lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
i can't actually say it's been a slow reading week, since I plowed through the remaining 21 volumes of Pandora Hearts. I also read an on-line, one volume, one-shot yaoi called One Yen Man / 1-en Otoko as well as got through volume 2 of another manga called Bunny Drop last night, which I mentioned here previously (and I have volumes 3-6 on my TBR pile).

It's funny how, despite the number of pages that the above represents, I always feel like I've read NOTHING when I've only read manga.  That's kind of sad, because, obviously, graphic novels and manga are just as "real" reading as any traditional novel.  I don't really know why I buy into the idea that somehow they're 'lesser.' 

Speaking of my my TBR pile, on it is a graphic novel called Skim by Marika Tamaki / Jillian Tamaki, a traditional novel called The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North, the second collected volume of Bitch Planet, Bitch Planet: President Bitch by Kelly Sue Decconnick / Valantine DeLandro, and a graphic novel The Stoneman Mysteries: Book One by Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple / Orion Zangara.

We'll see how much of this I get through in a week.  I need to at least get though The Stoneman Mysteries since I told Twin Cities Geek that I'd review that one for them.  Adam is, of course, a local author and Twin Cities Geeks likes to highlight the local interest stuff whenever possible.  

Meanwhile, I still have a pretty intense case of the blahs.  I blame the weather and the Nazis.

lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
Ugh, we're supposed to hit 95 F/35 C today.

Luckily, a couple of days ago, Shawn and I performed the annual wrestling of the air-conditioner into the bedroom window ritual. This annual event is always such a huge chore, partly because the air-conditioner is heavy and awkward, but also because we have a HUGE king-size bed in a room that pretty much fits the bed and not a lot else. Oh, and of course the bed has a cast iron frame. So there's always this moment when I have the air-conditioner in my arms and I have to shimmy between the bookcase and the cast iron frame (pulled out as far was we can get it) that results in swearing and bruised and scraped arms (because? This may be a surprise for you to learn, but air-conditioners are less malleable than arm flesh. When something has to give, it's NOT the air-conditioner. I swear I rediscover this fact EVERY. YEAR.)

But we managed the job, so we should be ready when the temperatures start soaring.

Yesterday, I met a friend of mine at Ax-Man. Ax-Man is one of those uniquely Midway businesses, the way Porky's used to be, before it was demolished. Luckily, Ax-Man has hung on through the light rail construction, etc.. Technically, they're nothing more than a surplus store, but they specialize in really odd odds and ends. There is, in point of fact, an iron lung for sale there. They have a sign on their window that says, "Admission: FREE!" and Ax-Man is totally the sort of place where you could just go for the experience--though I'd bet you money, you'll be hard pressed not to come out with at least one trinket or curio. Yesterday, I was only going to hang out with Anna while she shopped, but I ended up buying a little turtle keychain light, because, when you press the light button the TURTLE says, "ribbit, ribbit!" I also found a HUGE BIN of really, really, ridiculously CHEAP (we're talking about 2 dollars a piece!) reading glasses in all of the strengths. Reading glasses are something I lose a lot, so it makes no sense for me to have expensive ones. Plus, these came in all sorts of pastel colors. And why would I not want a pair of hot pink reading glasses, I ask you!?

My friend was specifically looking for props for her You Tube series. She does show about various crafts and goodies she finds at the dollar store. Here's a link to her first show:

This trip she was specifically looking for props that would work as a science-y background because she attempted to grow crystals from one of those cheap crystal growing kits and, a bit of a spoiler here? One of the things we were looking for was a hazmat suit. (And, yes, Ax-Man had them.)

That was a lot of fun. I'm going to go through her videos, too. I mean, this is kind of a neat idea for a show, I think.

Mason is officially a 9th grader!  As of Friday, he is finished with middle school/junior high!  Whoohoo!  In celebration, I made him a steak dinner with all the fixings and he got to stay up as late as he wanted.

Tonight, I'm thinking about going to the Little Mekong Night Market on University.  This is their forth year, and my FB friends describe it as basically a block party, but it looks like they'll have lots of food and entertainment. The friend of mine who lives in Taiwan turned me on to the idea of night markets, and since I probably won't be able to be in Taiwan for a while, this might be the next best thing.  Here's an article I found that describes it:  Tonight is a night that we host Mason's friend Rosemary, so I'm thinking that after dinner, I might jump on the light rail with the kids and check it out.  If we go, I will be sure to take a lot of pictures and write up a full review!

Hope you're finding ways to survive the heat (if it's hot where you are!)

lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
It's kind of grim and rainy out again this morning.  I spent almost two hours at Hy-Vee this morning.  That's the last time I go THIS LONG without doing my basic staples shopping. On the other hand, our pantry is now stocked with All The Things.  Ah, tomato soup again!

Mason is supposed to have a baseball game tonight, but I wonder if it will be cancelled due to weather.  As the person who will have to sit on the cold bleachers, I really, really hope it is.  If not, I'm bringing not only a PARKA, but also a thermos of hot chocolate.  Maybe some blankets, too.

This weekend is the March for Science.  I'm looking forward to it, because I have not been very good in the last few weeks about keeping on top of my congress-critters and local legislators. I think the last thing I did was the town hall, and there's still SO MUCH stuff to fight.  Still, I try to remind myself that this is neither a sprint NOR a marathon; it's a relay race. It's okay to hand the baton to someone else and let them run with it for a while. 

I depressed myself listening to the results from the Ossoff race in Georgia, especially the news of the midnight hour (almost literally) voting machine "glitch."  I can't help but feel that we were robbed of a straight-up win. The truth is, we'll never know, but the doubts will ALWAYS linger, especially since he had a clear lead before for the "corrupted" memory card was found. Shit like that makes me lose faith.  

I mean, yes, there was a groundswell movement. Yes, he nearly did it... but, what's that going to matter, if people start to worry that their votes aren't being legitimately counted? And, Georgia isn't the only place. We never even got a decent recount of Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania, despite best efforts.


So.... I've been reading a lot of comic books.  I've been working my way through the Hugo nominated graphic novels. So far, I read Ms. Marvel: Super Famous (Vol. 3), Black Panther: Nation Under Our Feet (vol. 1), Vision: A Little Worse Than a Man (vol. 1) and  Vision: Little Better Than a Beast (Vol.2), and Paper Girls (Vol 1.).  I started Montress: Awakening (Vol. 1), which has been interesting so far. The only one I haven't tried to get is Saga (Vol. 6) because I suspect I'd need to read the other 5 volumes to know what's going on. Pretty much everyone says I should be reading Saga, anyway, but I'm not and I'm being obstinate about starting it for some reason, probably the whole "eh, but all the cool kids are doing it, so it can't be that great." After all, I finally got around to trying Bitch Planet, and I could have done without.  Not at ALL what I was hoping for there and absolutely NOT worth the hype.

I have all the Hugo nominee novels at home, but I have not been able to really get into any of them.  As I was telling a friend of mine the other day, I go through these periods where I read a LOT of novels and other times when my brain can only handle shorter, graphic stuff.  I've been in that second phase lately.  Like, I'll sit down with a book in my lap and two seconds later I've set it down and wandered off.  The thing about graphic novels is that in two seconds, I've read half of it, so it's no as much a strain to continue on for however many more seconds it takes to finish the thing.

I also haven't been able to write much.  I'm THIS close to finishing the latest installment in my long-running Byakuya/Renji fan fic, but I just haven't been motivated to keep on with it.

I blame Trump.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 ...but it probably won't.

The last few days have been very dreary. There's been cloud cover and cold, moist winds that smell like rain.  Yesterday, it actually sprinkled for all of ten minutes (it even thundered), but when all was said and done, it was a very lackluster show of moisture.  I think my plants would really like some wet.  If it's going to be dark and stormy-looking, I wish it would just commit to the idea.

Weather people are saying it might actually snow. Of course, it'll do THAT, now that every Minneapolitan/Saint Paulie spent the weekend uncovering their various gardens. My luck, the snow will kill the few things that have managed to sprout in my otherwise dead yard.

I think this is the year I give up on grass.  I've been trying to re-grass the top of our hill, under our maple tree for the last couple of years.  I usually have pretty decent luck getting grass to sprout, but it never manages to really take hold and survive the winter.  I think it's time to look at a shade garden for the top of the hill.  Ferns and hostas and stuff like that.  

Usually, my biggest hold up for projects like this is money.  Hostas are surprisingly expensive.  Plants, in general.  So, if you're local to me and you hear about plant sales/giveaways please let me know.  I think this week I might go to Menards some dirt and start prepping the area.  Somewhere in this house we still have a gift certificate someone gave us to Gerten's. I might have to make a trip out there soon to see what they have that might work under the tree.

In other, possibly more exciting news, I'm doing a reading tonight at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis from 7 pm to 8 pm.  I'm going to be part of a group that's reading from the anthology we were all published in: BOUNDARIES WITHOUT: The Calument Editions 2017 Anthology of Speculative Fiction (link is to the Kindle edition, but it's also available in paperback).  It's sometimes tough to find parking in Uptown, but I usually park in the ramp there behind the square or whatever it's called. Should be a good night. I hope to see some of you there.

For some reason Magers & Quinn could not get copies of PRECINCT 13 to sell, so if you go, you might want to ask them to order a few copies and/or bring your own for me to sign. This has been happening to me a lot--where I agree to be at various venues, and the book purchasers say that they can't get my most recent publication.  The first time this happened, I discovered it was because SONG OF SECRETS was showing up as my latest release.  That book has been completely pulled by the publisher for various and sundry reasons. But, even when I underscore to bookstore people that, no, please get my most recent Penguin release, they can't seem to manage it.  I don't really understand why not. From what I can tell, all my romance books are still available.  It's concerning.  I suppose I should see if I can order some from Penguin for myself to sell (because that's what Magers & Quinn wanted me to do--bring my own for them to sell on commission, but I don't normally keep my own books around, since they SHOULD be easy to order.)

On the other hand, maybe my lack of other books will inspire more listeners to buy a copy of the anthology.  I'll look at it that way.  Besides, I suspect that a lot of people who know me have already bought their copies of Precinct 13 some time ago.  :-)
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
I've been terribly neglectful of Tate's WIP on Wattpad. I updated today, finally, after a several month hiatus.

There a lot of reasons I let the work languish. The first and foremost is that I felt like the story had gone off the rails some time ago. It's super easy for that to happen when you're writing like this, out loud, as it were, in front of an audience. Normally, I tend to write everything away from the public eye, so, when I make mistakes or go down a rabbit hole, I can pull myself up and revise before anyone is the wiser (besides my writers' group, of course.) Not being able to do that this time stymied me. I knew it could, and, while I normally don't worry overly much about looking like an idiot in front of a crowd, this tangle fed into my general sense of failure.

Yeah, I know I'm not a failure, but as I said to someone who poked me for an update on Wattpad, Precinct 13 and its universe is a particular trigger for my... well, for lack of a better term, depression around writing. I've been on the verge of being clinically depressed, so I don't mean to use this term lightly. There should be a word for the behavior that mimics depression but isn't quite it... because that's how I sometimes get around my Tate projects. I _want_ to do them, but when I think about finishing Unjust Cause/writing an e-book or e-novella, and even when I work myself up into a bit of excitement around various ideas, when I finally sit down to write... my first impulse is to crawl under the covers and not come out.

It's very unlike me.

Normally, I'm very self-motivated. I would not have gotten as far as I have in writing if I weren't. So, I don't know why I have this block and, as I've said in numerous other posts, I've determined that this is the year I push past all that.

I wish I knew what worked. I started to type that it helps me when people ask after projects, but what's funny is that that kind of thing only works when it's STRANGERS (fans/readers/FB friends/casual acquaintances/con friends) asking. If you're my relative (or gods forbid, my wife) asking, I double-down into a weird, bitter resistance-- a very 'don't tell me what's good for me' kind of attitude.

Well, regardless, the plan is to get over THAT.

This weekend I had another sparsely attended Loft First Pages. This one was writing "fan fiction" and was supposed to be a teen event, though I ended up having an adult sit through it (I tried to tell the folks on my FB feed that they should come, even if they were grown-ups!) The First Pages are generally hard to do because the way they were explained to me, at least, you're meant to show up in a state of unprepared preparedness. The Loft wants the experience to be walk-in, drop-by, and flexible. So, while there is a general theme, I'm supposed to be ready to go whatever direction that the participants want. Luckily, I teach all the time, so I can lecture on a lot of writing-related subjects without too much prompting. However, I always end up feeling like I'm flailing around since, at least when I teach, I do quite a bit of prep work or at LEAST review some things other people have said on the topic. This time I knew I might have one student since a friend of mine told me her daughter was planning on coming, so I had done a bit of research into "common fan fiction mistakes." I based my rambling on that.

It still felt like rambling, though.

But at least I had people this time.

I also read all of MY REAL CHILDREN by Jo Walton over the weekend. I powered through that book, which is very unusual for me since I'm slightly dyslexic. It's a funny book because it's not action-packed in any stretch of the imagination, but I found it weirdly gripping. Maybe it's just because Jo Walton is such a good writer. I loved her Small Changes series and this is very similar in that there's a strong alternate history vibe going through it. Now, I'm on to THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS by Michel Faber.

I also gardened in between the bouts of rain. Now we've got a forecast of FROST, if you can believe it.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
St. Paul didn't close schools today.

The wind chills are expected to reach -35 F (-37.22 C for my foreign friends--also is this right?  I don't know that my converter can handle minus temps). Winds are expected at 15 to 25 mph. How wind chill works is that it's "the measure of the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air."  Another fun fact is that when the real temperature is -19 F, exposed skin can freeze in one minute.  The REAL temp outside at the moment is -23 F.  (My family thinks the skin freezing thing is false, well, fine: it's still colder here that it is on some parts of Mars.)

Minneapolis closed school.  

For a point of reference, Minneapolis is 10 blocks from my house to the west.  I can drive down University Avenue for less than a minute and arrive in Minneapolis.  

So... Mason is home today because I'm not sure what St. Paul is smoking, but it's not safe.

St. Paul has decided that all absences are excused today, at least, but we would have kept Mason out regardless and he doesn't even wait for a bus.  Why?  Well, firstly, in protest, because most other people do have to wait outside and buses do not run on time always.  Secondly, because the last time we decided to go in temperatures like these our car broke down and Shawn and Mason had to walk several blocks home while I was forced to sit in the car to wait for triple-A.  I was lucky, our break down was tire related and I could have heat, but our car door also sticks open and super-cold temps, so I was really very chilly.  

The decision, St. Paul has said on its Facebook discussion about this, was partly to aid homeless youth for whom school is the one place they can get a regular meal.  At the same time they announced this, a call went out to the neighborhood for warm winter coats for homeless kids because there's a real shortage.  So, St. Paul required homeless kids to leave the warmth of their shelters, wait for the bus without winter coats, just for a meal?  I'm not entirely sure how well all that works in terms of logic. 

So, yeah, that's my morning.

As I just told my friend in Wales when she asked me if I was writing--not yet, I have to drink more coffee and complain about the weather.  It's the Minnesotan thing to do.


I also thought I do a very mini review of Ms. Marvel #10.  My subscription finally came, btw.  Long ago, I decided to subscribe to Ms. Marvel because at CONvergence many years ago, I was on a panel with Sigrid Ellis, who suggest that the best way to support women comic book writers was to subscribe to the titles they wrote.  So, dutifully, I went to and put in my credit card info.  I was pretty sure I was being ripped off because nothing ever came.  Turns out, I apparently signed on to start AFTER #9.  At any rate, #10 "Generation Why" showed up at my doorstep a couple of days ago.  

Read more... spoilers.... )

In general, I'm just as happy my subscription starts now.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next (though I'm really hoping for an actual defeat for the Inventor soon).  I really like G. Willow Wilson's voice for Kamala.  Like my example under the cut, it's funny and sharp and smart.  Also, I'm growing very fond of Adrian Alphona's art.  It's stylized, but in a way I like?

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Shawn and I discussed whether or not we're "officially" done with winter or not this morning. I believe I'd been in the "eh, I still think the snow is pretty" camp, until we got stuck, spinning our wheels, at the intersection of Summit and Snelling.

Now, I'm officially done.

Thing is, I probably would continue to be the "meh, winter is okay" camp, if PEOPLE WEREN'T MORONS. Because as we were very clearly struggling to get going several people thought it extremely clever of themselves to go around us.  This was stupid for a couple of reasons: 1) I could have easily gotten a sudden burst of traction and sideswiped them as I fishtailed, 2) they made me tense, thus making it even harder to do the tricky work of trying to get the car in the right gear and move slowly enough to get going, 3) their random pulling out in front of me could have also resulted in a crash if I'd had a sudden burst of uncontrolled sped.

The only satisfaction I got was, after I'd had a chance to back up a bit, I was able to get moving and the MORON who was next to me, hoping to go around, got stuck.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  I gave her the one finger salute as I pulled ahead.  It was deeply satisfying.

Shawn and I spent the rest of the drive wondering why the roads SUCK SO MUCH still.  Do they no longer put down sand in this town?  What is the deal with the snow plows that seem to hover about an inch over the asphalt?  If they're hoping this will save on wear and tear on the asphalt, they're wrong.  The few places it is clear to the ground the streets are riddled with potholes.

Also, as Mason and I were leaving Great Clips this afternoon, I noticed there was a cop car with its lights on at that same intersection I was stuck at.  S/he was either directing traffic or there had finally been an accident there.

No surprise.

Oh, and in other news, Susan is still alive.  In fact, I can see her right now dancing around at the top of the tank munching up the tubifex worms I put in for her lunch.  I had to change a bit of the water in the tank, however, because she is NOT FOND of the sinking pellets she's supposed to like, and they were sitting on the substrate looking ready to rot.  So, I sucked them up and gave her a tiny little water change.  I don't want to change the water too much, because I'm now fairly convinced that Susan is helping condition the tank.  I'm hoping, given some time, I can actually introduce some other fish.  As it is, I'm so, so happy to see Susan every morning, it's almost sad.  I (whispers) even did research on dojo loaches, so... yeah, I'm officially in love with her. [ profile] naomikritzer said, when she was over, that Susan reminds her of a mermaid, the way she wiggles her long, flowing tail.

The other thing I've been doing is updating my deviantart page with all my juvenallia (stuff I drew when I was young and foolish); that's been fun.  I'm still trying to find my Marvel stash. I know I have some pictures of Gambit that I drew when I was in college, but damned if I can find where I've put them.

It's made me what to draw again, though, and that's fun.

Have I told you guys what I've been reading lately? I'm about three chapters into Haruki Murakami's 1Q84.  It's a novel that was translated from Japanese, and it's... trippy.  It's starts with a young woman whose name is 'green pea,' Aomame who is stuck in traffic on her way to an "important business meeting."  She takes the advice of her taxi driver and ditches the taxi to go down a service staircase in order to hop the subway and make it to her thing on time.  Only, as she leave the taxi, the drive makes some cryptic remark about how "there's only one universe, you know."

Well, clearly, there isn't, and our heroine somehow ends up in an alternate one.

But that's really not clear except on the dust jacket.  Because the second chapter is from the point of view of a crappy wannabe novelist named Tengo, who looks like a linebacker and whose salient personality trait seems to be that he's haunted by vivid memories of "someone who is not his father sucking his mother's breast."

F*ck I hate mainstream fiction.

I may be giving up on it soon, but, just when I was ready to, Green Pea busted out and assassinated someone.  And, I was like, OKAY, I'm in!  So, I don't know.  It's also dauntingly gigantic at 925 pages, so we'll see...
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I thought that I'd missed the horrible coughing thing that Mason had over Christmas break (we even ended up taking him to the doctor's on Christmas eve day because we worried he might have strep.)  But, alas, no.  I've been feeling pretty miserable these last four or five days and I LOST MY VOICE.

Perhaps you have no idea what a tragedy this is for me, but I can't talk!  Me!  Who loves the sound of her own voice so much that I've been known to carry on conversations with myself when I'm alone in the house!

Actually, I can talk, just not very well.  On Friday when I went to my library job despite feeling crappy I sounded like a deranged mouse.  They sent me home early because I really couldn't work the front service desk squawking and squeaking.  Now that the cold/laryngitis has progressed I sound a bit more like a growling bear.  So I guess it's improvement that I've moved up the food chain.  :-)

I used to kind of enjoy losing my voice because, in the past, I'd hit a stage where I sounded like some kind of sultry drag queen or jaded phone sex operator.  But, I guess that just cements the fact that I'm an odd duck, because I used to love to just say strange things out loud to crack myself up or call up Shawn's work and croon sweet nothings into the phone in a scratchy  voice.  Alas, if I tried that now it'd sound more like, "bark, snarl, growl!" and not much else intelligible.

I suppose I ought to mention the weather.  Apparently, outside my door right now, it's -20 degrees F/-28 degrees C.  I could guess it was cold because there's so much frost on the INSIDE of our windows, it's not even funny. I could hardly see out this morning before the sun came up and melted things a bit through sheer force of will.  -20 F.... that's probably the coldest I've seen things, ever, because I don't believe that temperature includes windchill, which I'd heard on the radio might be as low as -60 F/-51 C, which frankly is f*cking arctic.

The governor closed schools in advance, which, in my opinion, should be his re-election platform for next year.  "Remember that stupid cold day?  I didn't make you go out in it.  Vote for me!"  except I think Dayton might be on his last term, which is also a shame because he's possibly one of my favorite governors.  I like him not for political reasons (though his are pretty good), but because he's the single most depressed puppy on the planet.  It's like having that sad dog from Looney Tunes (Droopy Dog?) as your governor.  When Mason and I went to see him announce the passing of marriage equality, he gave a short speech that was like this: murmuring in a kind of wet blanket voice.... any pause at all in monotone, and WILD cheering and squeeing from fabulous gay people... more monotone.... At that moment, I thought, "I love you, Governor Dayton.  For so many reasons." Plus, he's actually been upfront about the fact that he does/or has, in point of fact, suffered from depression.  He also adopted a puppy at one point and when we drive past the Governor's mansion on the way to Shawn's work every day, I always look for the sign that says "SLOW DOG AT PLAY."  Which is, of course, meant to be read, "Slow.  Dog at play."  And it is, in point of fact, interrupted with a picture of a dog, but it has no official punctuation, so I've started waving to the mansion and saying, "Good morning, Slow Dog."

Right, okay, it's probably time to brew another pot of coffee and hunker down under cats and blankets.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I was considering calling this post "Because I SWORE I'd Start Earlier Today." And then I was going to complain and whine about the fact that I didn't get a chance to start on my WIP yet because I was ever-so busy promoting a new interview that came out from SF Signals this morning.


What is *wrong* with me?

Because, you know what? I'm a doofus if I'm going to complain about the fact that AN INTERVIEW CAME OUT IN SF SIGNALS AND IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!!

Honestly, it's a very, very lovely interview. Paul Weimer does his level best to keep me on topic and not looking like a total asinine moron. (It's a fine line, you know, between being terribly clever and a jerkwad... and I do love to dance along that high wire!) I make a reference to it being awfully early to get all existential, and that's because this interview was conducted by e-mail and, inevitably, I'd be answering around six o'clock a.m., having gotten up before my family to get some fanfic writing in before the day started in earnest. Imagine me answering Paul's questions with a black-and-white cat stretched across my lap (and one arm), coffee beside me, and the gray light of dawn peeking through the window behind the loveseat -- upon which I'm sitting covered in a pile of blankets. I'm sure my answers will make more sense that way.

In other more mundane news, I finally got around to cleaning out the small, ten gallon fish tank in which Thor and Loki spent their last moments. My final job with that is to scrub the rock bedding as best I can before refilling the tank and letting it begin cycling. I'm considering the idea of adding a few live plants again. I've had good/bad luck with those. Currently, in the only occupied tank, the thirty gallon, I have a lovely aquatic plant I don't know the name of because I got it from my vet when they decided to dismantle their office fish tank. That's been THRIVING. I should really learn the name of it because I should get _more_. The problem I've had with aquatic plants in the past is that many of them are as difficult to keep as fish. Some of them need an extra boost of CO2, others want specialized light fixtures, and so most of them DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH AT MY HANDS.

And some can be crazy expensive.

So maybe I'll try doing a little research into plants before I start up that tank again. I have this dream of a super-lush, fully organic tank with zippy little tetra or white mountiam minnows happily darting through the underbush. But usually, in reality, what I get is a tank full of rotting plant matter and a huddling bait-ball of terrified/sick fish.

Worse. Fish Mom. Ever.

Today, I also finally broke down and purchased a bad of de-icing pellets because OMG, THE FREEZING RAIN, PEOPLE. Seriously, this is Minnesota. We're supposed to have EITHER freeing OR rain, not a combination of the two. Luckily, my often annoying morning radio DJs told me stories of their icecapades, so I was able to warn my family that the stuff that looked wet was actually SHEER ICE. We managed to make it to work/school with only one incident. I was trying to stop at a stop sign on side street when a school bus came barreling through at high speeds. I skidded to a stop about three inches from them, while they blasted through blaring their horn like I was the jerk. I didn't even raise my finger, though, because, you know what? I don't want to ever hit a school bus, so I'm just f*cking glad I was able to actually stop at all.


So on Mason's advice, I'm now hunkering down and not going anywhere for a long as humanly possible.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
From talking to my folks last night, it sounds like my dad got moved back into the nursing home without any hitches. He even got his old room back. I guess, too, the PT schedule has been really pushed up, because, with the new/temp hip, he can really start working on getting up and walking again.

So that's all good news.

As you know, Bob, it's been hot as hell here. Our house is going to be 100 years old next year, and doesn't have central air. We do have a window unit that we struggled into the master bedroom earlier this year. The entire family, including, at times, all four cats and both gerbils, have been crammed into this room at night to sleep. This has not made for the most restful evenings, alas. Especially since the cats, being cat-like, insist on going in and out all night, and I'm the one person in my family who sleeps light enough to hear their scratching and meowing. And the only one foolhearty and soft-touch-y to actually pull myself upright and stumble over every time they want to go in or out.

Also Mason is a bed hog.

Anytime I got up to let a cat in or out, Mason would instantly take six more inches of my space. I could, ocassionally, shove him back over in the direction of mom, but as soon as I settled back down, he'd wrap himself, octopus-like, all over me.

I can't WAIT for the heat to break. We've got to get that kid back into his own bed!!

Anyway, I guess Captain America opens this weekend. I need to call my Marvel dates and see when they want to go. I'm still very nervous about this one, because I love a particular Cap and it's not actually the silver age one. I did watch the bootlegged Avengers trailer that Gizmodo had posted, and that got me all happy.

A gentleman at kuk sool wan who was wearing an Avengers tee-shirt tried to tell me that the original line-up for the Avengers included Black Panther and Storm. I, however, insisted that it was: Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Ant Man and the Wasp. With Captain America joining in an early issue. (I thought #2, but Wikipedia tells me #4). I'm glad to see that I'm vindicated. After all, I REMEMBER reading Storm's introduction in an X-title during the 1980s, during the time of the great gathering (which brought us Colossus and Nightcrawler and Wolverine.) Again, Wikipedia corrects me that it was 1979 Claremont, but I DO remember this.

Anyway, I should make plans for this weekend. I hope Cap doesn't suck.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I am such a weirdo.

I think that pretty sums up everything you might need to know about me, but I was thinking specifically of the fact that, unlike almost every other writer I know, I ADORE the revision process. I think it's the sense of accomplishment I get while I'm going through each page. In front of me today is a big pile of paper. It's a completed (if somewhat flawed) story. I don't have to figure out how it's going to end any more. It's written. I may, in point of fact, need to utterly CHANGE the ending for the novel to actually be any good, but I have a spare, you know?

I like that feeling. A lot.

Even though I know that when I get through this round of revisions another one is on its heels (or waiting in the wings and other such metaphors) -- around and around until publication.

But, you know, I've taken my first stab at it. I hit something. Now I just have to make sure my aim is true and I hit home.

Which is kind of a disturbing image since last night I had a really awful nightmare about discovering a serial killer had been to my house while I was away. And then I became a strange sort of magical-yet-evil house spirit myself who continued the killing spree. It was particularly disturbing because it's one of the first dreams that I remember taking place in THIS house, exactly as it's laid out. Usually, I have a stock stand-in metaphor for my house. It's partly my parent's house combined with this one with bits of other houses or apartments I've lived in or known, and a hotel (or a museum). But it's always generally the same place that my subconscious has dubbed "my house" even though it looks nothing like the place in which I currently reside. So besides being creepily violent, it was also very specific.

Banish, banish, banish!

Luckily, it's incredibly beautiful outside today and I have something I'm looking forward to doing in front of me. I'm sitting on the porch with the windows cracked open. There's coffee in the pot and a cat perched on the head of my chair behind me. The thing that's going to be hard is to stay indoors, when what I really want to do is start mucking about in the garden (even though there's still patches of stubborn snow in our back yard.) We're going to expand Mason's veggie garden this year. I really want to try growing lettuce. The seed catalogues all have these cute little individual serving size minature lettuce varieties and I just adore them. I want to see them growing in neat little rows in Mason's garden.

Ah, hurry up summer!!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
The excitment over various "snowpocalypses" is so yesterday. And yet, what did we get on Sunday? More snow. Blah, blah, a dozen or more inches. Blah, blah, I struggled to get my car out. Blah, blah, everything is white and almost beautiful, but completely buried.

It's hard to compete, too, when people who have never seen snow in their lives, like in Atlanta, are dealing with stuff we get every day around here. AND, on top of that, people are out there protesting in blizzard conditions.

On that note, I had an interesting exchange with a neighbor who helped me unstick my car from the roundabout. I'd rolled down the window to talk about the stupid rain that we're getting on top of the ten inches of snow, and he said, "You know, for all the crappy weather we get, we ought to have a higher standard of living in exchange." I'm sure he was thinking about Norway or Sweden, but my first thought was, "We did. Before Pawlenty. Before Michele Bachmann and the other crazy teabaggers." And it made me think about why people are taking to the streets in Madison. Having decent wages and good schools with happy teachers and fire fighters and police officers and garbage pick-up and decent wages and good health care and dozens of other services that union employees provide *is* what we trade-off for living here and putting up with the winter.

My mother wrote from Texas where they snow-bird in a trailer park. Before Madison exploded, she was talking about how garbage seems to pile up outside of businesses there in Texas and no one cares, and how ALIEN that is to a Wisconsinite like her. She said something like, "I guess we're just more civic-minded in Wisconsin."

I'd say. :-)

One thing I have to do (on top of making my 2,000 word quota for Tate) is write another Mouse vingnette for y'all to have tomorrow. I was smart to have done those three ahead of time, and now I'm totally feeling the pressure. Though I think I'll use it as the carrot to my stick. If I get Tate done quickly, I'll write some Mouse.

Shawn is home today since she's one of those "privledged" government employees. She's sitting across from me rather grimly balancing the check book. Yeah, we totally live the high life. (Not.)
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I'm in desperate need of motivation. The thing that usually kicks my butt, a looming deadline, isn't working the way it should. Normally, at this point in the novel, I look at the calendar and realize I only have a month and a half to finish the book and I start running around like the proverbial headless chicken and then I buckle down and get serious.

I'm not chicken-running or getting terribly serious.

This is not good.

Add to that that Mason is on Intersession break and it's been warm and welcoming outside. We keep trying to build a fort. My folks bought Mason these nifty little snow block makers. Imagine sand pails, except with snow. At any rate, this time last year we'd made a fort large enough that Mason could look out a window at eye-level. This year, we build and build, but when we come out the next day, it's puddles and melted brick shapes. I'm not used to that in February. It's supposed to be almost 50 today. That's above, folks. In Minnesota. In February.


I almost wonder if my lack of motivation has to do with the fact that, in a money-saving effort, I've been making coffee at home. I'm not sure I make my coffee as strong as the folks at the Coffee Grounds do. I'm here at the coffee shop today, so I'm hoping that their coffee will perk my brain back up to freak-out stage.

I need that.

Mason and I have earned another private lesson at kuk sool wan. I'm going to ask Nikki Jo Kyo Nim to help me with my kicks. I realized the other day at the adult class that my body/brain has forgotten the side kick and I have never quite gotten my brain/body around the roundhouse or the tornado kick. Though I'm torn because I LOVE working on form.

In other news, the dojo may be moving. Apparently, they've been having a lot of trouble with their landlord and, of course, the light rail will be coming down University starting this Spring that will mess things up for them even more. They're hoping to move within a mile or so of their current location, but whatever happens we'll keep coming. We may not be able to walk in the winter, but we'll still attend. As I told Nikki JKN last night, we'd keep coming even if (God forbid!) they moved to the suburbs.

Okay, well, I need to go. Mason is anxious and we need to go pick up Eleanor for our women of Wyrdsmiths Wednesday.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I think the heat and humidity melted my brain. It certainly ated my ability to do much other than lay around yesterday after Eleanor, Mason, and I hit Como Zoo. It was actually pretty pleasant walking around for the most part, but we luckily gave up before 2:00 pm when the humidity, etc., became soul crushing.

It was quite fun to show off the new interpretive center, tropics trail, and fern room to Eleanor who had not been to Como since all those big changes. It's funny the sort of vicarious pride I have. I didn't build it, after all. But I think it's getting to share the joy of discovery. We got to the big cats by early afternoon, and the Siberian tiger was making "sick cat" moans (or perhaps roars, but they really sounded a lot like what my cats do right before they hork up a hairball.) The osterich also looked pretty miserable, but the giraffe and primates couldn't have been happier. I had been hoping the polar bear exibit would be open but I guess we came a month too early. We also missed out on the butterfly garden, though they had the tent set up. Alas.

I also didn't get much writing done yesterday because we're such complete luddites that we have no central air (no cable, and no wifi... what, am I living in the Stone Age? Yes, I am.) It was too hot to even consider lugging the window air-conditioner out of the attic, so we all just collapsed on the bed and tried not to dehydrate on the spot. Now that it's a bit cooler, I think we'll plan ahead. If this is what May is going to be like, I dread June, July and August.

However, by sitting absoultely still with a fan pointed at my body, I was able to get some reading done. I finished PRETTIES, the second book in Scott Westerfeld's UGLIES series, and ran over to my shelf (despite the sudden burst of sweat that caused) and picked up SPECIALS. This is a great series; have you read it? It's a YA, but it's really very good science fiction (which I would expect from the author of EVOLUTIONS DARLING, among others.) Westerfeld is someone who has one of those literary voices that I just sink into, you know? I'm usually a very slow reader, and I've been pounding through this series. I did find an adult series of his at a used bookstore that I initally bounced off, but I'm looking forward to trying the books again once I finish these.

I'll miss you all at WisCON, though I think I'll be there next year. Perhaps by myself, though figuring out the logistics of this maybe somewhat difficult. I'm thinking that Shawn and I will bring Mason down to grandma and grandpas as usual, and then I'll abandon Shawn and family for a day and one evening (so like, I drive down early Saturday morning, and then drive back Sunday morning) so I can at least attend one day and still get some time in over Memorial Day weekend with my folks. At WisCON I'll need to crash in someone's room, but I have a year to make such arrangements if we decide to do it this way. It's better than nothing, and I will have a science fiction novel to promote, as RESURRECTION CODE will be out by then (it should be out this December, in fact.)

I've been chatting on line with someone who will be doing the Madison as setting panel (my books are mentioned in the description,) and it made me all nostalgic to go. Also, I got invited to participate in another MIND MELD conversation/discussion and suddenly I didn't feel quite as ostracized by the SF community as I sometimes do. What's funny to me is that it's really all about publisher's labels. I've always had romance in my books and fantasy, and Tate's books just capitalize on what was always there --- but the spine says romance and that's that. Locus doesn't even note when my books come out any more (though to be fair, they did review the first few Tate books and the Many Bloody Returns anthology I was involved in.)


Poor me, I guess. ;)

The point is, I miss WisCON and am starting to feel ready to go back. I only hope they'll have me.


Dec. 9th, 2009 10:07 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Unbelievably, Mason is at school today. We had to fight blinding snow-filled winds, stupid drivers, and slippery streets to get him there on time. I also had to delay getting my coffee, which made navigating the above that much tricker.

It's also COLD. Our first minus degree (F) day this winter.

My cough still lingers, but after a very rough night it's a bit more productive and less painful. I think I shall survive after all.

I spent yesterday nursing my cough, writing my murder mystery synopsis (and then sketched out a paranormal police procedural) and watching the roofers my crazy neighbors hired trying to battle the snow and wind as they ripped off the layers of gunk and dropped it all over my yard. Which was then instantly covered by snow. They worked well into the storm, until 2:30 pm, and I'm absolutely certain there are buried tools and roofing materials still in the yard, now under three inches of snow.

What some people will do, eh?

Mason was absolutely giddy this morning to wake up to see all the snow. Everywhere there are those huge piles where the plows toss everything. He kept saying, "Oh, I'm SO going to climb that after school!" and then letting out one of his maniacal laughs.

Also, I need to get some video uploaded to the YouTubes, because last night I captured on film our gerbil, Bee, leaping up on to the wire mess cover, hanging upside down, climbing across it until her little arms can't take it and falling off. What's weird is that she'll do this over and over. And I think I accidentally encouraged this daredevil behavior by giving them seeds the first time she did it. But it makes for pretty funny video.

I also promised a review of BONESHAKER (Cherie Priest), but since it's so new I think I may just leave it with a "you should read this book." I should say that I'm neither a fan of steampunk nor zombies, and this book has both, yet I was quite engaged all the way through. I'm now FINALLY reading HALF A CROWN the last book in Jo Walton's still life with fascism series, or whatever she calls it. I already have a sense of foreboding and I'm only fifty pages in.
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I've been really absent lately, but this time I think I have a pretty good excuse. First, as you know, Bob, I've been frantically working to make deadline for Tate's young adult novel ALMOST TO DIE FOR. I'm happy to report that as of ten o'clock last night, I did (electronically. Now I have to send mss. via post.)

Also, Gaylaxicon was this weekend, and I was in attendance on both Saturday and Sunday. (I actually brought along my laptop and was working on the novel in between panels and, rudely, in the corner at Eric Heideman's party. But I wanted to be there and Shawn had said I'd better only come home when the novel was finished. :-)

Otherwise, I had a great time at Gaylaxicon. I have to admit I'd never been to one before. My big problem is that I often don't feel gay enough. I don't write about gay or queer issues, I just happen to be a lesbian who writes SF/F (and straight romance, talk about not feeling Q!) It's sort of like that feeling of "being a fraud" that some writers go through when they're held up as experts on panels when they've done only "x" (written short stories, published one novel, not broken out into best-seller-ness, or fill in insecurity here.) It's been a long running joke of mine that I don't "do" the professonal lesbian potluck scene because I'm really just a nerd that happens to be lesbian. I have way more in common with people who get wound up about Battlestar Galatica than I do with women who sleep with women on a semi-regular basis, you know? So I felt a bit out of my element.

I will say I was surprised (and impressed) by how much of a READER oriented (if you will) con this was. I only saw a couple of people in costume, and then, only briefly. There weren't a whole ton of media panels that I noticed (although our BSG panel rocked!), but most of the literary track was peopled with people who also intimidated me by the sheer volume of gay/queer SF/F they'd read.

On the flip side, I met some truly impressive people and am harboring a deep intellectual crush on a queer fellow-Wiccan I met there. And the con has inspired me on a number of levels. The first of which is a desire to check out the Spectrum Awards page for a reading list to take to my local library, and to pick up my pen and get queering the genre!

In mundane life, I've been not only frantically finishing Tate's novel (and the next proposal which I have to also turn in on the 15th, aka Thursday,) but we're getting ready to head off to Indiana to visit the relatives on Thursday as well. So I have to do the usual house cleaning and car mantainence bits on top of all this book-related excitement.


We have an appointment with Mason's teacher when we get back from the break, which I think will go fine. I'll be curious to hear the general plan for his reading stuff (he's clearly enjoying his pull-out time with the second graders, he keeps pointing them out to me in the halls as I take him into to school in the mornings,) and figure out the whole library privledges thing.

I think that's all the news fit to print, though I feel like a lot more has been going on in my life. Perhaps you heard that it snowed here? I like it. Most Minnesotans are complaining about it, but it's pretty and I doubt it will last. We'll have a few more warm days before winter settles in, and Mason was so excited to see it he burst into Christmas songs and almost cried when I told him we couldn't check out the sleding hill until a little later.

Okay, I'm off to get new tires for the car and FedEx Tate's book.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I'm cold. I'm typing with gloves on. In about ten minutes, I'm going to go back to the bedroom and hide under the blankets until spring or my book is done, whichever comes first (it better be the book, since it's due in 18 days.)

I'm also thinking that I could eat. I could bake six million cookies and eat them all. Then I'd be warm AND fat.

The book is going well, thanks for asking. I'm struggling a bit with the actually sitting down and writing it part, but then, I always do. I wrote a scene that amused me last night, and that always makes this insane part at the end a bit more worth it.

Tonight, I'm going to go to the library to pick up the last HIKARU NO GO. It finally came in. Yay!

Mason is doing well. Yesterday he had his annual urology test and doctor visit. He has hydronephrosis in one kidney, which we actually discovered in an ultrasound before he was born. We've been monitoring it ever since. The doctor seems disappointed that it's not gotten noticably better, but, according to him, it also hasn't gotten noticable worse. Mason thought the ultrasound was pretty cool, but ticklish as hell. He liked getting out of school for a bit (the appointment was at 8:15 am and we got him to school only about 20 minutes tardy), was sort of grumpy that he missed most of "independent reading time." (No surprise, his favorite part of the day.)

Did I mention the cold? I'm seriously considering abandoning this place and going to sit in a warm coffee shop. The only problem with that is that I'm already very distracted from writing and going there could make it much, much worse.

The dishes are here, though.

And it's [bleeping!] cold.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday afternoon, I was laying on the bed thinking I should either nap, meditate (which is really, for me, just guided napping,) or start writing. Since I could barely keep my eyes open I went for meditation/napping. I settled in on the bed, plugged in to my mp3 player, but I paused because I heard the sound of a train rattling in the far, far distance. I thought: "Huh, a train," because, a train passes quite close to our house and we can often heard it rumbling through the neighborhood. Two seconds later the tornado sirens went off. Mason and I scurried off to the basement, but as it was only just pitter-pattering rain, I still didn't make the connection. And, honestly, because it's Wednesday, if I didn't have a weather radio that automatically tells me if this is a drill or a real advisory, I probably wouldn't even have hurried us off to the basement. (Even though it wasn't the first Wednesday of the month, my little radio goes off weekly on Wednesdays.)

I'm glad I did.

The tornado that touched down was quite a distance from us. Across the river and in the Portland Avenue and Downtown areas of Minneapolis. But, you know, that's much closer than I really ever needed to be. My sympathies go out to everyone directly affected.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
If you've never checked out "There, I Fixed It", you kinda should. Shawn turned me on to this site, and it's an awesome time waster. I will admit that sometimes I look at the "fixes" and think, "what's wrong with that?" Anyone whose been to my house has seen at least one of these in operation. (I won't say which. It's not on the first page, though.)

In other news it's sort-of-kind-of half-a$$ed raining right now. We really need the sky to open up and flippin' pour, but that doesn't seem to be forthcoming. I may need to complain to the management. Anyone got a direct line?

Meanwhile, my talking cat may have morphed into a psyhic ferret, but I haven't sat down to do any real writing yet today, so that's still undetermined. Shawn and I spent a long time talking about my vision for the world of the young-adult novel last night, and those kinds of discussions are always good for my brain (and hopefully the story.) I wonder how people deal with having non-writing-supportive partners/spouses. If I couldn't bounce ideas off Shawn at nine o'clock at night, I'd have to have some kind of life line to call. Probably I'd call the other Sean in my life, but I suspect he'd get pretty sick of me. I tend to need a lot of hand-holding/encouragement/just-shut-up-and-let-me-talk at the beginning of a big project like this. Shawn has learned when to let me ramble, when to say "there, there" (and not much else, and when to go into a full blown brainstorm session. Because I don't always need the latter. Sometimes I just like to sing a complaining song, as Pooh would say, and sometimes I just need to hear how something sounds out loud, you know?

Mason, mysteriously, has gotten some kind of starring role in the Kindergarten Celebration (graduation ceremony?) at Crossroads. When I asked him about it (one of the other parents said she heard he had a "solo"), he did his classic blank stare. "I don't remember," is what I usually get next. Will you be singing? "I don't remember." Reciting poetry? "I don't remember. I get time at the microphone." Doing what? "I don't remember."

What I think this really means is: "I'm too overloaded right now to think of what you mean. The whole day has become a blur to me. Tilt!" This, to me, is the biggest crime of full-day kindergarten. Mason comes home completely wiped out. I bring along a book so he can go nose-down into it, and he seems to recover quickly if he has that kind of retreat from the sensory overload of his day. But sometimes critical information gets lost. Like this celebration. So I asked his teacher about it this morning, but she told me she wants to keep it "a surprise." Fun, but frustrating. If I thought Mason's *intention* was to keep it a secret, that'd be one thing. But he too shell-shocked at the end of the day to remember...

I at least got the day out of her: Tuesday, July 28. Now we just have to figure out when and we can plan to be there. I'll be curious to find out what this "time at the microphone" is. I'm sure he'll be awesome. Despite this curious pheonmenon of the end of the day blank slate brain, Mason actually has a phenomenal memory. He can recite poetry he's read only once or twice fairly perfectly, and easily remembers song lyrics and tunes. So whatever it is, I'm sure he'll rock at it.

The other big excitement for us is that Mason's 6th birthday is fast approaching. He's decided he wants a Halloween themed party (in July) completely with costumes. We usually have his party outdoors (saves on the cleaning, and kids can usually amuse themselves easily with a kiddie pool, spray bottles and water ballons). So we're trying to come up with a way to have Halloween at the kiddie pool combinations. I think we've got it, but trust Mason to come up with something completely off the wall.
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Tonight Tate/I have a gig in Red Wing, MN. In fact, in about three hours I'm going to pick up Shawn early from work so I can make the hour and a half drive down there in time for... well, honestly, I'm expecting "crickets." (Which is to say, the sound of an empty store.)

I actually hate these out of town gigs. They're almost always embarrassingly underattended and I always leave feeling like I've wasted a lot of time, gas, and energy. Yet, this particular signing was arranged for me by my hard-working publicist (which as I've noted before is a VERY unusual thing), so I didn't feel like I could turn her down. I just hope it doesn't suck too much.

Meanwhile, a girl couldn't ask for better weather. It's cool... chilly, even, like the springs of my youth, but the sun is shining brightly. As we like to say here in Minnesota, "Can't complain."

Thanks to a lot of stress at work Shawn fell asleep on the couch last night so I was able to finish up the last of Tate's proposal for the next three Garnet Lacey books. Shawn is going to read through the last of the three tonight (she's been over the first two already) and then they're off to my agent, and fingers crossed. I know you're probably all cursing Tate for screwing up my writing time as Lyda, but I've really come to love Tate's books. They're so much fun to write and that's such a wonderful experience. My science fiction is slower because it's harder. When you're in the future you have to re-invent the telephone everytime you want to place a call, but in contemporary romance all you got to do is somehow make it through the sex scenes without dying from embarassment. That's A LOT easier. And faster.

We're all headed up to a friend's cabin this weekend, and I'm bringing along my laptop. Hopefully, I can get some Mouse writing done so you guys won't have to wait forever for the next book. (I'm THIS close to wanting to re-start that book again, but I know that way lies folly.)

I still haven't seen the new TREK movie, but I'm ready now. On top of everything all you folks said, I read Barth Anderson's review over on Facebook and I think I truly believe that it doesn't suck now. (I've been very wary. My last experience with a prequel involved midi-clorians and I'm still wounded, okay?)

A single tetra survives. Yes, I think it's the same one that survived the last massive die-off. I'm planning on naming her Mary, as in Typhoid Mary. I'm also convinced that she will probably live forever and thwart the "if they all die, you can get a new tank" Shawn promise. In other, happier news, Joe is still alive. He's the FIRST twleve cent feeder/comet goldfish we ever bought... years ago. So, see, I'm not *just* a failure at fish-keeping.

Mason and I are planning to take a walk up to the library to enjoy the weather. I guess he and his mama have big "mischeivous" plans for tonight while I'm off in Red Wing entertaining crickets. He's going to stay up late and play video games (which is almost never allowed. He can stay up late, but ONLY if he's reading.)

Okay, well, that's all I know. Take care. See ya on Monday.

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