Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas! More Daylight Is Coming (in the northern hemisphere)!

Writing—Whew! Got several really intense combo copyediting/fact-checking projects this fall that left me no energy to do more fact-checking to update the Market List. I feel bad about it, but what can I do. I also feel as though I got some more good fiction writing news in the last couple of months, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.

I’ve decided, now that my freelance business has picked up so much, that I really need to set aside one day a week for writing, organizing submissions, etc. Waiting until I have a dry spell just isn’t cutting it, because I never have dry spells! Looking at my invoice list, it looks as though I’ll have completed at least 62 projects in the 12 months ending 1/15/08, with only a few of those being less than book-length. That’s a lot! (Knock on wood. Now watch: I won’t get any work for three months.)

After seeing absolutely no allure in it for years, I’ve finally succumbed to sudoku, playing the NYTimes puzzles (easy, medium, difficult) online. So I guess I’ve added that to my crossword addiction and to my repertoire of ways to procrastinate . . . I mean take a break.

Family—The week before Thanksgiving, I had a major, crashing, horrible depressive episode. It came absolutely out of nowhere. After a very scary 48 hours in which I really wanted to do nothing but die, Doug and I decided that when he went to a game convention in St. Louis that weekend, I should go with him, and we’d extend the trip a bit and make a vacation out of it. So we did and had a good time. I took work with me and worked in the hotel room while he was at the con. Then we visited a Lewis & Clark exhibit in St. Louis and, in Kansas City, the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and the National World War I Museum—both insightful explorations of complicated times and very worth visiting.

I bought a microwavable heating pad in a cute holly-print cover, thinking I’d give it to my mother-in-law for Christmas, but then I warmed it and put it in a cardboard box beneath a spotlight for Bootsie. It’s Bootsie’s now. She lurves it with all her kitty self. The dogs are loving all the fresh snow we’ve been getting. The wild birds are totally pigging out at the feeder. Only one fish has died recently, and I’m pretty sure that was from old age.

Culture—Now reading Barbara Tuchman’s Guns of August, the book about the beginning of WWI that made her reputation as a “popular” historian, much to the annoyance of many historians with PhDs. I picked it up at the WWI Museum in Kansas City. It’s absolutely riveting, well written and with much relevance to today’s situations.

Home & Garden—I have a home? I have a garden? Oh, that’s what that mess all around me is . . .

Fun!—

  • Thanks to Roger for the “Sci-fi sounds quiz”: My score was 56, eliciting “You're a major sci-fi geek! Do you speak Klingon?”
  • Super-fun IQ test for your dog with lots of activities you’ll both enjoy, whether your dog is a smarty or just looks baffled.
  • Researchers have debunked “7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe." You don’t need to drink eight glasses of water a day. Reading in dim light does not damage your eyes. Using cell phones around medical equipment won’t cause it to malfunction.
  • The St. Petersburg Times (Florida) sponsors a political “Truth-o-Meter,” reporting on the truth of the various claims that float about, too often unchallenged or unverified by most media. Well worth checking out! Amazing what people will say about themselves and one another.
  • Paul Krugman writes in the NYTimes about why, despite official statistics showing years of “economic growth,” most Americans don’t feel better off and, in fact, aren’t better off.
  • “Global Warming Is Colorblind: Can We Say As Much for Environmentalism?”: Excellent article by Jennifer Oladipo in Orion about the overwhelming whiteness of the U.S. environmental movement.
  • Douglas N. Arnold and Jonathan Rogness, mathematics faculty at the University of Minnesota, have a YouTube hit with their visual explanation of Moebius transformations set to music. It’s pretty cool, and it got an honorable mention award in the 2007 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.
  • MIT physics professor Walter H. G. Lewin is an Internet hit with his enlightening and dramatic physics lectures.
  • A giant rat, five times the size of a regular city rat, has been discovered in Guinea. Apparently, it’s pretty cuddly!
  • Young Chimp Outscores College Students on Memory Test