I’m off tomorrow to Anatolia and East Thrace for two weeks, with only intermittent opportunities to line on to the interweb, and this seems like a good opportunity to take a break from the whole thing, something I haven’t done in a while. (In fact I think the last time I took a holiday from the net we all still had blogs — imagine!) So no blogs (he said, as if there were blogs), no Facebook, no Twitter, no comics, and in general no more clicking on stuff to see if anything new’s happened, not till October if I can make it that far. So I apologize in advance for missing your birthdays and your book tour announcements and so on. I’ll still be checking email and I should be back on chat some time in mid-September.

Won’t someone think of the insensitives?

Every time sexual harassment at conventions comes up, somebody trots out the red herring that it’s just too hard for certain persons to know when they’re being polite and when they’re being rude, and it’s just unfair to ask these poor insensitive people to read the fickle minds of the lovely mysterious creatures they’re attracted to.

To which I say, with as much respect as I can muster: Please fuck off.

Sensitivity can be learned. Manners can be learned. Manners in fandom are not, much as some fans like to pretend otherwise, significantly different from manners outside it. Erring on the side of being a shy violet because you’re afraid of giving offense may cause you to miss out on a sexual opportunity or two over the years, but if it also causes you to miss out on even one occasion of putting some other person (who, we hope, you’re well-disposed toward, right?) in fear and ruining their convention, then it’s a public service and well worth the sacrifice.

There are people in the world who are physically and mentally incapable of learning to tell the difference between courtesy and rudeness but as a proportion their number is vanishingly small, even in fandom, despite what some self-serving fans like to pretend. And even if it weren’t, their right to hit on people does not come close to trumping the right of other people not to be sexually harrassed.

(Please don’t anyone say “What about the Aspies?” which is usually where this goes next. The autistics and the folks with Asperger’s syndrome that I know are too polite to punch you but that won’t stop me wanting to and my blood pressure doesn’t need it this week, for reasons completely unrelated to SFWA.)

(I know this isn’t a new sentiment and I’m sure it’s been put better by other folks, and recently, but it wasn’t being said in certain venues. So I posted there, and I’m reposting here.)


The bad news is I still default to writing about depressive loners. The good news is I can now write about depressive loners in multiple languages.


قد أصبح المترجم وحيد ببطء. خدع وحده. قد فضل المترجم دائما الفلسفة على الترجمة، ولكن الآن فضل حقا التلفزة أكثر من كلهما. كان عندهم زورق صغير وأزرق الذي لم يستخدمه. قد تمتعوا المترجم وزوجتهم بالتزلج على الماء. الأن دهب نادرا قريب من البحر. في الصباح تفرج على كرة اليد وبعد الضهر تفرج على تنس الطاولة. نام كثيرا. كان المترجم سعيد رسميا.

The Translator

The translator had become alone slowly. He deceived himself. The translator had always preferred philosophy to translation but now, in truth, he preferred television over either. He had a small blue boat that he never used. The translator and his wife had enjoyed water-skiing. Now he rarely went near the ocean. In the morning he watched handball and in the evening he watched table-tennis. He slept a lot. Officially, the translator was happy.

(Fifty extra points if you can guess what part of speech we’re learning this chapter. Two hundred and fifty if you can guess the subject of this chapter’s text.)

I’m not saying we can’t have nice things

One of my neighbors apperently had a professional photograph their living-room mantlepiece, and has propped up a 3’x2′ print of the result on a stand in the lobby.

That could be my living room, but isn’t. Suddenly all my DVDs and IKEA shelves feel — I won’t say vulgar; careless? Unexamined? (Okay, the 40-inch television, in my tiny Edwardian apartment, feels a little vulgar.) It would be nice to grow into a space over years the way that one seems to have been grown into. It would be nice to reconcile that with the way that after three or four years in any one place I seem to need to put several time zones between that place and myself.

What I’ve been doing

  1. working overtime.
  2. getting voice mail from nervous American apartment hunters.
  3. crawling the last mile of the novelette death march.
  4. letting nervous American apartment hunters’ phones ring twelve times without answer or voice mail.
  5. freaking out about moving out.
  6. lying awake.
  7. boiling alive.
  8. understanding how everybody in New York felt last week.
  9. trying to arrange a week’s New York condo rental.
  10. wanting to kill New York condo owners.
  11. not answering email.
  12. filling boxes.
  13. feeling guilty.
  14. mailing boxes.
  15. sweating.
  16. visiting strange malls just for the air conditioning.
  17. seeing the Roboterträume exhibit at the Museum Tinguely.
  18. being annoyed there’s no one to share it with.
  19. being annoyed that Virgil Widrich‘s make/real isn’t on YouTube yet.
  20. getting dehydrated.
  21. drinking Powerade (blue flavor).
  22. working more overtime.
  23. watching All the President’s Men for the first time.
  24. watching Dick for the third time.
  25. filling book boxes half-full.
  26. filling the upper halves of book boxes with DVDs, clothes, bubble wrap, and anything that will fill space and keep the weight down.
  27. looking at the shelves full of books still to be packed.
  28. looking at the shelves full of unread books shortly to be abandoned.
  29. feeling more guilty.
  30. starting New Model Army.
  31. getting yelled at by the property management company for not waiting hand and foot on apartment hunters.
  32. working with visiting co-workers.
  33. lying to the property management company.
  34. playing tour guide to visiting co-workers.
  35. making small talk about video games.
  36. watching Predators.
  37. mixing hard liquor and beer.
  38. returning to the novel.
  39. jamming the printer.
  40. worrying about backups.
  41. getting increasingly annoyed with the increasing flakeyness of the wi-fi router.
  42. unplugging and re-plugging the wi-fi router for the nth time.
  43. seeing the wi-fi router flash blue and explode. in a small way.
  44. trying to put my finger on what I wasn’t liking about New Model Army.
  45. getting voice mail from monoglot German apartment hunters.
  46. working with visiting co-workers.
  47. letting monoglot German apartment hunters’ phones ring twelve times without answer or voice mail.
  48. trying to explain introversion to extroverts.
  49. playing tour guide to visiting co-workers.
  50. losing expensive prescription sunglasses.
  51. coming as close to drowning as I care to.
  52. moving one item from the “must do before leaving Switzerland, but probably won’t” to the “did before leaving Switzerland” column.
  53. mixing red wine and lemonade.
  54. mixing beer and lemonade.
  55. getting to the second half of New Model Army.
  56. having river / robot / Predator / New Model Army dreams.
  57. configuring the new wi-fi router.
  58. ordering expensive replacement sunglasses.
  59. returning to the novel, again.
  60. reading New Model Army instead of writing.
  61. getting kind of irritated about having to go into the office.
  62. working with visiting co-workers.
  63. watching the office thermometer climb from 27°C (80°F) to 36°C (97°F) and stay there.
  64. running the Strategic Extroversion Reserve down to boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion levels.
  65. going home early.
  66. finishing the second half of New Model Army in about forty minutes flat.
  67. failing to stay off the Internet.

Second nearly-annual Internet moratorium

Too much to do this last summer east of the Prime Meridian, too little attention to pay to doing it. Going offline in July for all but essential purposes (and believe me, there’s far too many of those).

I’ll still be reading and answering email, so if you need to get in touch with me, or if there’s a cute kitten / brutal Toronto policing video that I really need to see while it’s fresh, drop me a note.

Last year when I did this, I said we’d better have national health care when I got back, and it took another eight months. So I’m not going to say anything about the oil spill.


If you didn’t know already: I’m on twitter now, for all your ephemeral news and transitory complaint action; and now that Schwartz has ferreted me out I can own up to my Tumblr junk collection, Tired Robot.

There’s a whole mess of stuff I should be posting about; not to mention I need to get the old archives working, put the blogroll back together, and all like that, but it hasn’t been happening. One of the things I should be posting about is that I’m leaving Switzerland in August and heading for San Francisco — back to San Francisco, twelve years after I left, at least twelve years before in any hazy fantasy I would have imagined moving back. (California’s in the heart, Jack; wherever I go, she’s with me.) It’s going to be great. But that decision, and the circumstances leading up to it, have thrown all kinds of trouble my way that gets in the way of writing here, and of clearing my head to write here. It’ll happen. But not right away.

I hate Eclipse

I swear to God the Eclipse developers are deliberately sabotaging Subclipse to get people to switch to Subversive. It works, too. After twenty-four hours of trying to get a working Eclipse 3.5.1 + Subclipse + EPIC installation on my laptop, I’ve finally given up.

I suspect this also has something to do with Mylyn, but I can’t prove it.