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January 06, 2009

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I've hesitated* to be the first to request a gift that you're asking for us to accept, but someone has to be. I request Blessings. And for why? Here was my train of thought. From the page:

Blessings is a purely spiritual work of art.

Like an Angel?

This daring album is entirely dedicated to the pagan segment of S.J.'s fanbase...

Maybe not then.

...and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Well I'm not all audiences so it must be appropriate for me!

More seriously from the Firebird's Child track and the mp3 snippets on the site, I'm getting an interesting modern folk vibe that I'm sadly lacking in my music at the moment.

* And then there was a power cut, and when I sat down to try and listen to the tracks my Dad jammed his garden shredder with a Christmas tree so we spent half an hour in the cold fiddling with it, and then the internet stopped working for another half hour...

I was feeling rather foolish that no one wanted a CD, so I'm glad you stopped hesitating!

You haven't told me about her yet. But the clips will mean she gets placed on my regular playlist.

Let me know which CD I _might_ get and I'll buy the others.

Oops. didn't read fully. I'll email elsewhere my choice.

Jeff,
I'll get you Sirens. Two waltzes and a slightly wacky tango.

Susan, I'd like a CD and cookies please! And my offer of chocolate cookies in trade still stands :)

Do any of the CDs have a song or more that sounds particularly good to bellydance to? If not, I'll go for Sirens since it sounds like a good mix of songs. Although Haphazard tempts me purely because of the medusa on the cover. Hmmm....

(I'm not decisive this afternoon. Perhaps you should just surprise me!)

Susan... I'll let you choose for me.

Serge,
Two questions:
1. Have you read the Valente stuff yet?
2. Do you like audiobooks?

The two Valente-connected CDs are half readings of her stories and half songs inspired by the stories.

AJ,
I think "Firebird" (mp3 link above) would work to belly dance to. That is on two CDs - Blessings and Solace and Sorrow. "In the Name of the Dance" might also work, though it has a very different sound. It makes me want to dance, but I haven't figured out what to dance to it yet! If you can deal with pagan-themed songs (I'm not pagan but I like them anyway) then Blessings would be good. If you'd enjoy some stories mixed with your songs, then Solace and Sorrow.

Really, they're all good!

Susan...

I have read the first book.
Audiobooks? Never listened to one, but I'm willing to try.

Susan,

Ok, I'll try Blessings then. I'm also not a Pagan, but I do like a lot of Pagan music. Except for Inkubus Sukkubus, whose lyrics are like getting hit over the head with a pentacle-inscribed sledgehammer. No idea why my husband likes them so much, since he's not a Pagan either.

I would not mind one (and cookies!) as I am always on the lookout for danceable music. Sirens is probably my preference, as I am pretty sure that Magus played part of the Wendy trilogy for me last fall, and I liked it quite a bit, but who am I to argue with any sort of free thing.

And thank you, and you're cool. Should I e-mail you an address, or (if you have the CDs by then) want to bring it to me at Arisia?

~Sor

I hadn't turned the light off yet last night when you posted this!

I'm so sorry to hear about her problems. Is she also checking into Medicaid? Depending on the state she lives in and her financial situation, Medicaid may kick in.

I'll take Sirens -- it sounds like a good first CD to try -- and of course, the cookies, although I should probably have chicken soup. It looks like I have a mild flu.

BTW, if that's their wholesale price, it's not the price they buy it at. It's the price they sell it at in large amounts to retail customers.

Oh, and I'll promo it on my LJ today.

I'd love some cookies and a CD. Sirens, because the Wendy snippet you quote sounds intriguing.

I felt uncomfortable about asking for one, but I need something positive to happen today. I'd like Blessings, please and thank you. Its lyrics and music appealed to me much more than the others did (not that the others were at all bad).

Can we sort out the address and potential cookies when delivery is becoming imminent, since you say it will take some time? It will probably be easier to ship to Baltimore, but not if my husband won't be around for a while to retrieve it.

Okay, I posted about it on my LJ and as you can see in the post, put up an offer of a custom handbeaded ponytail barrette. Can't start it until next month, considering what I already have in motion, but you want your hair down for insulation during winter anyway, right?

Marilee,
Whatever the cost to them may be, $16.95 is undoubtably more useful at the moment than $10.

I could send you a vaguely chicken-shaped cookie, but I don't think soup ships well. I hope your illness is shorter and less annoying than mine! (I'm still tussiculating madly.)

Carol,
Sure, details can be worked out when I actually receive the CDs and am ready to reship.

Okay, so far I have:
Neil - Blessings
AJ - Blessings +cookies
Serge - TBD
Jeff - Sirens
Mary Aileen - Sirens +cookies
Marilee - Sirens +cookies
Carol - Blessings (cookies TBD)
Sor - Sirens +cookies

That's eight gone, four to go!

What? No cookies for me? Sniff.

Serge,
You didn't ask for cookies! You may certainly have some.

Just kidding, Susan. Besides, they might not survive the trip here.

Cookies are easy to ship!

Susan... How about this? Make some a few months from now, and bring them to the worldcon.

Serge,
1) that adds hassle
2) you think I'm going to try to take food into Canada????

Susan... Right. Food into Canada. A most excellent idea. Not.

I hadn't meant posting the list of the first eight to stop the requests at eight. I seem to not have enough people reading this thread. Four CDs are still available; tell all your friends!

I've been hesitating because I'm not sure if I want to put you to the trouble of sending stuff all the way out here. (And I know you said that the oddly-shaped cookies travel well, but do they travel that well?)

I pledge to pay for the postage to mail the CD to Australia.

It actually is pretty much the same trouble to mail them anywhere, since it involves going to the PO and having the package weighed and postage put on. I might have to fill out a small form declaring that I am not sending you anything exciting. The only wrinkle might be if regulations on your side or mine prevent the mailing of cookies into Australia. But that just means no cookies. I mail out CDs all the time, since I have a little mail-order thing going selling dance music, and I am generally a complete master of the process, even for overseas orders.

I might have to fill out a small form declaring that I am not sending you anything exciting.

No matter how excited I really am, I will do my best to show just vague interest if Customs come round asking questions. (I think baked goods are okay to send to the UK, but if in doubt just send the CD, which I will contain my excitement for)

I think by exciting they're thinking more like liquids or explosives or live animals or something. Cookies should be terrifically dull by PO standards.

The problem of needing four more takers remains....

Incidentally, you folks might also be interested in this anthology, which is also part of the fundraising. Gaiman, de Lint, Windling, Valente, etc.

Customs have very strange ideas over what is exciting or not. My brother sent 4 hats from Pakistan* and they weren't interested, but the time my parents came back from Florida and got separated from their luggage, the only thing got inspected was a hatbox with a stetson in. Does that make any sense?

* addressed to me but at my parents address in a sewn and sealing-wax sealed parcel that so excited my Mum that she got me out of bed to go round and open it.

Susan... It actually is pretty much the same trouble to mail them anywhere

Oh, I know that. I was only offering to pay for the higher postage costs. Anyway, I have ordered "Ravens in the Library", and posted about it on my blog and on Making Light.

If you haven't given away all 12 yet, I'd like one (following on here from Making Light, which I've fallen behind on).

The main reason I'm interested is because I loved Valente's In the Night Garden. Back when it was new, several of us at The Other Change of Hobbit read it and fell in love with it -- and though I'm no longer strongly associated with the store, we've still apparently sold a significant percentage of the copies sold in the US (over 100, from one small store in Berkeley). I'll let you pick one for me.

Tom:
Okay, you're #9. I'll send the CD that matches the Valente book. Feel free to stick around Rixo; I promise it's much easier to keep up with than ML.

Three CDs still available! Tell all your friends! (Who'd have thought it was so hard to give away free music?)

(Or maybe just two if Paul decides he's in after all. I'm happy to mail to Australia.)

So, if you sell CDs, do you use CD boxes? I have a batch of them -- probably 20-30, I'd have to move things to count -- that are left from a big CD-mailing. They might actually be easier to ship if I made them up and shipped them in a box rather than trying to tie them together again. Oh! I bet the UPS store will do that with the plastic strips like they came with.

Marilee,
Jewel cases or some sort of mailing box? I have plenty of the former already, but the latter would be useful.

Neil,
Well, I suppose a stetson could be terrifically exciting in certain contexts. I'm jaded about them, having grown up in Texas where people wear them more routinely and look natural doing so.

I'll warn you when the CD package is coming so you can practice looking blasé. (Actually, you'll have plenty of warning since I'll have to ask for your address to send them.)

In that case, sign me up for whichever CD has "Alligator in the House" on it.

Okay, Paul is #10. That's Sirens for the alligator song, which will at some point warrant an entire post of its own here.

Two to go...I need more readers here!

Mailing boxes -- cardboard, scored to fold properly, and can hold one or two CDs. Email me your address and I'll send them up sometime this coming week.

Marilee,
Done, and thanks!

Susan, I would love whichever CD has the Wendy Chronicles on it, please.
I'm linking to Sooj's page in my livejournal as soon as I finish this. Thanks for the update-I didn't connect sooj to the songs you played me. Sorry, I'm a little dense o.O

Okay - Raven is #11, and that CD is Sirens.

One to go...

OK, I feel weird about this, but I'll speak up for #12. You pick, or if you insist I pick, I guess I can look over the lyrics and choose one.

Thanks for doing this.

Goodness, don't feel weird. I'm making an effort to give CDs away and I'm feeling a little silly at how much effort it's taking! Believe it or not, I usually do this in a more disorganized fashion throughout the year, snapping up extra CDs at her concerts and then handing them off to people, including total strangers at conventions. So handing them off via blog is not all that different.

I'd rather you pick just because I don't know your tastes, but if I'm picking I'll pick Sirens. I'll place the order this weekend, so let me know one way or the other by Friday AM please.

Also, the medical update for anyone not following along directly:

It turned out to be appendicitis AND a left ovary cyst. They went in surgically and removed the appendix, ovary, and fallopian tube successully. She's expected to be out of the hospital soon and resting for a few weeks before going back on the road. They are hoping to talk the bills down to $25,000, but they don't even have a grand total yet, and probably won't for awhile. And as far as I know they're not nearly to that level yet.

Thanks for letting us know how Sooj is doing, Susan. I posted about the various efforts on my blog and elsewhere.

CD list:
Neil - Blessings
AJ - Blessings +cookies
Serge - Girl in the Garden +cookies
Jeff - Sirens
Mary Aileen - Sirens +cookies
Marilee - Sirens +cookies
Carol - Blessings (cookies TBD)
Sor - Sirens +cookies
Raven - Sirens
Tom - Girl in the Garden
Paul - Sirens
Clifton - Sirens

I'm going to place the order tonight, so if anyone wants to make a change, let me know today. Anyone who hasn't specified With Cookies can also make that decision for another week or so.

Serge - Girl in the Garden +cookies

A girl and cookies? To quite the Gershwin Brothers, who could ask for anything more?

Thank you, Susan, I'm looking forward to the new music and the tasty cookies :D

Yes, I joined the community to put the offer up and I've been following her partner's posts. I'm glad it's something that minor and that she'll be out of the hospital soon. That will minimize costs. The woman who won my barrette offer ended up donating $5 more because she found out PayPal would take out fees.

CDs ordered!

I decided to substitute Solace and Sorrow for Serge & Tom since I think the song mix is stronger overall ("Firebird's Child," "Sorrow's Song," "Kingdom of the Mice," "Kashkash.")

I'm hoping to get them by next weekend so I can bake cookies and ship 'em out to you all then.

Yum!

I've heard back from Sooj's partner K' that the CDs should ship out Monday, so I'll be on schedule for cookie-baking and shipping out next weekend!

All right! Life got a little (lot) out of control in January with my day job, but now it's time for me to bake cookies and package CDs and all. So this is the time to (1) send me your mailing address for receipt of CD and (2) let me know definitely whether you want the CD With Cookies or not if you hadn't already.

I'll email this announcement out to everyone on the list, since I'm not sure everyone has my email address (which can easily be obtained on my website) or that this comment will capture people's attention since the thread has gone quiet.

I dunno. Do I really want a girl in a garden with wookiees? I'm not really a furry fan.
("Not wookiees, Serge. Cookies.")
Oh.
Nevermind.

I have emailed a mailing address.

I am also not visualising a girl in a garden with wookiees.

(They're definitely not having a tea party. "Would you like a cucumber sandwich Mr Wookiee?"
"Arhhooharhh!" No. That woul be silly.)

I think you have my mailing address, but if you don't, post and I'll send it.

I finished this auction piece last night and stuck it to the ponytail clip today (E-6000, a gap-filling glue that I had to use outside and must cure for about 20 hours). I'll get a picture tomorrow and make sure of the winner's address and send it out.

And here's the ponytail holder: Pretty in Pink. The winner asked for varied pink shades, this was not my idea. It's in a business card holder so I could get the right angle.

The worst part about making cucumber sandwiches is removing the crusts from bread. Does anyone have a really clever way to do this? My latest approach is freezing the bread, which makes it easier to slice off the crusts.

Marilee: the holder is lovely, but the color horrifies me, as you probably expected.

Does anyone have a really clever way to do this?

No, just stupid ways. Our local-ish baker makes a square white loaf with a solid and crunchy crust that retains it's shape well when sliced. If you line up your sandwiches carefully you can take off a whole bunch of crusts in one go. You can also ruin several in one go if you're unlucky. The real problem is I like the crunchy crust and would rather have sandwiches with it on, and in fact tend to eat the cut off crusts and then be too full for sandwiches.

Living in Sandwich you'd expect me to be some kind of expert, but sadly I'm not. However I can point you at some photos of an infamous local sign to make up for it.

I have all the addresses except AJ's now; thanks, everyone. I have decided that it's easier for me to send everyone cookies than to keep track of who might not want them, so if you received unwanted cookies, just give 'em away or toss 'em or something.

Neil, I've experimented with using cookie cutters to make sandwiches in cute little shapes. But as with crust-removal, the bread has a tendency to just squish and compress rather than slice cleanly. I put the crusts in a meatloaf or feed them to birds.

Nice street sign in the linked pics. The closest I can think of around here (for values of "here" that include northern Maryland) is the one that reads

North East
Rising Sun

On the topic of streets: personally, I'm morbidly amused to live near the intersection of the regicides. It's such a complex intersection that I don't think I can get a picture of street signs for all three at once, though.

Why do cucumber sandwiches have to go crustless?

Susan, pink wouldn't have been my choice, either. But when she told me what colors she wanted, she said she was wearing a pink sweater even then.

Like Neil, I like crusts, but the best way to take crusts off is to buy unsliced bread, uncrust it, then slice it. Sometimes the bakery will do all that for you. AJ is just finished with Gem Show, so I'll email you her address.

Neil, I didn't know about that sign, although I did know about Susan's in MD.

Serge, only peasants eat crusts.

Marilee... only peasants eat crusts

Is this one of those things they used to believe before the French Revolution? Weird. Of course it may be that crust was unhealthy because of the old baking processes, unlike the yummy thing that is now the best part of the bread. Or it may be one of those illogical beliefs, like bathing causing disease.

Serge, Marilee's answer to the crust question is better than mine, which would be "what are you, some kind of anarchist?" Cucumber sandwiches are supposed to be delicate and refined*, to almost slip down without interrupting the ceremony of afternoon tea (See "The Importance of Being Earnest") It might be to do with contaminaion of the crust, or it might simply be a class thing - we're posh enough to hire someone to cut off the crusts of our sandwiches.

Having many peasants amongst my ancestors I prefer stuffing my sandwiches full of meat and then eating the crusts (expecially the end crust). But afternoon tea isn't about providing nutrition, it's an excuse for the event, and the tea sandwiches and cakes are there to give you something to do with your hands, a neutral topic to talk about if needed, and to clarify the duration (when you've run out of tea it's time to go). At least that's my reading.

People keep stealing that sign, or trying to, every couple of years. The ugly lump of concrete that forms the base gets bigger everytime.

* Which is why offering one to an enormous loud and hairy Wookie struck me as funny up above

I was always fond of the crusts myself as a child. I still like using the ends of a bread loaf for sandwiches. But when one is doing a Victorian event, one must go along with the fussy upper-class standards for cucumber sandwiches.

(Clearly Serge is They.)

End crusts rule!

Down with the cucumber-loving leeches of Society's Upper... ah... Crust.

Woooo, music and cookies! Thank you Marilee, for providing my address. I will now watch my mailbox in anticipation.

I've returned from my almost-week of Gem Show Madness. I spent my days being paid to package beads, and my nights going to various dinners and parties. I didn't get any pictures of myself wearing my incredibly cute bustle skirt, but I did get a lot of compliments on it at the Swarovski Party, and it stayed on very well while I danced up a storm to very bad music. Now I'm trying to catch up on all of my on-line stuff!

AJ... I've returned from my almost-week of Gem Show Madness

AJ, Princess of GemWorld?

Omigod...I remember the comic Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld from waaaaaay back when.

(goes to eBay and on a mad impulse orders the entire run of both series of Amethyst for $14.99)

Susan... A few years ago, I read an interview with Amethyst's creator. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the book (which I never read but knew about) is the thing that women would mention to him at cons, long after the book stopped being published.

Serge:
It was the perfect fantasy for a certain subset of preteen girls: go to a world where you are (1) grown up, (2) important and powerful, and (3) possessed of a FLYING UNICORN! Also, it's got everyone color-coded, which is one of those weirdly appealing things in a lot of books (Lackey's Valdemar, McCaffrey's Pern, etc.)

More detailed comments will have to wait 'til I actually get my copies, since it's been a quarter-century since I read them and I don't recall any other details except that there was a very pretty love interest and a red-haired woman in armor that I thought was much more interesting than blonde Amethyst. (It occurs to me that I later had a crush on a woman of the same hair- and clothing-color. Hmm.)

Susan... It occurs to me that I later had a crush on a woman of the same hair- and clothing-color. Hmm.

Was the redhead armored?
("Darn," young Susan exclaimed. "Where did I put that can opener?")

Serge, crusts were rough and hard back then, and nice folk couldn't possibly eat such things.

Marilee... As people say in French in such a case, bon sang, mais c'est bien sûr!, which is the usual longer-in-French-than-in-English way of saying "Of course!"

Serge:
Red hair and turquoise leather.

Red hair and turquoise leather, Susan?
Be still, my heart.

Serge! Don't go blabbing about my royal heritage to everyone. *mutters about peasants while she wanders off to eat a crustless sandwich*

AJ:
Did you ever notice a certain resemblance between Serge and Dark Opal, terror of Gemworld?

(Uh-oh...NOW I have a vaguely masquerade-like sort of idea. Damn!)

Does Dark Opal go around that everybody will bow down before him? If so, that sounds like a part for me, should the masquerade madness take over certain people.

Any cucumber in your crustless sandwich, Princess AJ? Or is is just bread?

"Feel my POWER, girl! Face my WRATH, you noble fools, and feel the might of all your ROYAL GEMSTONES turned AGAINST you by my MAGIC BREASTPLATE! Learn how INSIGNIFICANT you are before my GRANDEUR -- and know that this new GLEAMING ARMOR has made me...UNBEATABLE!"
-- Dark Opal

I especially like the part about the magic breastplate.

Susan, I've actually never read the Gemworld comics. I think they're in my parents' comic collection, but they came out before I was old enough to read them, and then were not offered to me when I started being interested in comics.

Serge, we princesses subsist on nothing but crustless cucumber sandwiches and bonbons!

AJ... I take it that the bobons are magical low-calorie ones.

Princesses also don't have to worry about calories, because we dance them all off at royal balls. Besides, all of our gowns have corsets anyway.

AJ... all of our gowns have corsets

Suddenly Fairy Fashion Susan bamfs in, waves her magic wand at the corset worn at the outside, turning it into a giant cucumber that then gets sliced and imprisonned between two huge pieces of crustless bread.

Corseting up after too many cookies can be kind of uncomfortable. :)

Speaking of corsets worn on the outside, I have (belatedly) good news about Quigley Down Under.

So these are finally, belatedly, rolling out - I delivered Mary Aileen's and Jeff's CDs-&-cookies in person at Lunacon and now that I have a relatively quiet week coming up (just some sewing for the weekend) I will be industriously baking, packing, and shipping in waves all week. The cookies include the now completely-out-of-season Christmas ones (Nazi eagle funny little angel, Magi with backback, lighting bolt holly leaf) as well as some spring-like ones: duck, crescent moon, and the latest "what the heck is this meant to be" one, which we can debate once everyone has cookies to study.

Apologies for being so utterly lame about this. I've had the CDs for ages; the delay was in cookie-baking.

And the anthology is about to come out.

I will pretend that they are Nazi eagles as I bite their little cookie heads off. Or maybe not. Hate shouldn't be tasty.

This reminds me of the infamous Teddy Graham game from CostumeCon 7. (I can't believe how long ago that was...)

What is the infamous Teddy Graham game?

You BITE their little legs off so they can't run away.
You BITE their little arms off so they can't fight back.
You BITE their little ears off so they can't hear.
You BITE their little heads off so they can't scream.

And then you pitch the remaining Teddy Belly across the table and try to land it in someone's open mouth.

Why yes, costumers en masse can be frightening.

And then there was Distraction Pool...

I'll bite.
What is the Distraction Pool?

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