So I read Water for Elephants a few weeks back, mainly because I had heard everyone raving about the awesome ending. How perfect and surprising it was, and sometimes I read books for artifacts like that, to see how a thing is done. Also, Depression era circuses = thumbs up.

And I learned something about myself I am still trying to sort through. 

Let's get that ending out of the way.

Spoilers, Sweetie

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Eh. I’m going to stop trying to fit this on Twitter.

I love this quote by Jacques Rivette on Stanley Kubrick (from this list of filmmaker trashtalk about other filmmakers):

“Kubrick is a machine, a mutant, a Martian. He has no human feeling whatsoever. But it’s great when the machine films other machines, as in 2001.”

It sums up how I’ve always felt about Kubrick’s films, which are sometimes pretty but to the last leave me feeling absolutely nothing, and feature humans acting in ways I cannot credit, believe, or support. And since he writes his films too I can lay that at his door safely. (Sadly, that kind of goes for 2001, too–I loved it as a kid, but watching it as an adult I cannot fathom why I loved it as a kid. It’s endless, lifeless, and bloodless. I guess I liked the first half of Full Metal Jacket, which is basically an anthology movie with only two flicks in it, one of which is a tight, amazing short story. The other is entirely forgettable except for a horribly racist patter of dialogue that has entered popular consciousness–that would be the "me love you long time" thing–and the helmet/peace sign line, which is pretty great, admittedly. But I couldn’t even tell you what else happens in the second half.)

Of course, he’s my father’s favorite director, so I grew up seeing a whole lot of Kubrick. And taking it as axiomatic that he’s amazing and I’m just a dumb girl who’s Missing It. And my husband loves Eyes Wide Shut, which actually sends me into paroxysms of loathing, because it is the most mutantmartian of all the Kubrick films, and no one acts like a person, instead, they are a bunch of misogynist douche-powered fuckmachines barfing half-digested plot and turnip-dialogue everywhere. OBVIOUSLY MY KIND OF SHOW. Even Nicole Kidman–who even remembers what their characters’ names were? Was Tom Cruise named Bob? IMDB says Bill and Alice. Whatever. Even Nicole’s character fully internalizes the mountains of total horseshit that Tom Cruise shovels onto her and is all yes, I am a whore. Fantastic. Awesome. Allow me to subscribe to this newsletter.

I guess I’m just relieved someone else feels that way. I suppose I do like Dr. Strangelove, but that’s satire and high farce, people aren’t required to behave normally, and are actually penalized for doing so. I wish he’d stuck to that. Clockwork Orange is the same sort of thing–these are not real people doing real things–and that was all right. But neither of those films touched me emotionally or rank high on my list of favorites, and I doubt I’d volunteer to watch either again.

I do value the Martian perspective. But I’d rather go in for the emotional realism and humankindness of, say, Quentin Tarantino, than ever watch another Kubrick joint.

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As with most knitting project, I finished this one at 1 am. But I’ve never discovered something wrong after finishing.

So help me out, late night knitters.

I just did the Damask pattern (find on Ravelry) which I love and is gorgeous. With beautiful yarn.

And the shape is…not the one in the picture. It’s my first bottom-up shawl so I have no idea what the math involved is, but instead of being a standard triangle, with the last stitches evening out to form a flat upper end, the upper portion ended up pointed, so it was a triangle, but with the last stitches making the point, rather than the point being the bottom of the edging. With blocking I can open up the lace just fine, but I can’t get it into anything like a flat-top shape. When I straighten out the top, the bottom curls up in a bag-type shape as the hem tightens. It’s like there aren’t enough stitches for it to open out–but I followed the pattern exactly. Nor does the bottom edging have the kind of wavyness that the picture does. (Edit to add, here’s a pic of the weird-ass shape I blocked it into, which is not pretty or right, but the best I could do.)

Does that make sense?

What’s more, given that B-U shawls decrease stitches as they go up from the bottom edge (which I gather is intended to actually be the border of the whole piece once it’s finished), I can’t see how you’d end up with any other shape but this one, yet no one else seems to have had trouble getting it into flat-straight-top-edge/curvy-bottom-pointy-triangle edge.

What did I do wrong? I love this pattern and this designer and want to do more bottom-up shawls, but not if they end up shaped like sort of trapezoids. This is still wearable, I think, but given the work involved I’m disappointed and don’t have any idea what I could have done wrong. At no point did I seem to be doing anything but what the pattern told me to.


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Jason over at Apex Publications announced this morning A Thing I have been keeping fairly quiet for awhile.

As of November, I will be stepping down as editor of Apex Magazine.

It has been a long and fascinating experience, often rewarding, always educational. I am not leaving due to any personal or professional issues–it was entirely my decision and certainly surprised everyone else involved. The fact is, I’m tired. I’m tired, and for the last seven years I have been saying yes to every project and proposal that crossed my plate, paid a little, and wasn’t completely against my code of artistic ethics.

I can’t keep that up anymore. I have to start practicing No Magic, and protecting myself from overwork–because I have overworked myself so hard in the last year that I am psychically hobbled. I have to start having boundaries and making hard choices, or I will burn out hardcore and there will be no more Cat. While on tour I edited Apex and taught an MFA student and wrote short stories–it was too much. I have not, historically, been kind to FutureMe.

So I knew several months ago that I wanted to lay Apex aside–I am not an editor at heart, it is difficult work, very different than writing, and though I am proud of the authors I’ve discovered and particularly of the Arab/Muslim issue and  ‘s wonderful story that flew so far, I want to concentrate on my own work, and editing a magazine will make you question every tiny choice you make in a story.

I knew I wanted to go, but I wanted to choose my replacement, I wanted to pick someone who would carry on the inclusive and high-quality standard I established and not tear the place down just as I’d gotten it working so well. And I was having fried chicken slathered in hot sauce in Chicago one day and talking to Lynne Thomas, who’d just found out about her Hugo nomination for editing Chicks Dig Time Lords, about how she wanted to break into fiction editing someday, and it clicked. I asked her then and there, both our fingers covered in bright red sauce, if she wanted to take over Apex.

The next day she said yes, and we cyber-marched over to Jason to tell him the news.

I am proud of my 18 months (that’ll be the magic number, in the end) at Apex. I believe in and stand by the work I’ve done there, and I have learned a great deal–which is what I’d hoped to do to begin with. I hope you all have enjoyed the space I’ve made there–editing is often invisible work. In my heart, when I took the job, I told myself I’d give it a year and see how I felt. I’ve given it more, and I feel happy–but glad to move on, and confident that it will continue in the vein I’ve established.

I want to thank my slush readers, who were my heroes, and invaluable, and  , who served as poetry slush editor and will be departing with me. And Jason Sizemore for giving me the opportunity.

As a goodbye, thre will be a story from me in Lynne’s first issue. She’s going to be great, and I hope you’ll all join me in welcoming her.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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This is to say that I will be attending Anthocon from November 11-13 in Portsmouth, NH.

You should, too, and here’s why.

We don’t have an SFF con in northern New England right now. We have an anime con in Portland, a comics con in Bangor (and a comics festival in Portland), and the Boston cons, but we don’t have a geeky book con. I want one. I want my region to have something awesome like Readercon, that’s easier for me to get to and will bring out the crowd near where I live so that I can make friends without driving for hours to a distant con.

Northern New England rules. We are boss. We deserve a sweet con. And that’s why, even though I’m so tired I can’t see straight, I’m going to this con, to invest in it existing and growing, so that when I am not tired I can have a hometown (sort of, it’s not in Portland but you can’t have everything) con. You get the fandom you make.

So come with me! A con is only as awesome as the people who attend.

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