Tag: Kathleen Howard

Facebook Meme: How Did We (Not) Meet?

A few months ago there was a meme on Facebook that I particularly liked. The core of it read:

I would like my Facebook friends to comment on this status, sharing how you met me. But I want you to LIE. That’s right, just make it up. After you comment, copy this to your status, so I can do the same.

There were plenty of fun responses. These were my favorites.

Sarah Miller

How she met me:

We bumped into the street, our glasses fell off, I accidentally grabbed yours, you accidentally grabbed mine …. little did I know that your glasses in fact housed a sentient mini-computer with decided opinions about how I ought to be living my life.

How I met her:

It’s amazing that you noticed me at all. You had been leading your tours through the cavern for the barest flash of an instant, just a decade or two. “These structures formed over millions of years,” you buzzed. “This chamber was undisturbed for millennia.” When no one else was with you, you sat silent playing your light over my face. You were nearly a child when my eyes opened, and an old wrinkled thing by the time they closed. You will surely be dead when I open them again, but we shared a moment.

Kat Howard

How she met me:

 I don’t usually chase down people in the street, it’s simply that I’m very picky about my coffee. And I told you the cup was mine, and you didn’t listen, and my head was aching, and.

Well. I’m sorry about the stitches, but the scar should be very interesting.

How I met her:

The requisition order clearly called for part #A0-73462, a self lubricating ball bearing. That you were delivered instead was not my fault, and it was a grave injustice when they severed my linkages to The Superstructure. Left bereft, I had no choice but to fall in with your anarchic league.

Dan Pinney

How he met me:

I admit, I was taken in. That Fischer dude, he is a smooth character.

So he told me, over the phone, he had a thing he had to sell, on the QT. Weird tech. I didn’t know what it was, and honestly I still don’t. I gave him ten bills for it, exchange made under the table, in a bar in Houston. I probably had too much to drink that night, but, well, you know.

So he got the money, I got something that I think, given the research I’ve done, was probably some part of the innards of a microwave or some damn thing. Him, well, you hear his name dropped on the nightly news from time to time, usually when they’re talking about some sort of green technology thing. Only green I think about when I think about him, of course, is those ten bills.

I tell you, the man is good.

How I met him:

You were showing off, of course. Broke into the hookah bar with your friends and stole a pipe and an unlabeled box of shisha that you really shouldn’t have touched. You took it back to the shed behind your parents garage, warmed the coals on a hot plate. But the smoke made you feel lightheaded in a way it never had before, and when you blew a smoke ring to impress Melanie from down the street, I came tumbling out still glistening from my bath. I hate this place with its enormous dullards and empty sky. You will know no peace until you find a way to return me to my home!

Megan Kurashige

How she met me:

Oh. My. God. You know that mad scientist bloke who lives up the road? Well, I can’t expect you to believe it, but he has got the most miraculous theater built into the basement of his house. Not the basement proper, but this room, this palatial, expansive place that you can only get to through an absolute warren of tunnels. You walk and you walk and you carry on walking through the dark with only a torch in your hand (no, silly, not a REAL torch, an electric one). And you keep on walking until your nose bumps up against the heavy red of a velvet curtain, and then you have a choice. Pull it aside. Or, leave it shut. Because you know what’s on the other side, don’t you? (Oh, of course you don’t.) Nothing. There’s exactly nothing there, not til you make the choice. And then, when you do, it’s whatever the mad scientist sees fit to put there, for you, in that exact moment.

How I met her:

I had heard for years about the cosmetologist, who hasn’t? But it wasn’t until the accident, when it seemed there was nothing left worth wrapping fingers around and holding fast to that I sought you out. I chased whispers into basements and down alleys and over rooftops until I found you. You tilted me back in your chair and painted a new face on me, the face of someone else, someone who still knew how to value things in this world. I never looked out through my own eyes again.

Dana Huber

How she met me:

Church– you were the only person to realize my ‘speaking in tongues’ was actually an epileptic attack. Thank god you called the ambulance!

How I met her:

>run VirusScan
**Virus Detected.**
>delete virus
**Virus Removal Failed. See Log File.***
>open log file
# 2008-06-29 - [VirusScan] - Kill signal received
# 2008-06-29 - [???} - Message: Hey, stop it.
# 2008-06-29 - [???} - Message: This filesystem and I are just getting acquainted.
# 2008-06-29 - [???} - Message: Whatever happened to basic hospitality?

Ferrett Steinmetz

How he met me:

We have never met. You do not actually know I exist. In fact, you will never read these words and retain them to memory, for the moment you read them the link between short-term memory and long-term memory will be temporarily severed.

I do occasionally appear in your dreams, or in Facebook statuses, or in glowing IMs on your computer to issue commands I’d like carried out. Sometimes they’re simple: EAT MISO SOUP. Sometimes they’re more complex emotional urges, and you wonder why you’re so attracted to that girl even though you know she’s wrong for you.

I have my own agenda. You can only hope it’s good for you, in those remaining seconds before your short-term memory cuts out and the focused blindsight I’ve induced in seeing my name in other circles kicks in again and you go on your merry way, oblivious.

By the way. You’re welcome for that writing workshop. I have plans for you there, too.

How I met him:

I was the only one who knew from the beginning it wasn’t me you wanted. After all, I was just the intern on the ship, tagging along on a seafloor mapping project for course credit. But it had become clear weeks ago that I was going to be allowed to do little more than turn winches on and off, change filters, and sit in a chair for hours making sure there were no feed interruptions. So when your zodiac bumped against the hull and your crew climbed onto the deck with your guns to take the ship, I knew it wasn’t me you were after. But when you changed the ship’s heading toward the undersea cable and explained that the internet was a more valuable hostage than any hold full off eggheads, I could tell that my bosses were almost hurt it wasn’t them you were after either. I fell in love with you a little bit for that.

Sick Day

I’m been sick in bed all day, and the pressure in my sinuses seems to be pushing directly on the being-vaguely-pissy center of my brain.  But as many of my friends are sick too, we can all goof off on twitter together.

KatWithSword Have just learned that I am being nominated for a postdoc fellowship. Feeling very overwhelmed and honored.

glorioushubris @KatWithSword Woo! You are totally fellow material. I have always thought of you as a fine fellow.

glorioushubris Tomorrow I see the doctor. Today I stay in bed and practice trashcan basketball with sneeze-shredded tissues.

gralinnaea @glorioushubris Sympathy and empathy. Can we form a club?

glorioushubris @gralinnaea Let’s form a suicide pact, suicide pacts are way sexier than clubs. How about if we’re still sick come World Fantasy, we off it.

gralinnaea @glorioushubris Ok, check. I feel that this should be done in a dramatic and literary way. Hmmm …

ferretthimself @glorioushubris Not to horn in, but can I off myself, too? I think my body needs a deadline.

glorioushubris @ferretthimself @gralinnaea We need Gra’s ruling, but I think you’re welcome Ferrett. I conceive of this as a very egalitarian suicide pact.

gralinnaea @glorioushubris @ferretthimself Absolutely. Hmmm … how many people do we need before we can call ourselves a suicide cult?

glorioushubris Last night Facebook offers to make everything French for me. I decline. Today Facebook decides it knows what’s best, and I NEED French. Why?

glorioushubris In the preferences tab my language is still set to English, but everything is in French just the same. Why do you suck so hard, facebook?

ferretthimself @glorioushubris Dude, Facebook is frenching you. Don’t you know what that means when the most popular kid in town likes you that way?

glorioushubris @ferretthimself Shit! And here I thought I’d gotten less oblivious since high school!

KatWithSword @glorioushubris I don’t know whether I’m flattered, or full of the need to confirm you mean fellow in a nice, gender-neutral sort of sense.

glorioushubris @KatWithSword It’s no good desiring not to go among the fellows, for we are all fellows here.

gralinnaea @KatWithSword You’ll always be my favorite gender-neutral fellow … wait, that’s what you meant, right?

KatWithSword @glorioushubris @gralinnaea I just want to make sure that one can be a fellow, and still wear a bright pink breast protector while fencing.

glorioushubris @KatWithSword It would take some convincing to make me believe that anything says fellowship more forcefully than a barbie-pink breastplate.

Additionally, today’s being-vaguely-pissy music comes to us from The Kills.

Worldcon 2009: Mostly Ties

WisCon 33


This was my first SF convention, and was something of a test to see if I could enjoy conventions of any kind.  Last summer, while I was in San Diego for Clarion, I went to ComiCon, which managed to awaken an inner agoraphobe the existence of which I had not previously suspected.  But a week later Nalo Hopkinson made me promise to attend WisCon, assuring me I would find it a valuable experience.  Boy, was she ever right.

Day 1:

Geoff Ryman, Kat Howard, Me, and Keffy Kherli

Clarion 2008 Reunion 1: Geoff Ryman, Kat Howard, Me, and Keffy Kehrli

Kat, Keffy, and I drove to Madison from Minneapolis, in Kat’s VW Beetle.  I rode in the back, and slept part of the way, waking up in time to see our entry into the city.  We checked in to the Concourse hotel, then wandered out into downtown until we found a restaurant that wanted to fill us with post-road-trip margaritas.  Then it was back to the hotel, where we visited the Dealer Room (where I discovered that attempting to talk to Ted Chiang turned me into a stuttering fool, albiet one able to correctly identify literary influences), then wandered around until it was time for the opening ceremonies.  I managed to catch Geoff Ryman, Guest of Honor and one of our Clarion teachers, as he was coming in the door, and we monopolized his attention until the stage manager for the opening ceremonies came and asked if we wouldn’t mind terribly letting the GoH go to take part in the Con programming.  There was a skit, which was mildly entertaining but was completely overshadowed by Geoff and Ellen Klages spontaneously making out with each other.

Kat, Me, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Keffy

Clarion 2008 Reunion 2: Kat, Me, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Keffy

After the opening ceremonies, Keffy had a panel.  “TYRANNOSAURS IN F-14S!!!!” on the topic of SF that is so bad that it’s good.  The discussion focused mostly on television and movies.  The consensus opinion was that books generally don’t fall into the “so bad it’s good” category for most people because (a) books lack the audiovisual component that, when done well, can act as foils for a weak story, and (b) the time investment required to read a book is usually enough greater than the time to watch a movie that they are held to a higher standard.   After Keffy’s panel the programming of interest was over and we were off to the parties, where we met Jed Hartman and had a reunion with Mary Anne Mohanraj, another of our Clarion teachers.  We didn’t stay at the parties long, though, as we were all exhausted.

Day 2:

Keffy with Sybil's Garage #6, his first publication

Keffy with Sybil's Garage #6, his first publication

Breakfast was had at a coffee and crepes place we found called Bradbury’s, which struck us as an appropriately SFnal name.  Then Kat and I went to Ellen Klages’s Guest of Honor reading while Keffy went to another panel.  We met up again in the Dealer’s Room to find, among other things, the new issue of Sybil’s Garage, which contains Keffy’s first publication.  Then Kat went to have lunch with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, Keffy went to moderate a panel, “Keeping Up With Science,” and I went to another panel, “What’s in the Air?” with Geoff, Jed, Neil Rest, and Kristine Smith, which was about how techonlogy will be changing human society in the near-term future.  My favorite comment from that one was made by a textile preservationist named (I think) Laura who observed that a post-privacy technological society might have more in common, in terms of interpersonal relationships, with a pre-technological small town than it does with the modern day.  When that panel was over I went to a reading by, among others, Ellen Ku. and Delia.  The reading was notable as the only Con programming at which I encoutered people being assholes: a pair came in late and sat behind me, whispering loudly about how it was “happening again” and “rude to the real writers.”  As it happened, the Con program was printed before the full lineup for the reading was finalized, and the first reader wasn’t listed (though her name was on the sign outside the door).  So the natural thing to do, at least in the minds of the people behind me, was to stand up and interrupt her mid-sentence to say, “When are the writers who are actually scheduled going to be reading?”  Ellen Kushner smacked them down.

After the reading I went to “How Should Magazines and Anthologies Review Submissions?” with Mary Anne, Susan Marie Groppi (EIC of Strange Horizons, a letter from whom I have framed on the wall of my office), John Joseph Adams, Sumana Harihareshwara, Deb Taber, and Adrian Alan Simmons.  The best thing about this panel was getting to meet Susan, Sumana, and Deb, with whom I would find myself interacting more as the Con progressed.  I also learned from J. J. Adams that when F&SF takes a long time to get back to you, it is generally a good thing.  (As of this writing they’ve had a story I sent them for eight weeks.)  After the panel the group got together again for the Tiptree auction, which was one of the most entertaining events I’ve ever attended.  Highlights included a Geoff Ryman striptease act and a group recitation of a hilariously queer award from Ellen Klages’s childhood.

Day 3:

"Giant" by Ingrid Kallick

"Giant" by Ingrid Kallick -- notice the shawl made of people

Again began the day with breakfast at Bradbury’s.  Then Keffy went to “Keeping the S in SF,” and Kat and I attended “The Kids’ Books That Made Us,” after which we went to the art room to pick up a print Kat had purchased.  I ended up buying a different print by the same artist, Ingrid Kallick.  “Giant” whispered to me as I walked past it that it was actually a short story masquerading as a piece of visual art, and really needed to come home with me so I could write it.

As we were leaving the art room, Ellen Kushner invited us to lunch with her and Delia.  We tracked down Keffy and headed out to an Afghani restaurant.  On the way we ran into Mary Anne, Ben Rosenbaum, and Mary Kowal, and the group grew.  And then seemed to grow some more, until Ellen turned around and announced, “I don’t do twelve person lunches.”  The final tally ended up at nine.  From lunch Keffy went to be on “The Obligatory Workshop Panel,” and Kat and I went to hear Geoff’s Guest of Honor reading, after which was what turned out to be my favorite event at WisCon: the Strange Horizons Tea Party.

Me and Karen Meisner

Karen Meisner and me

At the Tea Party I managed to drop all of my social anxiety for perhaps the only time during the Con.  I finally met my editor on “Husbandry,” Karen Meisner, who I had been looking for all weekend.  We hit it off quite well.  I excitedly related my Con activities, and she, amused, told me that I was imbuing ubiquitous experiences with the wide-eyed wonder of a neophyte.  She also tracked down and introduced me to Meghan McCarron, who I had been wanting to meet and of whose writing I am a huge fan.  I stayed for the whole party and then some, sweating profusely and chatting incessantly.  I also met Alice Kim, Eric Vogt, and Jennifer I-Didn’t-Get-Her-Last-Name.  Sadly, the Tea Party did eventually end, and I went back to my room to clean up for the Guest of Honor speeches and Tiptree presentation.

Before we went to WisCon I decided that my friends needed to experience the joy that is a polyester robe with dragons on, so I got them each one as a gift.  We donned them before heading down to the ceremony, in preparation for the fancy dress party later than night.

Kat, Keffy, Mary Anne, and me

Kat, Keffy, Mary Anne, and me

We wandered into the big conference hall which had been set up like a dining room, and Ben Rosenbaum gestured us over to the table where Jed, Mary Anne, and Sumana were already sitting.  We listened with them to the speeches, and then to the presentation of the Tiptree award to Nisi Shawl (Patrick Ness was unable to be there to accept his; Geoff read a letter from him).  Then, this years Guests of Honor having been given there full due in accordance with WisCon tradition, the Guests of Honor for next year were announced.  They will be Nnedi Okorafor and… Mary Anne Mohanraj!  We all completely lost our shit, gawking at each other and, when she came back, hugging Mary Anne.  We trailed along behind her, taking pictures and freaking out for about the next hour, then bounced around the parties for perhaps another hour or two before heading back to the room and crashing.

Day 4:

Due to the exigencies of flight schedules and other non-WisCon committments, we got up early and left without taking part in any of the final day’s programming.  But I think we all felt that we got our money’s worth.  I pretty much can’t wait to go again next year.