Cold Ground
email Derryl (replace AT with @)

Places to Go:
Derryl's Fotolog
Fictionwise (reprints of some of Derryl's fiction)
Alyx Dellamonica
Boing Boing
Charlie Stross
Jena Snyder
Making Light
Randy Reichardt

~ Saturday, September 28, 2002
Oh, man. The sorry thing about this is, all sorts of dolts will climb in for the special deal. And then, because my name shows up on sites connected with writing and publishing, I'll start hearing from them.
~ Friday, September 27, 2002
A lo and behold, today they announced the winner of the Sunburst (but you won't find it on the website yet; maybe tomorrow). Margaret Sweatman won.
~ Thursday, September 26, 2002
You'd be excused for not knowing this is happening. Here's the Sunburst Award site, which includes the 2002 shortlist, announced months ago and I just found out today. Relentlessly literary, of which I approve. Especially considering the travesty of the mini-golf trophy know as the Aurora.
Here's a piece from today's Edmonton Journal. Paula Simons has nicely captured some of the feelings I would get when walking through this part of the museum. I'll miss it, and I know my boys will as well; they used to just run with delight from one to the next, pressing their noses up to the glass and asking questions or telling me facts.

Still, the new plan sounds good. I look forward to seeing what they do.
~ Wednesday, September 25, 2002
Going to be light on commentary for the next few days. Canada Council grant app deadline is October 1, my Romantic Lit paper is October 4, my English Theory paper is October 8, I'm trying to finish a story for a deadline, I have a column due for the SFWA Bulletin, intramural indoor soccer for UNBC starts next Wednesday night, Aidan's off for two professional development days, and my folks are coming to visit this weekend. But still, if I see anything cool, I'll try to post it.
~ Monday, September 23, 2002
I just had to note that today on CBC Radio 1 the reporter talked about Schroeder barely making it in the German election, and that his only hope is if the "Red Green Coalition" can work.

Perhaps if they hold it together with duct tape it will.
There are days when I think I'd love to carry a gun with me, just to shoot out the tires of all those idiot ATV riders. But the feds deserve a lot of the blame for this as well.
~ Sunday, September 22, 2002
More on peanut allergies:

The fuss in the local paper has not stopped. I'll deal with the next-to-last letter in a moment, but first I wanted to point out what happened at Heritage School the other day. Heritage was Aidan's school for kindergarten, and they seemed to be a fairly aware school, with a peanut ban in Aidan's classroom and a school-wide scent ban, as an employee had environmental allergies. A few days ago, though, a girl with a severe peanut allergy who is in grade seven came to the rescue of another girl who was being bullied. The victim was bullied so badly, in fact, that she broke a tooth. When the allergic girl went to help, the bullies threatened to bring a peanut butter sandwich and smear it all over her face. A threat that had apparently been made before.

The parent of the threatened girl felt that nothing was being done, so she has transferred her daughter to another school. The principal protested that he thought the dispute resolution mechanism was working. Hmm. I remember hearing things about zero-tolerance for bullying, but apparently it hasn't reached up here in the boonies of Northern B.C. A broken tooth would be enough to send someone packing, at least if I were in charge, but to also issue what is essentially a death threat (and don't think that girl wasn't mouthing some special thoughts one or both of her parents have shared with her), that's enough to call in the Mounties for a little chat. I'm glad Aidan is no longer there.

On the same day this story broke, there was a letter to the editor from a woman who wrote in when all this started. She was against the ban then, and she's against it now. Part of her problem is that she is a mother of seven (no mention of a spousal unit), and food doesn't always make it to the next paycheque, so she often has to visit the food bank. At the food bank they give (no points for guessing right) peanut butter.

I don't hold this against her. I sympathize, and am glad that since the government is so useless in this matter, there is someone there to step up and help. However, she takes the time to quote some stats (and I have no idea if they are right, but I'm still feeling generous, so OK) that say only 3% of the population have such an allergy. So, to toe the line that so many people believe in these days, why should the majority cater to the minority? Why can't I pick up my kid and feed him lunch at home? Why can't I rely on him being an intelligent (which he is), responsible (ditto) child of six? As well as rely on his friends and schoolmates? Again, it's not so bad for Aidan, so the class wouldn't even need to have its eating surfaces bleached and everything completely aired out, as is the case for some.

The answer, of course, is that I can't. Not always. If we remove as many threats as possible, he has a better time at school, isn't under such a severe threat, and there are fewer opening for lawsuits after he dies a horrible death. Sorry to be so blunt, but there you go. I think the school board realizes this would be a nasty bomb exploding in their faces, and they've been good about not only upholding the bans, but about bringing in public health nurses to educate staff and parents (except, obviously, for Heritage School).

I almost wrote a letter, but realized it couldn't go, because I would end up saying something Not-Nice. So instead I'll say it here, where I'm not naming the woman who wrote the letter. She brings up the percentage, and so I wonder, what percentage of the population has seven children? And did she choose to have all of those kids? Because I sure as hell didn't plan on Aidan having this allergy.

Unfair this might be, but I'm pissed off that this still goes on. Perhaps we should just take all the kids with anaphylaxis and toss them out on the highway. Run them down with cars and trucks, solve the problem a little faster.
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