June 17, 2018
I was naive
Posted by Patrick at 05:43 PM * 319 comments

I’ve realized that the reason I no longer write blog posts about politics is that events taught me that I was completely full of shit. I imagined I lived in a country that doesn’t exist.

Turns out I live in a country 35-45% of which are super-happy with fascism, including the concentration-camps part. And 45-60% of the same country are insufficiently bothered by this fact to do anything to stop it.

This has me rethinking about hundreds of conversations I’ve had over the decades with people I thought meant well. I was wrong. Most of them didn’t mean well.

I’ve seen the future, baby; it is murder.

March 01, 2018
Adventures in being me
Posted by Patrick at 06:21 PM * 88 comments

It’s been a time.

One evening in mid-November, Teresa tried to say something to me, and it came out as fractured phonemes, broken language, the kind of thing that says “get me to an ER without delay.” TL,DR: It wasn’t a stroke, but we may have averted one by getting her to the ER as fast as we did. She was in the hospital for several days. We still don’t have a full diagnosis.

In late November, my youngest brother (I’m the eldest of three brothers) died in a hospice after years of hard living, age 52. We weren’t close, but he was my brother. I was…knocked off balance by it. I’m 59 and this was the first time I lost a close family member. To those of you who’ve been through this particular one-way door at an earlier age: Respect.

In December I got shingles. I’m still not completely over it, but as far as I can recall I spent late December and most of January in a haze of pain and dissociation. I was out of the office for the better part of four weeks, and I still haven’t completely caught up. Life advice: Don’t get shingles.

In early January we learned that our landlord of nearly 14 years was, at long last, selling our building to someone who wants to make it a single-family home. Our deadline for getting out was the end of March.

In early February we found a terrific apartment in a much more pleasant Brooklyn neighborhood. But while it’s not tiny, it’s smaller than our current place, so we’ve been in WEED OUT ALL THE THINGS mode for about three weeks now. Our lease on the new apartment begins today, and we aspire to be actually living there by the second half of March.

And in the fullness of time, today this happened. It’s a lot of change, even more than this was, back in 2016.

What can I say? I’m fortunate in my colleagues. I’m even more fortunate in my employees. Also, watch this space.

February 24, 2018
We’re back
Posted by Patrick at 01:42 PM * 57 comments

As I best understand it, the machine we’re hosted on abruptly melted down; Hosting Matters scrambled to migrate the sites on that machine to other servers; this had to be done in a tearing hurry; in the process somehow an old index page became the front page. I didn’t have the spoons to deal with it because see below. This morning, our intrepid friend Sumana Harihareswara, with our grateful permission, dived into the back end and fixed it. All honor and glory to her; also, many many thanks.

The “see below” from above is that Teresa and I are moving house. We take possession of an apartment in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope on March 1. It has slightly more space for living, and a lot less for storage, than the place we’ve lived in since 2004, so the move involves a great deal of Getting Rid. Expect more from us when we emerge from all the boxes, sometime late next month.

January 22, 2018
Open thread 220
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 01:58 PM * 1360 comments

Overheard: “You think he’s cool because he’s a dwarf? Or because you read about him online?”

Discuss.

October 07, 2017
My grandmother’s clock
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 08:10 AM * 76 comments

I have a chiming clock in the house. It was originally my maternal grandmother’s, and my mother very kindly gave it to me a number of years back. Hearing it tick in the background, I often think about the song “My Grandfather’s Clock”. We used to sing it* in elementary school. That song is a sweet remembrance of someone’s stout, elderly grandfather.

But.

But it’s such a patriarchal clock in the song, isn’t it? A huge investment on the day a baby is born. It won’t fit anywhere convenient, so you have to make an extra space for it. And then everything comes to a stop when Mr Center of Attention leaves the scene. I understand that in the sequel it ends up in a junk shop, broken down for parts and chopped up for kindling.

My grandmother, whom I never met but am told I strongly resemble, was born into a poor immigrant family. She was a smart woman but had very little access to higher education. She was also a gifted crafter; I have one small piece of her weaving. She was not always happy in the space she was allowed to occupy in society, and she didn’t raise a very happy family. Her death in her fifties was all the harder as a result, for her and for everyone who had to carry on.

But she left this clock, which she’d liked and bought as an adult. A little wooden Seth Thomas mantel clock, now with a chipped face after a shipping mishap. It has a soothing tick and a clear chime. It went through a phase of refusing to go for a few years, but has mysteriously resumed working again. Its ticking is the heartbeat of the house, a reminder of someone I wish I’d known.

And this is a great gift because she also left us ourselves: the female line, unnamed the way female lines are in our culture. A daughter, two granddaughters, one great-granddaughter†, all of whom have inherited something of her smile and a lot of her brains. I look at my hands as I bind books and Fiona’s as she draws, and wonder what hers looked like on the loom. I look at the good in my life and wish more of it had been in hers too.

My grandmother’s clock is at home on its shelf
As it was on so many before.
Not a gift at her birth, for she bought it herself
In LA at a secondhand store.

It has sounded its chimes
Through the good and happy times;
Been a comfort on days that I’ve mourned.
For it ticks on, though she herself was gone
Before I was born.

Her heart beating in memory.
(tick, tock, tick, tock)
Her voice singing the hours to me.
(tick, tock, tick, tock)
For it ticks on, though she herself was gone
Before I was born.

(I don’t think today is any kind of anniversary. But since her genes and her clock are ever-present in my life, any day will do to post this.)


* the first verse, anyway. I’ve just looked it up and it does go on a lot longer.
† I have other cousins and nieces, but this is the female line I’m talking about.

Copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.