Monday, February 05, 2007


Just had a rough couple of days -- some kind of virulent food poisoning, which was no fun. (I'm lucky in having the kind of doctor who makes house calls -- not the official kind, more the turning up during his lunch break to find out how I'm doing kind.) I'm over the worst of it but just getting better.

It went down to minus 21 F last night (minus 29 C)and I discovered that a slightly improvised area in the corner of the office, where a bunch of wires and cables -- mostly TV from the satellite, the DSL line, and something that I think is probably a Russian spy cable -- come in, were now, inside the office, in a warm room, covered in thick ice. I figured that was why the house network had gone down (as it had), but today I unplugged everything, then plugged everything back in (right up there with Turn It Off And Wait For A Bit in the handy list of things you can do to fix it yourself) and suddenly it worked like a charm. When things warm up I'll get the ice-wire area properly fixed and insulated. (Right now it's warmed up to minus 19 F outside.) (I chipped some of the ice off, then took a photograph. Ick, and brrr.)

Susan Henderson did an interesting interview with me, mostly about hair, decorated with many embarrassing photos from the photo albums over the years, all of me with unlikely hair. We're hoping to get one final photo before it goes live, of me as a teenage punk. (She announces it -- and has a couple of hitherto unseen and quite unlikely photos up -- at

I found this Nerve essay fascinating and wryly amusing in equal measure:

The Religious Right is correct on exactly two scores: virginity can be a big
deal, properly exploited; and what you read, listen to or watch can make a huge
difference in how you live your life. Conservatives are smart to get sexy movies
banned from Wal-Mart. I can believe kids shoot each other because of video
games. Wilco made me throw my live-in boyfriend out of the house when I was
twenty-two. And Sandman made me torture men for sport when I was fifteen.

Talking about unintentional consequences, I recently spent an interested couple of hours browsing through my complementary copy of The Neil Gaiman Reader, edited by Darrell Schweitzer. Essays on things I've written, by a dozen different very smart people. I think it's probably a very good book of essays, but I am undoubtedly the last person on earth who can usefully comment on it, being, as I am, the least competent critic alive of the author in question. There were a few moments when I felt like the author being described had done something monstrously clever , but they always immediately balanced by moments where I sighed and thought "You may think I'm being very clever there, but I only wrote it like that because that was how it happened, and I wasn't being clever at all...".

The only thing I found frustrating, which I hope will be fixed in the next edition , were the little errors of fact, mistakes of date (Smoke and Mirrors was published in 1998, not 2001 as one essay claims-- it's correctly cited several times elsewhere in the book) or of artist (Dave McKean didn't draw The Doll's House, nor did Clive Barker produce it), and little typos that render it less reliable than it might otherwise be as work of academic reference.

Several people wrote to let me know that the Penn Jillette Googlebomb had worked as we were in the Google top ten, and several other people wrote to let me know that Google had changed their algorithm to stop Googlebombs... and given that the Google ranking of "Penn Jillette" here went up to #8 and then, within hours, vanished completely (and is apparently now down in the 300s -- although it's still riding really high on Yahoo) suggests that anti-Googlebomb activity might be the case. (I could always call My Son At Google, but he'd just take enormous pleasure in telling me that he's signed a confidentiality agreement and cannot possibly comment...) Be interesting to see if it climbs back up again now...

(My enormous thanks to everyone who posted the link. You are all troupers, and I am very grateful.)

I just learned that the audiobook of me reading FRAGILE THINGS was just nominated for an Audie Award ( which is extremely nice -- although I thought the audiobook of Stardust I recorded was better. Fat lot I know. (The unabridged audiobook I did of Neverwhere should come out in the autumn. Now, that one was work.)

I really like the House of Lords when they say things like this:

And I keep meaning to mention that if you order a copy the new special edition Last Unicorn DVD from the Conlan Press site, half the money goes to Peter Beagle, and your copy will be signed, as opposed to ordering it from anywhere else in which case it won't be signed by anyone, and Peter won't see a penny.

Labels: , , , , , ,