Category: Joan Wood

Mom’s boyfriend is named Jerry

And he’s a museum curator, and his house (two authentic log cabins that he took apart and reconstructed with a new stone building between them) is filled with historical artifacts and ephemera. It is NOT exactly filled with light, because log cabins are not known for their vast expanses of window, but I tried to get a picture of one such artifact anyway.

The A-Bomb And You

It’s a framed flier full of survival tips for when you are struck by an atomic bomb, obviously from the 50s or 60s. These are unbelievably helpful tips; what’s really tragic is that they were kept secret.

Four Survival Secrets

Allow me to transcribe:

  1. Try to get shielded. Get down in a basement if there is one. Caught in the open, take shelter alongside a building or in a ditch or gutter.
  2. Drop flat on ground or floor. Flatten out at base of wall or bottom of bank.
  3. Bury your face in your arms. Hide eyes in crook of elbow. That will protect face from burns, flying objects, temporary blindness.
  4. Don’t rush outside right after a bombing. Wait a few minutes after an air burst, at least an hour if the bomb explodes on the ground, to let the radiation die down.

I can’t figure out which words to emphasize for amazingness. Is it the admonition about “temporary blindness?” The advice to people caught in the open under a nuclear weapon, which is to go flop in a ditch for convenient body-collection? The idea that you must wait at least an hour for radiation to die down?

Anyway, the best part is the name of the establishment that brought this important, life-saving information to you, dear reader.

Grimm Funeral Home

In which I already break a promise

I know I said I wasn’t going to tell you every time we updated the podcast–I reserve that for spamming Facebook and Twitter–but seriously, you gotta listen to episode ten. One of the not-so-secret purposes behind the inception of the Hour of Knowledge was to help Stephen build a demo reel for his voice acting career, and this week’s show is a glorious vocal achievement. Even after engineering the audio (which means listening to every show, in chunks, about six hundred times), I still can’t make it through his half-improvised monologue without cracking up.

And Mom, this one doesn’t have any cusses!

I always thought Rowling gave arithmancy short shrift

Stories I have written that revolve around invented or reinterpreted methods of divination: Stella, Jaboullei, Rob, Shekel and Jewel. I was kind of surprised it was this few–I feel like it’s one of the structures to which I keep returning. There’s another one coming Monday, if you hadn’t guessed.

I think the reason I keep coming back to this is a variation on the existential dread I feel when considering the persistence of objects (eg the lives of sapient dishes): the amount of potential information in the world, and how quickly our ability to capture and interpret it is growing, and how insignificant that capability will always be–in an obscure way, these things terrify me. They also thrill me. Look at what we can discover! If time and distance are the universe’s crypto, divination is the original side channel attack.

I also live in constant fear of side channel attacks, by the way, to the point where I have resigned myself to much-more-likely primary channel attacks. I kind of never want to be even mildly famous, as that would destroy what flimsy comfort I take in anonymity.

Anyway, you’ll know I’ve gutted the shark on this theme when I write the one about logymancy. Meanwhile I want to do more of these little collect-and-explain entries; I think they’d be a better point of entry to Anacrusis for new or hesitant readers than just the sheer blank mass of the archives. When one of my best friends refers to my writing corpus as “a stupid amount” and my own mother is too intimidated to read them, I am pretty much failing to sell my product.

Remember my list of potential destinations? The least likely of them has become the best choice, and in fact the one I’m making: on March 3rd I’m flying to London, to live with Holly, Kevan and Catriona until Roz arrives in August to take their spare room for fall term. I’ve worked out the tax-related bits and I have my boss’s approval to keep working for Indelible on Greenwich time. I have purchased plane tickets and an iPod. This trajectory does not reverse.

The whole thing fell into place with a suspicious ease, as if we had assembled a Lego castle merely by shaking the bucket, but I am not looking askance. Five and a half years ago I was writing here about how I had to turn down my semester abroad to keep my Comp Sci degree; now that degree is making it possible to go after all, with people I like, and to hang out with my mom and sister and Maria there. Real life seems to have a plot.

I’m going to London!

My mother actually WASN’T very educated when she came up with this. UNH.

All the nine-planet mnemonics you learned were dumb, because mnemonics are dumb, period. Purge them from your brain. Good!

My mother taught me the planets in kindergarten or something, using a song she and her friend made up on the playground when they were in elementary school. It goes like this:

“Mercury, Venus, Earth

dah-dah nanananah

Mars, Jupiter, Saturn

dah-dah nanananah

Uranus, Neptune and–


And I have never forgotten them since. The best part is that now that the list has been shortened, it’s more easily converted than your elevated mastodon who just served you divorce papers or whatever.

Uranus, Neptune and–

That’s all.”

Hey Mom, let me know if you want this post to be #1 in the Google results for their names

There are certain words I never expected to see my mother use in print, and “pimped” is one of them. Just one reason why I’m happy to see her blogging again.

If you read Mo-Jo, you’re already aware that after years of mounting mismanagement, condescension and outright lies from the diocesan administration, my mother’s willingness to stand up for her school and her students finally got her fired. She has another job now, but (no offense to any booksellers present) she deserves a better one; if you happen to be aware of teaching or library-related jobs in central Kentucky for someone with an MAEd (but not an MLS), please let me know and I’ll pass the news to her.

I’m 25

I have a camera for a face.

I made brownie pie and we ate Spinelli’s. DC and Beth got me a book and a bunch of great Actors Theatre stuff, and Yale got me some stuff he found in his car, and he, Ken, Kyle, Scott, Lisa, Monica, Mom, Ian, Maria’s family and especially Maria got me a present I would never have let myself buy: a real camera.

Thanks, ballers.

Reluctant openness

I don’t like talking about money, but here goes!

I am considering self-publishing an Anacrusis book: 101 of the best standalone stories from the last two and a half years, plus one (completed!) bad penny story arc. I would purchase one copy for myself, one for Maria, one for my grandmother and one for my mom. That’s all the demand I anticipate, which is why I’d be going with a print-on-demand company (likely Lulu) rather than an offset press with some kind of hideous minimum print run. I am not going to sell a thousand copies.

It would come in two versions: a fancy dust-jacketed hardcover, which I’d limit to 101 copies at $24.95, and a “viral edition” cheap paperback at $9.95. That doesn’t include shipping cost. I’d make a couple bucks off either, which I would put back into web ads, review copies, etc. I probably would not break even in the end, but it would be a relatively cheap way to raise my profile as a writer. Anybody who took the trouble to ship me his or her copy would get it signed and shipped back for free.

The chief goal of this project, though, would be to give people who like reading Anacrusis something tangible to show their friends. You might be one of those people. Do you want something tangible? Which edition would you prefer? Would it interest you more if the book came with exclusive content (eg ten new stories) or would it make you feel jerked around? (Everything would be released under BY-SA, as usual, so anybody who wanted could just repost them somewhere.)

I’ll be reading the LJ comment feed on this entry, of course, or you can spam me any time.