Friday, July 4, 2008

Selah (with Pictures)

I'm still recovering from holiday, which process may well be slowed down by the sore throat indicating the start of a head cold. I hope to avoid it - I'm chugging orange juice as fast as I can - but we'll see. In the meantime, I've uploaded some of the choice photos, with commentary, from our vacation to flickr - lots of good ones of people from the Masterclass, as well as some touristy ones. Once again, I'd like to thank everyone that we met. It was a fantastic trip, and we were really happy to meet so many friends, old and new.

Coming home has been a bit of a shock. After two weeks of mostly British accents, which I tend to interpret as 'educated' and 'refined,' people with strong Texas accents set my teeth on edge (especially when they're talking and giggling loudly about bodily functions, as the people sharing the shuttle to the airport parking lot were - I just wanted to smack them). They sound uncouth in comparison. We had a similar experience on the bus tours after the Masterclass - hearing Americans after spending time in a majority British crowd was jarring. However, we took some comfort in the fact that the couple acting most like stereotypical 'ugly Americans' were in fact Australians living in Ireland.

However, as you can see in the photo below, we are well and truly back home now.
On the left is Dodger, our Pit Bull-Dalmatian mix (70 lbs), and right is Hazel, possibly Pharoh Hound and Terrier (50 lbs). I promise not to go overboard on cute dog pictures, but I know I mentioned these guys to several people in England, so I figured I'd show you what they actually look like.

So what's next?

Well, you can see that the name change has gone into effect. I'm going to be going for quality over quantity for the next month or so. Posts may slow down a bit, but I've got lots of ideas. Coming soon you'll see reviews of Last Colony, Halting State, and Brasyl. Tomorrow I'm planning on putting in my Hugo vote (deadline July 7th!) and I'll be posting about my choices. I need to post something about the current gender flap as well. I'll also be posting about reconsidering my short fiction reviewing philosophy in light of conversations I've had with Gary Wolfe and Niall Harrison.

I'm currently reading Heart of Darkness (finally) which shouldn't take long; it's really grabbed me. I'll be reviewing The Carhullan Army, this year's Tiptree Award winner for SFSignal, and I owe a review of Strahan's Year's Best SF & F and Hartwell & Cramer's YB Fantasy and YB Science Fiction to Niall at Strange Horizons by the end of the month.

Also, I'm embarking on a research project on Stanley G. Weinbaum, to examine his oeuvre and his place in the genre. I thought he'd be a good place to start: his writing is interesting and funny, and he died at age 33, meaning it's possible to read everything he ever wrote in a reasonable amount of time. It's basically to see if I enjoy doing this sort of thing, and to help fill up an otherwise less-than-100%-productive summer.

So there'll be lots happening here, and during all of this I'll also be experimenting with trying to improve my writing style as well. Nothing like ambitious goals! Wish me luck, and stay tuned.


Jonathan M said...

'Ugly Americans' definitely not... clearly the time spent in Britain has infected the pair of you : Sandals with socks is a very British choice ;-)

Cheryl said...

I see what you mean about Hazel doing Anubis impressions.

Karen Burnham said...

Jonathan - thanks! Curtis got those very comfy house sandals on the condition that I not tease him if he wears socks with them - so you won't hear a peep out of me!

Cheryl - Told ya! Heaven only knows what her parents actually were, but they appear to have created a dark little Egyptian dog. Her type may have been the standard Mediterranean mutt back in the day.

Incidentally, some people have decided that our Pit Bull (possibly American Staffordshire)/Dalamatian looks exactly like a pure-bred American Bulldog and we're often happy to let that misconception stand.

Unknown said...

Hmmmm... don't assume we're all lovely cultured people here in the UK, either, or underestimate how uncouth and obnoxious some Brits can be (at home and abroad).

Karen Burnham said...

Nick - you're right, of course. However, years of "Masterclass Theatre" and Shakespeare adaptations have taught Americans that British people have 'culture,' and Monty Python and Hitchhiker's Guide on the radio have taught us that saying something funny with a British accent makes it funnier.

Hard to fight years of careful acculturation!

Unknown said...

Probably a good job most tourists never get to see Croydon on a Friday night, shortly after chucking out time. NB - please do not consider this a suggestion for your future itinerary unless you have a burning desire to get into a fight...

Karen Burnham said...

Nick - thanks for the tip on what to avoid.

Although one funny thing: walking to the Masterclass on Sunday morning (on Tottenham High Road in Seven Sisters) a moterscooter delivery guy stopped me for directions. When I said I was an American tourist, he looked at me as though I were crazy. He asked how long I'd be staying then said: "But you should be over on the West End, not here!" I assured him I was meeting friends.

It was actually nice to spend some time in a non-touristy zone, but I suspect that any place would be less pleasant on a Friday night after closing. Even Santa Monica wasn't so shiny then.