The road is snow-covered such that it is impossible to see the lines of the crosswalk.  Does this make it more or less important to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk?

  1. More important
  2. Less important
  3. Equally as important as when the road is clear
  4. Shut up!  Can’t you see I’m on the phone!

At brunch yesterday the topic of burial instructions came up, and I was surprised to discover that Jackie didn’t remember that I’d already documented my wishes for dealing with my remains.  The gist of my instructions is that (although I’d urge her to be guided by frugality) she should do whatever she wants.  However, I did add this proviso:

4. If there’s no good reason to prefer one thing over another for reasons of convenience or cost, I’d really like to have my body eaten by vultures.

Sadly, I’ve seen no move toward making sky burial socially acceptable in the United States.

I published one short story in 2009:

My story submission database isn’t really set up to answer the question of how many new stories I wrote this year, but I see three whose first submission to an editor was in 2009.  Hopefully some of those will appear in 2010.

Two articles of mine appeared as guest posts at personal financial blogs:

I wrote 71 posts for Wise Bread.  I’ve bolded a few where I thought I managed to say just what I was trying to say, and commend them to your attention:

One of my Wise Bread posts (Understand Capital Costs) was featured in in US Airways Magazine (October 2009, page 22).

Since the demise of Hilary Moon Murphy’s Clarion Ex Machina site, there hasn’t been a good collection of links to all the various Clarion journals.  Now Liz Argall has fixed that with her page of Clarion blogs, journals, articles and interviews.

There’s lots of good stuff there.  I don’t know of a better source of raw material for people who are interested in the Clarion experience.

A while back Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar invited me to do a guest post and I finally came up with an idea that I liked:  Living off Capital.

People who come from wealthy families learn how to live off capital. The rules are taught along with all the other things they learn from their parents–how to dress, how to eat, how deal with bankers and trust officers. But even though most people don’t learn the rules, living off capital is just a skill, and it’s one that everybody should learn, because everybody lives off capital sometimes.

It talks about investing for income, reinvesting to preserve capital, diversifying, and keeping your expenses flexible.

The sf-writer universe today is full of links to the BoingBoing report on how Canadian sf writer Peter Watts was beaten by US border guards, arrested, his possessions impounded, and then dumped across the border in mid-December without even a coat.  You can read Watts’s own account on his blog.

Now, I don’t have any actual knowledge of what happened.  I hope there’ll turn out to be some impartial witnesses or some video of the occurrence. But in the absence of that, I find that I’m all too willing to assume that Watts’s account is true.  The fact is, I don’t really expect better from anonymous border guards. I ought to be able to expect better, but I don’t.

If you want to donate to support his (sure to be large) legal expenses, you can contribute via his paypal account at <donate@rifters.com>.

Last August I got email from UK sf writer Gareth D Jones, who was looking for Esperanto magazines that might be interested in translating and publishing his work.

There have been Esperanto-language publications that focused on science fiction (in particular, the Sfero series published by Grupo Nifo), but none of those seem to be active at the moment. (This is not as sad as it might seem, though, because the Esperanto-language literary magazines are not averse to publishing science fiction or fantasy. In particular, a recent issue of Beletra Almanako focused on speculative fiction.)

I told Gareth what I knew about sf in Esperanto, but also reached out to the Esperanto community, asking if anyone knew translators or publishers who would be interested in doing something with Gareth’s work. Pretty promptly, I heard back from Brazilian publisher Luciana F Campos whose publishing house Lusíadas was interested in publishing Gareth’s work.

I’ve heard from Gareth that the publications are now out.  Esperanto translations of two of his stories can be found in I Antologio Luzidoj (link to pdf) as well as Portuguese translations in I Antologia Lusíadas (link to pdf).

Helping make another Esperanto connection in the world is really its own reward, but as a bonus I also got this cool link to Douglas Smith’s Foreign Market List, an annotated list of  publications that buy foreign-language reprint rights to English-language stories.

We were eating breakfast this morning when the smoke detector outside our apartment went off.  It was a less-obnoxious beeping than most smoke detectors, so it took a while to figure out what it was.  But, once we opened the door to check, we could smell the smoke.  That eliminated all doubt.

There wasn’t much smoke and no flames, so we decided to take the time to get dressed and bundled up against the weather, and then went outside.  A neighbor had already called the fire department, so we didn’t have to do anything except hang out and wait until they came.  Most of our neighbors waited in the doorway, rather than stand out in the cold and wind, but I figured I didn’t want to breath even that much smoke.

It was only about 15 minutes before they said we could go back in.  But that, together with a dentist appointment this morning, managed to put a big dent in the day.

The smoke alarm is still beeping every minute or so.  I called the apartment office which said that they had thought it had already been reset, but would check and make sure.  (Which I hope means that they’ll send someone over to take care of it, rather than just check and make sure someone said it had already been done.)

(By the way, my teeth are fine.)

Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers WorkshopClarion, the science fiction and fantasy writers workshop, is open for applications for 2010! As usual, it looks like they’ve got a great line-up of instructors.

I attended Clarion in 2001 and found it a positive experience in every way–I had a great time, I improved my writing, and I got to know a bunch of cool people that I’m still in touch with.

I’ve written some about my Clarion experience: I kept a Clarion journal and I wrote a few short essays about what I learned and how I learned it.

If you’ve got any questions about what Clarion was like for me, I’d be glad to answer them in comments here or by email. (I’m also willing to take a stab at answering questions about other stuff, but things like how applications are processed vary from year to year, and I really only know about how they did things back in 2001.)