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
Electrolite
Jena Snyder
Making Light
Randy Reichardt

~ Friday, November 01, 2002
 
Internet mammography, via Cruel Site of the Day. Yes, some people might take this wrong (see the "Hate Mail" link), but me, I laughed myself into a puddle of tears.

Now I have to find a turkey I can wear as a helmet...
 
Newsflash! French Revolutionary tactics come to Colorado University!

From the Rocky Mountain News:

Medical school professors Tuesday vented their anger at the abrupt dismissal of their chairman, Dr. Robert Schrier, saying it makes the University of Colorado look bad and will make it harder to recruit top researchers.

"His sudden decapitation without cause leaves me speechless," Dr. Michael Glode said at a meeting of the CU Health Sciences Center's faculty assembly.


The guillotine as tenure-breaker. Interesting idea.

~ Thursday, October 31, 2002
 
50 kids for Halloween tonight. We expected more, considering how many kids are in the area, but in the end I'm not surprised. We live on the only road in and out from a well-to-do neighborhood, and I think the speed some of these people drive puts parents and kids off from walking on our (sidewalk-less) streets. Still, 50 is more than we've seen at any house since we got married. Not close to the 100+ we'd always get when I was a kid, though.
~ Wednesday, October 30, 2002
 
Having worked for several years with handicapped adults and youth, this story just knocks me out. Read and feel good about people. (Via Redwood Dragon.)
 
Warren Zevon will be performing three songs live on David Letterman tonight. Considering he recently announced he was dying of inoperable lung cancer, I'll be staying up for this.

And apparently (to segue just a tad) Seinfeld will be on Letterman tomorrow night, trying out new material.
 
24 has returned, and with it the excellent series of reviews in Flak, written in real-time while the show is on, and then posted the next day.
~ Tuesday, October 29, 2002
 
I'm amazed to note that even in Canada the mention of the huge American anti-war protests has been minimal (searching for "peace protest" at the Globe and Mail site brought this result, and nothing about the aftermath). In her latest column, Molly Ivins, the finest working political journalist in the US, talks about this and, more importantly, why it isn't a waste of time to go out and vote. Which goes for Canadians just as much as it does for Americans.
~ Monday, October 28, 2002
 
The new ON SPEC is out now (I hesitate to link to it, since we're having problems with the domain people. That'll apparently be fixed soon, and then I'll link up). Great cover, dandy stories on the inside, and it's our 50th issue. For those of you in the know about small press, 50 issues is pretty freaking amazing. And so, in honour of this occasion, here's my editorial from the issue (plus a few links that paper can't do):

Why Pride and Determination Keep Us From Wearing Tinfoil Hats

I remember being there at ConText 89 in Edmonton when the first issue of ON SPEC premiered, and I remember wondering how the hell was it going to last? At the time, of course, I was still three years shy of selling my first story, and aside from my part in running the convention I was not at all involved in fandom. I had no idea what was out there for short fiction aside from the usual larger-circulation suspects.

Happily, for those people who choose to pay attention, there are plenty of choices out there. Obviously, because the bigger magazines (and websites) pay more money, they will more often than not attract the bigger names. But not always, and of course that does not always preclude the (perceived) quality to be any better. Each person has his or her own taste, and that includes editors.

As editors, all of us here wish we could pay more. SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, defines pro rates as three cents (US) per word, and then has a couple of other rules to determine whether or not a magazine meets it standards for membership. Now, three cents, in my opinion, is very little money. Magazines back in the pulp days sometimes paid a penny a word, and if you paid any attention in school or read the odd newspaper, you will know that inflation can’t even see that rate in its rear-view mirror. And to top it off, glossy magazines - usually nonfiction, mind - will pay 25 cents, 50 cents, a buck a word.

Well, we’re not Time, or Discover, or Outside, or SCIFI.COM. What we are is a modest little magazine with one immediate disadvantage (we’re Canadian, with a Canadian dollar), and yet here we are, with a secret that, more often these days, is being shared by other small magazines. Lean forward and let me whisper it in your ear:

Not only do we like what we’re doing, we know what we’re doing.

Think about it. We’ve been publishing since 1989, and the only time we changed beat we didn’t miss it, we increased it, from twice a year to four times. The landscape out there is littered with the corpses of other magazines, some of them big and glossy with a lot of money being thrown against the wall. Yeah, we get some help from kindly angels bearing grants, but that wouldn’t preclude us from eventually stumbling and ending up in a ditch somewhere, living in a cardboard box and mumbling nonsensical political thoughts in between swigs of cough syrup (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Knowing what we’re doing largely involves the production of the this magazine, in which case modesty and a sense of shame at not being able to take a larger load would preclude Peter and Holly and me from taking more credit, since getting this thing into your hands so largely rests on the shoulders of Jena and Diane. But knowing also includes picking the right stories, and while I don’t doubt that if we actually got together in person to select them there would be wedgies, noogies, and the occasional finger in the eyeball, we somehow still come up with a magazine full of excellent stories four times a year.

Actually, the word "somehow" doesn’t really apply. So many writers out there remember that we are looking for the best, for good quality work that says something, and they do us the favor of treating us as professionally as we try to treat them. It’s a joy to receive these stories, and it’s a joy to print them for you as well.

That joy gets extended, too, when Gardner Dozois and Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling put of their Year’s Best Science Fiction and Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror volumes and we see what notice the authors we publish are getting. I can’t speak for the other editors, but I always feel a little paternal (to the point when, at ConDuit in Salt Lake City a year and a half ago, I introduced Jim Van Pelt and Lee Modesitt as "my boys"), and of course, paternal pride means it’s time to tell you how well they’ve been doing. Think of this as that form letter from Cousin Carl you always get at Christmas.

In YBSF, Gardner gave Honorable Mentions to "The Trickster’s Lot" by Luna De Tar, "The Super Man and the Bugout" by Cory Doctorow, "Closing Time" by Matthew Johnson, "Green Time" by Steve Mohn, "Swans" by Vera Nazarian, "Neighbors" by Kate Riedel, and "The Saturn Ring Blues" by James Van Pelt. Ellen and Terri gave Kate Riedel’s story an Honorable Mention in their anthology, as well as "Last One" by our very own Holly Phillips.

Congratulations to all of these writers, to all other writers we’ve chosen to grace our pages, and to my fellow editors for continuing to not only do a job, but to do it well. There’s a lot here to give pride.

 
More Powerpoint fun, this time featuring Abe Lincoln.
 
The Human Clock is a site that tells the time via pictures of numbers (and the people holding them), once for every minute of the day, most of them taken in and around Portland, OR, where the guy lives.
 
We've blown off our first show of the season, CSI:Miami. We mostly enjoy the original CSI, which gets a little too didactic sometimes, but last Monday's spinoff episode went way overboard in that department, with an episode that involved the death of a woman who was pregnant, and how upset everyone was over the loss of the fetus.

I don't have problems with differing points of view, provided they don't involve snipers or other forms of violence. I am, cards on the table, pro-choice, but I'm dear friends with people who are not. But at least those friends also lay their cards on the table. This show completely avoided the abortion issue - hell, the killer didn't even know the woman was pregnant. But we were sure made to feel like H and his gang were angry about it.

Left a sour taste in my mouth, and Jo and I have jettisoned the show.

And in case you're thinking this is a political thing, The West Wing is starting to wear on us as well. Too many Big Lessons. But the engaging cast and sharp writing are keeping us in, for the moment.
 
Berkeley Breathed has his own site, I am pleased to discover.
 
Thanks to Randy for the pointer to this, The Powerpoint Anthology of Literature. I certainly hope titles will be added over time, but what there is right now is hilarious.
~ Sunday, October 27, 2002
 
A paper airplane flight simulator, courtesy of boing boing. Hours of senseless fun!
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