Category Archives: Uncategorized

If I Can’t Get a New Car, I Want Ponies

Iceland jailed some of its bankers after a massive financial crisis.

Canada. Well, I love Justin Trudeau, but then there was their last Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

The people of all the countries I can think of have made social and political decisions that did not make sense.

They were not logical.

That is – logical to me.

For me, these decisions were tied to power, greed, and fear.

I’d add religion, but religion can encompass power, greed, and fear as part of its leaders’ hold over followers. In many cases, it has become another conduit of suppression and means of control. Religion has given us the best of times and the worst of times.

But back to politics.

Countries, even the wonderful Netherlands, have those who support suppression and isolationism. In Australia, politics are messy. France has been at the forefront of turmoil more than once. Remember the Guillotine? And least we forget this last summer’s chaos across the pond – Brexit. Add to the list North Korea, The Philippines, India, oh hell, all the countries of Africa, Asia, South and Central America, Europe, and North America.

Everywhere there are humans, chaos happens.

Throughout human history and prehistory, back in time and forward into the future, around the world, some leaders strive for social justice and peace – or at least tolerance. But not all. For some, their utopia is a world where they dominate.

Yes, I am worried about the future of this country. I am worried about the future of my child, his wife, and son. I am worried about the future of all sons and daughters, the environment, the earth.

Because of this I cannot give up. I cannot quit. I must continue to work towards a fair and just world.

Nor will I be embarrassed or shamed by the results of this election. There are hundreds of circuses and thousands of clowns. And whether it is monkeys in the circus or clowns in the car, this time the monkeys and clowns are mine. And I understand why so many people are terrified of clowns.

Next time, I want ponies.

Moving a Mountain of Compost

So yesterday was to be a work party at the garden to move a huge pile of pine needles and wood chips off of a new plot I’m going to use. It’s been composting for over a year. An online site said the dirt will not be too acid.

I arrived early to take care of a couple other tasks – putting up the netting for beans and wrapping my tomatoes in case the temps drop again at night. They looked pretty perky.

But I was the only one at the garden. How was I going to move that huge mound of composted vegetation? I wanted to cry — something I hate to do.

At 3:30, my friend drove up and had her son, Sam, with her. In just a few minutes Sam was shoveling the compost into a wheelbarrow and distributing it around the garden shed. In an hour and a half, he had moved most of the compost.

What a relief. Tomorrow, Friday, I am going back to the garden and doing a final clean-up before turning the dirt and checking the PH level. Hopefully, there will be worms — big fat ones. If not, there will be more worms rescued from the fish bait people.

All That Jazz and Corn Relish

Yes. My wonderful hubby and I have written a couple cookbooks. We did this because we were running the Clubhouse at a couple of the West Coast Regional SF conventions aka Westercon.

At the Westercons, there were two hospitality suites. Our Clubhouse was the one with the baklava, home baked breads, coffee cakes, fresh salads, and other wonderful food.

Our first cookbook was called MAWS. The second was called FOOD JAZZ.

That’s how I look at food. Here’s an excerpt from FOOD JAZZ.

“Food as jazz . . . Each ingredient playing its part in a harmonious combination of flavors. Consider a salsa. High treble riff of hot chilies, a melody of tomatoes, perky notes of cilantro, a background bass of garlic, and onions keeping a syncopated rhythm.

A duo of cooks steeped – and sometimes pickled – in experience tossing salad ingredients like a Dixieland band tossing happy notes. The ingredients are like little melodies waiting to be turned like the whippoorwill’s song into a blues potato salad, a curry, or a new dip that just seems to flow together.”

‘Nuff said about that. Here’s the corn relish recipe. Homemade beats store bought any day.

Corn Relish

2 cups cut corn (1-1/2 dozen ears)
1 quart chopped cabbage
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 table turmeric
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 cup water 1 quart vinegar
1 to 2 cups sugar

To prepare the corn, boil 5 minutes; then cut from the cob. Combine with the remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes. Finish off by bringing to a full boil. Pack hot into hot pint jars, leaving 1/8 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes, following standard canning procedures. Makes about 6 pints

Corn Relish Dip

1 pint home-made corn relish, drained
8 ounces cream cheese

Mix together and serve with crackers, bread pieces, or veggies. By adding or decreasing the amount of cream cheese, this can be formed into a mold, used as a dip or spread.

Black Friday and Warm Feet

My soul is still intact. I do not feel like a lesser being. As a matter of fact, I have a good feeling today. It’s Saturday morning. The morning after Black Friday. I feel comfortable inside. Happy.

And I did shop on Black Friday. Wow. I should be burning in the flames of consumerism. But I am not.

Perhaps it was because I shopped after 8:30 a.m. Perhaps it was because I do boycott Walmart and some of the other Big Bad Boxes. Maybe it was because Portland people are less intense, which I doubt. But I was out three times yesterday. Two times I shopped. One time was a post office trip. And it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t experience any feeding frenzy. I have all my fingers. No one shoved me, ran over me, stole my i.d., bullied me out of a parking spot, or subjected me to any of the indignities the news stations love to show. All in all, people were nice.

My first trip started with a brief stop at Freddies. I picked up a couple things that I otherwise would not have been able to get. Parking was easy. I did avoid the electronics. I can do electronics online through NewEgg. Granted I had a shopping cart, but as I maneuvered it past the other shoppers, especially the sock-table shoppers, I said excuse me and thank-you, as did other shoppers. We even smiled at each other and said, “Hi”. We weren’t horrible, rabid animals fighting over crumbs.

While I shopped, I didn’t feel tainted. And as I checked out a few of the specialty sales, I mulled over the anti-shopping hype.

Folks, it is not logical for people to wait and pay full price for socks when they can get them at half-price. In this part of the world, good socks are a necessity, not a luxury. Bare feet in rain boots or hiking shoes get cold. If you want to feel smug and superior for not shopping on Black Friday, that’s your thing. Maybe you don’t wear socks. Maybe you run everywhere barefoot. But don’t tell me not to go out and buy socks. That’s just mean. If you have a burning need to lift yourself above the biomass, buy some socks at half price and give them to the homeless people gracing our streets. It’s better to give people socks then to give people flack for Black Friday sock shopping.

Onward.

Leaving Freddies, I didn’t feel any black spots on my soul. Nor did I see any other shoppers who were obviously tainted. So I continued to my next stop, Costco. This was the second reason I went out to brave the crowds. My son wanted a Costco membership for Christmas. Having just spent Thanksgiving Day with the kids, I know how tight it is for them. So I decided to get the membership Friday – Black Friday was my first chance to get it – and send it to them early. Not your usual Black Friday trip, I know. But here I was continuing my morning journey on the day superior people love to hate.

When there, I picked up the gift card, cruised the aisles, and headed to the check-out. It was still mellow. All the Costco cashiers were happy. It’s a great place to work. Kudos to Costco. From here I headed home.

This leads in to my second outing. I came home for a quick breakfast and then headed to the post office to put the card in priority mail. The kids will have it by Monday. Wow. There were two other people on the customer side of the counter. Guess it was busy earlier. Guess it would be busy later. But for that bit of time, the post office was empty and peaceful.

After my quick trip, I headed home again. Hubby and I chatted a bit, did some correspondence, made a list, and we went out to Dave’s Bread, Morrow Brothers, and a second cruise through Freddies.

For those who don’t know, Dave’s Bread is organic and very tasty. It’s our go-to bread. And the outlet store for Dave’s Bread is right across from Bob’s Red Mill. We PDXers are so lucky on so many levels. Now let me clarify, I was out shopping on Black Friday for bread from Dave’s and produce from Morrow Brothers. And by the way, Morrow Brothers had a new, to me, apple called Sweetie. I picked up a couple to enhance our fruit salad. FYI. Neither store had any Black Friday specials. I didn’t expect any. I was happy with our score.

If by now you’ve noticed a theme for this third trip, that’s good. Sometimes when people go out on Black Friday, it is for basic shopping. So get off your high-horse. Up there, you are looking down on people, not at them. I believe it is important to look at a person. To see without judging.

But our journey was not over. We needed t.p., kitty food, milk, and a few other sundries. Since Freddies was on our way back to our house, we pulled in again. Nope. None of the grocery items were on sale. Didn’t expect them to be. But I did split off from my Hubby and picked up a couple more otherwise-not-able-to-afford items. Plus more socks. It just doesn’t make sense to wait one day so I can pay full price. That is not logical. So I guess I could feel smug for not shopping on Black Friday, or I could be logical.

We finished our shopping with a final stop at Grocery Outlet. Neither one of us expected any SALES!, but it is part of our SE PDX shopping loop. Right now, hubby is fixing some breakfast pancakes from the gluten-free, organic pancake mix we picked up at GO. Mmmmm. I can smell them.

After GO, we were finally home, and I was finished with my outings. I checked out my soul, spirit, self-esteem, ego, the invisible part of me that connects me to family, friends, earth, and the universe. Everything was still good.

Today, I feel a lightness of being. Warmth seeps into me from my toes and flows up to the top of my head. Maybe it’s because I bought socks.

The Sadness Filled My Soul

She was my friend. She was one of the few people in a local group who believed I had talent and encouraged me to write and draw. She wanted me to illustrate one of her stories. But that never happened. Susan Petrey died on December 5, 1980.

I was in Europe at the time, traveling through the British Isles and then on to the Continent. Although I had contact with people back home, I did not know about her death. Later, after I returned to Portland, I was told they took a vote and decided not to tell me Susan had died. They did not want it to ruin my trip.

Wow.

In Ireland I met the wonderful and gracious writer Anne McCaffrey. I was so pumped with Susan’s writing and our friendship, I chattered about her stories and how Susan was going to write so many more.

Now, news of a writer’s death in the F and SF world travels. I expect Anne knew about Susan’s death, but she did not say a word. Not wanting to ruin my trip? I don’t think so. Perhaps she thought I was in denial, ignorant, or just plain callous.

I continued on my holiday through Britain and across the channel. The head of BBC Scotland gave me a private tour through the studios, a sweet Swiss gentleman bought me a metro ticket and kissed my hand as I boarded the car, and I met my good friend Robin at the Youth Hostel in Den Hague. I was oblivious to the sadness that awaited me on my return.

But I did return, and on being told of Susan’s death, I was stunned into silence. Perhaps my apparent lack of response was taken for agreement that I should not have been told or indifference to Susan’s death. But it is the response I have when I am so overwhelmed by a lack of understanding that I cannot get any words out of my mouth. I was frozen in place. I should have been told.

My friend, Susan, was manic-depressive or what is now called bipolar. She took meds. Often when she was in a depressive mood, she would give me a call and ask to come over to my apartment. The meds flipped a switch and she became manic. She would come with her bottle of Scotch and talk and rock and talk and rock and take a sip of Scotch. There was no getting the bottle away from her and she knew she needed watching.

So I would sit with her and listen as she told her stories, the whole time making sure she never had too much Scotch or too many meds. Susan would rock and rock and rock. We’d talk about our joys and sorrows – regrets and dreams. She was my best friend. She is gone and I still feel the emptiness.

NYC Midnight Short Script Feedback

I received a first round honorable mention on my short script, Guns of War.  I thought I would share the feedback.

“Dear Rosalind Malin,

The judges’ feedback on your Screenwriting Challenge 2013 1st Round screenplay is below.  Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  We hope you find the feedback helpful and you enjoyed the competition!

”The Guns of War” by Rosalind Malin  – WHAT THE JUDGE(S) LIKED ABOUT YOUR SCRIPT – ……………Some really good craft on offer here, including plotting, characterisation and dialogue. It also has a strong message, anchoring it with a theme…………………………….Visually and imaginatively stunning short screenplay. I love how a (popular in this competition) pro and against guns political-type opening soon blends into a really spooky, artistic and symbolic story of the battle between war and peace. Some fab horror elements, too – feels like a nightmare with all the shape-shifting!……A very magical and intriguing story filled with great imagery. Very imaginative  – this is would visually stunning to see…………………   WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK – ……………The script doesn’t really feel eerie enough to be a ‘true’ horror film – it actually feels more like a drama. Though there is a message present, with the potential for a strong theme, the story kind of loses itself and strays away from the theme – from what it’s about………………………….…This script might be difficult to understand upon first reading and is the sort of script that would need to be read a few times to fully appreciate it, but it’s very unique and has great integrity; therefore it’s hard to criticise it. ……The dialogue comes across a little redundant at times. Warren sounds like he’s saying the same thing, but just in a different way. Work on making Warren and Elpis more personal. ……………… 

Best,”

Not too bad considering the time limit – 8 days for a 12 page script. Doesn’t give much time for the idea to gel.

The Cleave Poem

There is a new style of poem afoot—the Cleave Poem. Dr. Phuoc-Tan Diep created the Cleave Poem as a way of describing his life. Since the word cleave means both separate and together – to cut and to meld—the poem is designed to be both two separate poems and a third poem which is complete when the lines of the two poems are read across the page.

It is a fun and challenging poem to write. First write two poems, one down the left side of your page, the other down the right side of your page. They sit side by side, independent of each other.

The third poem is read across the page, left to right, combing the two poems. This third poem melds the thoughts from poem left and poem right into a new poem—elaborating on the sentiments in the left and right poems—making them one whole poem as if two separate poems never existed.

Here is the left and right attempt at a Cleave Poem. Although punctuation can be used, my ADD kicked in and I said, “A pox on that—No worries—they’ll figure it out.”

            Present                                                                   Past
Embracing the warmth of the sun            I danced with new found friends
Raising our hands in joy                            We laughed amidst our sorrows
The journey forever continues                  As we share our youthful adventures
While time caresses our hearts                Dreams of the future we told
I dance with the love of my life                 While embracing our Coming of Age.

Here is the third poem, cleaving the left side and the right side together.

                                             Perfect

Embracing the warmth of the sun I danced with new found friends
Raising our hands in joy we laughed amidst our sorrows
The journey forever continues as we share our youthful adventures
While time caresses our hearts dreams of the future we told
I danced with the love of my life while embracing our Coming of Age.

Well maybe a couple of commas and periods would be good.