Wall-E, Planetary Stories/Pulp Spirit

Went to see WALL•E on Sunday. I was worried that it wouldn’t hold up to all the hype and that I would be disappointed, but it was an utterly charming, clever, and visually lush movie. Loved it. The homages to 2001 had me hooting. And I’m both awed and impressed by how much personality and humor they managed to squeeze into animated ‘droids. I mean, I’m extremely easy when it comes to anthropomorphic empathy*, but they evoked an extraordinary amount of emotion and character with only a pair of eyes and “body” language in both Eve and Wall•E, not to mention the host of supporting cast of ‘bots which didn’t always even have eyes.

Definitely one of the top Pixar productions in my book (and I’m a huge fan of Pixar), up there with The Incredibles and Ratatouille. I’ve heard a couple critics say that they think the environmental message was delivered too heavily, but I don’t agree. Yes, it was blatant and upfront, but at the same time, it didn’t feel preachy. ‘Course I’m pretty green, so I think concern for the environment is a good attitude for kids (and everyone else for that matter) to internalize.

(As an addendum, I also really enjoyed the short, “Presto,” which ran before it, too. Humor a la classic Looney Toons with stepped up Pixar animation and a clever conceit.)

Roger Ebert said in his review of WALL•E:
“This story told in a different style and with a realistic look could have been a great science-fiction film. For that matter, maybe it is.”

I definitely think WALL•E qualifies as great science fiction.

As a tangential segue, I find it interesting that there’s an attitude which assumes that animated works somehow have less merit or meaning purely due to their being animated and/or that relegates them to the sole province of children’s entertainment. I’m not saying Ebert is doing that here, although I’m not saying he’s not either. But I’ve noticed with fosteronfilm‘s mom that she can’t seem to accept the notion that animated works are suitable entertainment fare for adults. She loves musicals and has a decided ’50s sensibility and taste in movies, and we’ve thought that a lot of the modern animated features would appeal to her. We’ve tried to turn her on to some of them, like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin—titles which have great songs as well as solid and classic storytelling—but she’s never been interested in them. Makes me wonder if it’s an age/generational thing.


*We’ve got a couple “retired” killer whale-shaped oven mitts which are singed, stained, and worn through in places that I can’t conceive of ever throwing out. Over the years, fosteronfilm and I have imbued them with so much personality—they used to complain about their jobs, screaming and ouching when we used them to pull things from the oven, and suchlike—that it feels wrong to even consider just dumping them in the garbage. I figure they’ve earned a lazy retirement in the towel drawer.

   


Writing Stuff

I met Jerry Page back in early 2006 at the Aberrant Dreams signing, and we’ve been corresponding since. (I’ve also managed to persuade him to write reviews for The Fix.) He edits the fanzine Pulp Spirit which is a companion publication to Planetary Stories. Anyhoo, we were emailing back and forth, and I commented about a column he wrote and the general contents of the last issue of Planetary Stories/Pulp Spirit. Jerry asked whether he could print my remarks in their letter column, “From the Vibrating Ether.” Of course I said he could, but I didn’t realize that they also had an ongoing “best letter to the editor” contest. Hee. My letter won. I’m getting an original, signed Mark Fults illustration (#1 at the bottom of the contest page). Sweet.

Received:
• 25-day personal pass from Podcastle from Rachel (velourmane) on a reprint accompanied by a request for me to submit a different story for them to consider which she read and liked. Works for me! Crossing my fingers that the rest of their slush committee likes it too.
• 61-day kindly pass from Withersin with invite to submit again.

New Words:
• 1000 on the SF WiP.
• 2000 on a new story, sort of a Pied Piper retelling inspired by the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Yeah, I’m all fragmented with what feels like half a dozen WiPs hanging about with none of them completed. I’ve been focusing on getting the writing gears in working order again, getting words on the page, no matter what those words are or whether I finish something. I felt like I needed to get back in the habit of regular writing before I could re-establish a “must finish story” routine. But I think it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to “The End” on something. Preferably several somethings.

Club 100 for Writers: 13

Pan’s Labyrinth, skunk hiccups, session ’07

terracinque and I managed to get off work early enough to catch the advance screening of Pan’s Labyrinth with fosteronfilm on Wednesday. I’ve never been to the Midtown Art before. It’s a very nice theater, although I think I like the Tara–where we saw Miss Potter–better. Had a chance to gab with sfeley, who was also there to catch Pan’s Labyrinth, while the hubby was off buying popcorn, and chatted briefly with lord_darkseid while waiting for terracinque to park.

The movie was gorgeous. Words like “lush” and “evocative” spill off the tongue when describing the cinematography. It was also gritty and dark, the non-fantasy parts particularly, but the fantasy elements were also darker than the typical treatment given to such subject matter by Hollywood. While I quite enjoyed the fantasy part–the faun and the Pale Man as well as the flitting EFX fairies were phenomenal–the real world brutality left me wide-eyed and in need of a fuzzy animal to squeeze. Honestly, I felt somewhat traumatized by movie’s end; my ability to handle gore and squick is pretty unimpressive, and there was much violence. Fortunately, we’ve got a very squeezable fuzzy animal at home, so it’s all good.

On the fuzzy animal front, Hobkin’s been getting the hiccups a lot recently. It’s rather dramatic when a critter as small as he is gets the hiccups. His whole body jounces with each one. Wish I knew what was causing them and if there was something we could do to decrease their frequency. Right now, all we can do is hold and pet him while he hics. At least they don’t seem to trouble him all that much. Probably distresses me more than him.

Session is going great, so far. I’ve even gotten a couple kudos from the attorneys and secretaries on my work, which makes me inordinantly warm-and-glowy. It has been busy, and I’ve had to stay late every night since it began, but I continue not to feel unduly stressed or overwhelmed. ‘Course the General Assembly has been out of session this last week as it hammers out the budget; I fully expect the scary-busy-stress to ramp up next week.

I continue to stay off the java. I’m drinking tons of tea, but I’ve only had one mug of coffee since session began. The coffee monkey is still hovering about, waiting in the wings, but at least it’s not on my shoulder anymore.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- Note from mroctober listing the tentative ToC for Magic in the Mirrorstone, the anthology slated for a spring ’08 release from Mirrorstone Books. My story, “Princess Bufo marinus, I Call Her Amy,” will be sharing a ToC with an amazing bunch of authors including Beth Bernobich (beth_bernobich), Holly Black (blackholly), Cassandra Clare (cassandraclare), Gregory Frost (frostokovich), Jim C. Hines (jimhines), Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lawrence M. Schoen (klingonguy), E. Sedia (squirrel_monkey), and Janni Lee Simner (janni). *Squee!*
- Email from oldcharliebrown letting me know that the Weird Tales editors are passing on a submission (RT: 80-days), but also that he read and liked the story. Alas, it’s too long for Fantasy Magazine, but I’m pleased regardless to have Sean’s thumbs up on it.
- 9-day pleasant pass from Murky Depths with an invite to submit again.

Pulp pulp pulp

Saw Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! for the first time. And it was . . . wow. Fast cars, ultra violence, and go-go dancers.

I feel the same way I did after the first time I saw Pulp Fiction: surprised-unto-astonished that the quality of the writing, well the dialogue, exceeded my expectations, dazed at the blood-splattered brutality, and uncertain as to whether I liked it or not. It’s obvious that Quentin Tarantino was greatly inspired by Russ Meyer.

I was verily impressed by the shape of the actresses too. With the movie coming out in 1965 and the development of the silicone breast implant only in 1961, I’m assuming that the actresses were all au naturale. Perhaps I’m being overly cynical, but I’d sort of forgotten that women were capable of those sorts of dimensions without surgical enhancement. Meyer liked his actresses curvy, he did.

On a related pinup and anatomical curves topic, some Dragon*Con folks are putting together a calendar to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer research foundation and have asked me to be one of the months. Of course I said “yes” (I’ll be August). Each month will have an appropriate D*C fandom theme such as goth, anime, etc.

I think pulp and camp were on my mind when the coordinator asked me to pick a theme for my month. I suggested doing a science fiction spacegirl a la the pulp ‘zines, which also appeals to me on a writerly front. She loved the idea, so yah, that’s what we’re going with.

Problem: I don’t have a spacegirl costume. I have . . . a ray gun.

Erm. I’ve never constructed an outfit from the accessory up before. Amber, the calendar coordinatrix, assures me there are seamstresses onboard who are willing to apply their skills to the effort, as long as it’s not too ornate. So I’ve been surfing around, trying to get costuming ideas.

Can anyone recommend a good science fiction pulp art gallery I can peruse?

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- 217-day (after a query or two) “Excellent story . . . may we see another?” pass from Weird Tales. The supernatural element wasn’t strong enough, alas.
- 10-day “Nice . . . but didn’t hold” from JJA of F&SF.
- 27-day form nope from Coyote Wild. Might be time to trunk this one.

New Words/Editing:
- Several polish-and-tweak editing passes on the Japanese fantasy, and the fork is stuck in and quivering. I’ve launched that hamster out, out and away. Rah! Also, thanks to one critter’s suggestion, it’s also got a better title: “The Tears of My Mother, The Shell of My Father.” Well, I think it’s a better title, anyway . . .
- 100 words on “By Oak, Bramble, and Metro.” Hoping to make better progress on it after Halloween.


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,129 / 5,000
(42.6%)

Lighter hamsters!

So I didn’t end up buying new shoes. fosteronfilm was feeling blicky after fighting off a mini-migraine, and a few hamsters came out of the woodwork to harry my ankles. So we stayed home and re-watched the first two X-Men movies to prep to see the 3rd, and I did some hamster herding. But no fear, I still plan to celebrate our new-found financial security by purchasing a pretty accessory item. Although now I’m thinking I want to buy a new purse instead.

With the reality of my new job, I suddenly find that the hamsters I’ve been juggling have become lighter and more aerodynamic. Just knowing that I can put some down without having to be concerned about starving is a huge load off my mind. Plus, I’m enjoying the juggling again, when before I was just wanting to fling ‘em away as fast as I could.

Nice hamsters. *pets*

X-men: The Last Stand was shiny. It would seem to wreak havoc with the comic book X-men universe, which is why I suspect a lot of the fans really panned it, not to mention all the plot-device-ish writing. It was pretty, and there were many explosions, which is what I was going for. Nevertheless, I found it to be a downer. Oh, well. There’s still Superman Returns to see.

   


Writing Stuff

I normally don’t have time to write Tangent reviews anymore, aside from the rare story here and there to fill in for conflict-of-interest situations, or the occasional special issue/publication I’ll snag to review; having first pick of review material is, after all, one of the perks of being the Managing Editor. The name Harlan Ellison® in the table of contents of the September issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction caught my attention. He’s one of my all-time favorite writers, one of the main reasons we attended our first Dragon*Con (the other big reason being Ray Bradbury, who also attended that D*C).

I’m awed by the man’s sheer fire when he speaks. I’ve met him–and got hit by an embarrassing episode of star struck, barely managing to babble something trite and inane along the lines of “I’m your biggest fan!”–and I aspire to write prose as visceral and compelling as his. So, of course, I had to review this issue of F&SF.

As it turns out, Harlan didn’t offer up a new story (alas), but rather the kernel of a story idea, a la a writer’s group “Shelley” exercise. Cool and interesting to see the results. My review here.

Received:
- Contract from Realms of Fantasy for “The Devil and Mrs. Comstock’s Snickerdoodles.” It’s slated for publication in the Feb. 2007 issue. I was hoping that it’d make it into an ’06 issue, but since they pay on acceptance, it’s all good. And I seem to have gotten a per-word raise compared to my last sales to them. Sweet!


® Harlan Ellison is a registered trademark of the Kilimanjaro Corporation

Da Vinci Code blows goat chunks

Wingstubs are better after a few days of enforced downtime. Amazing how that works. Had a lovely chat over coffee with yukinooruoni yesterday, and fosteronfilm and I went to an advance screening of The Da Vinci Code on Thursday.

The Da Vinci Code: Wow, did that suck. It sucked on a fundamental story level which made me go “this is what’s been sparking all the controversy, death threats, and hunger strikes? THIS??” As a couple caveats, no, I haven’t read the book (and it has now tumbled off those titles I’ve earmarked as “to read” and onto the blacklist of “I’d rather read the OED from A to Z”) and we sat too close to the screen which resulted in pronounced feelings of nausea/motion sickness from all the jerky camera movement. I think fosteronfilm enjoyed it marginally better than I did; he had the advantage of not being nauseous through most of the movie. But he and I are in agreement on the figurative it-was-pukeworthy elements.

Tom Hanks was particularly uninspiring in the lead role, the movie pulled any punches it might have been able to level at the Catholic church or religion in general, the story was chock full of plot devices and deus ex machinae, the big, shocking reveal was lame to the lamest power (Dogma did it way better and far more entertainingly) and the ending went on and on and on. Also, the jerky camera technique, in addition to making me physically ill, also made me want to shout at the cinematographer “pull back you ninny!” The action was too close and too fragmented, so it wasn’t even an enjoyable suspense/thriller/adventure flick.

In short, the movie blew goat chunks.

Don’t waste your money on this one, folks. Rent or re-watch Dogma instead.

   


Writing Stuff

Mega congrats go to wistling for taking second place in last quarter’s Writers of the Future contest! Woohoo! *flings confetti*

New Words:
- 1500 on a new freelance gig. $$$

Club 100 For Writers
      20

500/day
      33

Casanova and Mirrorstone

Watched Casanova last night. Heath Ledger did a reasonable job as the lead, but I would’ve liked the most notorious hedonist and lady’s man in history, “the world’s greatest lover,” to smolder and sizzle, and instead he was essentially a flirty playboy. Then again, it was a Touchstone movie; there wasn’t even any blood in the sword fight scenes. Admittedly, it’s a bit unrealistic to expect Disney to do sizzle.

I was very amused to see Oliver Platt in it, cast in the exact opposite role that he played in Dangerous Beauty, another movie (the superior one) set in Venice during the same time period.

Apparently, Casanova flopped in the theater, which I think is a shame. It was a fun romantic comedy with lushly beautiful costumes and cinematography. Shot completely on location in Venice, it did a fine job of capturing the magic and romance of the City of Canals.

One day, I’d like to see Venice. Right after Paris.
   


Writing Stuff

It’s public now (and it seems it was mentioned in Locus too), so I can finally squee about this! The Frog Princess story I wrote last November, “Princess Bufo marinus, I Call Her Amy,” was for mroctober, who is editing a fantasy anthology aimed at teen girls published by Mirrorstone Books!

Mirrorstone is the YA imprint owned by Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro (ex-TSR) and its titles are in every chain store in America. The final ToC needs to be approved by the Mirrorstone folks, and my froggie tale is not guaranteed passing muster, but mroctober (who is a fount of keenly discriminating judgement and brilliant taste) liked it and wants it, so I maintain high hopes. *squee squee squee!*

New Words:
- 750 on my guest blogger post for A Writer’s Vanity. It’s not up yet, but I assume Jason’ll post it later today.

[Edit: It’s up, it’s up! Clickie HERE.]

- 200 on the YA novel, and I’m already dissatisfied with it. I think the opening needs more of a kick. Pondering. Ponder ponder. Also been thinking about trying to resume work on A Harmony of Foxes.

Club 100 For Writers
      18

500/day
      32

Rufus Sewell-athon

At the recommendation of grendel317 and dream_wind, I added Cold Comfort Farm to our Netflix queue. fosteronfilm was dubious as apparently he’d seen the 1968 version and it had traumatized him as a wee boy. “Orphaned girl goes to live with scary relatives!” he cautioned. But I knew y’all wouldn’t point me at a dreary and depressing tale.

And my faith was not misplaced. I loved Cold Comfort Farm! Quirky and funny, and yes, Rufus Sewell was uber hawt. I drool in his general direction. I had some trouble with the accents, occasionally squinting at the screen (because that helps, ffft) when I couldn’t parse the dialogue and then turning to Matthew with a “what’d he say?” ‘Course Matthew is worse at accents than I am, but that’s the virtue of DVDs: pause and re-playable. And, of course, Kate Beckinsale was adorable. I highly recommend it, and gobs of thanks to grendel317 and dream_wind for the suggestion.

Craving more Rufus Sewell, we then got out Dark City to re-watch. That’s simply an excellent SF-noir movie. The voiceover is unfortunate (are there any good voiceovers?) as is the casting of Keifer Sutherland, but those negatives are more than adequately compensated for by Rufus Sewell (and his bare rump in the opening scene), Jennifer Connelley–who both sizzles in her torch song numbers and pulls off loving/scared/concerned wife with total credibility–and The Strangers, deliciously-dark-and disturbing bad guys. And really, the set, ambiance, and mood should be credited as characters too, since they’re as tangible and salient as the people in this film.

Rufus Sewell. Yum. Might be time to re-watch Dangerous Beauty. Matthew suggested I see She Creature, but I need more convincing.

   


Writing Stuff

I think I’ve come up with a topic/theme to blog about for my Writer’s Vanity guest blogger spot tomorrow: “Why I Write and the Sense of Wonder.” Just gotta squeeze all the thought fragments together and come up with a coherent bit of wordage. Whoa, didja see that hamster go? Erm, yeah.

New Words:
- 1300 on a new YA novel. Going to try this again. Meep. Just taking it one page sentence at a time.
- Been letting my backbrain dwell on where to take the picture book. This is harder than I expected, and I expected it would be pretty damn hard. Oof.

Received:
- Thumbs up on another query/pitch to Writing-World.com. Now I have to write the article.

Club 100 For Writers
      17

500/day
      31

Pride & Prejudice: Keira Knightly

Less hard of a crash yesterday than I expected. After a day of working in the library, I came down at the reasonable hour of 5PM, baked chocolate chip cookies and had dinner with fosteronfilm. Then we watched the Keira Knightly Pride & Prejudice, which I think pretty much wraps up my Jane Austen kick, and I flopped over with a skunk at the respectable bedtime of 10ish. And now I’m back to regular working hours. Well, almost regular working hours. I woke up this morning at 6ish, but that’s only a little early for me.

Pride & Prejudice was enjoyable, mostly because of Keira Knightly. The other actors, while adequate, didn’t particularly stand out, except for perhaps Judi Dench, who did a nice coldly intimidating and controlling Lady Catherine de Bourg. I was underwhelmed by Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy; Colin Firth he ain’t. While Firth’s Mr. Darcy pulled off sexy with aplomb, building his appeal from the character’s arrogance and pride, I couldn’t bring myself to go ga-ga over Macfadyen’s portrayal. His Mr. Darcy just came off as unlikable and awkward, which pretty much kills the romance aspect.

Still, Keira Knightly is adorable.

   


Writing Stuff

Published:
- The May Apex Online is now live with my featured writer interview and “Only Springtime When She’s Gone” for reading perusal/pleasure.

New Words/Editing:
- Did a final editing pass on the freelance project and sent it off.
- 1000 on a nonfiction article I pitched to an editor. I’m querying and pitching. Big, grown-up freelance writer me.

Received:
- Payment for my last freelance gig. Huzzah! That was nicely speedy.

Club 100 For Writers
      12

500/day
      26

Tristan & Isolde

Watched Tristan & Isolde last night, which I was surprised to find myself liking. I’m actually not a huge fan of the Arthurian legends. I like the era–knights in armor, damsels in distress, chivalry and sword fights etc.–but the foundation stories don’t excite me; they’re too downer-heavy. I guess I’ve got a pretty limited appetite for tragic and unrequited love. Also, the base “Tristan and Isolde” story is way disjointed–two, maybe three Isoldes, a love potion, Tristan perpetually being poisoned, and I think there’s a dragon or something in there to boot–but Hollywood did a good job pulling it together, paring off all the superfluous characters and side intrigues.

I’ve been a fan of Rufus Sewell since I first saw him in Dangerous Beauty, one of my all-time favorite movies (Veronica Franco is my hero), and then Dark City. I thought he was perfect in the role of Lord Marke, plus he’s way hawt, which ramped up my sympathy for the character and made the love triangle that much more tragic. I was less impressed with the actor who played Tristan. I think the role was too much for him; he didn’t have the range to pull off tormented, and so mostly came across as sullen and petulant. However, to make up for that shortcoming, Thomas Sangster, the child actor who played Young Tristan, was fantastic (he also appeared in Love Actually as Sam, Liam Neeson’s son). That kid’s got excellent screen presence, not to mention with his gymnastics background, he was pretty damn impressive in the fight scene he did. If the world is fair, he’s got a solid career in front of him. He looks way younger than he is, though. IMDB says he was born in 1990, and I would never have pegged him as 14/15 in T&I.

And I haven’t even touched upon how lushly beautiful the movie was. Shot on location in Ireland and the Czech Republic, the sets and cinematography were breathtaking.

A surprisingly satisfying movie-watching experience, all-in-all.

   


Writing Stuff

New Words:
- 100 on the Swan Lake tale. Wah! The story’s there, but the words aren’t coming. Bludgeoning of muse scheduled for later.
- 900 on freelance work. Ho hum.

Received:
- 10-day pleasant pass from Aeon: “a clever tale, and a well-written one . . . Still . . .” with a “We look forward to seeing another from you soon” consolation prize.

Club 100 For Writers
      10

500/day
      24

Aeon Flux, Final Fantasy VII, and the Hungarians like me

Thanks to everyone who offered up their insight and wisdom to answer my “what are these flowers?” inquiry yesterday. I think the consensus is that the first is a mock orange and the second some sort of azalea.

Watched Aeon Flux, and it would’ve been passable as meaningless SF fluff if it hadn’t been Aeon Flux. Some of the imagery was excellent, faithful to the weirdness and mood of the animated series, and gave the beginning of the movie an otherworldly feel. However, they emasculated Trevor Goodchild, made him an altruistic goody-good without enough common sense to anticipate a coup (or dodge a bullet). And what they did to Aeon herself! Oof. Patently, with the two main characters so distorted, their relationship lost all the kick (literally and figuratively) from the animated series. Also, none of the clever, caustic dialogue from the animated series was in evidence, and the hackneyed, cliched effort to write a SF screenplay was truly pathetic. It seems that the screenwriters had never done SF before and it shows. They were also going to make Aeon pregnant, but fortunately, saner brains in Hollywood kiboshed that abomination.

Peter Chung was pretty aghast at what they did with his creation. I hope they paid him well.

Still, Charlize Theron was impressive, even more so considering that she did most of her own stunts, even after she’d herniated a disk ten days into shooting. That woman’s got beauty and grace down pat, she does. The commentary track mentioned that she’d been classically trained in ballet, and that’s pretty obvious to anyone who has a smidgen of dance background; the series of grand jetés she does in the movie, leaping from roof to roof, were absolutely flawless. Wire work or no wire work, you don’t get that kind of turnout and extension unless you’ve had a teacher hound and harangue you about proper alignment during your formative years.

Also watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Or rather, I watched part of it and slept through the rest. Granted, I don’t play the game. Actually, I don’t play any computer games; I don’t have the time to commit to a diversion with that sort of addictive potential. I don’t really get the appeal of them–which is absolutely for the best and I’m more than content not to explore this cultural phenomenon on a personal level. But this movie utterly baffled me. The characters, their motivation, the storyline, the world, everything was one big “huh?” The animation was pretty enough, but not particularly engaging. I guess you need the background of the game in order to make sense of it. Even the battle scenes left me blinking.

fosteronfilm managed to sit through the whole thing. His review for anyone curious.

Hollywood has let me down. It’s up to V for Vendetta to restore my faith in shallow, big-budget entertainment.

   


Writing Stuff

Finished up my Apex Featured Writer interview answers and emailed them to merebrillante.

Discovered, to my great amusement, that Galaktika is doing a poll for best story in issue #193. As of this post, “All in My Mind” (or “Minden itt van a fejemben” in Hungarian) is #1, beating out offerings from both Fritz Leiber and Frank Herbert. Woot!

I took a screen shot of the poll so that even if (as I fully expect) I get knocked from the top spot, I will always have proof that once, ye verily, I beat out Fritz Leiber and Frank Herbert.

Stuck a fork in my mongo freelance research project and sent it off. A world of hurray and a continent of whew. That was some big-time brain squeezings. But hard work and stress notwithstanding, I really enjoyed it. (I shall also really enjoy getting paid.) And I’m pleased with my final product; I think I did good. Moreover, I also feel like I did something worthwhile. Helping to put together coursework that will assist teachers in effectively imparting literacy skills to young children gives me a big ole sense of glowy validation.

I guess I hadn’t realized how very much I missed being active in my academic field. I shoved all my regrets and misgivings about going into the private sector totally under the carpet of my subconscious, and they obediently stayed there for over a decade. Probably just as well. I had enough soul-sucking-induced restlessness at my day job without further dissatisfaction to gnaw at me.

Briefly, very briefly, I had a stray “maybe I should try to get my PhD” thought, but that’s really not feasible, or the least bit realistic. But at least I can hope and aspire to do more educational freelance gigs.

If I can manage to get regular work lined up–enough to pay the bills, and that’s a big if–this might be totally doable. I don’t have a problem pulling 12-14 hour days when I love the work, and while I can’t expect all gigs to be as ideal a fit with my interests and background as this one was, this is so much better than being a cubicle monkey.