A Note

Dearest Steven,

I write to you in the form of a draft blog post as a reminder to us both that we ought to be publicizing your upcoming convention and festival appearances, and further, that such public-facing mentions of same should be cheery, perhaps even excited, in tone–though it wouldn’t do to be crass–and must additionally give all relevant details and links for the appearances in question.

I am certain that your mind, which, being fair, nimble, and concise enough to amass the many fans who at this time are doubtless waiting with bated breath for news of your public appearances, could produce a note which accomplishes the goals outlined above with the effort of a mere moment.

Until such time as we can enjoy the satisfaction of pressing “Publish” on that happy post, I remain your affectionate,



I cannot but admit to the extreme justice of your observation. As my plans for travel come close, it may be that someone who reads this would be interested in learning where I intend to be, and, just as much, when I intend to be there.

Believe me when I say that your kindness in taking on the burden of disseminating the details of these plans is not unappreciated.



I would be rather more a poor than a humble servant were I to balk at such a pleasurable task as delineating a schedule, but I fear I must dare so far as to disagree with you on one point, and that solitary point is, as you must have already guessed, the word ‘burden’. Such a word, applied in this instance, implies that it would be weighty or difficult to do so. Yet, merely by working through the night shifting data, crafting links, and dyeing pixels to your usual specifications, I have already queued the relevant information and appended it to this very missive.

  • Boskone, February 13-15 in Boston, MA. [link] Take note that Friday afternoon program items are open to the public.
  • Minicon 50 & Cats Laughing Reunion, April 2-5, in Bloomington, MN. [link] [Cats link] Concert is planned for Friday.
  • Fox Cities Book Festival, April 20-26, 2015, Appleton, WI. [link] Steve is currently scheduled for Thursday evening.

Now I must beg you not to waste a moment of your precious time or energy in any unnecessary displays of gratitude, as I assure you, it was no trouble whatsoever.



The Horse! This is astonishing! And only your remonstrance–to ignore which would, under the circumstances, be the height of inconsideration–prevents me from using all of my hard-won, long-practiced, and well-cherished eloquence to express the profound degree of gratitude, and, moreover, admiration, that the splendid, timely, and elegant completion of this task has inspired in me.



Last time Jen was over, we made burgers to bring to my sister’s birthday party. They went over well. Here, as well as we can remember, is what we did. [This is Jen. I’m adding my comments in brackets. I control the signal. I’m drunk on power.] <And this is Steve again, mixing Jen another power & tonic.>

2 lbs lean ground beef [I think it was 3 lbs beef? Seemed like more than a 2-to-1 ratio, anyway] <Um. It was one of those big tubes, and I never looked at the weight. Damn.> [Okay, readers, use your best judgement.]
1 lb ground bison [you have to make bison motions with your hand every time you say bison] <I thought that went without saying.>
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped.  No, finer than that.  Even finer. Little teeny tiny pieces, like Jen does. Pretend you’re OCD. [I’m just being CAREFUL. Reader, your onion pieces have to be tiny and even or everything will be terrible. Trust me.]
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 [Steve-]tablespoons minced garlic [which translates to 4 normal-tablespoons]
1 egg
A couple dashes Worcestershire sauce
A splash of red wine [What is the difference between a dash and a splash?] <A dash involves a quick back-and-forth motion with the bottle.  A splash is half of a glug.> [I did not think you would have an actual answer.]
Kosher salt
black pepper
[I think I wanted to add cumin but we didn’t have any.] <Yeah, I never know what’s in my spice cabinet. It’s all cumin and goin’.> [See, that isn’t helpful. Why would you make that terrible joke, Toni?] <Yeah, Aliera. That was uncalled-for.>


Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. [It is important to really beat the snot out of the egg, because that snot is what is going to hold your burgers together.] <I didn’t need that image.> Add onion, paprika, garlic, and the other stuff.

Mix in the meat. [Mixing the meat together and incorporating the egg mixture is best done by hand, so make sure your nails are clipped short and go to town. It’s fun! Right up until you’re done making the patties and then you realize how gross your hands are and only hot water can save you.] <Very hot water.  Like, ouch.>

Shape the patties, separate them with butcher’s paper or parchment, and freeze.  When it’s time to cook them, do that.  Then eat them. [You may use whatever accompaniments and/or condiments you prefer, but onion buns are the one true burger bun.] <Hear, hear!>

Thoughts on “Striking a Prose”

So Steve posted this lovely thing about women in fantasy plots. It follows on the Jim C. Hines phenomenon of genderswapping fantasy cover art.

There are so many tropes and plotlines that treat their women characters creepily, demeaningly, dismissively, or brutally. Brilliant commenters added to the list (and I hope there will be many more*).

Then I made this comment:

You finish up a great novel on the subway on the way home, watch a trailer for a hotly anticipated new movie, and then thoroughly enjoy an hour or two of the latest video game. You try to talk to your boyfriend about how cool these wildly popular properties are, but he’s all just “blah blah blah there aren’t any MEN in those!” Even when you point out the men that are in them, he just comes up with masculinist crap about how they’re just background abs, don’t have any agency, and don’t get to talk to each other. GAWD, would he just shut up already and enjoy cool things like a NORMAL person?!

And I realized two things, which I want to unpack a bit.

One. Judging by how I banged that out without even thinking about it, hit send, and then teared up a little bit, this has some personal significance to me. I look at various media properties** and think, “nope, demeaning, creepy, don’t wanna.” I’ll watch a trailer for something with a guy and his reaction is about how cool it looked and mine is about how it had three characters plus a pair of tits.

Do you know what usually happens next? I apologize for having that reaction. “Sorry, I know you’re excited about that thing. I don’t mean to always bring up the issue of crappy representation of chicks.” Yep. I constantly apologize for talking about being disappointed by this stuff. (To be clear, I can’t recall anyone ever accepting these kneejerk apologies I offer.)

Fuck it. I am disappointed. This isn’t nitpicking or participating in outrage culture. This is just, you know, wanting to relate to characters in stories. If I can’t, then I don’t want the story.

Two. That comment I wrote doesn’t apply as much to books.  I read a lot of books, and there are zillions more books that I want to read, more than I’ll ever possibly have time for. Lots of sexist plot tropes make it out there and some of them get to be bestsellers (lookin’ at you, Dresden, wizardly king of chivalry), but I’m not bombarded with ads and reviews for them all the time. I don’t have to wade through piles of sexist novels just hoping against hope to find one I can enjoy without rolling my eyes and feeling a bit queasy.

I don’t know if novels have less of these problems than other media or if my systems for gathering recommendations and being exposed to books are sufficiently advanced that I don’t notice the problems. Probably some of both.

Anyway, round of applause please for novels in general, for giving me stories and imagination and delicious explorations of being human and being a girl, no matter what sort of person the protagonist happened to be, since I first learned to read chapter books.***



*Someone needs to do Harry Potter, for instance. (edit: nevermind, someone did by the time I posted this)

**There’s some upcoming game, and chaos showed me the trailer for it: a woman is being hung for witchcraft or something, and a dude swoops in and saves her and kills all the danger and she sort of buffs her nails adventurously. The same game has bus ads I keep seeing around the city: His head, facial expression action-worthy. Her head, behind his in sidekick position, simpering at the danger.

I roll my eyes every time I see it because somewhere a bunch of people think it is SO AWESOME that this game has a dude AND A LADY in all the teasers. Yes, I know how fucking videogames work and that someone has to be the sidekick, but COME ON. Gratuitous damseling foul. Also, yes, the airships in it look sweet. No, I don’t want to fucking play it.

***I know that children’s books are A Thing, but when I was tiny, I considered them just what I had to read until I could learn enough to read REAL books. I don’t have nostalgic happy-feelings for anything younger than Little House on the Prairie and the Bobbsey Twins. Sorry, Dr. Seuss and Goodnight Moon.