A Brief Update

The Magazine is in there somewhereI have been swept up in the wind of labor this week.  Clients have been calling, projects have been due, and unfortunately I have not had time to work on Sybil’s Garage nor my own writing in over a week.  My creative juices are boiling for release.  I expect to have these projects finished by early next week, then it’s back to the layout, which I have already started.  I have no idea how someone does a monthly magazine and holds a full time job!  Oh, I know.  They have employees.

This issue, however, will be worth it.  The pages will be lined with the blood, sweat, and tears of myself and all of the authors, artists, and editors who’ve contributed. *

* Actual blood, sweat, and tears not included.

Lazy Cats, Contracts, and Music you Should be Listening To

Lucy the Cat Awakens!Every morning I have a routine. I wake up, head to the loo, come back and put on some warm clothes, then head into the kitchen for breakfast. At some point either my cat is the one waking me up, or she soon follows me into the kitchen as soon as she hears the pots banging as I boil some water for cereal. But not this morning. Somehow she managed to crawl underneath the covers. And she stayed there as I boiled and ate my cereal. I listened to the squirrels frolic above me in the attic, their usual winter home this time of year, and I saw a hawk alight on a building in the distance, a rare sight in this part of town. Nearly done with my breakfast, Lucy the cat sleepily crawled over to me and said, “Meow.” Who wants to wake up from underneath warm covers when it’s so cold out?

Sybil’s Garage contracts were mailed recently to all the authors. It will be good to have that portion completed so I can focus on the layout and design phase of the magazine. It seems that all things will be slowing down in the next two weeks for the holidays, and I look forward to using that time for the magazine. There are just some things I have a good feeling about, and this issue is one of them.

Another thing I feel good about is a new CD I started listening to called Scout Niblett, “Kidnapped by Neptune”. Kind of like a cross between DQE (Dairy Queen Empire) and the experimental sounds of the new White Stripes, Niblett is my new favorite album. Delightfully edgy, filled sometimes with more space than sounds, but soon the guitar riffs come in that could easily be heard in a Queens of the Stone Age song. Other bands to take a look at: She Wants Revenge , Animal Collective, and Sigur Ros. My personal favorite of the year though is Maximo Park.

Speaking of music, every Christmas, for seven to ten days, WKCR 89.9 FM in New York plays the Bach Festival, an uninterrupted musical medley from the greatest composer who ever lived. This year they’re trying a new chronological format, playing the composer’s compositions in order of their creation. You can listen live on the net if you aren’t in the NY area (it starts on the 22nd). There’s something about listening to Bach while Orion rises in the east and my stomach is warmed by liquor while outside the air is frigid and crisp that just kills me every year. This year will be no different.

The Post Turkey-Day Lethargy

Freeze Dried Turkey Livers!After stuffing my face with fluffy muffins, un-organic turkey, and pineapple vodkas, I managed to scrounge up enough energy this weekend to send out the (semi) last batch of acceptances and rejections. The current count includes nine accepted stories and five poems. All the stories were sitting as attachments in my inbox, but now that I have sorted them and put them into folders, they are starting to take shape, and already I have a rough I idea of the order and layout. Over the weekend, I also arranged for some more photography & artwork to be included in the issue. Artwork You. Will. Love.

Deforestation, coming to a Forest near you!Vegans & Vegetarians ought to be concerned. I read over the weekend that the number one reason for the Brazilian rainforest deforestation is for soya (i.e. soybeans). Apparently, huge swaths of land are burned to make room for the crop. Over the weekend I had a soybean BBQ sandwich. I’m no vegetarian, but I like to limit my meat intake. The sandwich wasn’t half bad, once you get over the momentarily disturbing fact that the thing you are eating is not meat, though textured very much like it.

Lauren McLaughlin will be visiting our writers’ group tonight. An alumni of our group, she has spent the last six months or so living in lovely London and selling her stories to Interzone, and finishing a YA novel. It will be good to see her and to critique her story. 🙂

I know I had lots of things to say, and more than twice this long weekend I said, “Oh, I’m going to blog about this.” But now, caffeine-less and bleary-eyed, those moments have faded into mush. I promise to do better tomorrow.

THANK YOU!

Thank you in Sign LanguageYes, a big thank you to all the folks who have sent us stories, poems, artwork, essays, booby-trapped mail, & Chinese restaurant menus. While we are still going through the last batch of submissions that came in up to midnight of last night, the tally so far is something like:

155 Submissions
132 Rejections
About 9 Stories Accepted, 3 poems
1 artwork contracted

I would also like to thank the editors who have helped to keep the slush pile manageable and the reading process smooth. Thank you to Mercurio D. Rivera, Paul Berger, Greer Woodward, Ajit George, Lauren McLaughlin, Devin J. Poore, & many Others.

I expect to send out rejections & acceptances for the last few stories and poems within the next two weeks. Feel free to query if it has been 30 days.

Now off to the fun part: the layout!

Boy Digging for Treasure!In other news, Wired reports on the news portal site called Digg. While neck-deep in computer malfunctions and network administration during the tech boom era of the late 90s, Slashdot was my home page. There I read the latest tech news, rails against Micro$oft’s [sic] monopoly, and college-student-come-lately rants about who knows what. But I became increasingly frustrated by two things. First, the tone of Slashdot is overly didactic. I feel that every post is like a homework assignment. Second, the site tends to attract people-who-think-they-are-smarter-than-they-are. Some of these oh-so-logical rants are nothing of the kind, and I soon stopped going there because I felt like I was hanging out with a bunch of sniveling teenagers. I haven’t had time to poke around with Digg yet, but one of the major differences is that the users decide which stories are worth posting. I’ve read the argument that in an “expertless” society, chaos and mob rule are the norm. Well, Digg is a perfect testbed for that mentality. I suspect that other news sites will soon follow suit.

I Was Blind, But Now I Can See

Roy Batty's Eye?This is the last Monday slush pile update before we close on November 20th to new subs. Look to this blog for updates on the status of Sybil’s Garage #3. Here’s the current status:

About 145 submissions to date.

About 126 rejections sent.

16 items in the candidate pile.

About 9 stories & poems accepted.

Once the submission process ends, we head into layout phase. Contracts go out to the contributors and then we get down into the nitty gritty of the actual layout. No spoilers here, but a friend has offered a mighty excellent photo for the cover. Do you know this man? Perhaps you do.

Flying kitten

I am a heterosexual man who loves cats. Over the weekend I bought a book about kittens. (It’s really intended as a gift for someone else, but I couldn’t help thumbing through it). The book contains such wonderful gems as:

“No trick involving high jumps should be taught until the kitten’s body is mature enough. In addition, never train your cat to perform a dangerous trick.”

“Teaching your cat to jump through a hoop is not as difficult as it may seem.”

“As your kitten matures, it will take on an air of majesty and serenity.”

I like puppies to and all sorts of soft and furry creatures. (Please, no jokes here.) Cat’s are cool because they’re totally independent except when they want something from you. Then they become helpless babies that you have to rescue. They’ve discovered the secret: tap into the human’s parenting gene.

Interzone with Lauren McLaughlinIn other news, my friend Lauren McLaughlin’s story is out in the current Interzone. Way to go Lauren, you name’s on the cover! Woo-hoo! Now all I have to do is go out and buy a copy.

As you may have already heard, the much lauded SciFiction website, which for years has provided the community with award winning fiction is being closed down by the short-sighted fools at Sci-Fi Channel. Ellen Datlow has written a farewell message (link at top of page.) I’m sure she’ll find a nice home for herself in another respected publication soon.