Peeve of the Day

Because pandemics make me peevish.

Listen to me, people.  “Dice” is not a singular noun.  It is a plural one, as in “a pair of dice” or “cut up your potato into small dice.”

The singular, as any long-time gamer knows, is “die”, as in “roll a twelve-sided die to check for damage.”

One die, two (or more) dice.  Get it?

Voice from the back row:  Got it.

Good.

Seasonal Yumminess, and Support for a Local Restaurant

I didn’t cook an Easter dinner this year – the traditional meat is either ham or lamb, and I do ham at other times, whenever the local grocery has a sale on spiral-sliced ham. And the only lamb we get up here in the wilderness of far northern New England is either boneless leg of lamb, which is . . . okay, if you like lamb, and the occasional lamb chop, about which I can only say, if I’m going to spend that much money on a piece of meat, I want something a bit larger than your average lollipop.

Also, all of my festive impressive-piece-of-meat dinners (the roast turkey, the crown roast of pork, that sort of thing) were developed back in the days when we had five or six people in residence, several of them bottomless pits teenagers, instead of two or at most three regular adults. It’s one thing to orchestrate a meal like that when you’ve got one kid who can do gravy and a fancy dessert, and another kid who can help you with all the pies, and another couple of kids who can slice and stir and keep an eye on things, and all you need to do by your own self is make the white sauce for the creamed onions and maybe wrangle the meat (unless my husband and co-author has decided to deep-fry it for a change.) It’s another thing altogether to manage it mostly on your own.

So this year we let somebody else cook it. Under normal conditions, we’d have made reservations somewhere nice; this year, we ordered the Take and Bake Easter Dinner for four from the Common Man restaurant in Ashland NH, and brought the various components back to the house in a large paper tote. It all looked good; some of it was meant to cook in the oven and some of it on the stovetop and some of it in the microwave, and there was a lot of it — sliced ham, glazed roasted brussels sprouts, seasonal vegetables with thyme and garlic, scalloped potatoes, mascarpone mashed potatoes (an extra side, just because we could), maple mashed sweet potatoes, cheesecake with raspberry compote, and dinner rolls with seasoned butter — for what was in fact a quite reasonable price.

And indeed, it was all good — at least two meals’ worth, and maybe more. Jim Macdonald had a good time synchronizing all of the cooking directions so that the oven stuff, the stovetop stuff, and the microwave stuff all came out and onto the table together. For my part, I had a good time leaving him to it.

Kudos to the Common Man Restaurant in Ashland, the purveyors of the feast!

In This, Our Extended Cabin Fever Season…

notebook-2757626_640… a lot of people are staving off the side effects of self-isolation by finishing up all their half-done household projects. Some of them are even finishing up their novels.

If you’re one of those people, or know someone who is, then I’m here to help. From now until the end of May, I’m running a discount on my editorial services:  My usual fee for a line-edit and critique drops from $1500 to $1000, and my fee for a 100,000-words-and-up doorstop drops down to $1500.

And, yes — as always, you can purchase a slot in advance if you’ve got the money now but won’t have the finished manuscript until later. Or you can buy one as a gift for somebody else, if you like.

Meanwhile, stay well and stay safe and stay six feet away from your friends and neighbors. And keep on writing.

A Good Thing in a Bad Time

GS CookiesBecause of the pandemic, the Girl Scouts are suspending in-person and cookie-booth sales.  But fear not!  You can now buy your Thin Mints and Trefoils on-line at Girl Scout Cookie Care.

The site also includes an option for buying cookies to donate to first responders, volunteers, and local causes in need.

I just now bought two boxes of Thin Mints, a box of Trefoils (my original and all-time favorite!) and a box of Samoas (because they go so well dunked in coffee or tea.)

So here’s a chance to both get your cookie fix and help out at the same time.  Also, Girl Scout cookies freeze well, so you can buy extra and stock up. Or buy extra and eat them all right now — who am I to judge?

(Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.  I have a fond memory of sitting in the bar at a Lunacon, years ago when there were still Lunacons, singing “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old” with two other writers and an editor, all of us not-so-former-as-we’d-thought Girl Scouts.)

COVID Near You

Over at his web log, Jim Macdonald posts a useful link to something you can do at home:

Madhouse Manor

Modeled on Flu Near You, this is a crowd-sourcing site for COVID-19 infections.  Sponsored by Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, it seems like a good idea.  The more people who participate the more useful it will be.

vidnearyou.org/#!/”>https://covidnearyou.org/#!/

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Random Pandemic-Related Thoughts

When this is all over, I suspect that what most people who weren’t directly hit by COVID-19 are going to remember isn’t the virus, it’s going to be The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020.

Also, what a whole lot of primary-school kids are going to remember is The Spring When There Wasn’t Any School and We Got to Watch All the TV and Play All the Video Games We Wanted.

My younger daughter adds, “And a whole lot of Millennials are going to turn into the kind of grandparents who end up ranting at their grandkids about how Nobody Washes Their Hands Properly Anymore, Dammit!”

****

There’s also been some speculation around here about what kind of fiction is going to be popular in the next year or so. My own theory is that dystopian and post-apocalyptic stories are going to see a decline in popularity – that shoe we were waiting for while we were reading those has dropped, and people are going to be ready for something more upbeat. Remember, the first Star Wars movie came out in 1977, just two years after the end of the Viet Nam war and all the other awfulness of the late sixties and early seventies.

So maybe swashbuckling space opera will come around again. I’d like that.

In Light of Current Events…

…Jim Macdonald and I have, in a spirit of reluctant responsibility, abandoned our tentative plans to attend this year’s Heliosphere convention, since we had so much fun at the last one. We hadn’t yet bought memberships or gotten a hotel room (we’d been planning to stay at a cheap offsite hotel for economy’s sake), which means at least we aren’t out any money. But the Tarrytown Doubletree is uncomfortably close to the hot spot in New Rochelle, and we don’t want to be the folks who bring the virus home with us to Colebrook, so there it is.

FYI

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Or, shameless self-promotion time.

Right this moment, and I don’t know for how much longer for one day only, the first volume of our Mageworlds space opera series is on sale at Amazon for $2.99.

(This is the e-text reprint, of course.)

Also, a hat tip to our younger daughter, the fearless reference librarian, for spotting this and calling it to our attention.  Everyone should have a reference librarian in the family.

Cliff, Shag, or Marry: The Romantics Edition

Or, I was feeling silly this afternoon, and had some thoughts on the subject.

First off, Wordsworth and Coleridge are out of the running completely, because I can’t imagine having sexual thoughts about either of them. Which leaves, out of the major figures, Byron and Shelley and Keats.

Looked at that way, it’s obvious.

Cliff Shelley. Shag Byron (“mad, bad, and dangerous to know” is pretty much the textbook description of your classic Jazzy Weekend.) Marry Keats, and get him some good 21st century medicine to take care of that consumption thing.

Others’ mileage may vary.