<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I was expecting to have most of today to myself. I was going to use it to catch up on email and do the various little things that have been waiting for me while I ignored them completely. We were going to leave for Ottawa at about 7 PM.

But, it seems that there is a thunderstorm moving in this evening, and all involved would really rather drive when it's light and dry than dark and raining, so now departure time is 2 PM. Ack! So many things to get ready! (And here I am typing this, instead. Smart.)

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 11:37 AM (0) comments

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
A Quiet Sense of Elation

I have just written a short story. The first draft of "A Last Taste of Sweetness" comes in at 1,017 words. It needs editing; I'll add some, and take some away. I doubt that the finished product will be much longer than this.

Stories large and small have been queuing up in my brain for months and I struggle to find the words that will let me in; and then I am blindsided by something totally new, and within half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes, it is done. I am smiling.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:45 PM (0) comments

Learning to Run

Recently, Phil mentioned that after a long break from running, he can only run for a few minutes at a time. His runs get longer and longer, until, as he says, "when I can run about 9 minutes, all of a sudden I can run for 20 minutes." This has given me great hope.

I have never been good at running. In grade school, I was always one of the slowest runners in my class. No matter the distance, you can bet I was at the back--though, admittedly, the 100-meter run was by far my worst. (Ugh, I feel yucky just thinking about that.) And, stupidly enough, they never taught us how to run at school; they just expected us to do it. This held true for pretty much every track and field event. High jump: "Come on class, jump high! Oh, wow, Karina, that looked like it hurt. Okay, back of the line, try again."

But, I think running was the worst. And if you showed any talent or ability, they'd take you aside to try and train you for the track and field team. I'd watch those people getting their private instruction and think, "If anyone needs help at this, it's me, not the people who are flying past me." No such luck.

Yet I've always wanted to be able to run, and though I know that this is not something that I'll ever get good at, I've decided that I can't let that stop me. See, I had plans months ago that this summer I would compete in the Sea2Summit race when it's at Blue Mountain, a ski resort that's only about an hour's drive from where I live, if that. I had plans, very big plans, that (of course) involved me becoming fit enough to actually compete in a two-day race without making a complete ass out of myself. But, then I realized that with Worldcon being in Toronto this summer, I'd never be able to afford both. My plans of adventure racing were dashed, and my motivation to become fit again went with it.

See, once upon a time I was fit. Guess about my peak fitness was when I was sixteen, just after I finished my Bronze Cross so I could become a lifeguard (which I was, and which I hated). I remember those days, and my various accomplishments, very fondly. (Is there anyone who has not heard the story of how I swam across a bay?) But, shortly after that, I became rather unhealthy for a few years, and even when I was no longer ill I didn't have the fitness or energy to do pretty much anything. Which is a cycle, I know. And all of a sudden I realized that I've spent the past few years of my life as a complete potato, and I was sick of it. Completely and totally sick of it.

So I'm learning to run.

My first day of running was ... well, it was something. I was able to run for I think a total of about two minutes. I have not been that out of breath in a very long time. And, of course, my asthma kicked in, so I was wheezing and gasping and staggering about, feeling as if my heart was going to explode. I tried to sit down but that made me feel like throwing up, so I had to keep walking, first outside and then around and around my kitchen. It was terrible. I vowed to go running again the next day.

Day two was better in that I was able to run my entire "course" without stopping this time, completing this pitifully short distance in about four minutes. However, I was still very much out of breath, wheezing, etc., and my legs, which had already been sore from my first day's attempt, ached and trembled. But four minutes of running? That was double my previous day's time! I was enthusiastic and encouraged by this seeming progress (and the fact that this run hadn't made me feel like vomiting).

Day three I realized that you're really supposed to have a break occasionally, and not exercise every day. However, despite the aching of my thighs, I really doubted that a total of six minutes of exercise was really enough to get worked up about. I'd planned to increase my distance, but barely did so, finishing a run very much like the one the day before that lasted only seconds longer.

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to take a break. Absolutely. I totally was. But then I didn't. And this was the run that I saw how right Phil was. I did my mini-course once, and kept going. I think I could have gone farther than I did--which was about seven minutes of running, total--but I didn't want to push it too much. I felt great, though. The asthma merely lingered in my throat and chest instead of paralyzing me, and though I still became out of breath, it no longer felt like I was trying to suck oxygen through a stir-stick. Progress!

So, today is supposed to be my break day ... but I wonder if I'll really take a break. Because tomorrow and Thursday I'll be going and returning from Ottawa respectively, and three nights with no running in a row? Doesn't sound like a good plan to me. I need momentum!

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 4:25 PM (0) comments

I Don't Understand

Watching myself twisting and flailing, I can only wonder, how can someone have so much enthusiasm and passion for a story and yet be unable to find words in which to tell it?

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:40 AM (0) comments

Friday, April 25, 2003
Eco-Challenge Coverage, Sans Spoilers

Okay, so I just discovered that the Eco-Challenge is not playing in the States until May 5-8. Why on earth didn't any of you tell me? You people. Well, actually I can think of three possible reasons why people didn't tell me this. One, you're all Canadian. (Ha!) Two, no one wants to discuss the Eco-Challenge with me. (Am I really so intimidating on this subject?) Or three, no one gives a damn. (Not caring about the Eco-Challenge? How could that be so?)

Though three is probably the most accurate answer, I will refrain from talking about the race results here in case anyone reading this does care and doesn't want to have the race ruined for them. Um ... terribly sorry about those other spoilers I've posted ...

So, how to talk about two days of Eco-Challenge without giving anything away ...? Difficult. And I'd say that I'd just write about it now and post my rambling on May 8th, but I'm going to be in Florida then and am unlikely to have regular internet access. Hmm. Well, let's just say I had fun. I am happy with the results, and not as angry at Polysporin as I might have been. I almost cried twice during the coverage tonight. What can I say, I really get into this. And some of these teams that were forced to drop out absolutely broke my heart.

And though they did not win (this is not a surprise to anyone), I've got to say congratulations and kick ass to Team Subaru Outback for finishing the race!! Woo! Only Canadian team to finish, and it's a guaranteed top-ten finish. Warms my heart, it does.

I wish I knew where the race was going to be next year, but they haven't announced it yet. I suppose that they're waiting for the race to air on the USA Network before telling us all, but I want to know now! Ah, well. Such is life.

It's a good race, Americans. Watch it. You know you want to.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 11:41 PM (0) comments

Thursday, April 24, 2003
More Eco-Challenge!
(Don't tell me you didn't see it coming.)

Ah. Eco-Challenge. Such goodness. I mean, sure, I complain about a lot of Eco-Challenge related things, such as Polysporin commercials (they are so getting a letter from me) and lazy-ass teams who seem to have no clue what they're going into (have they ever watched the Eco-Challenge?), but that's just because I love it.

I wait all year for this. I have four Eco-Challenge posters, an Eco-Challenge T-shirt (Morocco), and an Eco-Challenge hat. I put the posters on the wall and wear the T-shirt and hat with no shame. I am ridiculously in love with adventure racing. And no matter what they do to the coverage, or how they mess with little details, the core of the race is the same. It's always there, and I can always see it, even through all the petty crap that I whine about.

Last night I actually had to tape the Eco-Challenge instead of watch it "live"--or, rather, I was already taping it, but had to watch the tape instead of just sitting down to see it at 10 PM. Carly's program was having their yearly film screenings (actually, it was just the video night) and there was no way I could miss that. Some very cool videos, Carly's included. I am impressed. In a way it is sort of stunning that at the end of the year they all have these professional-looking short films, and all I have to show are some marked papers and course kits that need to be recycled. ... The second night of screenings was actually tonight, but I decided to stay home instead, both because I had so much stuff to do here during the day and because I wanted to watch my beloved race. (What kind of friend am I?!)

I'm now skipping the Canadian coverage and related documentaries until after I've watched the "international" coverage. I've learned from past years, it's just better that way. Frankly, these mini-documentaries would be better shown after each day's coverage (at 11 PM) instead of before (9:30) simply because they give so much away. I work hard to maintain suspense; why does everyone seem intent on taking it away? Does it occur to no one else that maybe viewers don't want to know who wins until we actually see them do it?

One thing that I like about this year's race in Fiji over some past years is that there are far fewer PCs. They wanted to find a way to make the race harder; I think that that's done it. Before, when you have something like 30-odd PCs strung out along the course, the race is sort of like a very long game of connect-the-dots (with no picture of a duck at the end). With the "dots" spaced farther out, navigation truly becomes key. People get totally lost and frustrated, and that's what it's about, too. It's both the physical challenge of trying to walk through a jungle for twenty straight hours and the mental challenge of dealing with the fact that you're lost, or could easily become lost, or that you've just spent four hours going in totally the wrong direction and now have to walk back. It's ... mind-boggling.

It's dangerous, too. This is two races in a row where they have needed a serious rescue operation: the guy with the punctured lung last year, and now this woman who was bitten by a black eel and started to have her whole body go numb. Frightening stuff.

I'm also surprised how much the locals are getting involved in the race. You need a paddle? Hang on, I'll make you one. You can't find your way through the jungle? I'll show you. You need to sleep? Here, we have room for you in my house. It makes me wonder how much this sort of thing went on in past years, and simply was not documented--or was documented and not shown. Or are the Fijians just particularly welcoming? Hmm.

I have a whole lot else to say, but it occurs to me to wonder: does anyone reading this actually watch the Eco-Challenge? Does anyone else know what I'm talking about? Ah, mysteries of the journal. Not that any answer will stop me from obsessively posting about the Eco-Challenge. I mean, come on people, it's only one week out of the year.

(Though it does amuse me that people are right now coming to my site because they searched for info on the race. Hehe. Yes, come here random internet people! There is more here about the Eco-Challenge than you ever wanted to know!)

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:42 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Freewriting Quote of the Day

He is below hornets. Unprotected and hurting, stings like iron rods wielded by members of the Swiss government. The kings look at him and say, "you don't understand the importance of your dependence" and I beg to differ, but am held by mercenaries who have guns rented by the hour. They look ugly, but change under magnification.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 9:39 PM (0) comments

Market, Edit, Revise

My apologies to those still waiting to hear from me by email. Despite the fact that I am now completely finished with school and all school-related things for a few months, this past while has been incredibly busy. Not bad busy, just ... busy. I spent most of today cleaning in preparation for the house to be put on the market. And I still have a surprising amount of unpacking to do; who knew I had so much stuff at York?

I realized a few days ago that all my stories have come home; I have nothing under consideration anywhere. This hasn't happened to me since I started submitting. I might not have a huge collection of stories to market, but I have enough. This is just laziness on my part. So I've been trying to figure out where to send things next.

"Loving the Bomb" is giving me one hell of a time. I received some really good market recommendations for it, recently, though the word count has disqualified it for all of them. If anyone can think of a market that might be interested in an 8000-word, slightly surreal SF story about war (and it's not F&SF, Asimov's or WotF), please let me know. Seriously!

And things have still been limping along terribly on the writing front and I can't figure out why. Does anyone want to hear about this? I truly don't know. I've been avoiding putting up any writing angst in the past while because ... well, why? Will writing about not writing really help?

But just plain not writing is no longer an option. I have work to do, even if it's not creating new material. My task for the evening, then, is some editing and revision. I've put "The Baby Tree" (a true classic, that) on the cutting block. If "Drowned Men" and "She is ELR" both hover around the 4000-word mark, then there is absolutely no good reason for "The Baby Tree" to be 5000 words or more. That's just sloppy writing. Cut, cut, cut!

I've been pondering revising "For Life" and "Two in Red" as well … though I have to wonder if there really is a point. Those two are old. Very old. And they owe me nothing. Truly, those two stories have given me a lot already. Most notably, their combined power won me a scholarship a few years back that gave me far more money than all of my other sales combined. "For Life" was an honourable mention in the Writers of the Future contest a few years back, and "Two in Red" helped get me into Clarion. Is there still a point in marketing these two? I don't know. I guess the question is, do I still feel a need to have them read?

I'm still pondering that one.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 9:23 PM (0) comments

Monday, April 21, 2003
Obsessive Eco-Challenge Commentary, Day One

Oh, where to start?

The choice of narrator surprised the hell out of me. I thought, he sounds familiar. Quickly followed by, "Oh my god!" Now I can't help but wonder if David Duchovny is an Eco-Challenge fan.

The intro spiel: 81 teams compete, 10 finish.

Lindy: Did he just say ten?
Me: Ten?!
Lindy: I think he just said ten.
Me: Ten?!

Usually you get about half of the teams finishing, sometimes noticeably more, sometimes a little less. To have only ten teams finish would be absolutely mind-boggling. It means either that this is going to be one kick-ass race (both literally and metaphorically), or that something goes terribly, terribly wrong. Either way, we shall see. I'm rather excited by the potential.

The teams are ... well, did you watch the show? Now you all know that I love this race with a passion that borders on sheer mindless obsession. I am content with this. And you all know that I would watch it no matter who puts together the coverage, who sponsors it or who races in it. That being said, I'm truly starting to long for the days when this was a Discovery Channel operation. That, or I'm wishing for the days before Survivor became a success. I see what Mark Burnett is trying to do, and in some ways I understand it. I don't always agree, but I understand it.

Okay, so we have some classic teams: GoLite, which is EcoInternet renamed (and it should have been renamed last year, as far as I'm concerned; course, they probably only changed because of the new sponsorship deal and not because of morals, but whatever); the Australian team (The Aussies? The Kiwis? Does this team have an actual name?), always a personal favourite, especially for Jane Hall's constant shouting "Come on, you fuckers!"; and Earthlink, aka the other half of the original EcoInternet; Spie, the really good French team; and though I have no official confirmation of this I think I saw a few members of that Spanish team. You know the one I'm talking about, the one where the woman got altitude sickness and had to be carried down the mountain in EC Argentina? Yeah, them. Team EXN Brazil is sure as hell no Rubicon (oh, for the days of Rubicon, before Robin and Ian created EcoInternet and then split apart...) but I do find them interesting, especially as one of the team members has my name.

But can I just say, do we really need this many celebrity teams? (The answer is, of course, no. I find fame irritating in adventure racing--unless it's fame for adventure racing.) The Playboy girls are back, and though they got way too much coverage last year I really had nothing against them. They fixed a boat and managed not too whine too much, so that was something. But there is the "reality show" team, complete with Survivor survivors and some dude from Real World. I've always said that people on Survivor have it easy compared to Eco-Challenge competitors; now they'll discover this for themselves. That team is not finishing.

And Anakin has found himself a team. Well, I'll say this for Hayden Christensen: his presence on a team has created the first coverage for a Canadian team since the woman on Team Subaru Outback (or was it Advil?) had to be taken out of the race because of the ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit. And the fact that someone from Mississauga is competing (or three people from Mississauga, I suppose) is rather enjoyable. But he and the rest of his team seem to have no idea what they're doing. Maybe it's just the way that they're being covered, but it sure seems to me that they're a pretty clueless lot. (My commentary during their time on-screen usually went along the lines of, "Yet another conversation they could have while walking.") Again, this team is not finishing. I'm wondering if they'll even make it to the bike leg.

It seems that there is a Canadian team kicking some ass, though: at one point I heard that a Team Canada was in second. Cool! Why the Americans can't cover that I don't know, and will politely refuse to speculate.

Fiji itself is absolutely gorgeous. I have to say that they always choose the most amazing locations. This is going to be a very wet race, though; lots of rain, rivers and mud. Like during EC Borneo, I have the feeling we're going to be hearing an awful lot about feet.

But the thing that's got me worried are those tikis. Tikis that have a letter or number hidden somewhere in the bush or by PCs? What on earth is Mark Burnett doing? This is Eco-Challenge, not a freaking scavenger hunt! I hope this turns out. It has the potential to be very bad, but I will wait and hope and try to stop composing irate letters before I even know what I'm talking about.

And speaking of irate letters, I think Polysporin is going to be hearing from me. Oh, yay, they're sponsoring the Eco-Challenge. So, sure, they're allowed to have commercials during the official race coverage--lots of them, even. I have no trouble with that. What I do have a problem with is someone showing me the end of the race in a commercial!! I don't know for sure that they've done this. I only actually watched the commercial once, and the other times I turned away, refusing to see it. But ... I think they showed the end of the race. Happy team, bottle of champagne, the whole deal. Fuck. Who the hell shows the end of the race in a commercial in the first half hour of the first day of a five day series?

Once again, this has the potential to be very bad, but I will wait and hope and try to stop composing irate letters ... for now. Friday, however, is a different matter altogether.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 11:48 PM (0) comments


Eco-Challenge starts tomorrow! Er, today. (I really need to go to bed.) Brace yourself for my usual obsessive adventure racing rambling.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:21 AM (0) comments

Pie and Power Tools

I hope everyone has had a good long weekend. I've had a lovely time, though a very busy one.

These past few days I've been helping renovate a bathroom. Yes, the vacuum sander and I eventually worked out our differences--mainly after I changed the paper and stopped it from gouging the plaster. Once I got past the sanding, I've actually been having a pretty fun time with this. (Power tools--woohoo!) I am the Drill Girl, and Jigsaw Girl, and Girl Who Measures Stuff.

This morning I installed a sink. This was highly entertaining. And because of my perfectionist streak, I spent a good long while making sure that the caulking on the countertop and around the sink was done just so. After which I abandoned my power tools and went and baked a lemon meringue pie.

We had most of my family over for Easter dinner, which was fun and hectic, as always. A few people in my extended family had colds, so now I can only wash my hands, take vitamin C and hope for the best. Busy morning, busy afternoon and busy evening--and tomorrow at noon is my last exam. I've done a good ... oh, forty minutes of studying. That seems good to me. Now to take my tired self off to bed. Wish me luck tomorrow at York--and with luck, it'll be the last time I have to go there for a few months!

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:16 AM (0) comments


And no, I don't mean the chocolate kind.

Yesterday, my mother was outside clearing some of the dead grass and leaves from the gardens in the back yard, when she stumbled across a nest. She called me out to see. Kneeling down in the mud, I watched her gently move what appeared to be no more than a matted layer of thin, yellow grass--but from out of the grass came a head! Tiny, no larger than a Toonie, this little head looked up, wobbling slightly, eyes lidded and blind to the world. The little thing had no fur, just thin, gray skin, and its ears were pressed back on its head. I blinked and stared and realized, this was a baby bunny. Squirming beneath this one were at least two or three more. And with their eyes still closed and ears back, they can be no more than a day or two old.

Lindy carefully replaced the grass nest--something she'd been in the process of pulling up and throwing in the compost when the baby made itself known. With the grass back in place, you'd never see the nest; it's just a small bundle of grass and fur buried in a small hole in the ground. The mother made an appearance in the yard late in the evening, no worries yet that her babies have been abandoned.

Thinking about it, I've got to say that our backyard is not the worst place for a mother rabbit to hide her nest. Behind our back fence, there used to be trees and grassy fields, which have since been cut down, torn up and bulldozed into one gigantic mud flat--not a safe place for bunnies. And out in the mudflats, or the trees beyond, there are still coyotes; I can hear them sometimes at night, yipping and howling away. Here in the yard, they just have to watch out for our lab, our fluff-ball, and the neighbours' cats. I don't think that either Emma or Tia would be much interested in a small bunny, but you never know, so we are keeping a good watch on them all.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:07 AM (0) comments

Friday, April 18, 2003
i am stop
(or, Left-Handed Freewriting)

One day, sitting bored in one of my classes, I began to experiment. You see, I've always thought it would be interesting to see if I could train myself to write with my left hand as well as my right. While being ambidextrous might not be a particularly useful skill (well, it might come in handy now as my right hand is curled into a claw from all that sanding…), I've always though it would be neat. So, on a very narrow strip of paper, I began to freewrite with my left hand.

This, I found, yielded some interesting results. I needed to concentrate on shaping each letter, which meant that by the time I'd spelled out one word, or two, or three, my mind had already taken off in a completely different direction. This was my first left-handed freewrite:

i am stop
flashing go
brick drop brick
5:30 red blue

I was entertained. Finding myself a slightly larger piece of paper, I wrote this:

waiting for minutes to pass
time of water and breath
wavering and uncertain, shock
the ending and freezing
drip, drip, drip

Though I admit to a certain frustration. Too many good lines flying past me as I struggled to shape the letter E! Still, a good distraction, and an even better way to fill some time when you only have a sliver of paper to work with.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:20 AM (0) comments

Honesty: 0, Kick in the Head: 1

Sometimes, people, you just can't win.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:19 AM (0) comments

Thursday, April 17, 2003
In Which I Resist Swearing in the Title by Sheer Will Alone

So Tuesday was gorgeous, sunny and 25 degrees. I lay on the patio and didn't get sunburned after all, but it was lovely. Yesterday it was six degrees outside, and rainy with little bits of hail. And today there was a high of two degrees. Yes, that's right. Two fucking degrees above freezing.

Which sort of brings me (in a roundabout way) to another problem I'm having--swearing. I can't stop. One of the books that I'm reading right now is perfectly lovely, interesting and surprising and it involves no swearing at all. The other book I'm reading is Ash (yes, still--the thing's huge), which is about a medieval mercenary captain. There is swearing on pretty much every page, most often numerous times per page, and there are a hell of a lot of pages. I've been reading this book for large chunks of time over the last few days, and the swearing is taking over my brain. I have had to stop myself from swearing at least five times so far in this entry alone, and have only succeeded because of the backspace key. And, just think, I was out in public today ... Oh, not pretty. How easily my young mind is warped.

So now I have to go back to sanding the plaster in the bathroom-under-construction. I hate sanding on the best of days, and I hate drywall plaster, and I have to use a vacuum sander. I fucking hate using the fucking vacuum sander!! (Sorry, but I do. That thing is--bugger it, all my metaphors involve swearing, too!)

Must stop typing now. This is only going to go downhill from here.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 8:48 PM (0) comments

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Flirting with Sunburn

Today is glorious! Outside it is sunny and 25 degrees. Yes, you read that right. Twenty-five. (For you Americans, that would be 77 or thereabouts.) This Sunday I was wearing a winter jacket, and bringing mittens along in my pockets, just in case. Today I am wearing a T-shirt, and have changed into shorts. Oh, sure, maybe it's a bit premature for shorts, but in the sun it is hot. And I have been in the sun all afternoon. I've taken a pillow and a chair-mat outside and have been lying on the patio, in the sun, reading. It feels wonderful to get my cold, mushroom-pale self out into the sunlight. I am warm!

I even walked to the mailbox in bare feet for the first time this year. Oh, yes, it hurt somewhat, my feet having been coddled by months of socks and shoes and boots, but soon I'll be able to do that walk without flinching.

I am dreaming of summer.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must get back to the wind and the warmth and the sunlight. I've seen what the weather has in store for me tomorrow (will not think about that, ignore it, it's not true, can't be) and so must go enjoy this while it's here.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 4:03 PM (0) comments

More Good Story News
(or, With Titles Like These, Who Needs Creativity?)

The marketing side of my writing career has been wonderful these past few months (which I believe is helping me get my writing out of its sinkhole of unpleasantness). Two sales so far this year, one to Strange Horizons and one to Flytrap (TOC is out now--go see!), both sales stories that I love. Now, more good news! (Actually, I've been sitting on this one for a bit, but M'ris says it's okay now, so…)

The anthology Why I Hate Aliens, edited by friend and kick-ass writer Marissa Lingen, has found itself a new home: Jintsu! Woohoo!! That means that my short story "Marks of Ownership" (which I still mentally think of as "Lupaecalia" despite the fact that that title sucks rocks) will be published and read. I'm really happy that Marissa sold the book to Jintsu. In my days of reading and reviewing ebooks for Speculon, I saw some very interesting e-texts. There are some pretty piss-poor ebooks out there, people. And, worse, sometimes good writers had good stories published by crap publishers. There were few things so frustrating as trying to read an excellent story while wading through stupid errors. None of the Jintsu books I read ever had those sorts of problems. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality and professionalism of Raechel Henderson Moon's books--and now I'll have a story in one of them! Cool!

(And so you all know, no, I gain nothing out of praising Jintsu. I've spoken to Raechel a very few times, and she's only ever rejected my work. Hehe.)

And speaking of which, I realize that though I had and read a reviewer's copy of Ken Wharton's Boltzman's Ghost, my review never read by anyone but me. Which is a pity, because I really loved the story. Intelligent, fast-paced, with some of the coolest ideas that I've yet read. I read lots of things that I forget in a few weeks or months--this one has stayed with me. Definitely worth your $3, people.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:24 AM (0) comments

Monday, April 14, 2003
Toss Jim Out of a Plane

Well, you don't really have to toss him. Just help him jump.

In under two weeks, fellow WebRat Jim Hines is going to be leaping from a plane to help raise awareness of sexual assault and to raise funds for services for rape survivors. (Woo, Jim!!) Knowing Jim and the amazing work that he does on a day to day basis to help others, I'm not at all surprised to find that he's one of the participants in Operation Freefall. Thoroughly impressed and supportive and happy, but not surprised. I hope everyone will swing by Jim's site and consider making a donation. Or, if you're as cash-strapped as the writer/student who is typing you this message, I'm sure he won't mind a few encouraging emails. (Lord only knows if I was about to jump from a plane, I'd need more than a little encouragement!)

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:18 AM (0) comments

Friday, April 11, 2003
I survived this week. Somehow. Today almost flattened me, but I survived, and now I'm done. Almost. I feel like I need to sleep for a week, and have had one decent meal all week, and my back is killing me, and my arms are a wee bit carpy, but I survived. Woo! Now excuse me as I stagger off to bed...

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:41 PM (0) comments

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Unexpectedly …

Oy. Had an unexpected nap this afternoon. I haven't been sleeping well the last few nights because of being woken up by various people coming and going as well as some nasty dreams. Nothing terrible, mind you, but disturbing enough that I woke in an unhappy, sweaty tangle. Blah. But I'd intended to work on my essay all afternoon, but ended up sleeping for two hours instead. Oops. The plus side is that I'm feeling almost well-rested. The flip side, of course, is that I've really got to get my act together on this essay now and tomorrow. Oh, yeah, and study for an exam. Minor details.

Also unexpectedly, the TV is missing from the common room. This is good! Even if the owner of the TV has not moved out, neither he nor any of his friends can now watch TV out there until 4 in the morning. Joy!

Only two more days left of work. I've really been enjoying myself at the office this week, too. People are sad to see me go, and that's always nice. I'm actually going to miss a lot of the people there, but am still content with my decision. And if in a month or so I'm still unemployed and desperate for a job … well, I think they'd take me back. There's something to be said for a safety net. Sure makes it easier to jump.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 11:00 PM (0) comments

Monday, April 07, 2003
More Snow

I’ve gotten home--or, rather, I’ve gotten back to my concrete box at York--just in time to avoid travelling in the snow. Yes, snow. This past week has had some crazy weather: freezing rain, ice pellets, snow that felt like sand. And we have another storm moving in. The snow has already started coming down, and the wind has picked up. When I was walking back from work, I was trying to figure out whether or not it really felt like it was -13, like the weather people said it would be. My decision: too damn close for my comfort.

No wonder I’m having trouble believing that my summer vacation’s about to start. It’s bloody well snowing!

Ah, well. The heating is on, and I have some cake. I’d really love to lounge around for a bit and read some more of Ash. Good Student Brain is telling me to write that essay that’s due Friday. Good Student Brain is a pain in the ass.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 4:51 PM (0) comments

Freewriting Quote of the Day

Speak with foresight, forethought (says she, Queen of Rambling). A mental clam, shell clenched tight. Wait, wait—person! Five points! Flowing now, like falling into a groove, and this thought has run me out of it. Dyslexia back. Inability to form letters has returned.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 4:44 PM (0) comments

Sunday, April 06, 2003
Lazing and After

My body has decided that since school has officially ended, it can go into recovery mode. Meaning, of course, that doing anything but lying around is something of an effort. Still, I'm making that effort simply because I'm not finished yet. One week to go; body don't fail me now!

I did spend a lovely day yesterday doing pretty much nothing at all. I started reading Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle, which Bryn recommended to me a while ago. This is medieval fantasy with all the blood and grit left in. Despite Gentle's tendency to flip in to the present tense for a sentence or two every few pages (and this is done in such a way that I'm sure it's intentional, though it's rather distracting), I'm enjoying the book. I'm also enjoying the freedom I have to read a book without feeling (too) guilty. Ah, lovely.

Today, I decided that I'd done enough lazing; after all, I don't want to let recovery mode get the best of me. The plan had been to make mint Nanaimo bars, but I changed my mind at the last minute and made banana chocolate chip muffins instead. (Would be a shame to waste those bananas after all.) And then, deciding that I'd been too sedentary of late, I decided to go nail down some flooring. Who needs weight lifting when you have a hammer? (Course, with weight lifting, there's less of a change of pounding your thumb into plywood. Win some, lose some…)

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:31 PM (0) comments

Friday, April 04, 2003
Wow. Today I attended my last class of the year. That's it. Well--almost. I do have to write a 20-page essay still, and write two more exams, and I am staying on at my current job for another week, so I'm not quite done done, but it's close. So very close!

There are a lot of things that I've wanted to post about this past week, but haven't really had the time or energy (hey, avoiding work is work in and of itself!), so I'll try to get caught up this weekend. Right now, I'm going to find myself a book (not a school book, hooray!) and curl up and read for a while before going to sleep. Night, all.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 11:18 PM (0) comments

My First Reaction Upon Hearing About The Core

"How long did it take to dig the Chunnel, again?"

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 12:18 AM (0) comments

Wednesday, April 02, 2003
End of the Year (And I Feel Fine)

It’s funny. This doesn’t feel like the end of the term. It’s the weather--the fact that it snowed yesterday, and I had to slide my way to class. Maybe something about the cold makes it so that it seems almost impossible to me that today I went to my Wednesday class for the last time, that all these classes are ending, that these exams I’m writing are it, that these essays are the end. This is not how the end of the year felt last year. I’m still wearing sweaters.

I find that I am both very happy, and very apathetic right now. Happy, because some part of me knows that it’s the end of the term, and that I’ve quit my job, and I feel like there are good things ahead of me. There is so much potential right now that I honestly sing as I walk about campus (though quietly, so as not to scare away the birds and large workmen). I am going to be leaving here, this room, this concrete box that is supposed to be my home away from home. I am leaving these boys, and will not have to lie awake at night listen to their drunken laughing/ranting/partying, and the drunken laughing/ranting/partying of their friends. Not to mention their drunken vomiting. (Oh, the things I have heard that I never want to hear again.)

There is writing in my future (much writing!) and a new job (I hope!) and a vacation with friends I miss beyond words. These are good things.

I am simply apathetic about what I must go through to get there. Look at me, writing a journal entry instead of an essay that’s due Friday. An essay that I’ve only written 166 words of so far. And I just don’t care. I want to watch TV, and read interesting books, and oh, sweet lord, how I want to SLEEP! And I’m going out to lunch tomorrow with friends from class, and to dinner tomorrow with friends from work, and when the hell am I supposed to find time to write this thing? Don’t know. Don’t care.

I am past counting days. According to my brain, I’m already done.

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:36 PM (0) comments

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