marthawells: (John Green Trees)
We had a huge storm last night, with a long power failure, and there have been storms in Austin and all around us in the past couple of days. This is actually a good thing, because it puts off the chance of wildfires again. Last year, we were surrounded by fires, with hundreds of acres of pine forest and hundreds of homes burned down. But last year it also stopped raining around early February, and this year we're still getting these storms now.

I'm hoping for a summer where I don't get up every morning and check the fire map to see who we know might lose their house today and watch all the frantic pleas for horse trailers and help moving livestock on Twitter.

I got a new laptop on Friday, and it's very nice. I had gotten used to how overheated the old one was, so it's a great to have one that isn't flirting with the possibility of giving me second-degree burns. It's a MacBook, so we didn't have to reinstall anything, just migrated the contents from the old MacBook. (You hook them up together and the new one clones itself from the old one.) I did have to get a new mail program, but that was it.


[personal profile] lillian13 who makes gorgeous jewelry has a couple of pieces up on the ebay site that is raising money for Spider Robinson's daughter's cancer treatment here. Her pieces are the friendship pendant and the double-sided pendant.
marthawells: (Reading)
Hoping to get rid of a large piece of furniture that we no longer need today. Cross your fingers for us.


Austin Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators: Book Drive for Bastrop Public Library
The book drive is to replace books that were destroyed in the wildfires that burned so much of the town and the surrounding forest, and they're particularly in need of children's and YA books.

From now until December 8th, the date of our Holiday Hoedown, we are asking illustrators and authors from all over Texas to donate a book and/or make a monetary contribution to the ASCBWI Bastrop Library Fund. The library is in need of all kinds of children’s books – from picture books to YA – as a vast number of books were checked out and were sadly burned in the wild fire.
There are several ways for you to participate in this important outreach. If you are not able to bring your donation to the Holiday Hoedown on December 8th, you can either bring your book and/or monetary donation to the November 12th monthly meeting where Carmen will be available to receive your thoughtful gifts to be placed in the hands of the children of Bastrop. Or checks, made out to the Austin SCBWI with Bastrop Library Fund written in the memo portion of the check, can be mailed to ASCBWI, 709 Wood Mesa Ct., Round Rock, TX 78665. Book donations can be sent to that address, as well.
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
I've been pushing to get the third Cloud Roads book done. I didn't make a huge amount of forward progress yesterday but did figure out what was wrong with the section I'm working on and hopefully will get past that today. I mentioned on Facebook, I keep wanting to post snippets and lines, but they're horrible spoilers for the people who would want to read it.

Going to make green curry chicken tonight, nom nom nom.


Malinda Lo: I have numbers! Stats on LGBT Young Adult Books Published in the U.S. To get my data, I used this bibliography of LGBT YA compiled by librarian/researcher Christine Jenkins, which lists books published in English from 1969-2009. I supplemented that bibliography with information for 2009-2011 kindly given to me by researcher Michael Cart, who specializes in LGBT children’s and YA books. Mr. Cart’s data for 2011 was incomplete because the year isn’t finished yet, but because I’ve been keeping track of LGBT YA novels for Diversity in YA, I topped off the list with a number of books I know have been published or will be published this year.

Stories From the Heartland: Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit Silly me. I thought flying on 9/11 would be easy. I figured most people would choose not to fly that day so lines would be short, planes would be lightly filled and though security might be ratcheted up, we’d all feel safer knowing we had come a long way since that dreadful Tuesday morning 10 years ago.

But then armed officers stormed my plane, threw me in handcuffs and locked me up.

Fire Update:

Bastrop County Complex Fire Burn Scar: Natural Hazards Some fires are still going, and new ones keep popping up, but there's been a little rain in the state, which is good. None down here yet.

The Austin Humane Society (site has sound) needs donations to take care of the large number of rescued injured animals. If you look on their facebook wall, you can find lists of the items they need, photos of animals injured in the fires, and rescued animals that have reunited with their owners.
marthawells: (Miko)

The totals for Bastrop (the biggest fire) are 36,000 acres destroyed, 1400 homes burnt, still 30% containment, according to the Austin American Statesman, but I don't think it's been updated yet this morning. The DC10 tanker is supposed to start dropping fire retardant this morning. There are more flare-ups in the county next to us, but nothing closer. The smoke was apparently very bad in Houston yesterday.

The big map of fire looks a bit more sparse this morning:

Texas Wildfires Seen From the International Space Station.

There pictures and video were taken by the sister of a friend, and posted as an iReport on CNN: Fires in Bastrop, TX (or why I was late getting home last night)

Me: I was feeling bad yesterday, congested, itchy eyes, nosebleed, and had trouble eating without feeling sick. Not fun. I couldn't smell smoke here, so it might just have been the dry air, which is really, really dry. I did get some work done on the third Cloud Roads book, and found out my word count was off, so I've actually got more than 86,000 words on it.

A while back we had gotten tickets to see the Prairie Home Companion: Summer Love tour with Garrison Keillor at the university last night, and I'm glad I still felt well enough to go, because it was really good. If you haven't heard it on the radio or seen the very surreal movie, it's a lot funnier and weirder than you think it is.

For one thing, they performed more than three hours continuously. They gave the audience a 15-minute intermission two hours in, but Keillor and the woman singer stayed on the stage the entire time and did audience participation singing to entertain the people who didn't go to the bathroom. Some of the other people took breaks, but Keillor was out there the whole time.

Keillor also did a song that was basically a very detailed description of sex, including oral sex, but all in metaphor. "Like Billie Holiday singing an aria" was one of the metaphors for the highlight moment. They also had a song that was a bunch of jokes, one of which was "God made woman with three breasts, but the third one just got in the way, so he took it off. Woman came to God with the third breast in her hand, and said, 'But what do we do with this useless boob?' and God created man."


Guys Lit Wire has an update on Ballou High School Book Drive At the beginning of the year Ballou had less than one book for each of its students. (The ALA standard is 11 books for every student in a school library.) Well, after all the publicity and the gifts you all purchased (and the many others that were donated by authors and publishers) there are now FOUR books for each Ballou student.

Madeleine Robins: History is an Unknown Country I was thinking about this because I’m reading Black London, a terrific and fascinating book by Gretchen Gerzina about the history of Africans in England. Early in the book Gerzina tells of going into a bookstore looking for material about people of color in London. The saleswoman told her, with a touch of asperity, that everyone knew that there were no blacks in England prior to the end of WW II.

For dark fantasy/horror/zombie fans: and, for the new book The Panama Laugh by Thomas Roche.
marthawells: (Default)
Fires are still going. Is the national news even reporting this? When this is over, if it's ever over, I'm afraid we're going to be living in a green island surrounded by Mordor. It's sickening to watch what this is doing to the people, the homes, the pets, the land, the trees, the wildlife, the livestock.

The Leon county fire, the one nearest us is at 70% containment, hopefully. The Bastrop fire is supposed to be at 30% containment but has already destroyed 38,089 acres and destroyed 576 homes. That's the total for one fire, not all of them. There's a photo gallery here. This museum was burnt to the ground but as someone on Facebook said, it's hard to keep track of all the stuff being destroyed. One report said that all but 50 to 100 acres of the pines covering the 6,000-acre Bastrop State Park are burned, and they don't have high hopes for the endangered species of toad that lives there.

For Bryan and College Stationites: The El Cerrito Animal Clinic in Bryan is accepting donations for animals displaced by the wildfires in the Brazos Valley:

Food for cats and dogs, Cat Litter, Bedding, Blankets, Horse Food, Livestock Feed, Hay, They are also accepting monetary donations. They are behind the Village Foods grocery store, almost at the corner of 29th and Barak, just next to the Shell Station.

The Red Cross is taking donations, plus if you here in state, various places are taking donations of food, clothes, etc for the 1000s of people who've lost their homes, donations of hay and grain for evacuated livestock, and donations for evacuated pets. KVUE lists places in Austin taking donations.



Publishers Weekly Genreville blog has a summary of the Orson Scott Card rewrites Hamlet as homophobic bowlderized piece of crap The Offensiveness Grenade In 2008, the Science Fiction Book Club published an anthology called The Ghost Quartet, edited by Marvin Kaye, which contained a novella by Orson Scott Card called “Hamlet’s Father”. Tor Books reprinted the anthology. No one appeared to notice that the novella rather painfully rewrote Hamlet to postulate that Hamlet’s father was an evil gay child molester who preyed upon the youth of Denmark.

Scott Lynch posted "Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd...", taking on Henry V:
Henry walked into the council chamber.

"We're totally going to beat the French," said Henry. "You guys think so too, right?"

Everyone did.
marthawells: (Default)
The wind has died down though you can smell smoke in the air all over town today. I don't know the totals, but the Bastrop fire alone is at 29,000 acres. Here's the fire map this morning:

The Red Cross is taking donations, plus if you here in state, various places are taking donations of food, clothes, etc for the 1000s of people who've lost their homes, donations of hay and grain for evacuated livestock, and donations for evacuated pets. KVUE lists places in Austin taking donations.

Austin Pets Alive took in most of the animals from the animal shelter in Bastrop, and needs donations, and is also having free dog adoptions. I'd be tempted, but there is actually firey death between us and Austin, so I can't get over there.


Everyone Can Promote Equality In Genre Writing
by Juliet E. McKenna

Book I'm reading: Vampire Forensics by Mark Collins Jenkins
It's a non-fiction look at vampire folklore and legends, and attempts to find their origins in epidemics, etc. Really interesting.
marthawells: (Default)
The fire news is really not good. Here's the map of all the current fires:

They're saying the worst one, the Bastrop fire, is still 0% contained. 25,000 acres have burned, 476 homes destroyed. The Austin American Statesman has info, plus if you want to panic accurately you can follow @statesman and @txstormchasers on Twitter, plus #centraltxfires

The Red Cross is taking donations and has some info on evacuation centers.
marthawells: (Default)
It's cooler today, but there's no rain in sight, and the dry wind from tropical storm Lee has set everything on fire again.

There was one nearby in College Station yesterday: Large grass fire under control in CS So many trees are dead, when we have high wind it blows them down into power lines.

And it's worse towards Austin: Catastrophic fires burn thousands of acres, force evacuations across Central Texas
Forest Service spokeswoman Lexi Maxwell said that fire began about 2 p.m. in the Circle D subdivision off Texas 71. It merged with another fire north of there that pushed south and crossed over Texas 21 and Texas 71, Maxwell said. Aerial units estimated that at least 300 homes had been damaged or destroyed by the fire.

Fires Break Out Across Central Texas.

That's pretty much all I've got today.


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