons. But alas, the budget would not let me buy.

I didn't end up attending that many panels, but those I did proved interesting. Jim Kelly gave an intriguing talk on the Virtual Utopia, which gave me some ideas for my upcoming lecture on The Matrix. And the "gamechanger" panel added to my reading list, as I knew it would. Other than that, I mainly hung out in the lobby and caught up with familiar faces, including some of the ICFA brigade and [livejournal.com profile] mindstalk, who I had yet to meet in his new Boston habitat.

On Sunday we were kidnapped by James D. Macdonald and Debra Doyle and taken indoor skydiving, which is, btw, AWESOME, and does not come with the same terrifying quantity of space and ground found in the other kind of skydiving. I thoroughly approve.

My observations re: indoor skydiving are limited to the fact that a) it's harder than it looks and b) I'd like to do it again. Actually, I'll add that the thing that constantly surprises me about skydiving is the nothing-beneath-you part. The hindpart of my brain equates flying with swimming, but there's a significant difference between feeling yourself supported by water and the what-the-hell-is-THAT sensation of being supported by wind. Wind's much less stable, and it's also full of light and noise and NOTHING, and to someone who's a confident swimmer, it's very odd.

Now: back to work.
akashiver: (avatar)
....if someone said it on the Internet, it must be true!

Two weeks ago, my elderly neighbor died. She was a sweet lady who'd babysat my plants many times. And she had a cat. A cat that, for one reason and another, now had no home.

The upshot: I now have a cat. A 14-year-old grey cat that, from what i can tell, is determined to compete with me in world domination. And everything else, including the running of my life.

THE CAT has two interests in life: eating and trying to escape. Unfortunately for THE CAT, the first of these requires me to feed it. Which if THE CAT had its way, would be all the time.

For week one this resulted in an interesting standoff, in which the cat either yowled or pointedly ignored me, and I, having a cattish personality myself, pointedly ignored it.

We've now progressed to the point where we occasionally deign to notice each other's presence. And THE CAT has now learned, to its and my benefit, that just because I'm doing an impromptu song-and-dance performance of The Threepenny Opera in my kitchen does not mean I'm about to feed it. There's hope for us yet.
akashiver: (Default)
First of all, thanks for all your suggestions re: dystopian fiction/tv shows. I haven't heard yet if the course has been approved, but it seems likely that it will be.

I'm excited about this course: it would be my first large lecture course, AND it's a new genre course for me to design. Both of the Brit lit classes I'm teaching this semester are versions of courses I've taught before. Work-load-wise this is a good thing - a lot of prep time is saved - but, masochistically, I miss the frenetic joys and anxieties of a new syllabus.
akashiver: (Default)
To those worrying that I'd been sucked off this plane of existence: I was.

First it was to a place called End-of-Semesterland, where I wrestled the fabled Beast o' Grading, jousted with Plagiarism and completed countless other minor side quests. Then I journeyed to Conferenceland, where I did many things that were academic and educational. And now I am on the West Coast, visiting family. I'll be down in Seattle for the Locus Awards, so if you're going to be there, I'll see you soon.

But now, alas, I must descend into the pit of "Revise-and-Resubmit-this-Article." Never fear, internets. I shall return.

And to those of you waiting on crits from me: I'll get them to you. If you don't hear from me by July 1, poke me with a big stick.

Huzzah!

Apr. 16th, 2012 08:18 pm
akashiver: (Default)
I just delivered a talk on my research to a group of graduate students and faculty, and you know what? I nailed that sucker.
akashiver: (Default)

Climbing went much better this week. For one thing, I had better footwear. For another, the tarp had been taken down, so the swing onto the shrouds was easier to make. Also, my body had gotten time to adjust to the whole “ropes will move” idea.

Best advice given to me: “Never look up or down when climbing. Just watch your hands.”

Most interesting /least-reassuring advice: “Try to climb with a foot on either side of a shroud [i.e. with the vertical pole of a rope ladder between your legs]. That way if a ratlin snaps, you’ll still have one foot on a rope.”

Climbing )

While up at the yard I talked to another trainee, a woman in her 60s, who told me that she’d applied to be a tall ship climber when she was young, but had been turned down because women weren’t allowed to climb. “This is one of my life’s dreams, and I’m finally in a position to do it,” she said. Then she noted the number of women training for climbers.  Times have changed.

akashiver: (Default)

I am now a genuine tar. I’ve rolled so much oakum that my exercise clothes reek of pine tar. I noticed it when I went to belly dancing. It’s not an unpleasant smell, but it’s weird, like a Christmas tree  soaked in petroleum. My palms feel like I’ve just rubbed them with body butter.  And I keep finding tiny white hairs from ropes scattered over my clothing, as though I have a pet cat made of rope fiber waiting for me at home.  I increasingly suspect that there Is No Unmarked Tall-Ship Sailor, to borrow Tannen’s phrase. Writers take note.

This week the fore course was finally up, so we got to practice our rope-hauling and belaying in more realistic conditions. Also, I climbed up to the yard and practiced getting my hands on the top of that sail. I’ll write about that in a separate post.

Things I learned this week: 

1) The bow-watch (the person scanning the ocean to make sure the ship doesn’t crash into anything) has to know how to deliver the “ship/log/person/Cthulhu dead ahead!” warnings in sign-language as well as verbally. Sometimes a ship is a noisy place, and damnit, the captain needs to know if there’s a reef off the beam. I’m looking forward to learning some of these.

2) Boat-check. Boat check is conducted every 30 minutes, usually by the person coming off bow-watch. The boat-checker goes through the ship looking for hazards (fires, bilge levels, pirates etc.). It’s pretty efficient. A single night watch person seems to do 4 checks on his or her shift. They’re increasing the night watch patrol in response to attempted burglaries though. Apparently, junkies look at a tall ship, think sailors=alcohol, and try to break in.

Sigh

Mar. 1st, 2012 10:19 pm
akashiver: (People who read too much!)
I love teaching, but it does have a tendency to consume my life.
akashiver: (Default)
In my continued efforts to "get a damn internet presence," as some folks at WFC requested, I've started up a companion blog over at blogger.com. It's main function will be to keep track of story pubs, but I'll be crossposting some entries there.

I'm still trying to figure out the blogspot format. Does anyone have any tips?
akashiver: (Default)
I swear I'm still here. I really am. And I will write a long updaterish post in the near future.

Here's a short version: I'm teaching 2 classes this semester. One's a freshman SF class I've taught before; the other is a new graduate course that I've dubbed "The British Empire: ALL OF IT." My days right now are mostly taken up with trying to whittle down ALL OF ITand finishing a new book chapter.

And I've started training to crew on a 17C tall ship. It turns out there's a replica Dutch Pinnace stationed in a nearby habour that offers classes on square-rigger sailing. As an academic, I research the history of the British navy, and as an SF writer, 17C sailing knowledge is sure to come in useful at some point. So I signed up.

I'll do a longer post once I've done some more training: we're still land-bound right now, practicing knots and using ropes to haul trucks around the parking lot. So far my observations are limited to: knots are fun and tall ships have lots of parts. 

More later.
akashiver: (Default)
This is a much shorter list than those of many of my f-list. But still:

Fiction

"The Strange Case of Madeleine Marsh (Aged 14 1/4)" - Realms of Fantasy (RIP, Realms)

"Remains"  - AE - The Canadian Science Fiction Review 

"In the Gardens of the Night" - Beneath Ceaseless Skies

"Birthing Monsters" (poem) - Basement Stories

Academic Essays & Books

"Resurrecting Redgauntlet: the transformation of Walter Scott's nationalist revenants in Bram Stoker's Dracula." Victorian Transformations, ed. Bianca Tredennick, Ashgate 2011.
akashiver: (Default)
The Haunted House at the Eastern State Penitentiary is quite possibly the most elaborate haunted house I've been in. (Full disclosure: I haven't been in that many haunted houses.)  The costumes and "set ups" were rather cool, particularly a "3D" blacklight room where people in full-on black bodysuits suddenly jumped out of the walls.

I'm afraid I didn't do a good job of startling, though. Apparently, my instinctive response to zombie attacks is "Give them the glaring of a lifetime!" Also, I wanted a nerf gun.

If anyone does know of a haunted house in which one can wander through and shoot all the things that try to scare you, let me know. 

Grrr!

Aug. 24th, 2011 11:32 pm
akashiver: (Default)
So I really, really enjoyed white-water rafting. I did it with the same group I tried the scuba class with. Both experiences have made me think that I may have an unforeseen appreciation for watersports.


There's just one problem. 


Watersports seem to give me hives.


For realz, I now have an intensely itchy red rash on my back that bears a striking similarity to the one I developed after scuba diving. I think I might be allergic to the material they use in wetsuits. Either that, or the detergent these rental places use to clean their wetsuits.


Why, universe? Why?!!!? Couldn't you have made me allergic to American football instead?



 

Updates

Aug. 15th, 2011 08:08 pm
akashiver: (Default)
Finally! I'm back in my apt after a weekend conference in Utah. I'm hoping that's an end to the traveling for now.

I enjoy seeing new places. However, my poor apt has been badly neglected during my repeated absences, and my tomato plants have gone feral. I've also missed out on apt pool parties and other things that might have helped me get to know my neighbours more. This is an Ongoing Project (tm). I have more of a network now than I did in my whiny post of a year ago, but I don't have a community. It'd be nice to have one again.

My impressions of Utah were mostly confined to the inside of a hotel in Park City, but I escaped long enough to see the 1812 Overture performed on a mountainside with full-on cannon-fire. For the record, I am not cut out to be a 19C soldier. Them cannons are loud and scary.

Coming up: work, work, whitewater rafting, work, and hopefully seeing people.

What about you lot?
akashiver: (beaker)
The title of this post is for the benefit of [livejournal.com profile] squishymeister, who introduced me to the concept of “no-good” days.

Today was actually more of an absurd, “what will happen next?” kind of day, although that might be the sleep deprivation talking.

It began late last night, when I arrived back in my apt from a wedding on the West Coast. There‘d been a massive water leak down one wall while I was gone. Also, my A/C was broken and the temperature inside the apt was 84 degrees.

No biggie. I left a message for the repair people, then retreated to a happy Canadian place in which I could repress all knowledge of Fahrenheit. (I later found out that a leak upstairs had shorted out the a/c and set it to "heat" rather than cool, so my apt was, and still is, hotter than the outdoors.)

Before going to bed, I remembered that I’d promised to attend a student presentation this week. Checking my email, I discovered that a) the presentation was tomorrow and b) it was scheduled as the first presentation of the morning. To make it, I’d have to get up at what my West-Coast body still believed was 4:30 am. Dedicated teacher that I am, I decided to do it.

So today I trundled down to the conference site, only to realize once I’d arrived that the email had stated the wrong day. The conference is actually tomorrow.

A bunch of other small things went wrong, leading to much head-shaking and muttering. I picked up some groceries to restock my empty fridge, and headed home.

…and ran smack into the middle of a Serious Thunderstorm. 60 mph winds, apparently, though my car was sheltered from the worst of them.

Read more... )

Beat that, homies.

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