My Daily Scenery, Coming Eventually to a Theatre Near You

So this is filming in my apartment building now. They’ve been in a flat upstairs for a couple of days, and so far the only manifestations have been signs apologizing for the unseen film crew, and an elevator so covered in black masking and gaff tape that riding in it is like being in a trashy goth club with the lights on.

But apparently they’re headed to the lobby today, so perhaps I will be able to gawp at Hank Azaria while pretending to retrieve some non-existent mail. Simon Pegg is cool and all, but I’ve had a crush on HA forever.

The Goings On

My relations with the ol’ internets are a little shaky right now. Yes, I neglected their vast pipe-y goodness when I was in Seattle in late October, but that’s because I was running around like crazy trying to get ready for No Really, You’re Going to Live in London – This Is Not a Drill. I was less anxious than the first run, but there was also more to do. Something had to give…sorry, Net. I still love you.

Then I got to London, and immediately went into Must…Find…Flat mode. That took two weeks of much ugliness, and I knew if I sent any kind of communication out into the world, several people would send rescue parties. And I didn’t want to be rescued, I just wanted to find a flat that wasn’t soul-sucking shabby beige with only one “stylish” element: a frosted zebra-patterned mirror that was, ladies and gentlemen, a portal to the 80s. Seriously. I stuck my arm through and pulled it back out with a Swatch strapped to my wrist.

Then I found the Flat That Made Me Very Happy. So now I’m very happy, albeit without internet access at home. The degree of complication involved in getting broadband set up is, well, extreme. And it involves dealing with BT (British Telephone, or, as I like to call them, Central Services), which…okay, imagine your worst customer service experience ever. I mean the one that went on and on and all the while your temples were literally throbbing with frustration (okay, throbbing with high blood pressure caused by frustration). Now suppose that someone in the company decided that the way to deal with execrable customer service was to make the agents ask customers every step of the way, “Is that okay, Madam?” and to not advance the conversation until the customer agreed that the horribly unhelpful suggestion of the agent was indeed okay.

It ends up sounding something like this:

AGENT: I’m going to express disbelief in the validity of your complaint, and then I’m going to repeat the irrelevant advice I’ve already given you four times. Also, I’m going to be both condescending and insincerely solicitous. Is that okay, Madam?

ME: No, that’s not okay.

AGENT: I see. In that case I’m going to be even more condescending and insincerely solicitous as I reiterate my disbelief in the validity of your complaint, and after that, if you agree, I will repeat the irrelevant advice I’ve already given you four times. Is that okay, Madam?

Decline. Repeat for twenty minutes.

ME: The fact that I’m hanging up now should not be construed as my consent that this is in any way okay.

Note that I only managed to last twenty minutes by spending much of it inside an elaborate Brazil-like fantasy in which a rogue installer swept into my flat and flipped a hidden golden switch that provided instant, fast, and uncomplicated internet access.

Until my Harry Tuttle arrives, I’ll be accessing the internet sporadically at cafés. Sorry if I owe you e-mail.

Also, today I was exposed to an American so WASPy he couldn’t even say ‘schtick’. Really. It came out as ‘stick’. I kid you not.

Woo! Also, Hoo!

Just about a year ago today — a year ago this Thursday, to be precise — I found out The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction bought my story “Just Do It”.

I wasn’t in Seattle to stalk my mailbox this year, but there was still yelling and hooting this evening when I discovered my most recent story, “Atalanta Loses at the Interpantheonic Trivia Bee”, found a home at F&SF.

This is the kind of annual event a girl could get used to.


The sign on the inside door of the train used to say:

Obstructing the doors can be dangerous.

But someone has scratched out a few letters, and now it looks like:

Obstructing the doors can ## #anger#us.


I was in the restroom at the Euston British Rail station, needing to primp after all the train-hopping from Canary Wharf.

I dropped my bag on the counter and then dug around for a hairbrush, vaguely aware of a mirrored row of sinks behind the bag. I found the brush, looked up, and saw — nothing.

Well, I saw stalls, and sinks, but my reflection was missing.

That’s how I processed what I saw: I don’t have a reflection.

Which was, of course, ludicrous. I’m not a vampire.

So my brain immediately corrected: This surface isn’t reflecting me. Which seems the same, but is entirely different from a problem solving point of view.

We’re talking about less than a second of time here, and inside that second I started to reach for what I knew about light waves and specular interfaces and I wondered what kind of material could behave so oddly…maybe the surface was just projecting a manipulated digital image…but it’s so clear and why would anyone bother —

— and that’s when the obvious leapt in, and I realized that the restroom was designed with such unbroken bilateral symmetry that I assumed there was a mirror between the two rows of sinks in the middle of the room.

Now here’s the interesting bit, the thing that didn’t occur to me until I wrote this out: the fantasy-oriented explanation for what I took to be weird phenomena was dismissed out of hand in favor of a science fictional explanation. And for a while I thought that revealed something about my unconscious loyalties on the F & SF spectrum.

Then again, the fantasy explanation was the first through the door…so what does that tell me?

The Sky over London, Part 2

I was sitting at the desk in my apartment (writing, mind you) when I noticed a thumping noise. I tuned it out, figuring it was just noisy neighbors. This went on for five, maybe ten minutes until I hit the end of the section and got up for a glass of water.

And that’s when I noticed something very much like this out my window:

This was, unfortunately, the best shot of the batch, since I missed most of the display and then had to run for the camera and delete a bunch of pictures to make room. But this one’s kind of interesting, in a blurry sort of way:

I Googled, but I can’t figure out what this display was for…it’s too early for a Guy Fawkes display.

In any case, London is the dreamiest boyfriend evar!!!


When I was a kid I was into rainbows — they were my thing. If you walked into my room in 1981 you’d see so many rainbows you could half expect to hear me chanting, “I’m here! I’m ten! Get used to it!” (if that weren’t all anachronistic and junk).

When we moved to the house in Grand Terrace my mom painted a rainbow in my bedroom, a bright bold spectrum in the company of a smiling cloud and a happy sun.

That’s the first thing I thought of when I woke up to this view around 7:45 a.m. on Saturday:

Which I thought was pretty damn cool, until I wandered out to the living room and saw this:

My attempt at pasting together a panorama shot leaves something to be desired, but you get the idea.

I feel like London’s girlfriend.

Turndown Service

You know what would be way more helpful than coming into my hotel room and turning back a corner of the sheets and leaving a mint on my pillow? Following me around bars and saying, when and to whom it’s appropriate, “Um, no.”

And then just leave the mint on my coaster.