Thursday, September 27, 2007

Loosening the Screws

Yeah, I know - the title could be read as somewhat risque, but how am I to blame for what goes on in the dark recesses of your mind?

At any rate, I'm taking a few days off. Really off. No Internet (although I bet I break down on that. Probably show up at the local library begging for access. I'm such an e-tramp - c'mon, baby, just one hit. Please, baby. Sigh.). But I'm trying for no e-mail chat, no peeking at comments, no checking electronic headlines or any of that other stuff. I'm wound way too tight and I'm getting out of Dodge before the fellows with the large butterfly nets start sashaying my way. It stands to reason - I haven't really slowed down since way before the book project was turned in. Although D*C was a fantastic whirligig of fun, it was still a whirligig.

Not even telling you where I'm going - I'm just going there. Calm blue ocean . . .calm blue ocean . . . calm blue ocean . . .

It's important to know when you've had enough. For me, the fact that I've started forgetting appointments and snapping at people for my own doofus-y actions is a big ol' celestial sign that Mockingbird needs to hunker down in a borrowed nest for a bit and let the winds of Fate howl outside without her intervention. I know (from painful personal experience) that when this happens, I can do one of two things. One: Obey the flashing neon lights and take a few days to regroup. Two: Ignore it, claiming that I'm just too gosh-darned important to take the necessary time to take care of myself. When I take that approach, my body tends to take more drastic action to get my attention, like straining a shoulder muscle or getting a bug that I just can't shake. Either way, I wind up slowing down, so I prefer to take the easier route that doesn't involve taking a breather due to physical harm. I've got new songs to listen to, old movies to watch, and a patch of sand with my name on it. (Well, not yet, but give me a day. I'll stake it out.)

Hey - it's cheaper than most other forms of therapy.

So, I'll be back soon. In the meantime, how do you know when you're close to the edge? And what do you do when you find yourself there?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ahoy, Me Hearties!

It's been an - interesting - week. "Interesting" is such a useful word, as it can convey so very many shades of meaning. In this case, the meaning is "weird, leaning toward the good, but with a lot of supremely curious 'huh-what?' stuff thrown in, along with a goodly dash of the sort of news that makes you despair about whether humans are useful additions to the ecosystem."

And all of that communicated with a single word. Isn't English an amazing language?

There's no need to go into gritty detail. It'll suffice to say that the last week has seen the 6th commemoration of the loss of our collective innocence; there were a few oddities at work; and the news had more than the usual amount of stories which dealt with humans being monstrous to the smaller and weaker among us. Adding to the bizarre, I actually got drawn into a conversation yesterday about the views of Karl Barth, which I was busily relating to elements of Doctor Who. (As Mal would say, "Still working the details.") Based on the available evidence, it seems abundantly safe to say that I could use a break from being a responsible grown-up. And I bet we could all benefit from such a break.

And just in time is today. September 19 - International Talk Like a Pirate Day! This site is chock-full of vocabulary tips and fashion advice. What? You say you fear your "pirate-speak" skills aren't up to public display? No fear, ye spineless bilge rat - if you're able to cut and paste this - - you'll be treated to a useful (and HI-larious!) language lesson! What? You expect me to know how to link that? Arrr - away wi' ye, scurvy dog! I got plunderin' on me mind; I've no time fer such t'ings!

Remember - to err is human, but to "arrr!" is Pirate!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Returning to Earth

So I'm back home for the time being, having finished the eight-states-in-ten-days tour. I know you couldn't come with me, but fear not! There are pictures galore from Dragon*Con for you to examine, quite likely while saying, "What is that he/she/to be determined is wearing, exactly?" I organized the photos into some rough semblance of categories, with Whedon-stuff first. Enjoy and remember - these are your neighbors, your dentists, your teachers, your plumbers and so forth. My, my, but we're complicated people, aren't we? And yes, this post begins with a picture of the 30+ marching members of the 76th Independent Battalion, which is a very elaborate homage to Firefly. These people, who I am proud to call comrades (no, not that kind - don't let the red fool you), may be a little nutty, but I have pecan-like tendencies myself. And trust me - these are the sort of folk you want watching over you, whether you need a strong back or a soft couch.

Back on Earth, school continues. I have technical issues - a mutant talent of mine seems to be the uncanny talent to make all things electronic go wonky at my approach - but they seem to get resolved while also providing computer techs with both job security and funny stories to tell.

Speaking of both technical issues and funny stories, a new blog will soon be linked to this one. I'll be starting a separate blog for the upcoming Buffy class that I'll be teaching as a six-week continuing education class. The class will be interrupted for a week due to the Turkey trip, but I had the idea for the blog before that puzzle piece fell into place. The blog will give students (and non-students, too) a place to comment, along with some nifty links to information about the episodes we'll be concentrating on, essays that have been published on the material and so forth. Oh, regarding the comments - don't get overly excited; I'm going to serve as moderator, just in case people get irrelevant in their statements. See, there was an article about another cont. ed. course in which the instructor justified his class by saying something along the lines of, "Last year, they had a course on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so there's room for everything." Maybe I was just in a snarky mood, but that stuck in my craw to a degree. It was a bloody good class, focusing on depicitons of morality and values. Pffffffbt, I say! Anyway, back to the post, already in progress . . .

. . . and I'm nearly caught up on laundry and most of the papers that piled up on my desk during my absence have been conquered! Honestly, the pile was so high I wasn't sure if I should grade it or climb it.

I'm going to enjoy just sitting still with a dusty dog (we really need rain around here) and look through my pictures, reliving the glory days of otherwise normal people dressed up as Monty Python characters.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


The deal was this - finish the book on time, and get to go to Dragon*Con in Atlanta as a reward. I bought my pass in anticipation of reaching my goal and getting that tasty carrot. This was wise, since as you know, I got the manuscript in to the publisher about ten days early. I frantically prepped lessons for my classes in my absence (I hated missing class - really. I like teaching and I think I'm indispensable, so I don't like not being there) and off I went. While I didn't get to do everything or meet everybody (sorry Lissa and Rhonda), it was - noteworthy.

I'd been to cons before - Akin and I met at the infamous "canned flan" in Burbank back in December, after all - but this was just . . . other. Something like 45,000 attendees with interests ranging from computer gaming to Star Trek to anime to science fiction to Doctor Who to (of course) Whedon. Costumes are the norm and I'm sure any poor Muggle who booked a room at any of the three host hotels without knowing what was happening came out shocked and stunned. I saw stormtroopers and Doctors and Sailor Moons and Batman but I also saw the Death Star Construction Crew (complete with blueprints), the Tick (complete with spoon) and Delirium (complete with fish).

I loved it all.

After all, in so-called "real life," most of us (not just con-goers) are mundane. We fret about paying the bills, whether the car will last through the winter, how much overtime we're putting in at work that takes us away from those we love and so forth. But we are so very much more. Whether your passion is anime or football, passions are good and having people to share those passions with is even better.

I'm already planning for next year. Without the pressure of writing a book.

Who knows? Maybe the geeks will inherit the earth. When we do, it'll be an earth worth living on, I feel sure.