In Which Our Heroine Ponders Titles, Library Procedures, News Coverage, and More

24 March 2003

I know this is not the most significant thing in the world today -- it's not even the most significant thing in my world today -- but I really hate it when restaurants get snippy about substitutions. I had a pleasant enough rainbow roll for lunch yesterday, but what I really wanted was a bento box with sashimi and veggie tempura. And all of their bentos had sashimi or veggie tempura and some cooked meat/fish entree. Which I didn't want. I tried asking, but they wouldn't let me substitute, for reasons I still don't understand. So no tempura for me. (If I'd really wanted, I could have picked the yellowtail off the top of the rainbow roll and pretended it was sashimi, I suppose.)

I almost always have a bento with sashimi and tempura when we have Japanese, and this is because I can make other stuff. Teriyaki this or that? No problem. Tempura? No: we already ruined one apartment kitchen that way. And I find it well worth my money to pay people a few dollars to handle my raw seafood for me, thanks.

Anyway, yesterday I also talked to the folks and Michelle and Jen. (Jen The World's Best Lab Partner, as opposed to Jen The Diplomat, Jenn Down In Fremont, Jen From Ohio [Who Is Not Now And Never Has Been From Ohio]...we got us a lot o' Jens, is what.) I talk to the folks and Michelle on a fairly regular basis, but Jen and I have been in e-mail contact only for the last several years, so it was nice to hear her voice again. And I heard her husband's voice for the first time, which was a little odd to think about. We've lived out here for an eternity, but it still doesn't seem possible that Jen and I haven't lived near each other for so long that she could meet a guy, date him, break up with him, meet another guy, date him long enough to Know, and marry him. And she's been married to him for awhile, and I only just now found out that he talks a bit like Mark's brother Dan.

Also I bled red ink all over several pages of Dwarf's Blood Mead. I won't be finishing it today, and even if we weren't going to Stan and Judy's today, I wouldn't. But there'll be time for good work, and I'm happy enough with how it's going, even though I'm in total book panic again. This panic always pops up around this time in the editing of a book, when I realize that 1) people are going to read this book and 2) nobody has liked it yet. Several people to whom I have mentioned this panic have pointed out that nobody has read it yet. This is not germane, I'm afraid. Timprov has also volunteered to read it as is, but I'd rather spend a few more days editing in a little bit of panic than give it to him and have him say, "Oh,'re right, I really don't like this much, because this makes no sense, and this is totally unsympathetic, and...." Right. So. Some more days of editing.

Also I finished reading Mary Gentle's Golden Witchbreed. I enjoyed it muchly and will look for more of her stuff, but I still have to say that it's one of the worst titles I've ever run across. It's entirely appropriate in the context of the book. It's just the context of the bookstore where it breaks down -- you have to already have the context of the book to see how the title is appropriate for the type of book it is. And one generally doesn't have that context when buying a new book. It doesn't seem to have killed Gentle's career, though, which is a relief, because it's a good book. I also started reading Patrick O'Leary's The Impossible Bird, which is not, as David suggested, about basketball.

This is one of the first books I've gotten on hold at the library for my own pleasure reading and not for a project. Evidently Zed has taken this hold thing to an extreme. I'm not sure how I feel about holds in most cases. I had them hold The Impossible Bird and The Bones of the Earth because they're Hugo-eligible and I wanted to read as much of that stuff as I could before the deadline a week from today. But I have such a long library list that I sometimes feel guilty about asking them to hold something, because I know I'll be able to find something else I want to read, when somebody else might not. Then again, it appears that the real value of the hold for me is when there's a book that is said to be on the shelves but is not. Then the librarians can do the work of tracking it down when I'm not there instead of shrugging it off when I am there. Or they can get a copy sent over from another branch. I'm not fussy. Hmmm. So I'm torn. I was delighted enough to go, "Woohoo!" in the library when I found Servants of the Map after all these months, but I think I would have been equally delighted not to wait months for it. Hmmm.

Wooo! The Wild clinched a playoff spot! Of course, in hockey, practically everybody makes the playoffs. But last year the Wild didn't. So. Wooo.

We had CNN on a bit yesterday, but not as much: we were on the phone and doing taxes and working and doing other things. I think Zak's comment that it's like Survivor doesn't make much sense to me. There's a certain amount of sensationalism to it, but I think they've been making a pretty big effort not to be over-the-top. Most of the imbedded reporters aren't reporting with video. I doubt that anybody at CNN was stupid enough to think that there would be no accidents, nobody freaking out, and nobody wounded; I think it's just plain inaccurate to say that the only coverage of the war is from the US ground troops' perspective; and frankly, I really don't think it's about oil. I think we'd be lucky if it was about oil; I think oil would be a simple, straightforward, unpleasant but not particularly ominous thing for it to be about. And I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to know if Turkey is stomping Kurds or how things are generally progressing, how many people are thought to be lost here. My tax dollars will still be used to kill people and to send people to die if I turn off CNN; I can't reduce casualties on either side by not knowing what's going on. And it's not like CNN is making commercial money right now, broadcasting 24 hours of news without commercials -- they don't get squat if I watch. So I don't really benefit them, either.

And, frankly, I don't think there's any way war reporting could possibly please some people. We don't want there to be killing and dying; all right. But since we know that there is killing and dying, anything the reporters do is wrong. If they get into too much detail, they're exploiting people's suffering, trying to sensationalize it. If they don't get into detail, they're trying to whitewash the horrors of war. They can't win. The reporters, producers, and directors get to be the bad guys no matter what. That seems misplaced. There are all kinds of people to be upset with here, and while the news media aren't perfect, I don't think they're the best focus for ire, just the most immediate/convenient.

As I said above, we're going to Stan and Judy's today. For those of you who still need a scorecard, Stan is Timprov's dad's brother and Judy is his wife. They live up in Marin -- close enough that we can see them every few months, far enough away that we have to plan it in specific, usually, rather than just dropping by. (Although we do tend to drop by when we've taken visitors to Muir Woods, because they're right there near it.) So we're heading up for a hike and dinner this afternoon/evening. I'm looking forward to it: Stan and Judy have a favorite hike they want to share with us, and it's pretty peaceful up there north of the City. It'll be a good change.

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