Daily Archives: September 24, 2011

What Susan Dexter the Author Has Been Doing

Apparently she’s now Susan Dexter the weaver and fabric artist, and she goes to festivals and stuff.

Unless there are two Susan Dexters in New Castle, Pennsylvania, which seems unlikely.

Gotta say I wish she’d write stories for us again, but the impression I got back when I saw her at a Pittsburgh con eons ago was that she wasn’t much into e-stuff, and that maybe she just didn’t have a great urge to write more novels. Of course, a lady can always change her mind. And apparently she has enough interest in Kindle to have put up her backlist — or at least her first trilogy and one of her Wildside Press books. Yay! (Presumably the other books are either still in her old publisher’s hands, or she’s just not in the mood for proofing everything at once.)

Here she is weaving. Her hands, anyway.

Here’s a photo gallery about her work called Weaver Fever and a newspaper story about it.

Also, she’s got horses and dogs and she paints portraits. (Scroll down below all the sad stuff about Remi the lost dog.) So yeah, maybe she’s just having too much fun doing other stuff to write books for us. Snif.

Also, she makes dolls. Here’s some for sale on Ebay from an estate sale. You can buy your own little Scottish warband.

Argh… Cuteness or novels? How to chooooose?

(Actually, my consistent policy has been to avoid Ebay, as I spend way too much money without giving in to the collector impulse and the competitive bidding impulse at once. But those are beautiful art dolls.)

But yeah, she does have an actual job job, like most of us. Apparently works in a Catholic parish office doing admin, which would probably take an awful lot of time and energy out of you. So yeah, gotta say that totally answers my questions as to where she’s been and what she’s been doing.

And yet, I still want novels. (Whine cry cry whine.) Medieval fantasy, Catholic parish urban fantasy, fabric artist fantasy: I’m not picky.



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Some environmental group is claiming that Dayton, Ohio is the 14th smoggiest mid-sized city in the country and the 4th in Ohio. Panic, panic!

Okay, first, let’s think how many actual cities there are in Ohio. Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, and then you can argue about Akron and Canton and Youngstown. Woo-frickin-hoo. Dayton is the fourth or fifth largest city in Ohio, depending how you count; so saying it’s the fourth smoggiest city isn’t saying much.

As for mid-sized cities in the US, I can’t tell you. But smog isn’t one of our problems. Ozone, sinus pressure, allergens, yes, thanks to the valleys and the weather patterns. Smog particulates, no.

Now, I remember back in the Seventies when we had multiple large smoke-emitting factories and all kinds of gas guzzler cars. Even then, even on the most foggy days, the air just wasn’t high in smog particles. I never really knew what smog was, until I visited LA in the Nineties. (And was instantly aware that the place really wasn’t fit to live in, as far as air is concerned. The burning of the eyes and nose….) The air is cleaner now than it was in the Seventies or the Nineties, by far.

The only exception to this is that, last year, there was a big junkyard fire for several days, where there was all this burning tire gunk in the air. This was an exceptional event, the kind that had people remembering the big barrel factory fire back in the Sixties. They really were warning people not to be spending a lot of time outside when the wind from that was blowing in their direction; but that’s not exactly counting as smog. Sheesh.

So either this environmental group is comparing incredibly minuscule amounts of smog, or they’re counting ozone days as smog days, even though they’re not necessarily the same. Either way, “total BS” is the obvious conclusion.

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Making Progress

Bearing in mind that I skipped all the pre-Book 1 introductory Cliff Notes drawn from St. Isidore, and all the pre-Book 2 Cliff Notes section also drawn from St. Isidore, I’m getting along rather well with translating Beatus. I’m in Book 4 right now; and we’re up to Chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation. (This is the bit with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Instead of gloom and doom, Beatus is concerned with the leftovers from Jesus’ two loaf-multiplication miracles being a sign of the universal call to holiness.)

There are twelve books in all, but this is the last really long book. (Books 5-12 are all stuffed in Volume II of the Beatus critical edition, and that’s with half of every page taken up with footnotes and manuscript variation notes.) So if I don’t go back and pick up Isidore until later, it’s all downhill from here. But it’s becoming clear that, at least for the later books (like now), most of the basic symbolism stuff is back in the Big Huge Chunks o’ Isidore. So at some point I really do have to go back and pick that up. (Maybe between Volume I and Volume II.)

The problem is that careful translation and careful checking of sources really does take a looooong time. It’s been six months — albeit not six months of sustained effort, much less full-time effort. So if I were done with Book 4 and Isidore too, I’d be feeling much better about it.

I would now like to plug the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner marker-pen set. When a highlighter is just way too big, and when you’ve got three or four different sources to indicate on the same word, these pens are super-duper excellent. They have a very handy carrying case built-in, which actually props itself up on your desk for easier access to all the colors. Also, they don’t have that marker smell and don’t try to asphyxiate you. (Their webpage is boringly German and practical, but trust me about these excellent markers. Here’s the justly-awardwinning box.) I bet they’re even nicer for art.

Yellow (Amarillo): St. Apringius of Beja.
Orange: St. Caesarius of Arles.
(I guess this is funnier for New York pronunciations, but I did that by chance.)
Pink: Bishop Primasius of Adrumentum.
Indigo: St. Isidore of Seville.
Blue: St. Bede.
Green: St. Gregory the Great.
Olive green: St. Jerome.

I have to get more colors for doing the Isidore section, though, because it draws material from all sorts of stuff he wrote. (Or repurpose the old ones, of course. But really, I already must have gone through a whole lot of Apringius-yellow and Gregory-green.)

Oh, you want to know why. Well, as I may have mentioned, St. Beatus tends to copy over his sources from other books which may or may not have been well copied. Also, he feels free to change parts of speech a tad, replace weird words with stuff from the Spanish vocabulary, and mix quotes together for added educational value. Some of his sources have already done the same thing with older sources. The critical edition deals with this by just telling you what line of the crit edition the quote is on, and then what line the source quote is on in the source. Everything else is up to you, buddy. So after a long career of highlighting only when necessary, I have a project where I’m doing a ton of it, just to save my mind and save me from having to go back and look stuff up again.

(Though actually, I usually underline. Squiggly lines for words that are similar but not the same part of speech, ellipses vertically indicated between words, plenty of space left over for more underlines from more sources.)

There is probably a way to do this text-marking directly with Migne source PDFs, but probably not without a great deal of trouble. In a few years, I’m sure it will be considerably less trouble; maybe in a few years there will be an ebook of the critical edition. But for now, I have markers.

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