ArmadilloCon preparations and various other stuff

I’ve been prepping for ArmadilloCon by reading the manuscripts for the writers workshop and coming up with questions for Paolo Bacigalupi for the guest interview. The current Locus has an interview with him and at first I was like, hey, they stole my thunder, but actually Locus just made it a little bit easier for me. I won’t ask the same questions but will use some of his answers to dig deeper.

Ages ago I was a reporter for my hometown newspaper, The Ridgefield Press, and later I worked for computer magazines, but it’s been a while since I’ve interviewed someone for a feature. People mostly like to talk about themselves though, and the good part is I don’t have to write it all up afterwards.

Also in preparation for the convention and the interview I read Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, which is really good. I read it in one day and had a very hard time putting it down. I haven’t plowed through a book like that in forever. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Everything came together — setting, character, and the technology, which is highly important in a science fiction novel. It has a Heinleinesque feel with a darker edge to it. If you have boys aged 12 and up, I think they would really like it.

Naturally since I have very little free time, I sat down and wrote the first 1,700 words to a new short story. It’s one I’ve been mulling over for years and there’s nothing like the feeling that I needed to do a million other things to get the creative flow going. I have to commit to it over the next two days, since starting Thursday night, it’s all con, all the time, until Sunday. If I can finish a rough draft by Wednesday night, I will be ecstatic.

In other convention news, WorldCon will be in San Antonio in 2013. The last time it was here was in 1997. That was my very first Worldcon, my very first major convention ever, in fact. I’m really looking forward to experiencing WorldCon again. I wish I had gone to Renovation, which just finished up this year, but it wasn’t meant to be. Alas.

 

Riding lessons — in which I stay in the saddle this time

When I got to the farm Shari said, “You have a choice tonight. Chocolate or Mr. Dees.”

My prompt response: “I would like Mr. Dees, because I would like to canter tonight.”

She agreed that was a better choice. So I rode Mr. Dees in the round pen and we did really well. This was the first horse I had ridden at the farm and the first time he gave me a lot of trouble by veering out of his corners. The round pen is an easier ring and I was able to keep him in line. We walked, trotted, I practiced my jump seat over cavaletti, and we did some turns on the forehand! Go Mr. Dees!

Then we cantered, and while the canter start was a little rough, and Mr. Dees himself has a rollicking gait, we did really well. My seat was good, my hands were good, and I was able to collect him without him coming out of the canter, which meant my legs are getting very strong. Oh, and in the trot, he was very strong, pushing from his hindquarters, and his head was down and his neck bowed so nicely, instead of up and straining against the bit. So he was really responsive to me, despite my aids probably not being all that clear.

I really felt like I am coming back pretty quickly. I think next week I can practice more two-point at the canter, and work on cavaletti.

My next lesson I am going to bring a camera and see if we can get some pictures for the blog. Then again, I ride in the evening and it’s starting to get dark early, so we’ll have to see how them come out.

Oh, and about 500 words on the current project.

Randomness –catching up

Planted the last of theĀ  basil. The basil did surprisingly well this summer. The rest of the herbs not so much. But that’s okay — I love pesto far more than anyone should, so if only one herb was gonna survive, the right one did. Also on the domestic front, made granola from Mark Bittman’s recipe. I broke my own rule against using the oven when it’s 100 degrees out, but it was worth it.

Finally bought my mom the updated Scrabble dictionary. She had a 1970s edition that didn’t even have “zine” or “zin.” I ask you, how am I supposed to win at Scrabble without being able to use “zin?” It’s on, Mom!

I read one of the Navy SEALS meet the Vikings books by Sandra Hill. I am sad. It was not what I was hoping for. I wonder now if I have to write the books that I want to read? It worked for Karen Joy Fowler in “The Jane Austen Book Club.” (Obviously, I can’t write SEALS and Vikings because Hill pretty much owns the category, but still.)

Austin, Texas, is a Stella d’Oro free zone or something, so when I went to Connecticut I bought a couple of packages to remind me of the cookies of my youth. Well, my sister just sent me a care package of Stella d’Oro! Woo-hoo! We have the anisette cookies, and the madeleine-like ones, and these little fudge ones that I didn’t even know existed. What with the heat and the lack of Stella d’Oro, Austin was really losing its remaining cachet.