humped zebra

oh noes! I have been tagged....

.....and the little tag reads "Warm water wash, gentle detergent, air dry. Do not iron." Why would antennapedia hang such a thing on me? Oh, wait, the other side says "meme". Ah.

Seven quirks/habits/facts about myself:

1. Early every morning I am awakened by a small [56g] green parrot who flies into my room and hollers "Peek a BOO!" from my desk chair. If I don't get up, she bops over to the bed, runs up my body, looks down in my face, and does it again at the same volume. I get up, make tea, add milk, and dunk her Barron's Rich Tea biscuit, which she then inhales. Then she falls asleep on my shoulder and I usually fall asleep again, too.

2. The one male in the world who wants me with every fiber of his being, loves me passionately, croons and dances and nibbles and snuggles, weighs 126g and hasn't yet grasped the avian/mammal reproductive divide. People watch him dance on the back of my chair and say "Oh, how pretty" without knowing that he's desperate to fuck me senseless and hopes I will one day succumb to his charms.

3. The male most who adores me in an entirely platonic way is a big red horse. I adore him, too. I would even adore him if he wasn't a gelding. Occasionally I meet primates that would make better pets/companions/citizens if they'd been fixed.

4. Omnivore. Love to cook for friends, can't be bothered to feed myself more than the minimum necessary.

5. Am falling in love with this landscape. I chose it carefully, hoping that I could be at ease here, spirit flowing out along the steep valleys, flickering among the trees, following the small streams to wherever.

6. Don't watch TV. Love to watch DVDs, but seldom do of late. Netflix is making a bundle off me because I keep the same three discs for two months. Idiot. But I am writing a lot these days, not watching. It goes in cycles.

7. Tea, with milk. Whole leaf tea: loose, fresh, varietal.

7a. I posted this first as a comment on Ms. Pedia's post, but then saw everyone else was put theirs in regular entries, so I moved this. I'm not gonna tag anyone because the seven folks I might tag have already been tagged. Probably with things like "Dry clean only" and "Made in Canada" and "Rated PG-13 for language" and "This Side Up"

FIC: The Dance of Water and Stone, Part 1

Pairing: Gen
Word Count: part 1 - 10,500K
Illustration: Khaoschilde
Disclaimer: The BtVS characters belong to ME, Joss, et al. No infringement intended.
Author's Notes: This was written for Summer_of_Giles.
This story continues the recasting of S4 that I began in "Blood Oranges," which describes the evolving relationship between Giles and Buffy and the rising threat of the Initiative. As before, a story from Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" is central to the structure. If you would like to read "Kaa's Hunting", it can be found at and on the Gutenberg Project pages. I would like to thank Antennapedia for her rapid, accurate beta, help with the Japanese, and formating my huge document. I would be lost without her help. I would like to mention that Khaoechilde's story "Watcher's Keeper" first gave me the idea that Giles could become involved in the political relations among the non-human/demon sentient nations. Perhaps what happens in her story might have gotten its start from the events in this one. I found the scrumptious image by Khaoschilde only two days ago, but it fit so well with this story that I have borrowed it and can only hope my story does it justice. Finally, I apologize for not being able to post the entire thing on my day, but I had an unexpected invasion of family houseguests which delayed the completion of the tale. I will get the rest up as quickly as possible. It would also help if I didn't let my characters run amok and force me to take detailed notes, i.e. the thing completely got away from me, and grew much bigger than I initially intended.

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National Poetry Month

Ack! How was it that I missed this memo? Well, I will beg the Muse's forgiveness and point to the 80" long shelf in the large guest room that is entirely full of poetry and poetics -- the first time in my entire life all those books have been together in one room, in one house, in one place. It was wonderful to greet them, to sense them greeting each other.

And, in an act of shameless hubris, I will post a villanelle I wrote a in, um, 1987 [maybe?] in a dark hour. Have seen darker hours since then, and felt this phenomenon more than once: just when you want to give up, some little thing comes flickering up out of the darkness and catches your attention for just long enough that morning comes and you are still in the world.

Kept Awake by a Villanelle

This dark is warm, I do not wait for sleep;
I want to catch the coda of my dream.
I need its words: the silence here is deep.

Like the tattered calls of winter-weary sheep
or the scattered tracks of deer beside a stream,
I hunt these words; the path they take is steep.

Round forms that grow in caves where water seeps
and fragile, sightless, darkness-drinkers team,
the words I need are hidden well and deep.

I have found the hollow hill and made my leap.
I lie still while echoes of my landing ream
a tunnel through the night toward words to reap.

I sift each sound and find the ones to keep
to fasten up the night without a seam;
I gather all these words into a heap,

then turn and start my journey home to sleep.
I want to catch the coda of my dream.
The dark is warm, I do not wait for sleep.
I need no words: the silence here is deep.
Sam asleep

Chinchilla Pictures in my Gallery

Seventeen hours after the amazing event, I have a dozen pictures of the day, and the three fine sons, up in a gallery called "Chinchilla Kits." The usual -- go to "user info", scroll down to "pictures", and click for the four galleries. The entire furry family is doing well and I was unbelievably restrained in posting so few images because I am utterly besotted. And these little guys are so fast! so jumpy! so bold! Totally ready to take on the wide world. I am in awe as well as being in love.


Not two babies, but THREE!!!!!

She was cuddled over the last one and I didn't see it until everyone started shifting around and there was an Unexpected Tail. Now they are all dry, UNBELIEVABLY soft, and incredibly lively. Considering how active the adults are, I'm not surprised the kits are rarin' to go after 120 days in such a crowded, tiny bedroom.

Happy, happy, joy, joy!
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    chin family conversation
Sam and Eleanor


This morning, between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. Eleanor and Sam became parents for the first time. Eleanor is safely delivered of two fine babies, one silver [like Sam] and the other undetermined, because it's still quite damp and tucked up under her staying warm. I arrived on the scene at 7:15 when mother and babies were still soaking wet; I set up the space heater to help keep the chill off the bonnie wee chinnies until their coats dry and fluff. Eleanor, who takes exceptional care of her ebony coat, is not pleased about the moist-and-matted aspect of this process, but in all other ways is proving to be a splendid mum. Sam has been watching and checking in, but not in the way. He's down with them all now, snuggled into the towel to offer additional warmth and comfort. Later today I will have to sequester him in one half of the very large cage as Eleanor is receptive to breeding over the next ten days, and I don't want her strained by a second pregnancy so soon. Once that heat has passed, they will all be together again until the babies are weaned at about 8 weeks.

I've been hand-feeding Eleanor Calf Manna pellets, which are rich in calcium and protein. She's had them throughout the pregnancy as a supplement, but I think a few more are in order after her superb performance. She's quite whacked, and currently tucked over her children sound asleep.

The kits are about the size of a healthy adult gerbil, even soaking wet. Dry, they will look larger. They are fully furred and their eyes are open; their tails have a thick coat of short hair that will grow to become the fine plume of an adult in about three months. Their ears are adorable, and what can I say to do justice to such exquisite and delicate whiskers? Their noses are busy pushing around in mum's warm coat, and they have the most astonishing chirping call, quite loud, and probably translating roughly to "nipple? nipple? NIPPLE!"

I am taking stills -- though not happy about the flash, so keeping that to a minimum. Wish it wasn't such a gray morning here. I am also taking digital video, of course. I'll get pictures into my gallery later today for all to see. Must get back down and watch!
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    chin kits chirping for mum
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Drabble: Socks

This is in honor of Write About Socks Day, with a side of Rupertus Domesticus. Just to get y'all fired up and ready.

Title: Socks
Rating: FRC
Pairing: B/G friendship
Set early in S5

Giles was putting the final stitches in place when he heard Buffy’s tap on the door. It had gotten later than he realized. She settled herself beside him on the couch, watching him work the needle carefully over and under to secure the last row before tying off.

“Why are you sewing a light bulb into a sock?” she asked.

“I’m not. The bulb is just in there to hold the shape of the heel while I darn it.”

“Darn? Y’know, you could just say ‘damn’ like a normal person.”

“No, ‘darn’ as in mend. These are some of my favorite socks, and I’d rather take a few minutes to repair them than throw them away.” She reached over and stroked the area he’d already mended.

“Wow. These are so soft.”

“Cashmere blend. My aunt made me a dozen pairs when she found out I was being shipped off to the colonies.”

“She thought your feet would freeze in California?”

“Not exactly,” Giles said softly as he snugged down the knot and snipped the end neatly. “More that she remembered how my father was, um, well after –“ he stopped abruptly.

“Oh.” Buffy’s small fingers slid from the sock to rest on his larger hand. She gave him a slight squeeze then released him. Giles busied himself with slipping the bulb out, folding the sock together with its mate, and setting it on the pile of neatly folded laundry beside him.

“She sent hugs for your feet,” Buffy said quietly, her tone so pragmatic that it made his breath catch.

“Yes,” he answered, “that’s it exactly.” Setting aside the darning needle and yarn, he sorted carefully through the stack of fresh clothes and found a pair of cheerful yellow tube socks with pink cuffs.

“These are yours. From last week, when you stepped into that nest of Skokill eggs under the dock.” He handed them to her.

“Giles, how’d you get that stuff out? I figured they were goners.” She took them happily.

“Vinegar soak, followed by a cold wash and air dry. Then you shake out the remaining dust and there they are.”

“Whoa! Stain-removal secrets from the Watcher’s Handbook!”

“Not really. Just a guess about the protein content of the eggs, and the pH of the natural pigments.”

“You’re kidding.” she eyed him narrowly. He gave her his best scholarly eyebrows. “You asked Anya, didn’t you?”

Giles coughed, then grinned at her.

“Guilty as charged. But I had to suffer through the most amazing catalog of demonic laundry secrets before she got to the one I wanted. Apparently being the, uh, patroness of scorned women does bring one an encyclopedic knowledge of domestic disasters.”

“Next time I’ve got to get that sticky snot from those Trocha-whatsits out of my favorite shirt I’m going straight to her. Not that the Council would ever consider providing a clothing allowance, even if we were actually talking to them, which we are so not.” Buffy stroked her restored socks and found the tidy row of stitches across one heel. She turned the sock over and inspected it more closely.

“You did the lightbulb thing with this, didn’t you?”

“The egg shell cut it there, so yes, I did.”

She tried to catch his eye but he was settling the large end of the bulb into the heel of the last sock that needed his attention.


“You’re welcome.”
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humped zebra

Oh goody, I am apparently a Scab

I just followed the links on malnpudl's post to the rant from the current VP of the Science Fiction Writers of America about those who give professional level work away for free on the internet. You can read the rant here. The comments, too, are excellent and worthy. He used -- incorrectly -- the word "scabs" to describe those who distribute their work for less or for free when others have fought to be fairly paid. Apparently his cabin in the woods has no dictionary and he, for all his years in college, did not take American history to learn what that word means and what it does not mean. The rant is worth reading as an item of anthropology. The comments are worth reading, too. Plus, you seldom get to see such a public display of cowardice: he refuses all internet interactions, and had a friend post the rant on his behalf, and is refusing to engage anyone not in SFWA [i.e. who has access to the membership directory and his addresses] in furthering this conversation. The only thing I can say that is positive is that at least he knows he shouldn't run for president of the organization. He seems to think there is sufficient support for him that he had to write this to dissuade a grass-roots write-in voting campaign. Surely the members or SFWA are savvy enough to know he's not their best choice.

I would also point out how happy the sex workers in places where sex work is legal and unionized [e.g. Las Vegas and the Netherlands] will be to read this. Taken to a logical conclusion in another field, he is saying that no one should engage in sexual activities with the partner of their choice for free when there are folks out there who have organized and set standards for the proper fees for such work. Clearly love has nothing at all to do with work or our motivations for doing it, even when it requires sacrifice in other areas of our lives.

I have more to say on this topic, but it is sufficiently divergent that I will put it in a separate entry.
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    distant lawnmover, morning birds
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Desire for invisibility thwarted by circumstance

Well, I returned last Monday from a pleasant Easter visit with my brother's family and found a note in my inbox informing me that "Blood Oranges" has been nominated at the Sunnydale Memorial Fanfiction Awards in the categories of Best New Author, Best Characterization [Giles], and Best Plot. Voting is, I gather, now underway. This came as something of a surprise, since SunnyD isn't known for its attention to Giles other than as a supporting character. They devote much more bandwidth to other characters, and seem to be having quite a strong harvest of Spuffy stories. I think that "Blood Oranges" might be the only Giles-centric story in this round. It is certainly the only Giles characterization nominated. So I am a bit flabbergasted, and very flattered that they would find my story worthy of this honor. Should any of you feel so inclined, you can go weigh in on this and many other categories at The Sunnydale Memorial Fanfiction Award Nominees They have an extremely extensive list of nominees, so there is much fic there to be explored.

Having barely gotten my head around the first note, a second one appeared a couple of days later, and "Blood Oranges" has been nominated at Bodice Ripper for Best Plot, Best Gen Fic, and Outstanding New Author. I am now officially gobsmacked. Truly. I sent effusive notes of thanks to the persons who manage these things, and now I guess I wait to see what happens next. I've never been in quite this position before, and I'm finding it peculiar, though in a mostly pleasant way.

I have gotten some very satisfying feedback on the story too. One person asked "who are you and where have you been all these years?" Not having much to offer in answer to her first question, I sent her to The Bird Bone Flute by way of offering a fanfic alibi. This is an archive site made for me by meegat. I started posting this story on Tweedy Book Guy in January 2005 and it got long enough to be cumbersome for readers to find all the bits. Calamities throughout 2006 prevented me from continuing the story, so not many folks know about it, as unfinished things are often skipped until they are complete. Also, this story is over 70K words, and many folks don't like novel-length stories.

I am finishing The Bird Bone Flute over the next few months. antennapedia has already beta'd the next chapter, and I will post it as soon as I have a firmer grip on the two following, which are well along and must be tightly anchored in their predecessors. Prior to posting the new material, I also thought I would post each of the existing chapters here on LJ. Meegat is going to be updating the archive as new stuff is ready, too, for those who like one-stop reading.

Oh, and I suppose I should add that The Bird Bone Flute is entirely a Giles story, set four years before he arrives in Sunnydale. A more detailed summary appears on the title page of the archive site.
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    coos and murring
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