mrissa: (good mris pic)
Dear Air-Traffic Controllers,

I have just taken my third flight since they stopped paying you. I have two more scheduled to get home on Sunday. And I just wanted to say, you know that thing where I didn't smash into another plane at high speeds and die any of those times?

Thanks. I really appreciate that.

a.k.a. Not Taking You For Granted in Newburgh, NY
mrissa: (think so do ya?)
Dear Minnesota Orchestra Management:

Please stop sending me letters badmouthing your musicians. Stop sending them to my e-mail. Stop sending them (in duplicate copy, no less!) to my postal address. Stop calling me to ask for money while you are making this mess with your musicians, but particularly stop badmouthing your musicians. I have asked you this in private several times, and now I will ask you in public.

Do you know what you sell me, Minnesota Orchestra Management? You sell me tickets to concerts played by your musicians. If you succeed in making me think poorly of your musicians, I will not say, "You're right, darn those musicians! I should go to concerts with those crappy horrible musicians, but at whatever pay scale and benefits management wants to give them!" I will instead say, "I live in the Twin Cities area. Why would I go listen to crappy musicians? There are opportunities to hear good ones instead." But in fact I don't believe your propaganda. I've been to Minnesota Orchestra concerts. One of the musicians who is acting as a union spokesman is Doug Wright. Guess who has moved my stoic Nordic self to leap to her feet in spontaneous applause? Doug Wright. Guess what you've done in that direction? NOTHING. I don't even particularly like the trombone. It's not in my top five favorite instruments. And that man can play the trombone to make me jump up and shout, "Bravo!" I am not a shouter of "Bravo." But I shouted it anyway. Do you understand that at all? Have you had that experience of the orchestra you run? Do you remember that that's what you're supposed to be facilitating, at all? What do you think your letters are going to do to override that?

Orchestra patrons are not stupid. We know that an independent financial valuation is a reasonable thing for musicians to ask, and is the road to them knowing what kind of specific counterproposal they can make. Without one, you can just keep repeating, "That's impossible, do it our way," no matter what they say, no matter the facts. We also know that you are a great deal more replaceable than the musicians. So hop to it with the independent assessments. And stop harassing me about how it's all the musicians' fault. It's not true, and it would be counterproductive even if it worked.

In frustration,
[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (winter)
Dear Snow:

Remember the time we spent Halloween together? That was awesome! Let's do it again!

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (think so do ya?)
Dear people writing books that have anything to do with war, fiction or nonfiction:

You do not absolutely have to have epigraphs from Sun Tzu. Truly, you do not. In the history of humanity, other people have written about war. As you seem to hope to be among them, this should be clear to you. Please read more broadly in future, or at least make your friends read more broadly so that you don't blend in with quite such a huge crowd. I know he's pithy. Other people are pithy too.

[ profile] mrissa

PS Switching to the "all Tacitus, all the time" channel is not a solution to this problem.
mrissa: (memories)
Dear Mr. Gabriel,

If you had turned out to be a veteran goblin hunter, I would totally not have been surprised.

Also, I miss you.

Respect and so much gratitude,
mrissa: (Oh *hell* no!)
Dear Sir:

If, by some horrid mischance, you find that you have exited the privacy of your home or motor vehicle without fastening the fly to your trousers, one can easily see that you would wish to remedy this situation as soon as it became apparent to you. You may not have noticed while you walked across half of the parking lot; that is understandable.

However, reaching for your crotch and grinning sunnily and lengthily at me while taking a leisurely approach to attending to it is not what we call Minnesota Nice. There are times when a friendly smile and eye contact are truly not called for. This is one.

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (winter)
Dear Carter,

If you are going to try to insist on a new short story every time I need to write a new chapter from your perspective in the revisions of this book, it is going to take a really really really damn long time.

And yes, we will end up with a lot of short stories, and yes, some of them will be very fine short stories, I feel sure, and yes, I did want to write this one for [ profile] careswen with Deirdre of the Sorrows in it, well done, did not intend the bit with the goose shit or the Wonka bars--separated, I assure you, by several pages so there is no hint of anything Truly Nasty--but these things happen and I am used to it. However. If we keep this up we will both be four hundred and three before the book gets submitted anywhere. Which is not the goal. And if that turns out to be the case, I will make sure that "Carter Hall and the Quantum Mechanical Junior Hockey League" is not, in fact, the last Carter Hall story, but merely the last Carter Hall short story, because it will be followed by a series of magical mysteries starting with Carter Hall and the Sudden Death wherein you are paired up with a co-coach and co-detective who is a wee fireplug of a Quebecoise forward called Nathalie who actually has an Olympic medal which is more than you will ever say and also trained formally in magic with various Metis sorcerers (not shamans, that's a different bunch) and can make the hockey kids mind and do their math homework which she can help them with when they need it and runs your ass from here to Churchill and back do I make myself clear Mr. Hall?

All right then.

Love. But tough love.
[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (reading)
Dear American space opera writers,

You can resist the terrible pun, "A mine is a terrible thing to waste." It does not have to go into every damn space opera series. No, really. You can. I believe in you. Contrary to all evidence, I believe in you.

Fond frustration,
[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (no more monkeys!)
Dear fellow writers, but especially thriller and fantasy writers,

I am able to accept someone as The Bad Guy without knowing the least little thing about their sex life. Do you know why this is? It's because a) the world is full of evil that can be done without having the least thing to do directly with sex, and b) I am aware that many really good people are into things I am not into, sexually as well as nonsexually, and that is--within reasonable parameters including but not limited to consent--quite all right with me. Sure, some villains Really Must have their villainy interwoven with their sexuality. It does not have to be the default. I promise it does not. And frankly it gets boring. "I'm not really sure this is my business," may be the Minnesotan polite translation of, "I don't care what happens to these people!" It still serves the same purpose: not reading your book any more, okay, buh-bye.

See also: cruelty to animals. It is not strictly obligatory in a villain. What ever happened to the cat-stroking villains of yore? These days they would be forced to kick the cat just to demonstrate that's the kind of person they are. Memo: humans are animals. Being nasty to humans counts.

I'm going to go read W. H. Auden. W. H. Auden never does this to me.

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (nowreally)
Dere branez,

Come back! I knede you! Will phede you hazzelnuts and book abote Korean War.

[ profile] mrissa

Dear brain,

Good to see you again! I missed you so much! We have a lot to do together this week, so we'd better get started. First let's take a minute to enjoy being together again, though.

[ profile] mrissa

Dear brain,

Oh. I thought we were going to enjoy some alone time, but I see you brought friends. Including...a mainstream YA novel? Really?

Brain, the honeymoon is over.

Love and exasperation,
[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (tiredy)
(By the way, my e-mail is thoroughly working again.)

Dear self:

It appears that you believe that worrying about things you cannot control is best addressed by waking up extremely early. While this may look like a good idea, it turns out that you do not acquire superpowers when underslept. Even your ordinary powers are not in peak form. Don't do this. Also, displacing major worries about things you cannot control onto minor worries about things that are not likely to come up? Similarly not a winning strategy. Cut it out. Yes, even you, subconscious. Yes, even when sleeping.

How many months have we been doing this PT thing? I believe this is eleven, right? So when is it that you wanted to remember that you need water after a clinic PT session? Apparently somewhere around month twelve.

Also: please check the calendar when ordering expensive and highly perishable groceries. If it turns out that the only night available for cooking for several days after a grocery order is a clinic PT night, do not order something that will take a lot of preparation and absolutely have to be done that night. If you slip with the stupid vertigo and slice open the back of your thumb, you will not want to have to stand there for another hour doing intensive cooking work. "Yes, but I can use a mise en place!" makes this possible. Remember those difficulties you were having with the difference between "possible" and "great idea"? Yah. That.

(Subset of self known as blood: if you could think of clotting? Not all the time. Just sometimes. So that I don't have to pay attention to changing bandages in the middle of dinner so that I don't bleed all over the crab? Yah, thanks. Much appreciated.)

Sense of humor and storytelling center: way to pull things together. Could not have done it without you. Will be expecting the same kind of rally tomorrow.

[ profile] mrissa

And a brief update on the living my life post from New Year's:
5a. In progress. Worked on "Pillars of Salt and String."
5c. In progress. Worked on "The Curvature of Every Disorder."
6b. In progress. Worked on "Twelve Things You Don't Know About Dryads."
14. Done! Paella. It was time. It was tasty. We have established that I can make a paella, and we can all eat it. Later we will probably tweak ingredients. This one had scallops, crab, sausage, chicken, red peppers, mushrooms, peas. And the paella stuff that doesn't really change. Cracking crab is kind of a PITA, but I really do like crab.
17. Done! Taking [ profile] timprov to Rainbow. He approved of their sesame chicken, which for some reason I had not gotten around to trying.
29. In progress. Read The Dark Wind.
30. In progress. Halfway through Season 3. Have gotten to "???!!!" plot twist.

So. That's really not so bad, for a week into the New Year. Not that somebody should make me a LOLMris with, "Mai life: I r livin it." (Really, please don't.) But really, could be a lot worse.
mrissa: (Default)
Dear teenage neighbors I never liked very much anyway,

Thank you so much for sharing your music collection with us! Aren't you sweet. But I feel that someone should tell you -- ideally before you move out of your parents' house, may that occasion not be long in coming -- that good music contains noises that are neither "thump" nor "oontz-oontz."

It's only 9ish now, so you are merely annoying. Let's try to keep it on the correct side of that line, shall we?

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)
Oh hair conditioner manufacturers:

Why why WHY did you have to change the formulation of your conditioner so that it smells exactly like the "Barbie and the Rockers: Diva" doll I had when I was 8? What could possibly have motivated this behavior? And how did you pick that particular doll over Malibu Barbie or Skatin' Fun Skipper? Or Cabbage Patch dolls or Strawberry Shortcakes? Was there a contest? Because I'm pretty alarmed at a contest for which this is the result.


May. 21st, 2008 09:57 pm
mrissa: (tiredy)
Dear universe,

Please excuse [ profile] mrissa from braining today. She has the dumb.

[ profile] mrissa's mother

(She always said it was fine to forge her signature in good causes. "Good causes" were understood to include "I would rather ride with Daieuen than with Doc Tichy to the debate tournament" or "I totally want to have pizza you never heard was a possibility.")

Uff da, uff da. I am not the kind of tired where I could go immediately to sleep if I went to bed now. No, that would be too easy. I am the kind of tired where I blink stupidly at things, wondering why...that over there...where I put it...why did I do that? Yes. Like that. This is the kind of the dumb where you go downstairs and wonder what you meant to do and then go back upstairs and figure it out, lather-rinse-repeat until you are frustrated enough to repeat, "Towels in dryer, towels in dryer, towels in dryer..." all the way down the stairs. Except that I really can't and shouldn't do that with the vertigo; we are still minimizing stairs. Especially today, when my PT has been a great deal rougher, with more falls and harder/more dangerous falls than usual*. So mostly I am standing around trying things in case some of it might be right. I have a list. But that doesn't help if nothing on the list looks at all coherent. Probably I will end up sending a couple of birthday presents early this evening just because that'll be one less thing to try to sort from my list. And, y'know, also because I like those people and want them to be happy on their impending birthdays.

One of the things about this stage of tired is that I get very odd bits of story popping out, and some of them eventually cohere, if I am patient and write them down. This one has girl cooties all over it. This one reads like I was reading Ursula LeGuin and [ profile] pameladean and Zenna Henderson all in a row, and I haven't been reading any of them lately. But I am not opposed to girl cooties. I'm sort of stuck with 'em, so it's just as well I'm not opposed. Only I fear I'm supposed to go read Willa Cather to find the title, and I don't wanna. I have gotten over most of my Nebraska schooling-induced aversion to Willa Cather, but that only brings me to neutral, I'm afraid. (Apparently there is no other writer Nebraska schoolgirls can grow up to be like. This did not, as you might well imagine, sit well with me.) Maybe one of you can read Willa Cather and tell me what good titles might come from it? I thought not. But it was worth asking.

*I am a good faller, and all but two of the PT exercises come with built-in safety stuff. But I had to twist around fast to land on my butt, which is padded for it, rather than my knee, which is not. You know how you can feel the sort of fall that's going to be dangerous on your knee, twisty and at the wrong angle? I averted one of those this evening. I am mighty. I am fierce. And damned if I'll make progress on the vertigo just to have to start a course of PT on a knee.
mrissa: (Default)
Dear fingers:

Contrary to your impulse at least six times in the past 24 hours, it is not the Aesir nori novel. Okay? Noir. No wrapping Odin in seaweed.

Certain Parties suggest I should save that for a sequel. Certain Parties amuse me but may not be far wrong, alas.

[ profile] mrissa

Dear brain:

As long as you're eavesdropping on this sort of thing, noodling on a '30s gangster showdown between Njord and the daughters of Ran is really not the thing. No. Really not.

[ profile] mrissa

Dear ears:

Quiddit. I'm tryinna work here.

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (helpful nudge)
Dear Other Writermonkeys,

Let me check my calendar. Why yes! It is! It is 2008! I thought it might be. And therefore, is now the time for dismissing characters as "hysterical, like that kind of woman always gets"? Not really! Not so much. And if you do it, surprise! I will stop reading your book. ("But you already gave me money for it!" Haha, no I didn't! It was free!)

You know what else? Bodily fluids? Not inherently interesting. In fact, you have to work pretty hard to make most of them interesting. You don't need two per page, with one in the gratuitous background description in case a page has slipped by under quota. They do not serve to epater les bourgeois so much as to ennuyer les bourgeois, by this late date. And you know what? A bored Mris will -- surprise! -- stop reading your book! ("But you already gave me money for it!" Haha, no I didn't! This one was free, too!)

Oh, and one more thing: it turns out that having a pseudonym is not the same thing as having a superhero name and secret identity. It doesn't actually make your book cooler. It is a net neutral. Look at K.J. Parker. She doesn't prance around going, "You should read my books! Because K.J. Parker is not really the name of the person who wrote them! And that makes them cool!" Or look at Robin Hobb. Almost no singing of, "Nyah, nyah, that's not my name!" Robert Jordan? Did not, in his lifetime, have jacket copy about how he could tell you his real name, but then his Very Powerful Enemies would get him. You are neither Bruce Wayne nor Rumpelstiltskin, so write the best book you can, slap whatever name you want to on it, and get on with your life.

I'm so glad we had this little talk.

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (don't mess with me today)
Dear Newspaper Deliverers,

Thank you. Thank the hell out of you. By driving up and down our driveway -- by making multiple tries at it when you failed -- you have created a compacted layer of snow just at the steepest, most difficult part. Chipping away at this for the last hour has availed me very little.

[ profile] mrissa

I want to amend what I said yesterday. I described the desire for more snow, so that the driveway service would clear our driveway, as laziness. It isn't, and I'm trying to be more careful about saying that sort of thing. I have vertigo. I know, I know, you all know that. I don't think you know what it means right now. I have fallen all but four days out of the last fortnight. One of those falls was this morning, on the driveway.

But anybody can fall on a snowy driveway, right? True. Very true. And in fact I did fall on the snowy driveway without having a vertigo episode, as well as with having one. You want to know the difference?

Without vertigo: foot slips. Attempting rebalancing skid and wobble combo fails; I am clearly falling down the driveway. My scarf slips up (I am still in glasses this morning) and my glasses immediately fog. I fling the shovel out to one side of me so as not to smack myself with it, and I partially catch myself with the shovel, so that when my butt hits the driveway, it is at far less speed. I am slightly shaken but fine.

With vertigo: foot may or may not have slipped at the beginning of this. I don't know. I do know that suddenly my upper body is not clear where up and down are. In the slightest. And I am moving through the air above the cold driveway. Again my scarf slips, so my glasses fog. This time I needed that view, because up? down? I have no idea. Have you ever been underwater and lost track of which way was up? This is like that, except that there are hard, sharp things around, and I will be inexorably pulled towards the big hard thing if I can't figure out the local vertical soon enough. I do not know which way to move to right myself, to catch myself, to hit the ground well. Because I no longer know where anything is. Anything. Except the shovel: I know that the large metal snow shovel is in my hand, and all I can do is keep the shovel as far from my head as I can manage, even when it responds inertially to all the wobbling and waving that is happening in less than ten seconds. I tuck my chin so that the odds are better that I won't hit my head and knock myself out -- I have had a long history of passing out, and this is harder than that, because the conscious brain can do a great deal more to screw it up. I curl my shoulders. I hope that when I find ground, whenever the hell that is, it's not at an angle that makes this my first really, really bad fall.

We know that unless something improves with this vertigo, my first really, really bad fall will happen sometime.

But it was not today; I hit with my shoulder and roll and manage not to let the shovel drop on top of my head. I am lying on the snowy driveway, with the compacted snow and ice stripes where our newspaper delivery person decided to mess with me further. My shoulder hurts. My back is jarred. I did not hit my head. I did not break anything. I did not sprain anything.

I still have 2/3 of the driveway left to shovel at that point. And this is a good day, this is not a vertiginous day, so I will be able to do things today, so I have to do things today, because we don't know if tomorrow will be a good day. Because there will be enough times when the shoulder is wrenched or the back is nauseating or any of a number of other things have gone wrong -- not just on the snowy driveway but in the kitchen, in the shower, on the stairs in my house. All of those normal, normal places. There will be bad days, and this is not one, so I get up and shovel the rest of the damn driveway to the best of my ability, thanks not at all to the newspaper delivery people. I slip again. I don't fall. This is what we call luck, not practice: the yoga balances I could consistently do six months ago, I cannot do today. Practice is not helping.

[ profile] porphyrin was saying the other day that I need to be sure that the doctors understand that this is serious, because lots of patients with the same stuff as I have are not going to roll with it. They're going to take to their beds every time they have a vertiginous spell. They're going to tell the doctor that they can't do anything because they have vertigo. Who are these people? What are they thinking? Don't they have things to do? I don't understand.

I'm still kind of bitter with the newspaper folks, though. If the choice is ice stripes or slogging through the, oooooh, half-inch of snow to walk up to my door -- or giving up and leaving the paper in the convenient wee green box at the bottom of the driveway, provided for that purpose -- why did they pick the option that would be the longest-term PITA? Monkeys. I tell ya.
mrissa: (don't mess with me today)
Dear neighbors:

You need to stop letting your dogs out to barkbarkbark at 5:45 a.m. No, really. You need to stop. It is not a friendly thing to do. It's getting old. Do you know how old it's getting? The last two mornings, my dog has made the exact noise a junior makes in a squirrelly freshman dorm. The, "arrrmmmmmmfffff," noise. The, "Can't you stupid damn kids just go back to sleep?" noise. My dog is bored with your dogs running around barking this early. Dogs never get bored by other dogs running around barking. So there you go: you are tedious about this as well as unpleasant. They are the dogs. You are the monkeys. Deal with it.

[ profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)
Dear E-mail Interface,

Please do not auto-correct "et al" to "at all." "Dear [name] at all," makes us both look stupid. Well, it would. I corrected it. Now it just makes you look stupid.

(In fact, didn't I tell you not to auto-correct anything? I'm changing that option again, but how did it get changed back? Harumph.)


Dear Clothing Manufacturer,

I realize why it would be beneficial to you to sell overlapping but non-identical sets of clothing in your stores and on your website: you can try to sell more things to people if they have to go both places to see the stock. But can you please not pretend that it is some kind of favor to me? "Internet exclusive" means "available to anyone who has a computer or can get into a public library." Just admit that it's for your own benefit as a for-profit business, since we already know that's what you are, and move along.

Not impressed,

Dear My College,

This "making an unmarked field of people's former homes" thing: it does not do you credit. Engraved paving stones cost less than $100 apiece. Look into it. Also: it'll be ten years in March. Plant some damn trees around the Shakespeare Pit already. Without the trees it's just a hole in the ground. Nobody likes a denuded Shakespeare Pit. It's unsightly.

Good job on seeing how cool Jen is, though. Rah rah rah, well done skool skool skool, as the man says.

Oh, all right, at least a little bit of love,
mrissa: (intense)
Dear book:

Okay, it was time for me to be in bed an hour ago, because why? Because I was tired. And then you got me out of bed to write another 1.5K, and that's lovely, very fine work, well done. Go book. But as I am now alternating one eye open and then the other because keeping both of them open at once is too much work, do you think you could LET ME SLEEP? Thanks so much.

Love and kisses,
[ profile] mrissa

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