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barth
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 10:40 am:   

karen m: "Didn't anyone tell you, Barth? When you have a baby, the government sends you free books in the mail."

ohhh, rummy sent it? that explains the nazi science fiction then.
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Karen Meisner
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 10:55 am:   

Aha: there goes my alternate "Santa" theory.

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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 11:33 am:   

Was it postmarked from Rummy World???
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barth
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 05:55 pm:   

maybe rummy is the anti-santa?
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barth
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 - 09:04 am:   

mike

"branch offices." funny!
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 02:01 pm:   

my earthlink addy is down for a bit. you can contact me at barthanderson@hotmail.com if you need to.
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 08:15 am:   

hey,

if you're not too hungover thursday morning (October 23), check out the Today Show. NBC was in the Wedge today (the grocery co-op where i work) nabbing footage for a spot on genetically modified organisms in the food supply.

i wasn't interviewed or anything but i'll bet there will be lots of pretty pictures of our produce department - easy on the eyes and brain at that hour.
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Alan
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 10:54 am:   

So what happened? Did Matt Laurer throw his head into your mango section, eating ravenously like the monkeys in 28 Days Later?
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barth
Posted on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 12:17 pm:   

"Did Matt Laurer throw his head into your mango section, eating ravenously like the monkeys in 28 Days Later?"

yup. forced me to go all "Living-Dead" on him too. had to bash the zombie-bastard's head in with a palett jack before he chowed any yuppies in the express lane.

back to you, katie...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 05:37 am:   

Barth -- nice entry about writing and parenting. That's been a big fear of mine (that the writing and DESIRE to write will simply dry up once we start having kids), and it's good to get your take on that situation.

Guess we'll have to have some of them lil critters one of these days...

Lovely image of your step-father typing away in the early mornings, then making you french toast. :-)
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DaveHD
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 06:33 am:   

Hi Mike, I think Barth blogged partially in response to a load of "I don't have enough time for me" angst I dumped on him over coffee friday morning (the irony of sitting for two hours over coffee griping about how I have no time for myself, while the rest of the world [and in particular my partner] works for a living, is only slowly penetrating my thoughts.) I remember pretty clearly at some point moaning, "Well, don't have three for god's sake."
Barth had mostly talked sense into me by the time I left, and his post finished up his good therapy work, but I do want to toss in a few observations from the other side of the parenting decision.

To do it right (parenting or writing) takes an enormous amount of time. At some point you've got to make hard decisions. For some that means a five a.m. alarm or late nights (done both, mornings seem better.) And because it's an easy thing NOT to do, writing sometimes gets sacrificed on the altar of family. But Mike, the big problem is that the writing and desire don't simply dry up. No matter how hard I try to convince myself that I'd be happier tossing in the towel and giving it up, I can't. I ask you this, "Can you imagine yourself not writing?" I doubt it.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 09:30 am:   

Hey Dave! You nailed it when you said writing is an easy thing NOT to do. But I know I'd get back to it, even with kids. Hell, I still wonder if I'll get up tomorrow and write or if I'll just give it up. But I keep coming back.

It's good for me to remember that. Thanks!

Now why aren't you writing??? ;)
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 09:32 am:   

thanks mike. it's rough, combining kids and writing, no doubt. i just wanted to offer something other than the doom and gloom that most writers hear.

dave, our convo was part of a spooky little zeitgeist. dora goss sort of solicited my advice, too, in an email that got me wondering what i'd say to an expectant writer (check out her fine blog on such matters at http://people.bu.edu/tgoss/journal.html). hope it was ok to mine our talk for that posting on my blog.

and it's a GREAT point you make, dave, about the desire never drying up. appropriately, there ain't no clever bits of advice in the available "how to be a writer" texts on such matters. balancing the selfishness of writing with the selflessness of parenting is a completely personal dilemma, and the solutions will necessarily be ideosyncratic to the family in question.
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DaveHD
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 11:38 am:   

Who says I'm not writing? It's actually been a pretty good year.

I have never been happier nor written more than after my first child was born. Becoming a parent changed me, and because some of those changes were deep and profound they affected my writing in deeply profound ways. Most for the good. what's been particularily challenging is that I had to answer the "Am I a writer?" question simultaneously with the "Can I be a parent?" question. I envy those of you who answered the first before the second because I think barth's observations about getting the habits of writing etched into your life first, makes it a lot easier to carry on when kids, or anything, cames along to knock you off track.
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Deborah Layne
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 02:11 pm:   

Barth, 'scuse me for buttin' in here. I'm a mom (eight-year-old) as well as an editor/publisher and finding time to write is a constant struggle for me, too. I haven't found the answers yet -- but there is one How To book for writers that does talk about stuff like relationships, parenting, life issues, and that's Bruce Holland Rogers' Word Work. I highly recommend it. Not that Bruce has any quick fixes, but he just has a lot of good stuff to think about. He has a chapter compiled of comments he picked up from lots of writing parents that's pretty interesting.

Hope to meet you at WFC and maybe even trade a football barb or three.

:-)
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barth
Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 05:36 am:   

thanks for buttin' in and for the tip on Word Work, deborah. good to know someone's tried to address such complicated matters.

i won't be at WFC, sadly. i really wish i was there for the P3 launch (and the Say... launch; and the Flytrap launch!). sounds like it will be a great con. when the vikes win this weekend, please give minz a dose of crap for me, wouldja? i'll owe ya one.

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Karen Meisner
Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 05:44 am:   

I'm going to look up that Word Work book, Deborah, thanks for the tip.

As someone whose writing habits were not very disciplined before having a child, it's been tough. Not just finding the time, but finding the frame of mind; Barth nailed it with the comment about balancing the selfishness of writing with the selflessness of parenting. I want to be selfish again!

But the weird and unexpected thing is that somehow becoming a mom has also helped me focus on writing a novel, and that's something I wasn't doing before. It's as though I needed such a blatant excuse NOT to write, in order to get myself to the point of feeling free to write. Like, the real excuse has trumped all my bullshit excuses, so there's nowhere left to hide and I can finally get to work.

As for the desire to write: it's become much stronger since my having a kid. Now it comes down to discipline. Which it always did; now it just takes more.

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DaveHD
Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 06:42 am:   

Barth, I wonder if Karen hasn't exposed why you got all those gleeful predictions of writing time doom. The writing is no different post-child, but the discipline required to sit down and do it is. Combine that with the prevalent myth that writing happens when the "muse hits," or some other bullshit "the stars must be aligned" notion that lifts the burden of discipline off the writer and it makes perfect sense. 'Cause when the muse hits, chances are you'll be totally besotted by a game of "make Iko smile" and miss the calling. Here's the hopeful thing to tell a writing parent: "You'll find out pretty soon what's important. And if it's writing, then sooner or later you'll figure out how to get it done. And when you figure that out, you'll be a a stronger, better writer than you were going in." It's all good.
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barth
Posted on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 09:54 am:   

(tapping toe, waiting for everyone to get back from stinking WFC...)
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Tim Akers
Posted on Friday, October 31, 2003 - 01:33 pm:   

It does get kind of lonely on here, doesn't it?
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barth
Posted on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 03:12 pm:   

-crickets chirping-
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Kristin Livdahl
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 05:23 pm:   

We missed you, Barth
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barth bitterson
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 07:16 pm:   

if i were anymore bitter, i'd be so much scalded coffee abandoned on the burner by a waitress named roz!

(but i am not alone. see notes at

http://www.journalscape.com/greg/2003-10-30-09:37

for more overworked metaphors)
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Karen Meisner
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 07:41 pm:   

We did miss you! And we smiled at photos of you and your family, and hoped you'll come to WisCon, which as we all know is the one that really counts.
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barth
Posted on Monday, November 03, 2003 - 09:50 pm:   

i'm not seriously bitter, of course. it's just my youngest kid thing of hating to miss a party. i mean, who wants to miss such a great gathering of fun and talented people??

i agree, karen, wiscon is the one that counts (and WFC in madison might be best of all!!), but i do hope all who went to DC will post stories so i can live vicariously through you.
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Minz
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 04:27 am:   

Barth . . . Barth . . . why does that name sound familiar?
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rfw
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 06:28 am:   

I missed Barth. He's the one with the curly hair?

Robert
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barth
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 08:01 am:   

"He's the one with the curly hair?"

oui. beard hair.


(robert, you were at WFC, too? dang. now i AM bitter...)

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barth
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 08:07 am:   

"Barth . . . why does that name sound familiar?"

funny, your name has a familiar ring for me as well, stranger... went back to west bend two weeks ago and saw that name here and there....hmm....

(also tried to order a peppermint schnaaps at the first bar i ever bartended at...and they didn't have any!! a bar with no rumple in west bend?? mourn with me, jim!)
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 09:54 am:   

Wait, Barth wasn't there? Then who was I talking to?

JK
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barth
Posted on Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - 10:37 am:   

"Then who was I talking to?"

uh oh. i've been inadvertantly doppleganging again.

that or maybe klima drunkenly cornered china mieville? (hrm. i wouldn't want to be the one to call mieville a ratbastard...)

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Haddayr
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 12:04 pm:   

Barth:
Did you know your blog has a link to the "Barth" part of the discussion area instead of "Barth 2?"

I have to chime in (a little late) about parenting and writing: I have written more as a parent than as a non-parent, if you consider working on a project as writing. By that, I mean I used to spend a great deal of time bitching about things in my journal, which wasn't really writing.

I started to do things in a more focused manner when I was pregnant (I was focused rage, rage, rage), and then afterwards I started mainly working on stories when I picked up the pen.

One thing that really, really helps: an actual, old-fashioned bed time. I am lucky that I get to see Arie every day at lunch, so I don't keep bleeding his bedtime later and later because I crave him so much, but I lay him down in his crib, close the door, and walk away until morning. Every night. That gives me plenty of time, if I can stop watching shitty TV shows.
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Haddayr
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 12:06 pm:   

I forgot to add to the last message that his bedtime is 7:00.
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barth
Posted on Saturday, November 15, 2003 - 10:22 am:   

haddayr,

sorry i didn't respond earlier! i totally agree about focus. i'm far mroe productive now. how long after you had your baby did you start writing again?
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Haddayr Copley-Woods
Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 02:09 pm:   

Barth:
I'd say I started when he began sleeping through the night, which was seven or eight months old. Please do not panic at those words! He belongs to a very small minority of children, and I'm sure that this will not be your and Lisa's experience. Ahem.
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 09:12 am:   

isaiah has been a pretty good sleeper already. we'll see what happens when his teeth start coming in, but so far i've been able to get a few good hours of writing in the morning.

mainly i was just curious how many months most mom-writers had to be away from writing. obviously, it's far easier for dads to steal minutes.
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Dave
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 10:26 am:   

Hey Barth, Rowan's been sleeping through the night for two months. This marks only the second period in the last ten years when all my children have been routinely sleeping through the night at the same time. You get used to it.

A story to cheer ya'll: I left Rowan unattended for fifteen minutes while I attempted to write. Apparently, fifteen minutes is enough time and a quart is enough yogurt to thoroughly coat all the cushions of a couch, two small boys, a dog, twenty square feet of carpeting, and still have enough left over to draw on the windows. It's unclear if he actually ate any of the yogurt, which is too bad, 'cause the acidopholus is a lot better for him than it is for the couch. It really only took about an hour and a half to clean it up, so it wasn't all that bad. Course, it turns out NOT to have been necessary to clean the couch, since when I put the cushions out in the sun to dry, the dog shredded them into tiny little bits. Oh, well, at least I got fifteen minutes to write.

Say, anybody want a "slightly" used hide-a-bed. Needs some upholstery work, a couple cushions, and it smells slightly of rotten yogurt, dog pee, and mango juice vomit (don't even get me started on the week-of-a-thousand-buckets,) but other than that it's in great condition.

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Haddayr
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

Dave:
I'm sorry to laugh at your pain, but I had a good laugh. Thanks. You poor guy.
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 12:42 pm:   

is it *organic* mango juice vomit?
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Tim Akers
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 01:00 pm:   

Man. That's what my wife calls an aural contraceptive.
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DaveHD
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 01:18 pm:   

Ceres. I insist that my family throw-up only the finest organic foods produced by workers paid in an ecomically fair and sustainable manner. To do anything else would be an insult to the small farmer struggling every day to put food on my table (or floor, as the case may be.) (Loved the Meatrix, btw.)

Haddayr, Laugh only after running out to stock up on the birth control of your choice.
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Haddayr
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 01:35 pm:   

Well, considering that my son recently thrilled and delighted me with a performance of The Most Incredibly No-Holds Barred Astonishingly Furious Over the Top Take No Prisoners Temper Tantrum Ever, I think I deserve a good laugh at another parent's expense.
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 01:41 pm:   

"I insist that my family throw-up only the finest organic foods produced by workers paid in an ecomically fair and sustainable manner."

its irrational devotion like this that keeps a onesie on my kid. bless you.
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Alan
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 02:20 pm:   

Get ready to put that "I'm a Little Ratbastard" t-shirt to good use, Barth.

Your story on your blog ("the disappearances?!?") is classic. What are you getting into with this novel of yours? What happens if we never hear from you again? Anyway, I don't know if this is a clue--but I saw and picked up a very scrawly flyer for something called the Bat (something) School. I wish I could remember (argh! I'm under the same forgetting spell that your other friends are!). They had kind of homespun cooking, yoga, etc. classes. It didn't look like a front for the Rosicrucians on first glance, so this might not be the school you want. But you never know.

Have you tried putting the phone number into Google?

Their location was in Cedar Riverside (Dave, have you heard of this?). Of course when I come back to the Loft I'll find all of the flyers gone, and their storefront will be an empty billiards hall that closed down in the 70s.

Anyway, let us know how this turns out. If you "disappear" and we see you three years from now on the side of the road with a blank stare, holding up a sign saying "BAEZZABUL SQUASH THANKS" or something, we'll be sure to mercy kill you and throw you into traffic.
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Karen Meisner
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 02:29 pm:   

Well it hardly seems right to pay money for food that supports a system of unfair labor, poisoned earth and unsustainable economics if it's just going to get puked up anyway. This way when the yogurt hits the fan you can at least console yourself that you've done a good thing for the world. (And apparently, for Barth's kid.)

Thanks for your couch story, Dave, it really puts some perspective on yesterday's little magic marker incident.

Do they make organic birth control pills?
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Karen
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 02:42 pm:   

PS. Just read your wordblog, and weird weird weird. I hope the whole incident shows up in your novel. I've got some great research material handy on the history of American utopian (read: generally weird spiritual/culty) communities if you want to borrow any, although it's mostly to do with California and the past.
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DaveHD
Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 02:52 pm:   

...Speaking of magic markers:

We were at a party at a friends house a couple weeks back and left Rosie unattended for about, oh, six seconds. Somehow he got one of the markers from the big kids and started in on the end tables, the wooden couch arms, the piano, the piano bench, the coffee table, and for his coup de gras, walked up and down the stairs doing his Harold and the Purple Crayon routine. Except for the walls, it was mostly hard surfaces so the cleanup was relatively simple, but there's still a white streak up the wall, where we had to scrub down to the drywall. We didn't stay much longer after that.

Christ, I assume ya'll will be sending Social Services around to collect the kids, since we're obviously incompetent parents. Either that or I gotta start a column: "Tales of a Dysfunctional Dad"

Do they make organic birth control pills? They do, only they taste like carob, so nobody takes them.

No idea on Barth's school. I'll follow a few leads, though.
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barth
Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2003 - 05:27 am:   

"Anyway, I don't know if this is a clue--but I saw and picked up a very scrawly flyer for something called the Bat (something) School. "

do you still have the flyer????
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Christopher Rowe
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 10:16 am:   

Okay, it's been a couple of days now and I need resolution. What's the deal with the school?!?

You teased it, Anderson, now you gotta pay up. No matter the risk.
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Alan
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 10:19 am:   

Barth, I hunted for the flyer but couldn't find it.

Okaaaay....weird.
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barth
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 12:36 pm:   

>Okay, it's been a couple of days now and I need resolution. What's the deal with the school?!?<

it gets weirder. now the cell phone number i have for the dude whose name i don't know isn't working. the cursed school is a swirling vortex, sucking everyone in!!

but i'm on it. allen is trying to reach the guy who took a class at the Weird School, and allen's back into work on monday.


>I hunted for the flyer but couldn't find it.

Okaaaay....weird.<

>You teased it, Anderson, now you gotta pay up. No matter the risk.<

the curse has already spread to deniro! now YOU wanna tempt fate, rowe? careful what you wish for or you'll be forgetting your name and phone number by sundown....

ps. if i don't post for a couple days in a row, would one of you please call my wife?
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Gwenda B.
Posted on Friday, November 21, 2003 - 02:37 pm:   

>>>>>>the curse has already spread to deniro! now YOU wanna tempt fate, rowe? careful what you wish for or you'll be forgetting your name and phone number by sundown....

And that would be related to the curse how...?

(running)
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DaveHD
Posted on Monday, November 24, 2003 - 09:13 am:   

Hey, where'd everybody go? Ohmigod, it's...
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Kristin
Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - 04:51 pm:   

From my old U of M days, the main freaky recruiters on campus, other than the Hari Krishnas, were Eckankar (which seems to be too organized to be your school) and the International Church of Christ (not the UCC)- which had some complaining about cult like activities back then. Another group that a friend of mine accidentally got involved with, which also sounds too organized to be your thing, was Vistar/Lifespring.
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DaveHD
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 03:00 pm:   

Barth, I read the article that blows your gourd and all I could think is, "Christ, I can't even park my car straight."
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barth
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 07:25 pm:   

you're telling this to the guy who burned out the clutch on your car. mars? please. i'm all smug if i can find it in a dictionary.

god, NASA and the JPL make me feel ahmish.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 09:57 am:   

Barth said: "is wallace shawn playing joe lieberman just in the debates or will he play joe lieberman for the rest of joe lieberman's political career?"

Mike says: "Inconceivable!"

Stay warm up there, dude.
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barth
Posted on Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 02:51 pm:   

it might be helpful if joe worked the phrase "the cliffs of insanity!" into his stump speeches.
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Deborah
Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 10:16 pm:   

Hey, Barth, is that hotmail address still good? I need to get in touch. Email me if that's not the right address.

Thanks!

Deborah Layne
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 06:37 am:   

Dude -- I've been driving my '93 Escort non-stop since I bought it (bought it new, though) and it's still chugging along at 175,000 miles. I will cry manly tears when it dies. And yeah, why the hell did Ford stop making them? I don't know what I'll do when my Esquart dies...
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 12:31 pm:   

"why the hell did Ford stop making them?"

you answer your own question:

"I've been driving my '93 Escort non-stop since I bought it (bought it new, though) and it's still chugging along at 175,000 miles."

can't get rich off light bulbs that never burn out.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 01:31 pm:   

Um, actually, the lights in my dash have been burnt out for the past 2 years and I've been too lazy to replace them. Makes driving at night a fun challenge!

I try to incorporate a Ford Escort into all my fiction.

I hope when the Esquart dies I can bury it in my back yard.
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 04:06 pm:   

loretta had faulty wiring too. must be in the breed.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2004 - 07:54 pm:   

Excellent, excellent journal entry on taking risks with your writing. Thank you for verbalizing this.
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barth
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 05:52 am:   

thanks, jason. and thank *you* for "night off" at fantastic metropolis! nog, sleigh rides, and a suicidal santa just scream christmas to me.
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 06:51 am:   

Oh yeah, I got so caught up in Escort-gushing that forgot to say thanks for the excellent entry about writing Jason mentioned. I sort of had the same realization recently, I think during or after WFC this past year -- once you've figured out how to tell a story, it's up to you to start bending and breaking rules to make the story your own.

But you said it all much better than I.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Friday, February 06, 2004 - 09:25 am:   

Thanks for the nice words, Barth. Anything I can do to brighten up your holidays! :-)
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Kevin
Posted on Saturday, February 07, 2004 - 09:59 pm:   

You just reminded of a moment last semester when we were introducing ourselves in choir. In introducing ourselves, we were supposed to give a strange or interesting fact. I decided to mention that I was a published writer.

"Oh!" says my choir directer. "We should introduce you to [insert name of the person I absolutely have to meet, whom I've yet to meet and whose name I sadly can't even remember]. He writes too."

I could feel the panic welling up inside me.

I definitely enjoy meeting other authors, but I think having a non-writer introduce two writers is like a blind date set up by a well-meaning coworker.
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barth
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 06:08 am:   

it's akin to the thing you'll get the rest of your life now, kevin, of: "oh, you went to madison? well, you must know....?"

a mill of 40K students/year. yeah. right.
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Kevin
Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 05:54 pm:   

I already get that from people who find out i used to go to UIUC. Now it will be double the fun I'm sure.
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Kevin
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 12:35 am:   

Did you ever notice that those ancient masters loved to talk about turtles?

I think they all had serious turtle fetishes.
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Kevin
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 05:33 am:   

I'll keep my fingers crossed for the A&A story.

In other news, Did I drive everyone else away? Three consecutive posts by me in a row. I'm starting to feel like I'm hogging the message board.
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barth
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 05:47 am:   

thanks, kevin, i appreciate that.

that's such a weird one with A&A. first i got an email from leah bobet advising me to send my story elsewhere, and then publisher burrell wrote to say the previous editors were leaving over "concerns about story payment" - though burrell told me i'd get a check soon. hrm.

anyone out there know the inside story at A&A?
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Kevin
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 08:08 am:   

That's an amazing bit of bioengineering there.

People invent things like this, and I wonder why I even bother writing speculative fiction. :-) I'm obviously not thinking deeply enough.
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barth
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 07:30 pm:   

sure, bioengineers come up with the cool ideas, but they can't write. so that's where you come in...
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Kevin
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 11:50 pm:   

Dear gods... Daley said something I agree with? Is it snowing in Hell yet?
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barth
Posted on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 08:43 am:   

that's not snow - it's wedding rice!
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Kevin
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 03:40 am:   

Lot 12A is definitely one of my favorites of yours. Congrats on the resale!
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barth
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 04:48 am:   

thanks, kevin! yeah, it's great to have it out in the world again.
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Kevin
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 04:28 pm:   

Here's to hoping Iko gets well soon! My thoughts are with you guys.
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Alan
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 08:31 am:   

Actually, Kucinich did really well in the Iron Range and Duluth too, if I'm not mistaken.

Isn't there the District convention before the state convention? Then again, our precinct chair was horribly confused, so I might have it all, all wrong. There were only 19 people who showed up for my precinct, so at any rate, I'm a delegate for the 4th district convention. Should be interesting (eek, I hope).
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 11:22 am:   

you're right on both counts, alan: districts first on the 13th, and, yes, kucinich did well in the 8th district (wellstone country). and yours too - the 4th, yes?

good luck ward heeling. maybe i'll see you at the state convention? look for me. i'll be wearing a red white and blue skimmer.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 04:24 pm:   

Dude, I can't believe you spell gray with an e.
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 07:58 pm:   

oh dear. what have i done now?
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Agent Jasper
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 02:48 am:   

Just don't be adding a "u" to words like "humor."

We've got our eyes on you, Mr. Anderson...

Do you say "about" or "aboot"? That Canadian influence is problematic, I see.

(And I really need to get back to writing, instead of harassing you...)
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Karen
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 05:20 am:   

I spell grey with an "e" too. Surely influenced by reading lots of British authors at a young age so I thought that was the correct spelling -- little did I know it was some silly foreign aberration -- but now I think of gray as a different color than grey. And grey is prettier. Gray is darker, heavier, without nuance. Grey is a lovely subtle shade.
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barthe
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 06:48 am:   

i realise this is a rather fascinating discussion, but i must acquire some petrol so i can steer my motorcar to the theatre. cheerio!
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Mike
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 02:13 am:   

bloody hell!
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Heather Shaw
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 11:48 am:   

Karen, that's so weird. I think of gray as a different colour than grey, but for me, gray is prettier -- with blue undertones -- while grey is just sort of dull and flat.

Barthe, be careful not to run over the kerb whilst on your way to the theatre! In case you do, hope you have a spare in your bonnet!
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Heather Shaw
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 11:51 am:   

Erm, make that "boot", not "bonnet"!
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Karen
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 07:56 pm:   

Gray *does* have blue undertones, you're right. But my grey isn't dull, it's a keen sort of light color, like a velvety stone. In my mind they're sort of like the difference between pigeons and doves.

Uh, gray pigeons and grey doves, that is. Not, you know, the blue-green pigeons.
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barth
Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 11:47 am:   

grey cadaver. gray teeth. like that?
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Karen
Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 08:34 pm:   

What a rare gift to be both gruesome and succinct. Yes.
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barth
Posted on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 04:43 am:   

ha! i want that on my gravestone. "he was gruesome, yet succinct."
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Kevin
Posted on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 06:08 pm:   

I never really thought of gray as having a bluish undertones. If anything, I thought of gray as an absolutely flat shade with no nuance to it. A color in which the component colors were absolutely balanced. Grey, on the other hand has a subtle tint of color to it which gives it a sense of depth.

Where is Zakbar when you need him? Isn't this his field of expertise?
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-b.
Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 12:45 pm:   

yes, i've heard zakbar is getting pretty good at identifying colors now, kevin. shapes, too.
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Kevin
Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 02:07 pm:   

Shapes too? *sniff* Our boy is getting so big...

Congrats on the nomination!
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-b.
Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 04:53 am:   

muchas gracias!
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Celia Marsh
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 10:47 pm:   

I just picked up a book for a re-read and realised that it's what your baby stories remind me of, in a very good way, so I thought I'd recommend it to you. It's called "Perfect Skin," by Nick Earls (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312303033/), and while similar in many ways to Nick Hornby, it's more...delicate, maybe, in the language and the details. My descriptions never make sense. I shouldn't try to explain, I should just point it out to you and move on. :-)
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barth
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 05:07 am:   

why, thank you, celia. if you recommend it, i'll definitely check it out. :-)
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Heather Shaw
Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 04:57 pm:   

Re: Shitty first drafts...

Well, I'll get an idea. Or a phrase. And it'll repeat in my head for awhile. Things I see as I walk to and from work will relate to the thing repeating in my head. Characters appear at some point (or sometimes they're the first thing to come) speaking the phrase, having conversations. (Lots of conversations going on in my head for years now, honestly. It's like I had no choice but to write some of them down or go mad.)

I'll think on it, try to beat the whole thing into some sort of story shape. At least figure out how it might end, or, at the very least, what the second scene would be or if the scene that's forming is even the first scene.

Eventually, it all comes together into a story, and I sit down and write it. A little bit at a time, over weeks.

Sometimes it's close to the right structure. Other times the setting is about 100 years too late and I need to rewrite it in the present day. I'm getting better at cleaner drafts, but I'm still a rewriter a lot of the time.

Each draft gets a number. 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 2.0 (usually a major revision gets a new number in the, um, ones place?). Most stories these days end up under or at 4.5; used to be 7 or 8.9 before they'd be done. I save all drafts on my hard drive.

The novel is different. The novel has an outline and my characters keep wanting to take road trips. It's too big to hold in my head most times, so they sneak a few in, but it keeps me interested, which is nice for a longer work. I'm nowhere near done yet, so I'm not sure about rewriting, and, honestly, don't want to think about it until I have a draft done. Otherwise I might never finish!

Heh. Interesting topic! Too bad a panel isn't happening....perhaps it's more of a Living Room kind of discussion anyway, like the Endicott studios do every year, you know?
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barth
Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 07:16 pm:   

"Each draft gets a number. 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 2.0 (usually a major revision gets a new number in the, um, ones place?). Most stories these days end up under or at 4.5; used to be 7 or 8.9 before they'd be done. I save all drafts on my hard drive."

that's a pretty good system, heather. when does a draft get a new "decimal"? every time you twiddle with the prose?
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barth
Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 07:19 pm:   

(i started a new thread on drafting called "How Do You Draft" in the ratbastards' folder.)
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 11:11 am:   

Barth, you need to Make the Switch to JournalScape like Mr. Barzak so it's easier for me to make snide comments like this.
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barthfearschange
Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 09:04 pm:   

it seems...so risque
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Mike
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 05:45 pm:   

Yet... so easy to do.
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Heather Shaw
Posted on Thursday, April 29, 2004 - 11:12 am:   

RE: Mangos...

Barth, you ever think about writing erotica?
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barth
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 08:47 am:   

hmm...think there's a market for mango pornography?

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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 08:58 am:   

Glad to hear you and your young 'un and lady are back together. Great story about your reunion and the flight!

P.S. In answer to your question a few months ago about my wife, yep, she is now! My boys can swim!
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barth
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 12:02 pm:   

HEYYYYY! that's awesome, mike! congratulations to you two - and to your millions of boys!!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 12:18 pm:   

Thanks! We're out of our minds with joy!
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Forrest
Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 06:06 pm:   

Hey, Barth, Forrest here. Sorry for the non-sequitor, but I just finished "The Mystery of our Baraboo Lands" in Polyphony 3 and had to tell you how thrilled I was by the story. I was thrilled. There. I've said it. No, really, a fantastic story that could be expanded into a significant novel, I felt. And, since I live just down the road from Baraboo, and it's springtime, and mushrooms are growing in the woods in abundance (well, at least until this mornings *snow* - yes, friggin' *snow* in May!!!), I thought it the perfect tale for me, here, now. Great job!

See you at Wiscon?
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barth
Posted on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 07:12 am:   

hey, forrest, thanks for the kind review and wisconsin weather update! the weird terrain west and north of madison has been inspirational to me, so i'm glad you liked that story.

i'll definitely be at wiscon. see you there?
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 01:55 pm:   

I'll be there with bells on. Well, at least with clothes on.

And I can't agree more about the driftless area - it really is a little slice of heaven. If it weren't for the driving cost (both monetary and environmental), I'd live over there - give me anywhere from Mount Horeb up to Sparta, though my dream is to live around Mazomanie! I spend a fair clip of time hiking over there, actually. *sigh* - Oh that career and desires would cross wires.
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barth
Posted on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

good idea on the clothes thing, man. i'll listen for your bells in the bar!

as for southwest wisconsin, do you know _The Driftless Zone_, by rick harsch? if not, i highly recommend it. my co-op buddies in la crosse remember the writer haunting the local bars and said he was a stitch. his book is too.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1883642582/002-2083540-5316865?v=g lance

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Heather Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 01:48 pm:   

I hope your soil turns out ok! And I, for one, don't mind hearing about compost piles a bit!

Oh, and about mango erotica -- you could probably sell one mango erotica story, possibly two, but then I'm afraid you'd have to branch out to other fruits, maybe even a vegetable or two. :-D
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barth
Posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 06:21 am:   

i hope our soil is ok too! chances are it's all good. i just don't want to lie awake at night picturing little fingers combing through arsenic-laced dirt.

and thanks for the erotica advice. funny how all conversation turns to sex and produce, no??

oh. is that just me? oops...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2004 - 07:35 am:   

Oh, I can't wait for the sound of baby laughter! There's nothing better.

And on a totally different topic, I heard the first murmurs of Rumsfeld being asked to step down today. Of course, it was on BBC radio, so take that with a LARGE grain of NaCl. But we can dream, can't we?
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Nalo Hopkinson
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2004 - 08:23 am:   

Barth, did you know that "Lark's" on the Spectrum Award nomination list? Congratulations!

http://www.spectrumawards.org/2004.htm
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barth
Posted on Thursday, May 06, 2004 - 08:57 am:   

mike - baby laughter is what it's all about, my new drug of choice. as for rummy, i hope he cooks in full view before bush shit-cans him. apparently kerry is too gentile to light the fire, which means this whole, hideous affair will have little impact on november. sigh.

nalo - yes, i did know about that nomination! i'm so glad Mojo got a few nods for the Spectrums. you gathered some of my favorite stories from last year in that collection (duncan, gaiman, fintushel), so i wish you'd gotten more recognition for your great work, nalo.
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DaveHD
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 06:25 am:   

Let's talk produce. Any opinions on whether CSA's are worth it? For $25-30.00/wk I could get around 10lbs of (local, organic, small-farmer produced, no middleman) veggies which I'm not sure is such a good deal since paying $2.50 a lb for a pound of carrots and onions at the height of the season doesn't seem like a competitive price point. And, all the same produce will be available at my co-op and I won't have to figure out what to do with seven pounds of leeks in the middle of July. Any thoughts o guru of greens?
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barth
Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 08:50 am:   

dave, i'm going to answer your question over in "produce questions." this area is getting loooong.

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Eric Marin
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 01:18 pm:   

What did you think of The Fall of the Kings, Barth? I've been considering buying a copy.

I hope all is well with you and your familla.

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barth
Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:48 pm:   

hey eric! Fall of Kings is very different from Swordspoint - a more sprawling cast of characters and plots, with a decided bent toward upper crust venues (debutante balls, valets selecting skin tight outfits for the main character, flirting behind fans in balconies), when what i liked about the first was the grit and blood of riverside. Fall of Kings was like Middlemarch on acid, and while i liked the acid, i'm not that wild about Middlemarch.

but the prose is absolutely luscious. a joyful read.
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Eric Marin
Posted on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 10:04 pm:   

Hi, Barth! Thanks for the rundown on The Fall of the Kings. It sounds like a book to read as a writer, rather than a reader. I definitely need to peruse it sometime.

I too loved Swordspoint. Somehow my copy of it vanished, however. Sadness.
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barth
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 05:10 am:   

actually Fall of the Kings reads with great swiftness, and for some, it might be a page-turner. just depends if you like the venue or not.
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Eric Marin
Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 11:47 am:   

The Falls of the Kings is on my "to buy" list, fast read or slow. I have a large stack of fiction to wade through first, though. (I've been reading a lot of short fiction when I haven't been writing.) I'm probably going to pull The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay off the top of the pile and start it this evening. Thanks again for letting me know what you thought, Barth!
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Kevin
Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2004 - 10:27 pm:   

The Sickly and Infirm Contingency would like to point out that, having not adhered to "the regimen," having gone without sleep, and having waded through the various and sundry bodily fluids at the Ratbastards Party, they still did not get sick at WisCon.

The Sickly and Infirm Contingency would further like to state that Barth Anderson is a big wuss.

However, they do hope that Iko gets well soon.
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barth
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 10:19 am:   

um. if you didn't get the con crud, then you ain't Sickly nor Infirm, in my book.



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Kevin
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 11:49 am:   

Oh I'm sickly and infirm. I'm just a robust sort of sickly. ;)
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barth
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2004 - 11:52 am:   

then i must be the sickly sort of sickly, as i need my elric-potions just to get through a dang con!
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johnzo
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 01:21 pm:   

jeezus, I must be a turbowuss, then, because I didn't even go to the con and I still came down with the (woozy, sweaty, fatigue-y) con crud.

I imagine if I'd actually gone to Madison I would've started losing limbs, and if I'd braved the Ratbastards party, I would've spontaneously combusted.

zo.
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Deborah
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 02:59 pm:   

It's okay, though, zo. I went to the Ratbastards party, spontaneously combusted, and now feel I'm a better woman for it.

You could've been a better woman, too.

:-)

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barth
Posted on Monday, June 07, 2004 - 07:05 pm:   

it's hard to imagine a better woman than johnzo.

[tries]

nope. he's the best!
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Heather Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 11:24 am:   

Oh! Mangos! We did miss out on mangos! Sigh!

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barth
Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 12:05 pm:   

i know! ma nature is a cruel hoaxstress...
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 12:55 pm:   

I finally learned from Alton Brown how to pick ripe mangos, and know I love them even more! (especially in my home-made salsa)

JK
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Kevin
Posted on Saturday, June 12, 2004 - 02:19 pm:   

Did you see the link Haddayr posted on Reagan?

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0609-07.htm
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barth
Posted on Sunday, June 13, 2004 - 04:05 am:   

yes i did. and then there's this from the guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1237752,00.html

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