cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (jack skellington)
I like to spread Halloween out for as long as I can. Podcastle has encouraged my habit, by providing an early holiday treat: my autumnal tale "Bilingual, or Mouth to Mouth" is now available as a podcast! This story evolved from a poem I wrote, "Hello Kitty, Hello Blood." It has goats and telescopes and teens, psychic mouths, magic wishes, and fey infection. If you prefer reading to listening, the entire text is at Podcastle, or you can read it in my collection, The Haunted Girl.

October will be a busy month for me. I'll have a new story at Solar Punk Press, a new poem at Strange Horizons, an author spotlight at, and my poetry workshop at Sirens.

Less exciting but necessary nevertheless, I'll be undergoing a sleep study for my insomnia. I know these studies are pretty common nowadays, so if you've had the experience, tell me what you wish you'd known going in!

Okay, time to get back to my pumpkin-spice coffee. Happy Fall, y'all!
cafenowhere: close-up photo of champagne cork (champagne)
I'm back from Readercon, and I have a lot of Thoughts, but first!

Yesterday, on my birthday even, I received a Very Important Piece of Mail.

And now, I can announce that...

I have an agent! I have signed with Rebecca Strauss at DeFiore & Company.

Many thanks to friends who kept my good news a "secret" until the paperwork came through. ;)

dancing otter
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)
Last night, because of severe weather in our area and trying to stay informed via local news, we ended up watching the national news for the first time in a long time. One of the stories was about Michael Marin, a former attorney and banker, who was found guilty of burning down his mansion for the insurance money. (At this point, Tweetie had left the room.) The video of Marin in the courtroom appears to show him react to the verdict, then swallow two pills, and die. 

I framed it out loud for myself: "I just watched a man commit suicide. On the evening news."

It should've been shocking, but I would've had to feel an iota of sympathy for the guy, which I didn't.

I am so sick of people who act as if being poor is the worst thing in the world that could happen to them. This guy had been rich, then he wasn't. Rather than filing for bankruptcy, or shit, just skipping out on the mortgage and starting life somewhere else, he decides to burn the mansion down for the insurance money. Then, when he's caught, the idea of 16 years in prison is too much and he commits suicide. That last part is a little more understandable to me, who wants to go to prison?, but really, it was the idea of being poor and losing his status that set him on this course. God forbid he live the reality of 46.2 million Americans subsisting below the poverty line.

Good riddance.


Nov. 9th, 2010 08:00 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (castiel sigh)
I called my mom last night to ask her about the Mexican military raid in Matamoros, which is less than an hour from my hometown. Friday might've been the bloodiest day in Matamoros history: 150 marines, 3 choppers, and 17 other military vehicles descended on the town to apprehend a reputed drug lord. And they say they killed the guy; what they decline to say (officially) is that as many as 100 other people are also dead, including a journalist who was caught in the crossfire and shot maybe 20 times. It's hard to know the death toll for sure because the gangs drag away their dead before media blackouts are lifted.

Imagine being a citizen stuck in the city:

Many residents spent late Friday afternoon crouched in bathrooms or crowded into windowless offices, listening to gunfire and at times peeking out to see what was going on.

They reported catching glimpses of guns carried by either members of the Mexican navy or cartel “soldiers” in their own military garb.

For about two hours, lights were out in downtown areas, where some of the heaviest shooting occurred. There was no communication; nothing worked, not cell phones, radio or Nextel.

City buses were used to blockade streets. Gunfire streamed down from hovering military helicopters. as reported by Lynn Brezosky & Dudley Althaus

The same article reports that the violence set off aftershocks in nearby Reynosa, Mexico, which is only 15 minutes from my hometown: In officials used Twitter on Saturday morning to warn residents of random shootings there and that gangsters were blocking streets and highways.
Although my mom was not directly affected, she reports that smoke from the battles could be seen on the American side of the border. Another relative reports that high-speed car chases have become commonplace past our old neighborhood. They are living within spitting range of a war zone.

The border wall between Mexico and Texas, laughably called "Operation Hold-the-Line," cannot keep undocumented immigrants out. How can it possibly keep a war from spilling over?

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (neon sign)

This brain-bleaching
bastard of a summer sun
renders all a hardpan sepia
of dun and dust and bone

All that competes
with the Texas heat
is a Mexican tabloid splash:
a starburst of blood, steel, and broken
glass seized by camera flash.


Still not happy with this one, but I have a tension headache and I'm hungry, so I'll live with imperfection. (I should be used to it by now.)


Sep. 25th, 2009 08:39 am
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (stop trying to kill me!)
Chief among the crap things I did NOT need to hear first thing this morning: Tylenol is voluntarily recalling some of their liquid medicines for infants and children because of possible bacterial contamination. The lot numbers begin with the letter S and the expiration dates are clustered around April-June 2010. Click the link above for lot specifics. Needless to say, I've scoured our medicine cabinet. To my great relief, our one Tylenol product is not on the recall list.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Yummy!)

Alas, it's not big enough to make the Zombie World News, but zack activity has made headlines in Iowa.

Iowa City's Fourth Annual Zombie Walk had a surprisingly large turnout. Participants raised over $1000 dollars and about 70 pounds of food for local charities, as befits our city's progressive attitudes--even our zombies are liberal.

And Iowa Public Radio reported on Jon Palestini's Nightmare City Apparel, a Des Moines-based company that has produced a small line of zombie t-shirts and presented them in fashion shows. I like the "ZOMG" design.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (cat)

After much shuffling of its schedule, Discovery is expected to launch later today. The official reasons given for the delays have been bad weather and a bad fuel valve, but I suspect the real problem is that the astronauts are attempting to carry a flag for the US Border Patrol into space.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar:  "We are extraordinarily honored to have our organizational banner represent not only the Border Patrol but all the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection who secure our nation and way of life.  I have personally spoken with Dr. Olivas and conveyed our appreciation for his decision to recognize the Border Patrol by carrying our symbol of honor and dedication beyond the realm of our country's physical borders."

Yes, honor and dedication. Meanwhile, arrests of corrupt border agents are on the rise.

Why would we want to carry this symbol beyond the realm of our country's "physical borders"?

Look out, ET. We don't need no stinking aliens.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (confusion)

I've been thinking about mercy a lot lately. Which is unusual, to say the least. Mercy is not a virtue in my book. Nor is it a priority in our family. Or even on our radar.

So imagine my bemusement when Tweetie came home from preskool and reported that she'd watched Vegetable Tales.

"You mean 'Veggie Tales'?" I said calmly. At this point she was lying on me as I lay on the couch, her head tucked to my chest, so she couldn't see the flames of fury shooting from my eyes. (Her preskool is supposed to be nondenominational, despite being a mission of the Methodist church.)

"I guess," she said.

"And what was it about?"

"How everyone should get a second chance, even if they don't deserve it," she said, sounding unhappy.

"Huh," I said, again with the forced calm. "Do you think that's true?"


"I don't believe that. If someone hurt you on purpose, just because it made them feel good to hurt you, I wouldn't give them a second chance."

"Well," she said, clearly perplexed, "not about things like that..." Then, with more confidence, "It's called Mercy, you know."

"I don't think Mercy is always a good thing. But tell me about the vegetables. What was the problem on the show?"

"Daniel didn't want to carry a message for God, but God gave him a second chance." Again, sounding unhappy.

"What kind of vegetable was God?" I asked, never having seen this show.


"Was he a cucumber, a zucchini, what?"

Stunned silence from Tweetie.

"Or," I asked, catching on, "did they not show him? Was he just a voice? How did Daniel know it was God?"

Baffled silence from Tweetie. Her face was wrinkled up as she tried to sort out this complicated worldview she'd been presented with, in the form of talking vegetables.

I finally said, "You're old enough now that you're going to start hearing things at skool that are different from what we believe at our house. And that's okay. Everybody believes different things. We don't think mercy is always a good thing in our house."

She seemed content with this explanation, and accepting of the potential for conflict.

I couldn't help remembering this conversation when I heard on NPR that Scotland's government released the convicted Lockerbie bomber and sent him home to die of cancer. I sat at the kitchen table in utter astonishment. It never would've occurred to me that this mass murderer should be released to die in his homeland, among his kin. I wasn't outraged, although I hear that some people, including the victims' families are outraged, and deservedly so. I was just amazed. To think, a quality I've never given a second thought to in maybe fifteen years, is responsible for this turn of events.

Mercy? Wow.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (raccoon)
A rabid squirrel in my neighborhood attacked two people and was "impounded" by animal control.

Considering all the madness spilling out in the last week, I am not surprised. Even the animals are in turmoil! But I feel sorry for the person who needs to have rabies vaccinations.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (silver teapots)
I ran across this article last week, but only now can I deal with it and not want to gouge out someone's eyeballs.

Iowa City police have decided a local man set fire to the mobile home he shared with his girlfriend. Earlier that day, he'd written her a note: If I can't have you, nobody will.

(Don't read the comments at the Press-Citizen; they're sickening. Domestic violence is SO funny! WTF.)

The guy has been in jail since the day of the fire on a domestic assault charge, with a $2000 bond. Now the police have charged him with first-degree arson, with bond set at $20,000.

I do not comprehend how setting fire to a building is criminally worse than abusing another human being. A mobile home is worth more than a woman's life? WTFityF.

Nor do I understand why there's no mention of an attempted murder charge. I can't tell from the flimsy article if the woman was in the home when this bastard started the fire, but does it matter? He clearly intended to terrorize. He had threatened to kill her. WTFityFF!

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (O rly)

"Authorities are on the lookout for alligators or crocodiles that have been spotted along the Rio Grande River and at a lake next to a busy shopping center in Matamoros."

And because some folks lack any survival instinct, people have been gathering along the banks in hopes of seeing the scaly critters. Like our Cedar Falls lamb on the lam, these reptiles have eluded capture, so officials are advising caution.

But gators might be the least of worries for people living on the Texas-Mexico border.

"A Reynosa man is behind bars after Mexican soldiers found 20 grenades inside his SUV bound for the United States."

And someone tossed a grenade into a nightclub in Pharr, Texas, earlier this year. Luckily, no one was hurt because the villain missed the second safety clasp. But, interestingly enough, "The grenade that failed to explode in the bar in Pharr, Texas, had the same markings as grenades thrown in October at the U.S. consulate in Monterrey, Mexico."

Apparently, grenades are quite popular down south: "
The Mexican military seized 165 grenades and 14 sticks of TNT belonging to the Gulf cartel in the November raid of a house in the border town of Reynosa, Mexico, a dozen miles south of McAllen, Texas."

And where do the grenades come from? "
they are cheap and easy to find. Many are left over from Central America's civil wars and sold on the black market to drug cartels. Some are brought in by weapons smugglers. Others are diverted from the region's militaries."

Ah, the Valley. Home sweet home.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (raccoon)
"Lamb Eludes Capture for Weeks", Cedar Falls, IA

"Police and animal control officials say they've been unable to capture an elusive lamb that's been loose and on the move for more than two weeks....

An animal control officer shot the animal with a tranquilizer pellet, but it didn't penetrate the lamb's skin."

Go, Super Ninja Lamb, go!

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (bullshit)

Poor Governor Culver. He is "disturbed" by signs on Des Moines buses that read "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

Well, you know, I am disturbed by endless exhortations and pleas to attend church or accept God or Jesus Christ or Cookie Monster into my life. But I do not complain about these entreaties on city buses, nor do I ask for these signs to be removed or take it upon myself to remove them.

Because I, for one, am wearing my big-girl panties. I accept that not everyone shares my beliefs, and I respect freedom of speech enough to put up with declarations by people who hold what I consider to be stupid beliefs.

These "disturbed" theists, including Governor Culver, need to grow up and put on their big-girl panties and deal. Since Culver's in a leadership position and needs to grow up, pronto, I am willing to send him a pair of my panties until such time as he grows a pair.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (silver teapots)
There are more things in heaven and earth, Lisa, than are dreamt of in your philosophy, but Cthulhu dreaming...

Huge Blob of Hairy Arctic Goo

Could the jumbo squid have been trying to escape this...Thing?


Jul. 15th, 2009 01:20 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (silver teapots)

Dozens of jumbo squid beached in San Diego

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, "Rolling Stone magazine recently described Goldman Sachs as a 'giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity,' relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

The former makes me sad. The latter fills me with glee.


cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)

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