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I’ve been–I don’t think I’ve been doing it on the blog, but on Twitter and my FB page I’ve been keeping pretty close tabs on Wonder Woman all summer long. I’ve seen it five or six times in the theatre (including infamously flying to Liverpool to take my friend Leah to it to make sure she’d see it when her husband didn’t particularly want to!). I’ve been watching it break record after record–it was the biggest opening for the first weekend in June ever, it’s the biggest female-led, female-directed movie in history, Warner Bros have announced they’re going to be running a major Academy Awards campaign for it for Best Picture and Best Director (and I tell you, having seen it six times, I *still* think Gal Gadot deserves a Best Actress nomination). It stayed in theatres at nearly unprecedented numbers–it’s down to under 1000 now, but it only dropped that low last week–and I’ve just been hanging on to watching it go from success to success. It’s meant a lot to me. It shouldn’t *have* to, but it has.

And now I’m looking at this week’s nubers. $402.8m in North America as of Wednesday. $396m internationally (and that’s as of the weekend, because Box Office Mojo doesn’t get international numbers as rapidly). $798.7m all together, worldwide.

So I’m calling it: Wonder Woman is going to squeak over $800m worldwide *before* it opens in Japan on the 25th.

The fascinating thing is that Japan is a total wild card. At the worst it’ll play like the other DCEU movies and make about $15m there. But it’s a princess warrior movie, and Diana’s voice is being dubbed by the woman who does Sailor Moon’s voice, which is as canny a bit of casting as ever there was. And Japan *loves* princess movies. It *could* play like a Disney princess film and make tens of millions.

It needs $873,260,195 to beat Batman vs Superman by $1.

Come on, Wondy.

(Also the director, Patty Jenkins, is reported to be just about to sign a historic deal for the sequel, with the expectation of a payday unlike anything a woman director has ever seen. Come on, Wondy! #emotions)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Or don’t, as you see fit. But if you’ve ever wondered how ordinary decent people let Nazi Germany happen, if you’ve ever thought “I would have done something, if I’d been alive back then,” well, this is how it happened, and what we do now is what we would have done then.

Hi. My name is [   ] and I’m a consitutent in [   ], zip code [   ]. I don’t need a response to this, but I do want this message passed on to my [ Senator / Congressperson ].

I’m calling to tell the Senator/Congress(person) that it is imperative that they denounce not only the Nazi gatherings in our country, but also the President of the United States, who has now openly defined himself as a white supremacist. Thoughts and prayers are, at this stage, deeply insufficient. Any action less than a full and swift removal of Donald Trump from the Presidential office is inadequate. We as Americans must be better than this, and the Senator/Congressperson, as an elected official, must stand up and say we will not tolerate fascist leadership. Every day that they delay doing so aligns them more powerfully with an authoritarian regime, and history will not be kind to those in government who do not take decisive action now.

Thank you for your time.

If you really hate talking to people on the phone, call during off-hours so you’ll get an answering machine. But call, because you can’t pull punches when you’re fighting fascists.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Sunday morning at breakfast looked like everybody at the con hotel had just gone, “…yeah, no, screw it,” and not gotten up to eat. :)

*I’d* gotten up because I wanted to go to Walter Jon Williams’ guest of honor interview, which I did (although I went into the wrong room first and was pretty torn about leaving what proved to be an astronaut’s lecture, but did anyway). The first half of it was full of what I thought were really great general questions for a writer and I wanted to be answering them! The second half got more specific about his career, but as he said at the end of the hour, “Well, that got us up to 1985, so please come to the next convention for the other half…” :)

(jedward has sorry not sorry, get down low, i dont know why, and walking the wire on his playlist. dammit, norwegian air is supposed to have wifi on board and i’m dying to be tweeting this! also he’s singing a lot to himself, just under his breath, which for some reason i find wonderful. people should sing more! also, just in case anyone wondered: he can sing.)

I bailed on the con after that because I really wanted to see a little of Helsinki without it trying to drown me. This would have been better if I had not somehow failed to put a meet-up with somebody into my calendar and forgotten about it, but she forgave me and I had a nice walk around some harbor-type thing where there were a number of trees shattered by the previous night’s storm.

My impression of Helsinki was that it has wonderfully wide streets, excellent pedestrian areas, very good public transport, amazing bike lanes, a lot of very fit, Finnish-looking people, good tap water (they’ve got signs everywhere saying “you can drink water right from the sinks!”), and a sort of vaguely creepy Bladerunner-ish (to me) corporate ubiquitousness with innumerable signs proclaiming business affiliations everywhere vibe. It felt like being in a city labeled like Nascar jumpsuits. Someone I was with said it had a post-Soviet vibe to them, which may be more accurate, but it wasn’t what came to my mind. :)

I went out to dinnner with friends and tried to find the Dead Dog party, gave up and sent one of our party ahead, then thought we HAD found it and went through a lot of contortions to contact said party member, only to find out later we’d screwed up and he’d almost been at the actual party and we’d called him back. We felt very badly. *moop* And I was a little disappointed to not get to the party because I’d wanted to say goodbye to Nicholas, at least, only as we sat around in the hotel lobby he happened to come through so I got to say bye anyway, yay. :)

Famous Authors Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch & CE Murphy :)
Famous Authors Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch & CE Murphy :)

Shockingly, I completely failed to get to bed early, although I’d planned to. In the morning, Carol and I packed up, went downstairs to the lobby, happened to see eBear and Scott again, and then took ourselves off to the airport, where, to cap it all off, I sat next to half of Jedward, who smelled too much of cologne. And thus ends my Worldcon 2017 report!

(Except for the pictures post I’m going to do! And anything else I remember later! :))

(Like the moment on the way to the Hugos when I muttered (or so I thought), “That is an *extremely* attractive man,” about the gentleman in front of me, who was someone else’s husband. But apparently 3 days of convention was not good for my muttering skills, because he looked over his shoulder and smiled, which was both funny and mortifying. But my *god*, he really was extremely, *extremely* attractive.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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The trouble with the first several days of Worldcon was that I was having so much fun I kept lying awake at night grinning like an idiot and keeping myself awake with happiness, which meant that although I technically went to bed about 3:15 on Saturday morning, it was tragically closer to 4 before sleep actually arrived.

Super tired author selfie
I considered showing up to the panel like this but then I remembered I was a Very Serious Author. :)

And I had a 10am panel.

Frankly, my friends, I did not expect it to go well. None of us did, in fact. We were all privately agreeing that this was probably going to be a disaster, because we were just wrecked and nobody could think clearly and our voices were shot and yeah.

Surprisingly, it went REALLY WELL. Or at least we panelists thought so. :) We were talking about women writing comics and it turned out we had reasonably intelligent things to say, and we focused on our experiences with writing comics but broadened it into women artists as well, and it did seem to go well. We were very pleased. :)

Post-panel I had lunch with my friend Mika, and that was really nice. Then I caught up with Ursula and Kevin, and did an interview for Kevin’s organizational podcast, which was fun. I’ll link to it when it’s available. And it just occurs to me I didn’t actually get any pictures WITH them, which is a thing I keep failing to do. Well, next time. :)

SPEAKING OF NEXT TIME

Dublin has won the bid to host the 2019 Worldcon! I will of course be billing it as the “Come hang out with Catie!” con for the next two years, but to my delight, Diane Duane will be the guest of honor (I had a bet going with myself that she would be, and am smug to have won!) and Ian McDonald will be joining us, and it’s going to be a hell of a good party, so COME ON OVER!

I have real hopes that the core war room writers will all be able to make it, and if enough of us do, we’ll probably see about doing a panel about supporting other writers or something, which would be really neat. I’m so excited! I mean, odds were PRETTY GOOD that we were going to win (we were the only ones bidding), but I’m still unexpectedly chuffed for it to be official and to be able to say it’s time to start making real plans for getting here for it! YAY!

Anyway, during the afternoon I ran into my con-friend Margaret again, and she invited me to a little get-together off-site, which I decided would be nice to drop in to, as I wanted to get away from the con for a little while anyway. So I toddled into Helsinki and dropped by for just a little while, then went out to explore and look for dinner.

Oncoming storm in Helsinki
Oncoming storm in Helsinki
One minute later
One minute later
Three minutes later!
Three minutes later!
</>

Instead I found a thunderstorm. I stopped to take a picture of it rolling in and posted on Twitter to say “thunderhead coming in over Helsinki, aka ‘soon i will be very wet'” and less than a minute later it hit. And when I say hit I mean hit. A huge wind came out of nowhere and snatched up all the grit from the roads and sidewalks and pelted into the air (and my clothes, and skin, and hair…) and some raindrops smashed down and within 90 seconds I was thoroughly damp.

And then the rain *really* started. Huge, smashing, dramatic raindrops that filled the streets in literally seconds and lightning was crashing everywhere and thunder was rolling and I still had to GET TO THE TRAM to get back to the hotel, so I went from ‘thoroughly damp’ to ‘soaked completely through’ and it was frankly exhilarating. If the amount of lightning hadn’t seemed so dangerous I might well have stayed out in it longer, but I dripped my way back to the hotel and took a shower and changed clothes completely, because literally soaked through.

By then I was brainless with hunger and it was still thundering and lighteninging, so I just ate at the hotel restaurant, but one of my friends happened upon me and joined me and we had a lovely couple hours of chatting before deciding to try to brave the celebratory Dublin 2019 partly. Although I went in with the intention of saying “Hello! Good night!” to everyone, and actually kept it. The funniest bit of that was crouching at at a table full of friends and Ian McDonald (who may have the drink taken) leaning over and roaring, “COME TO IRELAND!” at me cheerfully.

“She’s IN Ireland!” said everyone at the table.

Ian, still leaning, took this information under long and careful consideration. Long. And careful. Consideration. And then leaned slightly farther in at me and roared, “COME TO IRELAND!” again, which made us all laugh and I promised I would. (The next day I saw him and he gave me a slightly sheepish nod–I’m pretty sure he hadn’t remembered me, which is fine as it’d been quite some time since we’d last spoken, and I’ve cut my hair since then–and I thought it was all pretty funny. :))

(i’m sorry i’m typing this on the plane and a very cologne-laden young man is in the seat beside me and he took a nap and i looked over at him and i’m about 90% sure he’s half of jedward, altho his phone pictures, which he’s scrolling thru, only seem to have one blonde boy in them, but then i guess they would seem that way unless they were together in a photo and i just have to say that.)

SO ANYWAY

Worldcon roomies at the Hugos!!
Worldcon roomies at the Hugos!!

I actually did take myself off to the room after that, but then in the great tradition of sleepovers everywhere Carol and I stayed up much too late talking (it’s the only night we did, and I’m really awfully glad we did, because great tradition of sleepovers everywhere!). We had a long and very funny discussion about Irish accents that featured Colin Farrell’s absolutely false Irish accent he uses while in America and which eventually landed on something that clarified a Thing About Irish English to me!

So Irish people are forEEEEVER saying they’ll be there in two minutes. Two. Always two. And they’re never ever ever there in two minutes. Ever. So! It turns out there’s an Irish word, cúpla, that means “a few”, and that because it sounds like “couple” there’s a kind of slide from Irish to English on that word which means that if you ask an Irish person if they want a couple cookies and they say yes, they then think you’re really kind of stingy if they only get TWO cookies.

But! I am now convinced that when Irish people say they’ll be there in two minutes, they’re moving *back* on that transliterative (is that the right word? it’ll do) slide, and what they really mean is cúpla, and that they’ll be there in a few minutes.

THIS MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!

(oh shit yeah no there’s pictures of both of them, it is half of jedward!!!)

Anyway, we went to bed after that except then I was still giddy and I was remembering that Kari and Camille and I had discussed cosplaying Josie & the Pussycats for Dublin 2019 and I had to post on Twitter to ask if other people kept themselves awake at night thinking that obviously it would be totally reasonable to actually learn to play the guitar and do a tribute concert at the con and then because it was clearly terribly important RIGHT THEN, trying to remember the words to Ballroom Blitz…

…or if it was just me that thought that way. :)

(Kari said it wasn’t just me but I did understand that I was Josie, right? And I was like yes, I did, although I wasn’t sure I was vocally up for that because Camille’s amazing and Kari’s Welsh, so, y’know, obvs. :))

And then I went to sleep. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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The astute among you may notice that Worldcon is over but I’m only just posting Day Three. This is due to a combination of things, firstly that in a fit of idiocy (fun, but idiocy) I was out until 3am Friday night/Saturday morning and was not prepared to write a blog post at that time, and secondly and far more annoyingly, that I wrote this whole damn post up last night, telling myself all the while that I needed to C&P it because it wasn’t going to post properly, and of course I forgot to copy it and then, as predicted, it didn’t post properly, and I lost everything I’d written and it was midnight so screw that noise.

So Anyway.

“BATMAN,” said my roommate Carol, loudly and clearly, as her opening salvo of the morning, “was having to investigate a murder on Coronation Street…” Then she fell back asleep for 2 minutes & dreamed I’d insisted she prove she liked my books by licking the side of my face, as a true fan would. NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT LICK MY FACE (or any other part of me unless so invited. O.O)

Mihaela, Sharpie, Kari, Catie & Phil at Worldcon!
Mihaela, Sharpie, Kari, Catie & Phil at Worldcon!

I got to exactly zero panels on Friday; it was a BarCon day. I had breakfast with eBear and Scott and met a couple of their friends who were very cool, then dashed off to meet Kari for our scheduled morning gossip, which was somewhat thwarted by circumstances. I bobbled around and got a few more signatures in my autograph book, and met Kari and others for lunch instead, which was lovely. Oh, and went around the art show and met a couple of editors, which is always good. :) And I plunked down and a few people came over to say hi and I had a lovely chat with some readers, so that was really nice too.

I also met the most ADORABLE baby Wonder Woman, who was about 6 months old and overwhelmed/wide-eyed at all the noise and people, but when I greeted her she gave me an enormous toothless smile and I was totally charmed. :)

Then, because I had been inside for well over 24 hours at that point, and sitting for most of that time, I took myself on a little walk and found that Finland also has what we call Alaska cotton, which made me happy and now that I’m thinking about it I might go out and pick some tomorrow before I have to leave. (Now it is tomorrow and I doubt that’s going to happen, but oh well. What would I do with it anyway?)

Famous Author CE Murphy with Famous Rapper Daveed Diggs
Famous Author CE Murphy with Famous Rapper Daveed Diggs

And Then We Went To The Hugos!

I’d never been before, and had a lot of fun. My roommate was the stand-in to collect an award if it was won, so she invited me as her plus one, so I got to do all the shiny things associated with that. (I’d seen Adrian Tchaikovsky earlier in the day and asked if he was going. He said he hoped so, but he had to stand in line amongst the hoi polloi to see if he got in. I said I was fancy and had a ticket, and he said he would tug his forelock in accordance to his lowly station if he saw me. :))

The pre-Hugos reception didn’t have very much food (because of course it didn’t) and so after a while of talking to people–like the nice man pictured here–I went out to the food court and got…kebab. Messy sloppy kebab. (And Adrian saw me, and tugged his forelock!) I took the sloppy kebab into the reception hall and ate it VERY CAREFULLY (I dripped some on my shoe) and people took pictures of me eating kebab in my fancy dress and SEVERAL PEOPLE came over and asked, rather desperately, where I had gotten that, and were tragically dismayed to hear I’d gone and bought it in the food court. :) (The food court was very expensive but surprisingly good. All of the food I had from it was real food of quite decent quality.)

I thought the Hugos ceremony was very well run, and of course particularly enjoyed the bits where my friends won. I was disappointed, but not surprised, that Clipping (Daveed Diggs’ group) didn’t win, and delighted when the best editor award winner, Liz Grovinsky, was so rattled she forgot to get her award. There were some excellent speeches, more than one of which made me cry, and then there was also Ursula Vernon’s speech where she told everybody about whalefall because it’s really cool. :)

Ursula Vernon & some nice man at the Hugo Loser's Party
Ursula Vernon & some nice man at the Hugo Loser’s Party
AND THEN WE WENT TO THE HUGO LOSERS PARTY

We ended up, through sheer good fortune, in the same shuttle van that brought GRRM himself, Nalo Hopkinson & her husband/partner/extremely nice man who was with her, and I think Ellen Datlow and Pat Cadigan, maybe, so we arrived in rather elite company. Beforehand we stood around and complained about high heels (“If only men wore them,” I said, “they wouldn’t be part of formal wear for very damn long. Of course, if it was the 16th century, men WOULD have been wearing them.”

And then a complete stranger came up and said, “Well, it used to be that men were the ones who wore high heels,” and I was like, “That is literally exactly what I just said” and he did, at least, apologize. For God’s sake. Anyway.)

The party was great fun! I talked with Nalo & the Extremely Charming Man (I really do think he’s her husband, and I know his name, but as he’s not mentioned on, like, her Wiki page, I’m inclined to leave his name to himself as his own business) for a bit, and re-introduced myself (for about the 3rd time, but as he said, “I don’t remember anyone who isn’t wearing a name tag,” and I have no expectation of BEING remembered) to GRRM, and met a Chinese editor who said, “Write SF, we’ll translate it,” which seems like an excellent plan, and I got to have a good chat with some Irish friends, and met some new people, and–oh, this was funny. I’d taken a picture of Ursula in her Loser’s Hat and posted it to Twitter, and a Tor editor (that I don’t even know personally!) in the States said “Oooh is Liz in a Loser’s Hat, can you get a picture!” so I did, all within about 3 minutes, and she was delighted and I was delighted and it was pretty funny and fun. :)

Nicholas & Catie at 3am :)
Nicholas & Catie at 3am :)

I went over to talk to Charlie Stross, who it turned out was on his way out the door (I swear, I talked to him 4 times for 45 seconds each over the entire week, which was not an ideal conversation vector!), so I ended up sitting down with Nicholas and another of the actual Hugo losers, and a couple of Nicholas’s work colleagues who were SF fans but had never heard of fandom and who were apparently having THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES, and next thing we knew it was 2:30am & I’d accidentally kicked Nicholas, who was so tired he didn’t notice until I apologized, so I said it was time for him to take me home (we were at the same hotel) and he did. We capped the night off with a Jamesons at the hotel bar, and I got to sleep around 3:30am.

With a 10am panel in the morning.

IT WAS GRAND, SO. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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THIS WAS A VERY BUSY DAY AND IT’S NOT EVEN MY BUSY DAY

I managed to go to TWO panels today, which is two more than I usually manage in my entire convention weekend, so I’m very proud of myself. :)

I went to the guest of honor interview with Nalo Hopkinson, which was tremendously entertaining, and then later went to a panel on writing aout climate change, upon which an Internet Friend was presenting. After that I got to talk to her for a bit, which was lovely, and between those two panel things I had lunch with my friend Lithera, who I don’t see nearly often enough.

After those things I managed to grab dinner with another friend who is VERY BUSY this weekend and I might not get to see him again, so I was v. happy to have even just a little time to hang out with him.

Then, thanks to Lithera’s Awareness of Things I Didn’t Know, we went to a concert performed by Clipping, a group headed by Broadway & Hamilton star Daveed Diggs (who played Jefferson and Lafayette in the debut year/album of Hamilton), and we had a ridiculously good time. Although I was unintentionally rude to a friend on the way in and although the air has been cleared over it I still feel badly. (I did not realize I’d been rude at the time but when they said “we need to talk about this moment” I was like “oh shit I was really rude wasn’t I,” so, yeah. Mea culpa. Anyway!)

Diggs is known for (among other things) doing the fastest rap ever done on Broadway in his role as Lafayette, and…he’s really fast, guys. I mean. That man has exquisite control of his tongue, my god. It was great fun and probably deserves a writeup of its own, but that’s not realistically going to happen so I’ll just mention the funniest bits:

“Who here is from Helsinki?” he asks, and like six people give a feeble cheer. He burst out laughing and was like “Um, no, guys, see, where I come from when somebody asks that you yell as loud as you fucking can, so let’s try again,” and he did and the crowd roared and then he was satisfied. *laughs*

And then the encore he came back out and was all “oh, gosh, guys, this is such a surprise, i’m totally unprepared for this,” with all innocence and sparkling eyes, which was just pretty damn funny. :) And then he said, “Okay, I’m going to do another song I can’t really remember the words to,” which he did. He screwed up a couple times, too, and laughed at himself. Oh, and there was a very funny bit where they mixed the Doctor Who theme into the music, which obviously got a great cheer. It was great fun!

I’m basically gonna do a post-con picture post because it’s easier than trying to do one every day on the clogged hotel wifi, but MY DUDES. MY DUDES, I COULD TOUCH HIM. I WAS RIGHT UNDER HIM, MY DUDES.

They were at the convention because they’re up for a Hugo for their album, wich is a science fiction story, and apparently they’re kind of nerds and were REALLY EXCITED to be nominated (seriously, I genuinely think they were, he sounded chuffed!) and I hope they win. But even if they don’t, I got to post “Daveed Diggs just walked by” on twitter this afternoon and that was freaking awesome. :)

Then I wandered around for quite a while trying to find the Dublin 2019 party, which I eventually did find and hung out at and chatted with people and had a lovely time until I decided I’d better go collapse into bed.

And now I shall, because it’s way late. I mean, except it’s not because I’m really still on Irish time, but yeah. Bed now. :)


(the glasses, man. he came out after the show and the glasses, man. the glasses are just NOT FAIR. IDK why, they’re like total nerd frames, but GOOD LORD, MAN.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I am in Helsinki for Worldcon! If I was a more organized person I’d have posted about this earlier, but, well, I’m not, so. I’m in Helsinki for Worldcon!

I will be publically available for chatting at the following times:
1. The Dublin 2019 parties on Thursday & Saturday nights
2. From 2-3:30ish on Friday afternoon–informal kaffeesklatch type thing, the Dublin 2019 table will know where I am if you don’t see me in the seating area around there
3. The Hugos on Friday night
4. Any other time you waylay me unless I have stuff specifically scheduled
4a. I have a panel about women writing comics on Saturday morning at 10am so I’ll definitely be there. :)

Anyway, Helsinki! I flew through Copenhagen, which turned out to be exciting because I thought I had an hour layover but it turned out my plane arrived, I got through passport control, and as I was heading for my gate (ON THE OTHER END OF THE AIRPORT) they announced final boarding for my flight to Helsinki. I scurried and said “my connecting flight just got in!” and they gave the board a skeptical look, but the sign didn’t say “closed” yet, so they let me on and closed the door behind me. Whew!

I hate (haaaate) taking public transport in places I know not at all, so I was nervous about the train from the airport to the hotel, but it turned out that it was very well annotated and I made it with no problem. Then my roommate collected me at the train station (THANK YOU) so all I had to do was follow her and get there safely. And now I’m oriented, so it’s all good.

I immediately saw half a dozen people, upon arriving, whom I might have hoped to see at some point over the weekend, so that was rather lovely. We got dinner and our tiny group of three expanded to about 11, some of whom expressed great surprise over my very different hair (and went on to theorize I might be a spy; I told them not to blow my cover :)). Then I wandered around the convention hall a bit trying to get oriented inside, and managed that fairly well, but didn’t go to the panel tat semeed fun because it was already packed full when we got there!

Instead I said to people that Helsinki is on the same latitude as my hometown, so I was going to go outside and be emotional about the light :)

Then I went outside and was like, oh shit no, I really *am* going to be emotional about the light, and it left me feeling a bit verklempt.

But then I found another friend and got introduced briefly to Ellen Datlow who knew my name (*faints*) and I had a bit more to eat and it was a lovely ending to the evening, which is now going to end properly so I can get up early and have more time with the light. ♥ :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Yes, I know, I’m the person in Ireland many of you know, so it ticks that item off the list if you can get me to do it.

Yes, I know, you’re having a wonderful silly time participating and want other people to join in and have fun too.

Yes, I know, it’s just this one thing.

Yes, I know, it’s for a good cause.

The answer is still no.

I am *glad* you’re all having fun with it. It looks like fun! It sounds like fun! I enjoy reading peoples’ adventures with it! And yet I do not want to participate.

Furthermore, the prospect of participating is stressful to me. It is a thing that if I said I would do it, I would be lying. I would mean to. I would want to. And I would feel really guilty about not doing it, but I still wouldn’t do it.

If there is ever a year when I feel up to participating, I’ll tell people. But until then, the answer is no, so please don’t ask.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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This afternoon Duchess, the mama cat, was meowling around the trap, either looking for her kittens or food. I wasn’t about to give her the kittens, but on the off chance she might go in and eat, I put food in the trap and set it.

Half an hour later there was a VERY UPSET Duchess in the trap.

I texted the rescue people and they called and said bring her down to the rescue centre, there’s someone there, so we transferred her to the cat carrier (which was easy but impressed the rescue ladies that we’d done it successfully) and I brought her down. They felt her up, and, great news, she’s NOT pregnant!

So instead of keeping her until she has babies, they whisked her right off to the vet, and in the morning she’ll be spayed. She’ll recuperate at the rescue centre for a few days and then she’ll come back to our garden.

We still have the trap, and in fact as soon as I’m done writing this I’m going to go put food in it again in hopes of catching Panda one of these days. (I’m much less confident of catching the ill-tempered ginger, Marky.)

*laughs* I’d said if we brought Duchess down in the trap maybe I’d leave it with them for a few days and the lady was like, “NO! KEEP IT! Now that you’ve gotten started I don’t want you to stop!” But we got Duchess into the cat carrier, which was much easier to transport, so it wasn’t an issue anyway. :)

Anyway, I’m VERY glad Duchess isn’t pregnant again, and VERY glad she’ll get fixed and won’t be having any *more* babies. I do not want a garden over-run with kittens, even if they are adorkable.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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We got a capture cage and a regular cage from the animal rescue place & to rehabilitate the kittens in. (Habilitate, I guess; they were never habilitated to begin with, so I guess they can’t be REhabilitated….)

The animal rescue people are SWAMPED and they have no easily found place to give the kittens to someone else to teach to be pets. The lady there said every female cat they’ve had brought in in the past 2 months has been heavily pregnant and that she doesn’t remember a year this crazy.

She also opined, and I suspect she’s right, that our mama cat, Duchess, is probably pregnant again. She’s certainly looking Unfortunately Rotund, so the shelter people would REALLY LIKE her to be captured before she has more babies and gets pregnant AGAIN. And I think she’ll be pretty easy to catch if the kittens (who run in for the food first) are out of the way, so:

We’ll be keeping the kittens for a few days. Since the entire family is leaving on holiday on the 9th, we really can’t keep them beyond that, but at least this will give us a window for capturing them and hopefully catching Duchess and getting her into a place to have her babies as well.

So as of last night we have TWO! TWO KITTENS CAPTURED! AH AH AH AH AH also a bitten thumb the little fuckers (yes, i washed and antiseptic-ed it right away).

The parents were sufficiently upset about the trap that they did not go into it to eat the rest of the cat food last night after I caught the kittens. I’ll put new food out tonight. I hope they’ll take the bait, not that I’m catching them right now.

The kittens are terrified and angry. When we went in to check on them this morning, Turvy (aka the smart one, aka The Little Fucker Who Bit Me) found another space in the cage it could squeeze through, but fortunately (?) squirmed through it backward and couldn’t figure out what to do with its head. I tapped it on the butt a couple times and it shot forward again, back into the cage. I then rearranged the whole room to get the cage up against a wall and block off all the places they could squeeze through. They thought that was all horrible.

I will already be glad to hand them off to somebody who actually knows something about taming feral cats.

Topsy, the brave one:



Turvy, the smart one:

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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So I’ve had this vague awareness of a sensitive place in one of my teeth for a while, and in the past week it’s gotten quite sharp when something cold encounters it, so, grimly irritated about the prospect of a cavity (not so much the dentist; I don’t mind dentists, but I only have 2 cavities and that’s from drinking too much soda 25 years ago and I’m still pissed off about it), I called a local dentist and made an appointment. The sharpness of the pain seemed to fade a bit in the past couple days, but having made the appointment, off I went.

I have no cavities!

In fact, the dentist was basically like “okay so we’ll do x-rays because I can’t see any obvious holes,” did the x-rays, “er, so, no, there’s really no cavities here, your teeth are in *great* condition.” (and for an Irish person to say ‘great’ instead of ‘grand’ is like an American going for ‘superlative’ instead of ‘great’)

She quizzed me on whether I grind or clench my teeth (not to the best of my knowledge), and whether I was in consistent pain (I’m really not), and put something HORRIBLY COLD on my teeth to see if it hurt and it fucking well did. Then she did it again on the top to see if there was a dead tooth that might possibly be referring the pain, but there wasn’t and it still fucking well hurt. That, however, was the only unpleasant part of the whole thing.

I have a little bit of gum…thingy…you know, where it’s been abraded too much and has shrunk (that’s not the right word) so there’s a little bit of nerve exposure, she said, and that’s her best guess for what’s causing the pain. Receded. Slight recession of the gums. Don’t brush your teeth too hard, people! Just brush them gently for a long time! And floss! She admired my flossing habits.

She prescribed Sensodyne toothpaste and mouthwash (blick), and basically said “come back in 3 months, tell us how you’re doing, & we’ll clean your teeth and see if anything looks different.” So. There we are.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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My captain’s keyboard has stopped working. :}

I’m almost positive I know what the problem is. There are about 8 keys that don’t work, and there’s a pin in the PS/2 connector that got bent a while ago. I was able to nudge it back into place, but it got yanked and bent again and although I’ve nudged it back into place again, I think the base of the pin is no longer connecting.

I’m also almost positive this could be fixed by splicing a new PS/2 connector into place.

The PROBLEM is that the OTHER end of the connection is wired directly into the keyboard (of course), and the keyboard, being two unwieldy pieces, is a pain in the ass to bring anywhere. Assuming there’s even somewhere around here that would do this kind of thing.

It’s frustrating knowing I probably know half a dozen people who could do this in 30 minutes, but they all live on the other side of the world. >.<

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”

I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.

I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)

Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.

Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p

Moop.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…

…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.

I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.

But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.

And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.

The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.

There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)

It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!

But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.

So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.

Jodie Whittaker.

It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.

You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?

Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.

But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?

So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.

And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.

And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.

And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.

I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.

I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I’m somewhat better than I’ve been, but I’ve still got a cough and snotty nose. No, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but only because it turns out there’s a shortage of doctors in this town and nobody is taking new patients. We got signed up with a clinic in theory but we still haven’t gotten notification that we’re actually in their system, so…yeah. Anyway. At this point I think I’m going to have healed up before I’m in the system. Whee.

That said, all I want to do today is lie in a lump on the couch and watch Brooklyn Nine Nine all afternoon, but I’d have a 7 year old beside me saying, “What? What?” and fake-laughing at things, which wouldn’t really be much fun.

The Wrinkle in Time trailer dropped yesterday and made me cry. Twice. It looks amazing. (“Mommy,” Indy said incredulously, “are you *crying*?” Yes. Yes I was.) Anyway, I haven’t read the book in at least twenty, possibly thirty, years, and I immediately bought a new copy to read it. I didn’t think it would hold up, honestly, but I’ve read the first chapter and so far it’s still amazing.

I also re-read THE HERO AND THE CROWN a couple days ago and for the first time the acid trip battle with Agsded actually made sense to me. I’ve only read the book about forty times, so it’s nice that I eventually became able to really follow that scene.

Also I don’t remember crying through Talat’s rehabilitation before. *wipes eyes*

I made crabapple jelly with the last of LAST year’s crabapples, some cherry jam, pitted more cherries that Dad brought out, and bought some peaches that I need to process today and see if I’ve got enough for jam. I have frozen strawberries, too, and some many-berry mix frozen berries. Jam, glorious jam. :)

There are TWO kittens in the garden. We’re calling them Topsy and Turvy and are feeding them and their mama. I’m waiting for the local rescue people to have a capture cage available, so hopefully that’ll come through soon.

I turned a grant application in last week. I’ve got a book proposal just about ready to submit. I have copy edits to do and need to email my editor about line edits. And…I’d have to look at my to-do list to see what’s next. That’s plenty to get me through the week, though. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Actually, I think–I hope–my head is coming through the other side of being a toxic waste dump, but jeez o flip. I’ve had two back to back colds. I don’t think I was sick when I went to Liverpool, so I guess I’ve been sick since about the Sunday after, which is three weeks today. It feels like longer. Both colds have been entirely in my head with a massive fucking cough that ejects gobs of snot that the constant nose-blowing assaults on my sinuses have not been able to remove preemptively.

I’ve been a lot of fun to be around. I coughed so hard I threw up! I’d never done that before. Cross one off the bucket list, I guess. Anyway, Friday night I conceded to Ted that if this hadn’t taken a significant turn for the better by Monday I should in fact go to a doctor and see if it’s more than just two utterly crappy colds in quick succession, but then Saturday afternoon and night I was able to lie down for sleep without trying to expel my lungs, so I think I may be on the mend.

(She said, ferociously ignoring what feels like a new fresh sore throat as opposed to “oh god my throat hurts from coughing so much”.)

IN OTHER, less gross, news, despite being a one-woman snot-production company, I’ve been working on a proposal for the publisher who’s interested in working with me, binging s1 of Brooklyn Nine Nine (I love the Pontiac Bandit so much), READING (how great is READING, PEOPLE?!!? (although reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s AURORA and James S.A. Corey’s CIBOLA BURNS back to back created some significant cognitive dissonance)), and making fumbling attempts to clean the house.

Oh, and Dad brought over four kilos of cherries, so those got pitted stemmed and frozen, and I need to pursue jam and perhaps cherry pie with them. Mmmm. And let’s see, what else. Ted got an e-reader and we’re culling the print books again, although at this stage we’re pretty close to the bone and are reaching Things That Can’t Be Purchased As E-Books, which means we keep ’em. :)

Yeah, what else, hm. There is a fluffy! bouncy! kitten in our yard (or in its vicinity, anyway), courtesy of some of the feral cats who live in the area. I’d like to try to capture the kitten(s) and see if they’re young enough to be tamed and homed, but it’d obviously be good to capture the adults and get them fixed, too. (*pauses to email the local animal rescue people about this, in fact* There, that’s done.)

And now I’ve taken a remarkably long time to make this blog post and shall rise up and go clean the kitchen, because for some reason it WON’T STAY CLEAN. If only we didn’t need to eat….

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Last week I apparently participated in some extreme sport sleeping. I can tell because I woke up with a knot the size of Kansas in my neck and shoulder, and then the next day the middle of my back went out.

Young Indiana, employing new techniques learned from his aunt, gave me a genuinely terrific massage that dealt with the middle back problems, but my neck was really a mess. I went to my PT, who said, “Wow, that’s a big knot!” and worked on it thoroughly and it’s loosening up. Slowly.

Really what happened was I took Ireland’s version of Nyquil (which, unlike actual Nyquil, still has active ingredients, and also works on me much more effectively than Nyquil ever did) and I slept so hard that I didn’t move at all for 7 hours one night. I’d think that would mean being so relaxed nothing would ever knot up, but that’s apparently not how it works. Hrmph.

Anyway, the PT said she had another client whose teenage son had come home from Wonder Woman in awe of Diana (not in lust, but in awe of what an amazing superhero she was) and the woman thought, gosh, if my son likes this so much, maybe I’d better go see it, so she’d arranged a girls’ night out to go see it this week, and the PT told, her she had another client (to wit, me) who had seen it 4 times, and I sure hope they all had a good time. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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*sigh* I just spent about 40 minutes trying to get some ebooks onto my ereader, which didn’t work very well because it’s been a while since I’d done it and I’d kind of forgotten how. It’s not hard. It used to be hard, and I defaulted to the much harder version, which obviously took more time than the newer easy way, and also the USB port I first plugged it into on the computer wasn’t working and it took longer than reasonable to figure that out, so that was just, yeah.

I wanted to re-read the very comforting BLUE SWORD, but didn’t want to read my 30 year old worn-to-bits paperback. Finally got the books onto the e-reader. Discovered THE BLUE SWORD wasn’t there. Furthermore, it’s not available on kobo’s website, either, at least not on this side of the pond. Gave up in despair, deciding to read Daniel Keys Moran’s THE LONG RUN again, as it’s pretty well equally comfort reading.

And then I remembered I had specifically asked for a bunch of Robin McKinley books in hardback so I could read them at my leisure without wrecking my old worn to bits paperbacks, and of course THE BLUE SWORD is one of them, so I have a lovely hardback edition and now I’m too tired to read it.

So here it is, 5 to 9 on a Friday, and I’m going to bed, because I’m a real party animal. :p

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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A few weeks ago my friend Leah said her husband wasn’t much interested in seeing Wonder Woman, so she wasn’t likely to see it in the theatre, and Ted said “THIS WILL NOT DO” and checked to see how much plane tickets to Liverpool were and they were practically nothing so he sent me to Liverpool for a lark with Leah, and we went to Wonder Woman together!

Knowing I had to get up wery wery early for my flight, I took a shower the night before and ended up with…Quite The Hair in the morning.



But I tamed it, and got myself some hot chocolate at the airport. I was very tired. But less large of hair. :)



It was the shortest flight I’d ever been on that didn’t involve being in an actual puddle-jumper (ie, 6-12 seat twin propeller airplane). We went up, we went down, there I was. I hung out at the airport for a while, reading, until Leah could collect me, and we spent an EXTREMELY giddy couple of hours ranting about work, children, and the patriarchy. (And, to be fair, a bit about Tom Hardy. Not so much ranting there, mind you, but. :))



These drinks are not actually alcoholic, because it was 11am, but they were DELICIOUS!



We went to our movie. We sat through a truly inordinate number of ads, which, thankfully, had no sound. We started to become concerned, in fact, after many many soundless ads. Then the trailers started, also soundlessly. They were doing these weird little 10 seconds spots for Dunkirk, and the second-to-last one faded to black and immediately came up with the trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, except because there was no sound and the fade to black had been so brief, they really looked like one trailer.


“Is this how we won WW2?” Leah asked, mystified. “Woody Harrelson and an army of monkeys?”

Then a theatre employee came in and said the entire sound system in the theatre had blown and they would not be showing us Wonder Woman in that theatre at that time.



However, there was another showing half an hour later, and they let us go to that one!



We had an utterly splendid time. Leah really enjoyed the movie. It ended and she said, “That was…that was *good*,” in astonishment, and then we went back to the airport, picking apart all our problems with it and rewriting things to our satisfaction, but we were really happy and had such a good time! And decided that we should really do that more often, because it turns out to be really cheap to pop over for a day, and ours is one of those friendships based on kindred spirithoodness rather than regular meetings in real life (we think that was our 6th time actually being on one another’s physical presence), but it was such fun that it seems like it should be a thing we do, and I need to look into doing that with OTHER friends in England and equally nearby locales…!

But yeah. That was really great. Yay for a lark!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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C.E. Murphy

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