Accoutrements of the North

3 January 2002

Well, the bad news is, I haven't gotten Stanford mail since late evening of the 31st. If you usually e-mail me, that's probably the address you use. So if you've gotten stuff bounced back, that's why. I'd recommend using either my hotmail address ( or (my preference) anything at all in the family, if you want me to get the mail. Of course, by the time I finish this entry and post it and you do whatever it is you're doing and get around to reading it, my DSG/Stanford mail may be working again. But better safe than sorry for now, yes?

Also, we do not have DSL. "I thought you had cable modem!" the astute and knowledgable among you may be saying. Well, we do have cable modem. The cable modem is working as well as it ever did. Which is not fabulously. So we're switching over to DSL. We have the big ol' DSL box. (Our last DSL box was not nearly so large.) We have no phone service in the kitchen. (The big ol' DSL box does not include a splitter -- we have to go get one of those ourselves.) But do we have DSL? We do not. This is not a problem, per se. We still have connectivity and phone service. It's just an annoyance.

Ah well. We needed to go buy electronics anyway. My folks gave me a slip of paper with a printer's name on it (from my Amazon wish list) and told me to go pick out the printer I wanted and put it on their credit card. Mark had a similar gift. So off we go to Best Buy or Fry's or some such. By the end of the weekend, I will be the proud owner of a new printer. With that in mind, I decided not to wrestle the old printer with any of the stories I have to send out, even though I figured out what markets I'd like to send them to. Better to wait a day or two and send clean, fresh, low-stress copies than wrestle for smudgy ones immediately. Right? Of course right.

I'm really into this new printer thing.

The cold is still around, but it is being kept at bay by the powers of Advil Cold & Sinus. Last night, NyQuil redeemed itself after its disgraceful performance when I was really sick in October. So I'm doing pretty well as far as that goes. Not going to be bouncing off the walls, but that's okay.

Yesterday, I forgot to tell you that my review of Nalo Hopkinson's Skin Folk is up at the new issue of Speculon. I've only had the chance to read John Sullivan's story, The Full Moon West, but that was really cool, and I trust that the rest of the issue will be, too. Go read it.

I have lost the accoutrements of life in the north. I know what they are -- face lotion, big slippers, electric blankets -- but I don't have them. I remember how it worked. I remember how many gallons of herbal tea and hot cocoa I drank when we lived there. My routine in J-term was fairly fixed: I ate breakfast, then made myself tea in the physics student office and took it to class, then made tea again during Chapel break and took that to the second half of class. Went to lunch. Came back and gulped down another cup of tea before going to the lab. Then if I had time, tea after lab. Then dinner, usually with cocoa or tea, although caf cocoa tasted like dishwater half the time. Then tea when I got home in the evening, possibly two or three times. That's on a normal day, when I didn't walk down to the Chestnut Tree. (It helped that my last three J-terms were all held in Olin, the physics building, so I could use my physics office frequently.) So we do know how to do this. We haven't forgotten. It's just that some of the stuff isn't around any more. That's okay. It will be.

There was a spot on the news in Milwaukee about how Russians keep warm in the winter. They wear warm shoes, layer their clothing, keep moving when they're outside, and drink lots of hot beverages. I am shocked, shocked. I actually am shocked: why on earth would they have to tell people that stuff in Milwaukee?

One of the stories I started there, "Glass Wind," is the most wintery story I've ever written. Which is really saying something. But it'll be nice to work on it and revel in winter while it's Rainuary around here.

Well, I have pictures cropped and ready to go. I don't know about this set. There are lots of them, and I'm not sure how much they're of general interest. Your call. The ones from Omaha will start here and the ones from Milwaukee here. I'll be working on getting them up a bit at a time as I get other chores done around here this morning, so don't fuss if they're not there immediately. (Go ahead and e-mail me impatiently if you're in that habit. But don't fuss.)

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