Don’t Poke The Writer

I’m still mired in book, and part of it frustrates me, because it SHOULD have been done a week ago.  Heck, two weeks ago.  The problem is for this phase, particularly for this book — the going over the book and seeing it as a whole and balancing the parts — I need to concentrate on it, and concentrating has been a little in short supply recently.

Most of it is stupid cr*p.  I’m still waiting to book the medical stuff, but I also have to get hold of the neuro and I haven’t … well… I haven’t braved myself to talk to an office.  You’d think a big ass (literally) woman like me would be fine talking to an office, right?  Not just a medical office, but any office?

I would, but I have an accent and I’m mid-range deaf.  I’m okay talking to people I know really well, because they will say “No, Sarah, I didn’t ask you about your pirouettes — do you have pirouettes? — I asked if you’d do my cover in exchange for edits.”  But even then most of them text, because talking to me on the phone or in a noisy place (a hotel lobby, my kitchen with seven appliances running, my car on a windy day) is like going insane, just a little.  I don’t hear what you asked, I answer a completely different question.  ‘iz fun.  I mean, I’m used to it.  But the insidious part of mid-range hearing loss is that you don’t often realize you didn’t hear the question.  Your brain rearranges the syllables you did hear into something coherent.  This is how talking to an editor in a crowded restaurant I heard her say “I just bought a great YA novel” and I answered “You must tell me the title, I have an 11 year old and a 9 year old who love reading.”  What she’d actually said was “I just bought a British hard SF novel.”  Yes, her look told me I’d got it wrong, and I made a joke out of it, but I had no idea I hadn’t heard what she said before.

Well, on the phone you don’t get the weird look, and this is a doctor’s office.  The thing is one of you told me — and I’ve since checked with medical professionals — that the white matter abnormalities were probably part of having been hypothyroidal very long.  Or rather, one of you mentioned it, not knowing I’d been hypothyroidal for over a decade (probably started twenty years ago, and proceeded by degrees.  If it can be caused — the autoimmune kind — by a massive illness, which I seem to remember somewhere I read, then it started when I almost died of inter-cellular pneumonia 22 years go.  I kind of remember signs, but hey, fatigue and not being in your right mind is normal when you have toddlers.  And that’s part of the problem — or not, if it had progressed fast, I’d have gone insane — the symptoms worsened so gradually they didn’t become obvious until the last five years or really really bad till the last three.  Hypothyroidal dementia is a good description because the last three years sort of felt like that.  Facts and memories just vanished into a hole.  Weirdly, this is what white matter abnormalities are: tiny holes.)  It never occurred me to tell the neuro that, though he took a very thorough history, and I have the meds in my chart.  I think he assumed it was caught and treated early.  But apparently if not, these white matter abnormalities are fairly normal.

Here’s the thing: if I call the office they’ll become convinced I have egg whites in the brain, or think I do.  So I’ve been putting it off.  I wish you could just text doctors.  (Add to it that his personnel is a little odd like most busy offices.)  Putting things of that sort off is really hard work and prevents you concentrating on the things you want to.

But there’s been other stuff, and I’m not going to go into it here.  There is no point.  You guys either know what’s been going on or care nothing about it, and those few who don’t and know should go and read Amanda’s and my posts this week at Mad Genius Club.  No, we don’t name names, because we’re giving the guilty party a break (though more and more I wonder why) but the sequence is laid out and fairly clear.

However, there are a few things you should know, as my readers.

The first of them is that I’ve been getting angry this week as I never have before.  Yes, anger can be caused by thyroid meds.  Or at least escalated, but the thing is I’ve been at this level prescription for a while, and anyway this is not that type of anger.  It is not what my friend who has the issue calls “getting angry at nothing.”

It is rather getting angry at things that anyone else would get angry about, but which I haven’t, for years.

My modus operandi has been to let things run, until something is SO fricking giant I have to deal with it.  I thought I’d acquired an easy going personality in my mid thirties or thereabouts, somehow.

The actual fact is that as years went by, I was more and more tired and chronically depressed.  It took a spectacular blow up to get me in the fray, fists bunched.  If you consider the culture I come from, that should have been your first clue.

Now… It’s not that I’m more angry:it’s that I’m more awake.  I’m paying more attention, doing more, saying more.  I feel more.  Happy and sad and tender, and competent, and yes, angry, when anger is warranted.

The problem is that I’ve laid down a pattern of “I can get away with this” among people who only know me online, and not well enough to see I’m more “here” now.  So people think they can away with all sorts of crazy-ass things, and I will just ignore it, because I don’t have the energy to deal with it.

Which is what originated the blow up.  Someone thought he could just get away with sneaking the cheese he’d been told he couldn’t have.  There was another one yesterday, because someone presumed to interrupt my writing to tell me what I should or should not care about, and how I should do things.

I try not to blow up at people doing that, particularly men, because I try very hard not to fall in the feminist nonsense of “he’s lecturing me because I’m a woman.”  But in this case it’s not.  In this case, it’s the ramping up of crazy I saw when Brad was doing SP3, and the backbiting crazy sh*t I’ve seen about how Kate did SP4.  So, I’m going to lay some facts on you.  No, I don’t care if you like them or not.  No, I’m not being dictatorial.  I’m a libertarian.  That means I do what I want with my own, and this is my own.  You don’t like what I’m doing with my own?  Get your own.  Your life, your problem.  You won’t catch me saying how you should live it or how you should solve it.

I’ve, in fact, for years refused to tell newby writers how they should break in, how they should write, or what they should think about their writing.  I normally don’t even tell them when I see them doing really stupid crap.  Unless apparently they make me really mad and I have the energy to react.  (And then I’m, basically just looking for a place to stick the shiv.)

So I’m going to give you the facts, take them or leave them.  I don’t frankly see anyone on this blog getting worked up enough to be very upset about them, but I want this out there, just in case one of y’all takes crazy powder one morning.

  • I’m running Sad Puppies 5.  This is not up for discussion.  No, I’m not too sick or busy to do it, I know when I am too sick or busy which is why I deferred two years.
  • I’m doing it my way. This is, at this point, a tradition.  I didn’t agree with everything Brad did, and I wasn’t too fond of some things in Kate’s plan (which turned out to work, but hey) BUT it was their turn and their direction. The only way individualists like us can have some sort of passing on of the leadership is to step back and say “I’ll support you, even if I think your idea is not right.”  The group, such as it is, comes from mutual trust and friendship and believing others are adults.
  • No, you cannot claim you’re leading Sad Puppies 5, even if you think your idea is teh awesome and you think you’re a Sad Puppy Leader.  The initial group was Larry, Brad, myself, Kate and Amanda.  I’m doing it this year, Amanda next year.  Because we’ve stayed in touch our ideas have sort of evolved together, and my friends are in accordance with where I’m taking this, if not with the details.  This is the only thing you can do with the movement at this point.  We feel since it was our idea, we can’t allow it out in the wild where it can become — unwittingly or not, and in most cases I’ve seen it would be not — a false flag operation.
  • But you want to lead Sad Puppies.  You think what I’m doing is all wrong, and you want it to be a good old fashioned fight, like SP2, with Larry in charge.  You want to show the old fandom they’re no longer in control.
    Great.  You shine right on, you crazy diamond, but not as leader of SP 5.  Too bad, so sad.  You can even call it something puppy.  It seems to be a tradition now.  Perhaps you like the sound of Deplorable Puppies or Perfect Puppies appeals to you.  Go for it.  You start it.  Given that some people just want a good fight, this seems like a great idea and you’ll probably get a following.  But not under our movement, not under our flag.  We’ve been maligned enough in the national press, we don’t want just anyone claiming to be us and tarnishing everything we’ve done and tried to do, okay?  Deal with it.  You can’t have it.  This is not changing.  Should I collapse and die tomorrow, Amanda will pick up the flag and do the thing.  Or Kate will have another go. (I hope not, as she’s finally writing again.)  You want it?  You can’t have it.  Too bad, so sad.  And yes, I’m going to come down like a ton of bricks on ANYONE saying they’re collecting a “list” for “the sad puppies recommendations for the Hugos.”
    Don’t like this?  Well, if I say “Excuse me, you realize the impression you’re giving?” Apologize and change it.  Remember, I have more energy.  You have no idea how mad the Latin chick can get.  Don’t push.
  • A brief history of Sad Puppies: Sad Puppies changed in goal and attitude with each leader, or even the first two years with Larry.
    SP1 was just Larry having fun.  SP2, after he got a bizarre reaction to SP1, was Larry trying to prove that, despite denials, the Hugos had become a trophy of a clique.  He proved that, on the “Get off our lawn” alone.
    Brad… Brad is the knight sans peur et sans reproche.  You can’t help liking him, even as you go “Oh, my friend, you’re gonna get hurt.”  He thought he could prove that if you just presented a list collected in the open and truly without political color line, fandom would go “Oh, you’re just fans like us.  You just have a different orientation than lit-crit.  Sure, come on in.  Here’s a place at the table.”  I think his disillusionment started with people being bullied until they dropped out.  Then there was the national media campaign to paint us as something we definitely were not.  And somehow, people with power to call in favors and get almost the same article published places like Entertainment weekly also screamed they were the underdog and discriminated against.
    What a long, strange trip, culminating in wooden assholes.
    What that, and the fricking rigging of the rules so the vote counters get to throw out whatever they want to proved the Hugos were dead to me.  I’d have moved away from the award.  But I was ill and moving, and Kate got it.  And Kate is a battler, and thought she’d try ONE MORE TIME, really open, really clear what she was doing, everything aboveboard.  Yeah, some people on the other side woke up, but not enough.  There were still the usual attacks.  Heck, there were attacks when I announced what I’m doing at Mad Genius Club, a few months back.  How my plan could get anyone’s dander up is beyond me.  And I mean dander up in a “She’s threatening us” kind of way.  I really don’t get it, but the crazy people on the other side started a drumbeat about how horrible I am, and people in the other Puppy movement got offended because I was “ignoring” them.
  • This brings us to what I’m doing:
    I’m not attempting to prepare a list for the Hugos.  Seriously? You want to do that?  After the award has been dragged through the mud?  You want to give them money to throw a splendid party with AND tell just so stories about how you’re a huge monster they fended off?  In the words of my people: F*ck that.  Ain’t happening.  Not on my watch.  I didn’t send in supporting membership last year, and I will not do it this year.  As such, I cannot tell anyone to spend their hard earned cash.  Buy a few books instead.
    But they why am I doing this, and what am I doing?
    I’m bringing this movement in for a landing and making it permanent.  This ties in with Human Wave, too.
    The gatekeepers have given push to a kind of book, sometimes under the guise of a “popular award.” That’s fine.  It’s how they make money.  However because the gatekeepers favor the lit-crit set (there are reasons for this) it leaves those of us who think reading should be a ludic activity out in the cold.
    Also, in post-gatekeeper landscape, a lot of us want to find places to discover great books to read.  Being found is particularly hard for indies.
    I’m taking the idea Kate had and automate it.  There will be a site (might be next week as the book isn’t done) that will have a place to enter book, date of publication (I’m not restricting it to last year’s or this year’s) what awards you think it’s eligible for and why you liked it.  The program will kick up the top ten every month.
    But what about pranksters?  What if it is all Chuck Tingle books.  Glad you asked.  Four people will have the keys to the site, who can not only fix that, but also ban the user/s who did it.  Yeah, the site will have registration (though you can use whichever name) and yeah, in our own house we will stop vandals.
    But what if the books are all leftist?  Glad you asked.  We don’t give a damn.  If these are books enough people enjoyed it, they go up on the list. (I am right now binge reading an obviously very progressive mystery author.  But since it only comes in when she mentions someone’s politics, and she’s otherwise a great writer, I’m still reading.)  At any rate, if the books aren’t good and this is just a coordinated campaign, it won’t work.  My followers are not exactly dumb bunnies.  They can read the blurb and figure out if this is just the same push as from gatekeepers.
    What if I hate all the books that rise to the top?  Then we’re probably related.  Half the time I hear people raving about a book, I go “Oh, you did?  I didn’t get past the first chapter.”  Which probably explains my stunning success at popular fiction.  But you know, no matter how much this favors “majority opinion” you’ll also get the occasional quirky find (you always do) that will link you to an author you’d never otherwise find.  Which is why it’s worth to check, and it won’t require much of you.
  • What can you do? Well, you can check the lists and buy the books you like.  You can also, if the site is up and you like it, make it popular.
    Yes, there are other recommendation sites.  Those were some people who got awfully offended with this.  Look, I’m in the field and I didn’t know of them.  And you’d be shocked how I hear of just about everything relevant from people around me.
    Am I saying they’re failures?  That we can do better?
    No, I’m saying that you need all kinds, and all slants.  I know why I didn’t hear of those, they’re not the sort of thing my friends go to.  And my site won’t be the kind of thing that other people go to.  That’s fine.  In the age of gatekeeping, there was the Locus list.  There were others too, though not as important.  Now?  Let there be lists for every taste.
    Does using the Sad Puppy name make ours more important?  NO.  It just makes it ours, because we’ve been in this from the beginning, and we’re broadening and embedding the movement into a permanent force now.
  • But isn’t Sad Puppies about awards?  How can you DO this to us?
    Ah. No.  Sad Puppies was about restoring integrity and fan power to the field.  The Hugos is just where we started.
    Now that the Dragons will probably eclipse the Hugos, we’re opening this to “these are the books people like best.  Read them and, if you like them, vote for them for awards.” On the site, there will be a page with awards and their requirements.  If you think the book qualifies for an award, check it out and put it on your recommend.  And if you’re starting a new award, send it to me (ONCE THE SITE IS UP, FOR THE LOVE OF HEAVEN NOT NOW) and I’ll put it on the page, and also if the author needs to submit the book or not.  There will also probably be a permanent page, which I’ll add to with lists of award winners, when I’m notified of results.
  • But what about the fight?  Aren’t you going to fight?
    Reclaiming science fiction for ludic purposes is not a fight.  Or rather it is, but not a fight against specific people.  Even if a clique is holding an award captive, they’re a tiny part of the whole.  The fight is to reclaim the culture, and to get over the new literary theory idea that novels have to be “socially relevant.”  It was a bad idea when it took over in the twenties, it’s a bad idea now, and it’s destroying reading for enjoyment, which is bad for everyone who works in words.  Also, possibly, for our polity, but that’s a post for another time.
  • “But I want you and him to fight.  I’m going to send you tweets where people at TOR call you a poopy head.  I’m going to send you posts from the blogger that shall not be mentioned and tell you his plan is much better.  I’m going to tell you the latest File 666 slander.  You must care.  It’s vitally important.”
    And if you do that, particularly in PM, late at night, when I just went to facebook to announce I’ll be at a con next weekend, before I forget to let anyone know, I’m going to curse at you, your friends and your allies.  And I’m going to stomp around the house wishing I had the power to reach through the computer and strangle you. And then I’m going to ignore you and go my merry way.
    I’m not your monkey.  This movement is not to amuse you.  It’s a long-term movement in the cultural war.  I don’t have time nor, despite my improved energy, patience to get involved in little petty squabbles.  Tons of people are going to hate what I do, people on my side, people who think they’re on my side, and people who think I’m trying to lead a wave of unwashed into their hallowed precincts.  Don’t care.  I’m a libertarian.  I want to be left alone, but I also don’t care what people do or by and large say about me.  Oh, sure, there are things that will get me pissed off, like when the bright turnip thought she’d found traces of racism in my blog or pretended to, to score a hit.
  • Which brings me to things that will piss me off: stop doing sh*t like claim I’m too sick to do this, or attributing the fact I just chewed your skanky behind up and down the street to my being ill or going crazy.
    I’m not going crazy.  My brain issues are in a place and of a type that MIGHT minimally affect my vision and MAYBE cause irregularities in my heartbeat.  (MAYBE.)  They don’t affect my thinking.  In fact, the longer I am on hypothyroidal meds, the more my memory (the only part that was affected) is coming back, and is now almost normal, except I’m 54, not 30 some anymore.  There is no other effect.  Unless you’re my husband, and afraid I’ll pass out in the shower because my heart went wonky, my physical condition is none of your concern.  Yes, I might need brain surgery in the future.  The white matter thing might or might not recover.  BUT none of it affects my emotions.
    To the extent my emotions are affected, it is because I have more energy, and also because I’m not used to having more energy, so I’ve lost the habit of controlling myself.  It hasn’t been needed for 20 years.
    OTOH I saw Brad and Kate, who are MUCH nicer than I am, have this sort of rage too.  It goes with the job.
    But insinuating someone isn’t functioning properly because you think the Sad Puppies crown would look mighty nice on your pinhead is slimy, despicable, and WILL get me mad.  Mad as in furious, not crazy.  And now that I have more energy, who knows where my mad will lead me.  Don’t try it on. (Also, Sad Puppies doesn’t have a crown.  It’s more of a beanie hat.)The other caveat, if you need one, is that it’s a really bad idea to poke the Sarah in this phase of book finishing and when my deadline is somewhere behind me and I don’t want another book delayed, please G-d, no.
    I always grow fangs and claws at this phase of the writing (No, ask younger son.  “You threw a dictionary at my head for asking you a question.  I was three.” In my defense, I have lousy aim.  He was in no danger.  But it served to send him scurrying down to daddy and leave me alone to write.) But now I have more energy for using those fangs and claws.  Don’t do it.  It’s not worth your life.  Also, this entire year is booked end to end.  You probably can tell what place of the book I’m in by this blog.  But in any case, it might never be safe.  And it is NEVER safe, let me assure you, to try to “Let you and him fight.”  That is a good way to get your head ripped off your shoulders and get beaten to death with it.  (Never mind, go with it.)And that’s all.  I have a book to finish.  I promise not to throw dictionaries.  Most of you are very nice people anyway.  I just thought you should know where I’m at and what is going on with both the book and SP5.  Oh, yeah, and I’m not going mad maaaaaaaad, except that if this keeps getting repeated, I’ll go mad in the sense of furious.

    I don’t want that.  As entertaining as I’m sure it is to watch, I have a book to write.

284 thoughts on “Don’t Poke The Writer

  1. Calm yourself, girlie. ~:)

    It’s a doctor’s office. For a neurologist. They’ll be happy you can talk at all. Trust me, they hear much weirder shit on the phone all day than you answering questions wrong.

    Fret ye not, go forth and create a masterpiece.

    1. Tell them up front that you have hearing problems and ask them to bear with you. Repeat back what you hear for confirmation that you heard it correctly. That’s our SOP for transmission switching orders because traffic and equipment and bad connections can play havoc with communications. The same technique can work here.

      1. If you could prove the problem is serious enough, maybe you could get signed up with a transfer call service? If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s a service for deaf people, where they text to a middle-man, who repeats what the deaf person typed to the recipient of the call, then types the response back to the deaf person. No, you’re obviously not deaf, but if you have significant communication problems because of hearing difficulties, it might be a good option.

        Plus, you can type as fast as most people speak in conversation, so it’s not like it would slow you down much.

    2. Another option would be to sit beside the husband unit, have him make the call, explain the hearing thing to them and then you talk to them through him as intermediary. This, of course, means that you and he can understand each other’s conversation. Not perfect, but a valid work around.

    3. Depending on the doctor’s office, they may also be in a MyChart program where you can send in notes.
      Some of the nurses can’t handle the letters for crud– we’re talking about “make you wish for Indian tech support” level– but some of them are AWESOME, and my mom uses it to get her meds adjusted or renew prescriptions.

    1. Well, yes there are things worth dying for like family and country and liberty, but ripping off the hard work of others for your own personal aggrandizement, not so much.
      Still, I’ve written a few books and had modest success, but not nearly what I deserve. If I could only claim a leading role in someone else’s movement then I am certain I would be as famous as that dude what writes about monsters.

      1. Dood, it’s a door mat, not a book.

        It is there to point out that there is nothing in the house worth your life should you choose to break and enter.

        1. Obviously my poor attempt at snark failed to register with you.
          Is joke, I’m an editor not a writer.

  2. Sarah, if you look at a graph of my hearing it is an inverse bell curve. You can speak to me and I MAY hear something, or I just see your mouth working. Thing is – there comes a point at which you need to say it just doesn’t work any more and insist on e-mail or fax. Or have a hearing person call for you, perhaps even to arrange the e-mail or fax.
    Doctors don’t like e-mail because the stupid privacy laws make no allowance for reality.
    When I went to the hospital and was tested for hearing loss they put me in an isolation booth. The doc picked up a list of 100 ‘A’ words, abbot, apple, around, etc. I got 94 right which is about the same as a normal hearing person.
    Then he picked up the ‘B’ list and held it over his mouth to read it to me.
    I didn’t get a damn one, not one even…
    You slowly learn to compensate and don’t really know it. You hear one or two words and extrapolate the rest from the cadence and major mouth movement. But it really is no substitute. It works because – face it – most of what people say to you is the same stupid stuff over and over. People, on the average aren’t very bright. Do you want fries with that? Paper or plastic? The special today is…
    I can still hear very high and very low frequencies. I still need hearing protection from loud noises. I can hear every squeak and rumble my car makes. If you whisper – it defeats the purpose. You pitch your voice higher and I stand a much better chance of understanding it.
    The real danger is you will miss really important messages if you play the guessing game. The conversations on medical or legal matters where one word can change the meaning 180°.
    So, more advice from a man. It’s what we do instead of a nod and sympathy.

    1. I don’t have anything against advice from men OR women. I do it too. I have things against advice that’s not needed or wanted. Your doesn’t fall in that category. Thank you.

      1. I had a hearing test recently and apparently I have problem hearing really squeaky women… I was pleased 🙂 And I have the same problem when some women speak. I can actually hear above women’s voices…

        1. That’s actually a known quantity in the broadcasting community, and part of the reason that it’s been so hard for women to break into the “anchor” positions. Every news organization has had to field its share of complaints from older folk that the women are mumbling, when in fact it’s upper-range hearing loss that is to blame.

          1. What is interesting is that it’s not the entire upper range… just that band… But yes, I remember the story when women were on military radios and the radios were cutting out their voices. 🙂 Known problem as well.

          2. BTW I worked on radios and computers in the Navy… Every work space was a high level of noise… most men and women who worked in that constant noise did lose some hearing.

            1. my dad took me into the ckean room fir one of the old IBM tape and card mainframes. Dear God that was loud.

        2. *gets the giggles*

          Must be a Navy thing– our kids’ whining has a major snag, because their dad and I can really not understand what they say when they hit that tone of hysteria that little kids soemtimes do.

          1. I’m beginning to wonder if the services should just start issuing electronic hearing protection with your first uniform.

    2. It works because – face it – most of what people say to you is the same stupid stuff over and over.

      That is true, and reminds me of the scene in The Stepford Wives (the original) in which Paula Prentice and Katherine Ross realize just how little a robot needs to say in order to get by.

      1. That repeat-it-back seems to be the best deal. And if the person on the line doesn’t like it, ask for someone else. Glad you’re–feeling better, being more awake, I think I know what you mean. And I don’t see what legitimate complaint there can be against the simple, this is what Sad Puppy recommends that you read. I think SF was losing readers every year because there was only a fairly limited coverage of what’s good in SF.

        1. I did this when they discharged my father to make sure I had the instructions correct, with the doctors right in front of me. I was writing it down at the time and reading it back. They didn’t mind.

          1. My suggestion is to get the HIPPA papers and sign them and sic your sons on the doctors. Either and or both. I’ve been taking over Dad’s medical for five years now, little by little, and it works pretty well. (Longest unhospitalized period-over two years-since I was six.) Dad’s got both hearing and short term memory loss and the medical folks are pretty happy to talk to me and have me repeat to him.

  3. I have a perfectly adequate accent and no notable hearing loss and I share your dislike of talking on the phone. Demmed intrusive things, they are, and always aringing at a wrong moment.

    1. I also loath the phone. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I got up the courage to call that terrifying guy working the phones at Blackjack Pizza so that I could order a large pepperoni. One of the great innovations in the 21st century was when the pizza places put up websites that let you submit an order online.

      Though speaking of innovations, that seems to be one that doctors are remarkably resilient to. Their system is set up to deal with the phone and nothing else. Not only can you not make an appointment by emailing or texting or anything, but I’ve had trouble going into the office and trying to talk to the receptionist in person and make an appointment. If it’s not on the phone, it doesn’t work for them.

      1. Interesting. I guess the big local medical association is leading the curve, then. With them, they have a website where you can see all your records from all their affiliated medical offices, can email the doctors, and request appointments.

        1. We’ve got one like that, too. Includes the kid’s pediatrician, my obgyn, and the hospital where I gave birth and where they reassembled my femur. Not our GPs… might look for a new one.

          1. Yep – the local medical group we’re with has a web site with appointment scheduling as well as secure email communications and lab test results. Since my wife makes fun of me for my contortions to escape calling people on the phone, this is perfect for me. And I can’t really blame my misspent youth hanging around loud music, propellors, firearms and jet engines, since my hearing is still reasonably OK (though I have noticed that, like various other things, my hearing is not what it used to be).

            1. Man it would be so nice to be able to make a doctors appointment and know I could pay for it.

      2. I hate talking on the phone, too– it’s just so AWKWARD.

        I wonder if it’s related to talkign with my hands? Or the whole “Can’t read body language very well, kiss off on reading voice tone” thing?

    2. I am an extrovert who loves talking with people. But I have a tendency to shoot middle fingers at my phone whenever it rings, for the simple reason that 95% of calls to my number are scam projects that use number spoofing (and thus cannot be blocked), but the other 5% are actually important (like calls from my kids’ school, which often have unlisted numbers), so I have to interrupt whatever I’m doing just in case.

      “Whatever I’m doing” has a tendency to be things like toddler dealings, including attempts to get small guy down for naps, or mealtimes. I HATE the phone…

  4. Niece O’ my heart, you really do need a minder.
    Or call them an intern. Just no funny business.
    But let’s face facts. You are by your own admission hearing impaired.
    Sadly, hearing eared dogs are thin on the ground, but surely you can find a human equivalent.
    Ideally, you need someone to keep you organized and on schedule, make doctors’ appointments, help with translations as needed.
    What we do not need is for you to hear “how long have you and Dan been wed?” when what they really said was “we’re going to have to drill many holes in your head.”

  5. Level 1: “Don’t poke the dragon”.

    Level 2: “Don’t poke the female dragon”.

    Level 3: “Don’t poke the writer who is a female dragon”. 😉

      1. Unless the tank is a BOLO (especially the later models), this dragon doesn’t see the problem about “poking a tank”. 😀

        1. Depends on what kind of tank. Back in the day I gamed with some MMORPG tanks who probably needed poking.

    1. Back before the Bush Derangement Syndrome set in, Spider Robinson had a pretty good story about a couple burglars who make the mistake of thinking a house abandoned when it is merely home to a writer in the final throes of completing his novel. He does not take kindly to the interruption.

      Title of the story nor anthology escapes memory and does not compel me to track it down. I expect others here can prompt it.

      1. The approaching pandemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome will make BDS look like a minor flu.

          1. Should be interesting to see where it goes from here. How can they top calls for immediate impeachment and martial law to prevent the inauguration?

            1. They haven’t publicly expressed assassination fantasies … yet.

              Oh, sure, a few have hoped for his death, but by causes undefined.

              1. They’ve done this too. I’m waiting for Simon &Schuster to publish the first one, “in order to balance the hateful rhetoric of Milo.”

            2. I have to laugh at the calls for martial law.

              Obama’s authority over the military ends at noon on Jan 20th.

              The military could arrange for Trump to be given the Oath Of Office and could then ask Trump “What are your orders Mr. President”.

              1. Considering the denial of electoral legitimacy, declared protests and outright threats, any imposition of martial law is likely to be in support of Trump.

                  1. Nod, all the President-Elect has to do to become President is to take his Oath Of Office.

                    Besides the VPs who took the Oath outside of Washington DC after the death of the President, there have been several who took the Oath before the Inauguration Ceremony.

                    IE The Old President’s term of office ended on a Sunday, the New President took the Oath privately on that Sunday and the Inauguration Ceremony occurred on the Monday following.

            1. Done Nothing?!? He’s denied Her Annoyingness Annointedness her proper recognition. That ain’t nothing.

            1. Davis. Which is truly a different place (and across a river and a flood plain). Sacramento is filled with politicians (sent from elsewhere, BTW) and locals who love gardening and the outdoors, while Davis is a university town that used to get into the Weekly World News on its own merits. Like for the time they built an elaborate tunnel under the interstate for toad migration. And they have hundreds of feet of bike racks at the university, and bike theft is a major issue there. (Unfortunately, the market distortion of Davis means you can’t get a used bike for anything under $200 anywhere in the greater Sacramento area, and that’s for a beater.)

              Basically, Davis is where you might get your tires slashed for having a non-progressive bumper sticker on your car, while that would get maybe glares in Sacramento.

  6. Good luck with the doctors – I have no useful (or non-useful) advice to add to that.

    I will think about your approach to the puppies – but they are yours (well, the group of you) to organize/play with as you see fit. Good luck with this approach. I have wondered if it wasn’t just better to let them keep the Hugos and create a new one. Market forces would make the Hugo designation worthless pretty quickly. But having a place to recommend books might be a good approach – definitely worth trying.

    (comedy following…) Personally, I don’t think the brain issues are caused by sickness – I think it is all the characters and their stories who are stuck in your imagination and they are trying to get out. 🙂 Hopefully we can all enjoy those stories soon. And mind the plot bunnies – we all know how swiftly they can repopulate anything.

    In all seriousness, I hope that you feel better and the docs can get your body working with your mind and not against it. I hope you only have the good distractions and not the bad ones and that you get some smooth seas and clear skys, you have definitely been through enough storms to have earned some!


    1. From a “market” perspective, I think the Hugos are already worthless. I know that it used to be true that putting, “Hugo Award Winner” on the cover of a book could generate some additional sales, but I’d be pretty surprised if that’s still true. At this point, the group of people seeking to become Hugo winners is much like the group of people seeking to become Homecoming Queen at your average high school–all it nets you is a plastic crown and a mention in the yearbook, no one will care a month from now, but for a certain type, that plastic toy means that they’ve made it and can now sit at the cool-kids table. Saying that a “Hugo Winner” is actually going to sell fewer books than one without the rocket is no more relevant to these folks than telling the Homecoming Queen that she hasn’t increased her odds of getting into Harvard

      1. It’s worth money if you’re in academia for your day job. It’s an historical award and they won’t know how empty it is. THAT is why that set values it. Eh. Not my set.

        1. I guess a Hugo nowadays would be like getting a paper published in one of those technical journals that seem to exist only to serve as places to build publication credentials…

      2. Don’t work at the bookstore anymore, but at the library the Hugo winners usually get a few holds for a few weeks after the ceremony.

        1. They might, granted, get about 14k from the win. OTOH the Prometheus winning book netted me twice that so far, with check that arrived today for half of last year’s royalties.

  7. Thank-you for letting us know that your brain issues will not cause you to become not you. That was wonderful to hear.

  8. I have been through the sort of thing that you’re talking about with Sad Puppies, on a smaller scale, and I can relate to your frustration.

    My roommate and I started a regular meeting for one of our interest groups. Once a month we would get together to talk at a local restaurant. No big deal, really. All it involved was reserving a back room and publicizing the when and where. It was moderately popular for a while–we could usually count on 10-15 people showing up, have a decent meal and some good conversation.

    That is all that this group was intended to be. Anyone was welcome to show up, subject to the requirements of civil behaviour that a public venue required. Some people formed friendships that went beyond the meetings, which was great–we wanted a “meet&greet” sort of environment.

    Then someone who had been a regular attendee wanted to start having private parties, which was fine with us, but he started using the name that I had invented for our group and advertising his parties on the message board for our group–and that was not fine with us.

    Which is when it got ugly. Because we had advertised the meetings as being open, this particular member decided that he had the right to co-opt the group for his own purposes. I tried to explain that he was free to form his own group for his personal events and that I would be happy to help him publicize them, but that wasn’t good enough. He wanted to take something that we had started and grown and make it into what he wanted.

    What was particularly infuriating about the whole business was that he continually cast us as the bad guys because we wouldn’t let him have his way, and that he convinced a lot of other people to his way of thinking.

    1. My fencing club is one of the only functioning anarchies I have ever encountered.

      We are a club only for lack of a better term. We have no rules. We have no dues. If you show up and want to fence, we let you. If you want to join us at the bar afterwards, we let you. If you hang around long enough and decide you want to be a member, we informally discuss it; and if we agree, we give you a patch. In 20 years, no one who asked has been turned down.

      A couple of times over the years, someone has joined up who wanted rules, membership dues, and fund raisers to make it into something bigger and more prestigious. We mostly didn’t even argue. We just smiled at them and ignored them until they went away.

      But for 19 years now — 20 this summer — we have all showed up at the Ann Arbor Y on a weekend in August and put on the best fencing tournament in Michigan. The tournament chair is nominally in charge, and answers to the Y and to the media; but we all just show up knowing what to do and when to do it. We train the new people, and they know their part next year.

      I love my fencing club. I wish real life was more like us.

      1. Wow… I’d join that club!
        It’s kinda like how America was before big government came around, or something.

    2. Sounds like some of the excuses used for mod theft for Fallout 4 when it was opened for X-Box users. They claimed the mods were “free” so it was “okay” to download them from the Nexus and put them up on Bethesda’s site without the mod author’s permission. Because having your hard work taken without your consent (or sometimes even credit) is somehow a compliment?

  9. Oh, and I have what is called “cookie bite” hearing loss–I have lost most of my high and low range hearing. So I can relate to having difficulty with phone conversations.

    1. oy, the Mumbai Tech Support ,especially when I get a female, is the worst for my hearing lackings. Most of the talkers are in a range I find hard to hear, then add a thick accent and “Say that again?” I had one lady and it sounded like Charlie Brown’s Substitute teacher unless she talked really slowly, even though what accent I caught had as much Oxford as it did India, so I had her transfer me and the next lady had more of an accent, but a better tone so I got the words
      Only once have I had a call there that wasn’t at all bad. The guy was an Aussie, and had a deep voice.

      1. I can’t imitate accents. If I could, I wouldn’t have one. But after a particularly long tech support call, I got stuck on a Mumbai accent for hours (DON’T EVEN ASK. It only ever happened once.) So kid called me for an emergency “come get me from school” I got him and was talking to him on the way home. His eyes got very big and it was like “WHY are you talking like that.” I had realized what was going on by then, so I answered “Oh, your mom outsourced the mommy service to India, so she could write more.” He hugged the door all the way home.

        1. And *this* is why I love your writing. Because you’re the sort of person who can say something like that in perfect seriousness.

          Related: my wife has lived in the US since she was a young woman, and speaks excellent English, but has never been able to eliminate her Chinese accent. But it barely registers with our daughters – they don’t choose to ignore it as much as don’t even notice it.

          Our younger daughter is currently working on her master’s in Speech Language Pathology – in essence, working with people to help them eliminate their problems with speaking, which – yes! – includes accents. She’s learned to hear her mother’s accent *as* an accent. But she has to do it deliberately, because her default is “that’s not an accent – that’s just how Mom speaks.”

            1. I’ve lived in the South long enough to have acquired what some folk describe as a drawl, but that is ridiculous. I do not drawl, I have no accent to speak of … but everyone else sure do talk funny.

              1. I once was listening to some small cousins being raised in the South by parents who came from New York.

                Just talking, they had no accent. Reading aloud? Southern accent.

          1. I have one memory that is absolutely hilarious regarding accents. My mother had a British friend visiting, and as part of her big tourist experience, we took her to San Francisco’s Chinatown. While there, she found something she wanted to purchase from one of the shops, and started to talk to the proprietor, who was completely baffled. When the proprietor spoke back, my mom’s friend was completely baffled.

            They were both speaking English.

            In the end, my mother ended up being a translator, repeating what her friend said in (British) English, through her own (American) English, and repeating what the proprietor said in her (Chinese) English.

            I treasure that memory, though it long ago slipped from “I remember this” to “this anecdote.” I was only nine or so.

          2. Had someone get screaming mad at me for not “admitting” where my “accent” is from, because I insisted that I have two different but mild speech impediments — and I’ve got some odd pauses when I stop to do the “wait, is that something a normal person would say, or am I going to piss them off?” thing, plus a rather annoying voice… they wouldn’t accept I’m from Northern California and Washington state!

            Eventually they decided it was because my valley had so many immigrants, which…k, fine, it works. Basque (both), Italian, two different tribal influences, Scottish and then there’s the inside-the-US different accents, fine.

        2. Congrats, Sarah, you made Mom Red laugh so hard that she had to stop her inhaler for a few seconds. 🙂 (Her annual winter cough has returned, although much later into winter, which is a good sign).

      2. I have a co-worker from Serbia and I flat out cannot understand anything he says on the radio. Even in person I do better reading his body language than trying to understand the words coming out of his mouth.

        1. I dealt with a guy at the airport who was the opposite for some reason. No accent really (he was arabic or persian of some sort, but grew up in the US) and very soft spoken, but when you were out under the wing of a plane and whatnot with all the noise out there, his voice was one of the few that cut through over the PA or the radio and was clear as telepathy. If you were standing across the counter from him when he used the PA you could hardly tell what he was saying. One of the female ops agents was louder but her voice too was perfect for the PA to cut through the APU and taxiing noise so you heard the important “Fueler, Gate 7. Check with the Ops Agent for a revised fuel load!”
          most everyone else it was more like “Bzztth, Gate fuxxxxt. checccckkkto, shheet to vvvvtth!”
          **looks at a ground worker***
          “Hey! You catch that?”
          “Hell no!”
          Once we had radios and they had the freq, then they’d radio us too, but even then some of them made us radio our Supe, “Craig, can you go find out what language that was and get a translation?”

        2. A co-worker confessed to me once that she would walk into the office I shared with a co-worker from China, he would start talking, she wouldn’t understand a word, and I would turn around to put in my two cents, and she would deduce what he said from what I said.

        1. I asked him how he came to be there doing support and he replied “You gotta go where the work is” I think it was for my Net10/Tracphone service. Can’t be all that many blokes from there who did it for Slim while it was in India.
          It was odd, because before you got Mexico (Carlos being one himself) and only once then did I get a lady with just the right . . err . . wrong tone and I told her my issue so she slowed down, and talked a bit lowder, and it worked (more the slowing down).
          If he did it for Net10/Tracphone, tell him I said Hello. Most of the time now, I use the Chat feature they set up, and I think they use US based phone support now. The last time I recall getting a Mexican accent it was more an American who grew up in a ‘much of the time Spanish speaking family’ kind of accent than ESL.

  10. I have this crazy idea that if you (Sarah) actually wanted/needed help, you’d ask. And have a small set of trusted folks that would get asked. That set would not include J. Random Pest, John Q. Uninvolved, nor some odd ox. Not for this.

    It does amaze and amuse me that some are going “It’s ALL about Hugos” when the last couple years has more than adequately demonstrated that there is no there there. That strange idea of having to tear things down? It almost fits (almost, mind) as the facade has been torn away. But now it’s time to build, and so, construction is beginning. At least that is how I understand it.

    1. My first thought re: the Hugos and no there there is “Ignore the man behind the curtain” from Wizard of Oz but it doesn’t match well.

      1. SP1 and SP2 were them saying ignore. Larry was Toto pulling the curtain aside. Brad’s showed just how far they’d go trying to build a brick wall to replace said curtain and prove Larry was understating the issue.

        1. At this rate they’re going to douse themselves with water and melt away.

          Oh, what a world.

  11. Crazy powder? You mean I’ve been choking down big crazy pills when there was a powder? 🙂

    My hearing has come and gone for a while now. I’ve hated talking on the phone since I was diagnosed with Menieres Disease. On the plus side, ENT offices are used to people with hearing loss. this week an ear infection hit the house and neither I nor my wife could hear anything. Made for some interesting (almost) conversations.

    I hope people stop poking the bear.

    1. Don’t you hate that realization that you’ve been taking those annoying, horse-sized pills when all along there was an easier way? : – )

      1. Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen all day……

        to you or the frog.

      1. Nope.

        Mike Weatherford is somebody active in the “Hun” facebook pages but there is some asshole who has been creating fake “Mike Weatherford” ids on facebook and has been tried to “befriend” people even people who are friends with the real Mike.

      2. LOL. He’s a commenter here, a very nice man. He just keeps getting his account cloned on Facebook. HE of all of us. We don’t know why. It’s not a security thing. He doesn’t need to tighten his security. They just copy his profile.
        I think it’s his age. They think someone his age with some many friends is a good target. (Rolls eyes.)

      3. To add to Paul’s and Sarah’s comments – Mike’s account has been cloned so many times that someone else on Facebook declared he was going to make a bunch of nametags for LibertyCon that said, “My Name Is: Mike Weatherford” with a number underneath.

        The idea comes from T-shirts some company made that are based on The Princess Bride: “Dread Pirate Roberts #—- Ask me about franchise opportunities”

      4. Not being on the evils of FB I didn’t know this was happening so I thought maybe it was another like the many Gleens Greenwalds (who was sockpuppeting like rabbits breeding and was caught, shamed, and still denies it was happening . . . apparently it’s normal for numerous people to post from the exact same IP addy, fo reals!
        But then I noticed the name was familiar in a friendly manner.

  12. I have one correction (for the readers, not Sarah) and one suggestion:

    I think it wasn’t a “national Media campaingn” it was an international media campaign. And it was wrong headed and vinictive trying to protect the gatekeepers.

    If some EEVIL person wants to start his own list, might I suggest “Wild Dingos” or “Crazy Cyotes” so there is no”puppies aura. Larry, Brad,Kate, Sarah and Amanda own the sad puppies rights.

    1. There were others, and I’d let THOSE in. I’m not naming here, not to get them mobbed. IF one wants it after this, that’s fine. BUT the four of us (Larry is retired) hung in there through last year. None of us would even object if Dave Freer, for ex. wanted to do it. We’d have him examined for mental illness, but not object.
      It’s the “peripheral supporter wants the baton” that worries us, because we can’t tell what they’d do. Or worse, we can.

      1. It’s the ‘peripheral supporter wants the baton’ that worries us

        Sorta the “nobody who wants to be president should be allowed anywhere near the job” paradox?

        1. brings to mind.
          I had a character for a Supervisor who related the story of his working in a animal shelter in the DFW area, and they rotated who did the euthanasia “For stress reasons”. But because he saw how incompetent the others were at the euthanasia work (poking poor critter 10 times or more some times), took on the job pretty much full time, until one day the much higher ups walked in, and found him carrying on a running commentary and conversation with a rigor mortised squirrel that had sunglasses on and a cigarette in its mouth (Not Gauloises, Marlboro).
          Thing is, he’s likely to have done the same the first day, because he is just that kinda of crazy “Ain’t that right Mr. Squirrel? Ha!”

          1. I have the impression it isn’t enough kill for Kratman. Couldn’t say about Mike.

  13. General observation about the new hearing assist devices that are managed via smart-phone app: Find out if there is a way so they do NOT automatically send public emergency alerts straight to the hearing assist device. I have not seen someone levitate that fast in years. An Amber Alert sounded. Most of us just reached down to mute the sound and make certain it wasn’t a tornado or something. She went about four feet vertically, then clawed for the phone while mouthing interesting words.

    1. We keep blocking the “ECN COMMUNITY” numbers the city uses to spam our phones, but they keep changing the number. Last night, “weather alert.” [of nothing in any forecast we could find…] They’ll just keep calling every five minutes until someone answers. They’ve racked up more than 50 calls at a time before I unplugged the phone.

      If I’m on the phone when it happens, that’s the end of the call. The can’t-be-turned-off “call waiting” noise Comcast VOIP uses is loud far past the threshold of pain, and my ear will ring for hours.

      It only blasts the noise on my end of the connection; people who should know better get their panties in a wad when I tell them I can’t talk to them any more, because they didn’t hear anything on their end.

  14. I think you’re right that there is no point in sending money to WorldCon merely so they can have a party dissing us at our expense; better to save the funds for a more worthy activity, and let them throw their cry-bully pity party on their own dime.

    On the other hand, I am sympathetic with those who want to keep fighting for the Hugos. The Left has corrupted everything its touched, and I understand the desire to try to undo that corruption and take some piece of it back–even if that piece is just a plastic rocketship meant to signify the most popular piece of science fiction in a year.

  15. You misspelled “are there any Huns online right now who could simultaneously get on a chat room and a conference call with me; I need to make a call for a medical appt. and worry that I’ll need someone to translate pottsylvanian-English to clerkese and back. Thx in advance and I’ll name a terrible monster after you in a future book.”

  16. (Also, Sad Puppies doesn’t have a crown. It’s more of a beanie hat.)
    Does the beanie have a propeller on top? Ought it not have a flying saucer sort of thing on top?

      1. Propeller beanie with rainbow stripes. Or do like one of the guys who graduated my mechanics’ training class: a working miniature helicopter rotor on his mortarboard. Yes, he was a helicopter pilot as well. The Powers that Be were Not Amused.

          1. a certificated helicopter pilot & mechanic – gold bar with chocolate on top *and* sprinkles to any potential employer.

          1. This was in the mid-’90s, so no drone. As it was the PTB were seriously hacked and tried to keep him from getting his diploma. Not smart – Dad was one of the richest ranchers in the Panhandle.

      2. It tends to fall off and I might roll over it while I innocently (er, sort of) slumber.

    1. That line instantly made me think of Jughead’s hat. (which apparently was a reasonably popular style when the comic first appeared)

  17. Re phone calls to offices … my spouse has an unpredictable speech impediment, which I know is kind of the opposite of your issues, but over the phone, works out sort of similar. His approach is to introduce himself and tell the office girl “I have a speech impediment, please bear with me” – he says it really helps manage attitudes. Perhaps telling the office girl “I have some hearing loss, so please work with me here … ” kind of thing might be helpful?

  18. I’m going to stomp around the house wishing I had the power to reach through the computer and strangle you.

    Adams had no idea how it started, nor how he did it. He only realized it was real the time he reached through the telephone to throttle “Adele, from card services.”

    That was probably the third, or maybe fourth, time he’d done it. There had been those idiots at Buzzfeed, peddling their carefully “not quite actionable libelous” stories. There had been that time when he was trying to reach an actual person on the phone at the DMV. There was the blog troll who liked to minutely misrepresent joking comments …

    Adam didn’t think he’d killed anyone, just choked them into unconsciousness. Besides, can you kill an AI? But now that he knew he could do this he knew he had to use the power responsibly. He also knew he did not dare call any politicians …

          1. Never met the man, but from everything I’ve seen James Earl Jones has a great sense of humor.

            1. Sorry, in case I wasn’t clear, I wasn’t referring to JEJ as lacking humor, but the type of person in RES’s comment a bit further up, which is what I assumed your comment referred to.

              1. I admit I was slow at deciphering “JEJ” but once I had it was clear what you meant.

                I am altering the clip. Pray I don’t alter it any further.

    1. Heh, in my younger days, I was rehired at a former workplace and one of the guys there asked “Is he going to choke me again?” The owner replied “Try not to make him that mad again.”
      I actually didn’t get that mad again until just about 6 or so years ago when I was hit just above the eye with a rock thrown at me …. “It was a joke!” …. or at least I think that was what he said as I had his throat in my fist.

    2. One morning, I had to report phone trouble at work. To better serve you (yeah, right), they’d went through a vocal prompt menu. I was on my cell phone outside where there was noise and iffy connection. After getting bounced between two menus and repeatedly asked the same question, I said “Yes, $%^ $@^^**&!”

      The prompt immediately asked “You have indicated you have wished to speak to an attendant. If this is correct, say ‘yes.'” I did, and spoke to a live person.

      Ever since, with that particular phone company, when I’ve had to cut through the menu tree, I say “I wish to speak to an attendant.” And it gets me a person.

      1. I’d pay money to have that power. Just as well that it’s fiction – there’s a long list of people who I’d be tempted to use it on. And it’s likely that at least a few of them wouldn’t deserve it.

      2. No need to — feel free to write it yourself!

        I’m an accountant, not a novelist. Trust me, nobody wants to read the kinds of novels accountants write. That idea is as absurd as an accountant stand-up comic.


  19. Well done! The poor Progressives have no idea how bad it’s going to get for them. Best to cut the grapple lines, put on all the canvas we can, and make for the prize while they sink.

  20. “This movement is not to amuse you. ”

    But it has been rather amusing at times . . .

  21. Isn’t talking with medical providers a thing spouses do for each other? I’ve made calls for C. The psychiatric and psychological practices demand paperwork to verify that I’m allowed to talk to them; the others mostly just make the appointment or take the information. Is it necessary that you make your own phone calls?

  22. Regarding your post, Sarah, and not any of the comments:

    Imagine me. Imagine me standing up. Imagine me doing a slow clap and nodding my head, and saying, “Go get ’em.”

    That’s enough for now. Go have fun writing.

  23. > mid-range deaf

    I now have high-end hearing aids that cost more than I’ve made, some years. I had several sessions with the audiologist, tweaking their response curves on his nifty graphic equalizer software. With the aids in, I *should* hear just fine.

    Which I seem to, for everything but speech. It turns out that hearing some people more clearly doesn’t help because THEY’RE NOT SPEAKING ENGLISH. They start off in the middle of a sentence with no subject, so I have no freakin’ idea what they’re talking about. They leave words out. They use wrong vowels, They mix up word order. They start off okay, but the end of every sentence is an unintelligible mumble. They won’t talk above a whisper. Or it’s just an uninflected monotone “Knnnn…”

    And if you ask them to repeat themselves, they often get mad, BECAUSE THEY DON’T REMEMBER WHAT THEY JUST SAID. The connection to their mouth apparently doesn’t go through their memory.

    I now know that while there’s a serious communication problem, it’s not MY problem. “If what you’re trying to say is important, perhaps you should use English.”

    1. Woman I met on the bus a few years ago is from Peru (I’ve mentioned her here before). She told me once that, because of her accent, people frequently ask her to repeat herself, which is understandable, but if she asks THEM to repeat something that she didn’t understand, they get all angry with her.


      1. I’ve gotten the ‘other person gets annoyed at being asked to repeat self’ thing. A lot. If I could type at the speed of thought that could be avoided entirely, but…

        My husband still gets annoyed that there are local people who don’t understand me when ‘you don’t have an unrecognisable accent.’ I used to have what my American friends called “Parisian-flavoured British”; but years of online gaming and having a bunch of Midwestern clanmates who COULDN’T understand me until I started actively mimicking their speech and accent gave me a more American one. To the point that most Americans are surprised to find out that I don’t come from there.

        Australians? Think I sound Canadian. Frequently. o.O;

        The old German accent shines through on occasion, which is interesting.

    2. I’m afraid I have been known to reply to my husband’s request that I repeaa passing comment that just went down the memory drain with “…I don’t know, apparently I wasn’t listening.”

  24. > Yes, I might need brain surgery in the future.

    “You can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when it comes right down to it, this far inside the head it all looks the same.

    No, no, no, don’t tug on that. You never know what it might be attached to.”

    – Buckaroo Banzai to New Jersey, while doing brain surgery

  25. “I’m going to stomp around the house wishing I had the power to reach through the computer and strangle you.”

    Ah, so it’s like working tech support?

  26. “(Also, Sad Puppies doesn’t have a crown. It’s more of a beanie hat.)”

    A propeller beanie hat!

    Seriously though, you have my support and my refreshed wonderment at the hive of scum and villainy that FB and Tw…r are. And a renewed resolve to ditch what little FB I do when we move near to the people I follow on it (maybe this summer). So, yeah, cheering you on from this little bleacher.

  27. (Aside: “Ludic;” the john brown woman goes on a tear and still gives me vocabulary words.)

    Maintenant, ecrivez, oui? 🙂

  28. Thanks for explaining all this, Sarah! It finally answered a question that’s been puzzling me for a while now. 😉

  29. I think angry Sarah is funny.
    Of course, i wouldn’t think that way if said anger was pointed at me.
    It’s posts like this that make me realize how much aggravation I’m missing by avoiding FB and Twitter. I just read my favorite blogs, and call it at that.
    Just reading the comments here are an education.

  30. Gods. It sounds like that online forum RPG I became a faction leader of, and hoo boy, that experience had me never wanting to lead people ever again. To the point of “if you want to run over the cliff, I’m going to stand over here, out of your way, to watch” attitude.

    We blew up the fictional building and killed our characters so nobody could use what we’d built (I wrote it out, with the approval of the rest of the leadership) and told the rest if they wanted to remove their characters from the game, they write out their deaths, if they didn’t, write their survival scene.

    Naturally there were those who tried to come up with something that was like what had been before, but it never came close.

    Don’t piss off the Storyteller. Don’t piss off the heavy-damage DD who can solo the various raidbosses and doesn’t need the rest of the whiny bitches ruining the fun. Don’t yell at the siege strategist who is able to take the castle, because ‘you think it should be done differently’ – doing the above might just result in the complainer being told to fuck right off.

    “Go make your own if you can’t abide by our rules” – there are those who take that advice and make something better, or are able to strike out on their own. The ones who want to ride coat-tails complain because they know they lack the presence.

    Frankly if the other person wanted to make Deplorable Puppies, they might find a following.

    1. There was a time in America, within living memory, when teamwork and respect for the initiative and efforts of others was widely taught. The schools (before some idiots came up with the concept of “group projects” in which everybody gets the same grade), social groups such as Scouting (before Political Correctness required every scout bend the knee to the ruling ideology) and church activity groups (i.e., what are now called radical extremist hate groups) all emphasized the importance of abiding by rules, respecting the rights of others (even if those others were privileged) and the communal benefits of group coordination.

      Alas, such values are no longer important, fallen to the idolatry of “you didn’t build that.”

      1. It may be worse now, or it may just be more obvious… there’s always been “come in and take it overs” all over the place, though. They run it into the ground, and then the folks who build stuff up come back and rebuild it… wore my grandparents out, a bit, and my mom for sure.

        Maybe the folks who’d been in the military just had more experience recognizing the guy who wanted to piss in the corners and make it his own?

              1. but, but, I’m assured only right wing folk are the ones who attempt to assasinate presidents!(This was actually said to me once. me-“Lee Harvey Oswald” them-“See, how right wing can you get”)

                1. How dumb can they get?

                  Everybody knows that Oswald was framed by the evil Right-Wing CIA! [Sarcastic Grin]

          1. This Friday, 20 January.

            Proglodyte temper tantrums are scheduled all this week and into Sunday afterward. There are even plans for a “Women’s March” complete with knitted pussy hats.

            Silly me — that isn’t quite the orifice into which I’d have guessed they’d shove their heads.

            1. You can search for scheduled events online.

              Inauguration Schedule Released: Two Public Events on Thursday, Trump to Speak
              The public can attend two events on Thursday to honor President-elect Donald Trump ahead of Inauguration Day on Friday, Jan. 20.
              Thursday’s events will take place at the Lincoln Memorial, according to a press release from the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

              The two public events are titled: “Voices of the People” and “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration.”

              According to the press release, the Voices of the People event includes: “the DC Fire Department Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, King’s Academy Honor Choir, the Republican Hindu Coalition, Montgomery Area High School Marching Band, Marlana Van Hoose, Maury NJROTC Color Guard, Pride of Madawaska, Webelos Troop 177, Northern Middle School Honors Choir, American Tap Company, South Park and District Pipe Band, Everett High School Viking Marching Band, TwirlTasTix Baton Twirling, and Celtic United Pipes and Drums.”

              The Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration will happen following the Voices of the People event. Trump will deliver remarks. According to the press release, other special guests include: “Toby Keith, Jon Voight, Jennifer Holliday, The Piano Guys, Lee Greenwood, RaviDrums, 3 Doors Down, and The Frontmen of Country (featuring Tim Rushlow, former lead singer of “Little Texas”, Larry Stewart of “Restless Heart” and Richie McDonald of “Lonestar”).”

              “President-elect Trump has made it clear that this inaugural is of, by, and for the American people. The 58th Inaugural will celebrate American history and heritage, while setting the course to a brighter and bolder future for all Americans,” stated the Committee’s Chairman Tom Barrack. “Above all, it will serve as tribute to one of our greatest attributes, the peaceful transition of partisan power.”

              “As Abraham Lincoln said, ‘when an election is over, it is altogether fitting a free people that until the next election they should be one people,’” Barrack added. “We will be one people working together, leading together, and making America great again, together.”

              On Thursday morning, Trump will also attend a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery.

              The “Deploraball” will take place Thursday night, along with several other inauguration balls.

              Friday, Inauguration Day, will begin with Trump’s swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol beginning at 11:30 a.m. According to the Washington Post, security will open at 6:30 a.m.

              There will be an inaugural parade on Pennsylvania Avenue following the swearing-in ceremony.

              Three official inaugural balls will be held on Friday night. One will be at the National Building Museum, another at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and there will be an Armed Services Ball.

              The following morning, on Saturday, there will be a National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral.

            2. Excellent analysis here:

              Why The Women’s March on Washington Isn’t Inclusive
              By Carrie Lukas
              The day after Donald Trump is inaugurated President, tens of thousands of women—maybe more—are expected to arrive in Washington for an event called “The Women’s March on Washington.” Their mission statement is one that Americans of all political stripes could rally around:


              [O]nce you read a little more, it sure doesn’t seem as if the purpose of this march is really to bring people together or improve the tenor of political discourse. The New York Times recently highlighted the infighting that has occurred even among the March’s most engaged activists. On the group’s Facebook page, white women were being told that they need to “talk less and listen more” and “check their privilege,” leading some women to give up on joining the effort altogether.

              Given feminism’s difficult past—in which the particular challenges facing women of color were often overlooked in favor of the concerns of professional, white women—it’s not surprising that there are some hard feelings around race. However, the overall tone indicates that issues of race and privilege are the march’s true theme, rather than the broader cause of “women’s rights.”


              It’s clear that this march isn’t a place for anyone who supported Donald Trump. Diversity of thought or political ideology isn’t a kind of diversity that this March has any interest in. That’s no surprise: Leftist feminists have always claimed the term “women” for their cause, even though they are really only interested in representing women who share their political agenda. Just as the Women’s Centers on nearly every university campus in America provide an entirely liberal vision of women’s issues and marginalize any student with conservative leanings, these march organizers felt free to call it “The Women’s March on Washington,” not “progressive women” even though that’s what it is in fact, and leave out conservative or anyone with different perspectives. They can rest safe in the knowledge that the sympathetic press would never challenge their presumption to speak for all women.

                1. Remember that now they point their finger and say he’s too cozy with Russia, but you remember the reset button and “i’ll have more flexibility in my second term”?
                  I think they’re screaming to cover what they’ve already done.

                  1. If he sells us to Russia, it will be in ways we notice, and impeach his @#$#@.

                    When they sell us to Russia, they’re sneaky. I am STILL not sure if the whole Assad mess was on purpose, or if they are just that pathetic.

                    1. Especially when you figure in the rope-a-dope stuff Russia is GOOD at– how would we know if somebody in the administration had been persuaded that not only was some stupid thing a good idea, but THEIR idea?

    2. Personally, I’d love to see some Deplorable Puppies. Not to downplay anything the Sads have accomplished, but the more vectors of annoyance for the Puppy Kickers, the better.

  31. I promise not to throw dictionaries

    You say that, but then I have to go and look up words like “ludic”. 🙂

    (Also, Sad Puppies doesn’t have a crown. It’s more of a beanie hat.)

      1. The prop on top of the blue ball of awesomeness is just spinning so fast the camera can’t catch it.

      2. You’re the boss… but I don’t understand how a Puppy wearing a propeller beanie can be Sad.

  32. H is for the horrendous tedious hectoring
    U is for the ugly view of humanity
    G is for the greyy goo that is the writing
    O is for the originality that is lacking
    S is for the stories no longer told

    Put them all together, they spell HUGOS,
    That is the name that says “avoid these books” to me.

  33. PLEASE: When you finally do call the neuro, ask for their web-based patient portal. They probably have one, since all the major EMRs have one. You can then communicate via its secure email directly with your doctor. On the web. With history.

    On some of them, you can even nominate a proxy to do it for you.

  34. Poking one eye very cautiously through the crack in the door…

    DEEP breath, ignore the chaffering of the old sour grumps up in the galleries. Do Sad Puppies 5 however Sarah Hoyt tells you to do it.

  35. But I still get to lead the Sad Puppies 5 All-Kazoo Stumbling Band!
    The monkeys in my head promised.
    (Don’t make them mad. My mind is dirty enough without that!)


      1. What, the aardvark, Fluffy, and the sea serpent weren’t enough to give it away? Just because they do work around here?

  36. Why do you give so much power to your internalized misogyny, you sub intelligent bilingual person of hate?

    Also part deafness can be odd for the asker:
    Mom, did Sarah’s flight get in okay?

    No, Rick has to work late tomorrow.

    (My brother-in-law is not a pilot.)

    Have your own brand of campaign, we’ll still be here come August.

      1. Remember: around here “gun control” means the ability to place three shots at twenty-five feet touching the perimeter of a quarter.

    1. I say brightly: “I haven’t killed anyone yet.”

      Could be worse… you could be saying it dejectedly.

            1. No, but I am so quiet I can scare people by simply speaking up since they didn’t notice I was there. Or walk into a room. Or they just turn around and find out I was standing there the whole time concentrating on something else.

                1. About 20 years ago when I was working at a Motorola plant in Austin, my coworkers started wondering when I’d go postal. Reason? Simple: I had an angry expression on my face. Once.

  37. There’s an anime called Durarara (It’s supposed to be a motorcycle sound). One character, Celty Sturluson is a Dullahan, who has lost her head. She hides this with a motorcycle helmet. Since she can’t talk, she communicates by typing on her cell phone and holding the message up so the other person can see it.

    1. I once burned my mouth so badly that I could not speak, nor eat anything but icecream for 3 months. Thing was, I was starting a job at a call center. Fortunately I was still in training and could reply by writing my answers down on a pad of paper and holding it up.

      The cellphone thing might have been an idea, but with the tendency of Filipinos to use Taglish, autocorrect would’ve resulted in some kind of Tourettes.

      1. I once joked that the Hungarian/English Dictionary sketch from Monty Python was an example of Tourist’s Syndrome. (Gotta fudge the pronunciation on that a bit to make it work.)

    2. For those wondering:
      if you saw this lady, you probably wouldn’t notice the empty helmet, either….


      It’s odd enough that I *wasn’t* able to follow it from “doing stuff in the next room over” while my husband watched it, which is pretty dang good.

      1. The creator has a tendency to create a huge number of dramatic threads that, while they do all cross at some point, never all come together at once.

        1. Now that is a dramatic realism I can support.

          I did like the…hm… cursed knife storyline, what a plot twist for the girl and the crazy guy.

          (Note: this description will not really do you any good until AFTER you’ve seen the story play out, so no spoiler warning. And if you don’t view the characters the same way I do, maybe not even then.)

          1. Funny thing, in the first 24 episode season, they released a 12.5 episode only on the dvd’s. In it we discover that Celty is scared of UFO’s.

  38. At the risk of incurring the wrath of the propeller-beany-headed-lady…

    Hey, don’t you have a book to concentrate on writing? 😉

    It _is_ ok if you ignore everyone else for a week while focusing on doing that sort of thing. (As if you needed permission!) No one with half a brain is going to get mad about you concentrating on your job and it’s obvious from this post you won’t care about what the other people think. 🙂

    I actually have no idea how you manage to spend so much time on blog posts and keeping up with replying to comments while writing and keeping up with family. I can only imagine you must find it very enjoyable to spend the amount of time I imagine it takes to keep building up both sites (This and MGC). We all appreciate it, but like I said, I don’t picture anyone being too upset by prioritizing.

    (Feel free to ignore all of the above if it’s bad advice, as I don’t actually KNOW the details. No like you wouldn’t anyway. \:)

  39. I would offer a hug, but I know it would interrupt your work, and I would *NEVER* do that. And it probably wouldn’t help much anyway 🙂 Seriously, you’re in Bummer Central, and all you can do is to overcome. My best wishes. (And you may be able to explain that your hearing problems are worse over the phone.)

  40. Mom Red had a sign that was posted inside the tech’s work area at [redacted] medical center that said in essence: Do not tease, pester, poke, harass, wart, annoy, malign, feed, vex, irritate, wind up . . . the animals. Had over 40 words on it. When she retired, the techs insisted on keeping the sign.

  41. On the site, there will be a page with awards and their requirements. If you think the book qualifies for an award, check it out and put it on your recommend. And if you’re starting a new award, send it to me (ONCE THE SITE IS UP, FOR THE LOVE OF HEAVEN NOT NOW) and I’ll put it on the page, and also if the author needs to submit the book or not.

    If you’re using the WordPress software, I’d highly suggest a “post” with the awards at top, and folks can just “submit” the awards with requirements below that.

    To cut down on duplicates.

  42. Which brings me to things that will piss me off: stop doing sh*t like claim I’m too sick to do this, or attributing the fact I just chewed your skanky behind up and down the street to my being ill or going crazy.

    If I may quibble–
    folks should go ahead and do this, but SHUT UP. It should stay in your head.

    If Sarah’s behavior is most charitably interpreted as one of the above, then it is all well and good to interpret it that way– but to then announce your guess as a fact, or worse yet to actively use it as a response, is a sin against charity.

    That’s a really, really, REALLY big bad, ‘k?

  43. ‘Now that the Dragons will probably eclipse the Hugos, we’re opening this to “these are the books people like best. Read them and, if you like them, vote for them for awards.” ‘ AwardS, plural. Like ones more impressive than the debased Hugos.

    Frackin’ Zen-like brilliant! The only way to guarantee that the Proggies cease to have power over you is to GET OFF THE WHEEL, especially when it’s their wheel. I feel sorry for the poor Hugo, soon to become the Terry Malloy of genre literature. “I coulda been a contender, but now I’m just a bum.”

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