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2010 In Review

You know, I’m sitting here trying to remember what the hell I did in 2010 aside from the usual.(Come on Kate, you need to write more than what a normal Facebook post would entail.)

Let’s start at the beginning…

January: This marked the beginning of a new year for Clarkesworld Magazine and we started off with a huge bang. Peter Watt’s “The Things” was probably one of my favorite stories I’ve had the pleasure to narrate. In fact, it got us a Parsec Audio Award nomination. Since hearing it read by Peter himself at the 2009 SF WorldCon in Montreal, it’s been chosen for 3 year’s best anthologies. If you haven’t read it, are a fan of John Carpenter’s movie, or Campbell’s old SF novel, please go here now.

February: I was asked to participate in SFSignal’s Mindmeld column. I was able to go through my stack of books and let everyone know which books I was slacking on.I also wore bad shoes to Boskone and ended up walking barefoot for most of the night. Started migrating and truly managing Taylor Anderson’s website and blog.

March: I got to narrate for Jetse de Vries and his Shine Anthology. Just when I was bitching there were too many dystopian futures ahead of us, Jetse put together a beautiful compilation of optimistic tales. You can find the book here — and the podcast here. Was going to be at numerous panels at LunaCon. Broke my ankle the day before leaving for NY. Ouch.

April: I visited South Miami Beach for the first time. Was there on a company trip and wish I had taken more time to walk on the beach. I turned 33. I went camping in the Southeastern Oklahoma woods with a bunch of my favorite friends.

May: I got my first story published on something other than my own blog. “By Some Illusion” was accepted by the fine folks over at Sybil’s Garage. Highlighted as the opening story in the magazine/anthology seventh issue, I still look at the beautiful book in disbelief. Incidentally, this has killed my writing only because I’m paralyzed with fear that I will not be able to write something else that a.) I’m proud of b.) will ever get published. Numerous people have told me to “get over it” but it’s turning out harder than I expected. Trying to get back to writing on this blog is a major step forward in that arena.

June: Apparently, nothing really happened in June. I picked a new author name, I entered my daughter into her first and most definitely last beauty pageant, I grew broccoli (and other things). I also re-joined a gym in an attempt to gain physical health and lose some weight. So far, I’m a lot stronger, but not so much skinnier. Must work on the nutrition side of things.

July: Got chided by Peter Watts, but in a lovingly, “You’re too damn optimistic” way. Attended ReaderCon, got to cheer on people who did their first public readings and in turn, I got to do my own first public reading.

August: Busy month. Started managing John Scalzi’s blog, The Whatever, while he was taking some time off.  Was invited to be on The Hour of the Wolf, Jim Freund’s NYC radio show with Sybil’s Garage editors and contributors, Matt Kressel, Devin Poore, David Mercurio Rivera, E.C. Meyers, Barbara Krasnoff, and Paul Berger. Got to tour the Hayden Planetarium after wards.

September: Started 9 credit hours worth of college. Children’s Literature, Digital Photography and Comp & Lit II. Narrated another story for Jetse’s anthology. Went to DragonCon for the Parsecs. Lost the Parsec. Was included as a “star” in Stu Segal’s “Strolling with the Stars” program he puts together at big conventions. Attended a Hugo breakfast and watched Clarkesworld Magazine take home the Hugo for best Semiprozine. Got interviewed by the Daily Dragon. Got to meet some really excellent people. Started leading/co-leading two Girl Scout troops this year.

October: Attended my first World Fantasy Convention in Columbus OH. Was nothing how I imagined it would be, although it grew on me. Met lots of fantastic people, some of whom I’ve worked with in the past and some of whom I’d love to work with in the future. I also wore dragon slippers. Was supposed to go back to Las Vegas for work. Became violently ill the night before my flight.

November: Again, not a really terribly busy month with extra stuff. Just a lot of the same. Although, I did go camp in the remote woods again.

December: Classes ended. Reminded myself not to take 9 credit hours in a semester, although I received an A, A and B+. I hosted Christmas Eve with my family. This normally wouldn’t be such a huge event, but with my grandfather’s death two years ago, his house was just recently sold. Tradition was packing over 20 people in a small 900 sq ft house. But alas, change is the only constant in our lives and with change comes new traditions. Hopefully it will be an ongoing one.

I know I’m forgetting wonderful things on this recap. I do hope I am as fortunate in the year to come and I wish the same for all of you. One thing that has surprised me though is how fast it’s all flying past. Another year whizzes by and I feel like I’m in a car going ninety miles an hour only to watch my life from the rear-view mirror. Things are quiet now, my plate is for the most part, empty. It’s time to start filling it up for 2011. I am also recommitting myself to physical well-being. Starting Monday, January 3rd, I will be going to the gym four times a week. I will plan out my meals and I will be successful. I keep giving myself excuses as to why I can’t do something, it’s high time I start giving excuses as to why I can or should.

You know, looking at this post, I had forgotten how long it took to write anything with thought. I can see why Twitter and Facebook are so alluring. They are the whores of the internet. They specialize in little quickies that give you the illusion you are better and faster than you are. Then you realize, there is no love. My blog, ma Chere, oh how I’ve missed you. Will you take me back?

Fighting Back: Something I Just Can’t Get Over

“Thank you” is a word usually reserved in polite discourse after someone has been given something that has met their standards. So I found it odd, that roughly three weeks ago I was uttering the two words to a TSA agent who had just invaded my privacy in a very public fashion. I was flying home from the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, OH when I was asked to put my hands over my head and enter the full body scanning machines. At this point, I was a little nervous because someone on the other side of a big metal box was going to be able to see me in my birthday suit.  I reluctantly submitted, after all, I had to be home in time to take my children out for Halloween. I had judiciously taken out my laptop, my kindle, my camera, taken off my shoes, my coat, scarf and watch, but I was still relegated to the new machine. Even after the first TSA agent had told me that I didn’t need to remove my camera, he smiled and replied, “Oh, that’s what we’re here for”, after I remarked that I didn’t know I could safely stow my camera.

As I was herded through the line with a bunch of restless travelers behind me, I stuffed my license into my left pocket realizing I missed the window to put it into my wallet which was now headed to the x-ray machine.

TSA: “Please stand to the side with your feet in the diagrams.”

TSA:“Please place your arms above your head in a triangle.”

TSA:“Please don’t move and stare ahead for 9 seconds.”

That wasn’t so bad. If this stuff actually works, maybe I’d be okay with submitting to this type of security theater.

TSA:“Please step forward and stand on this mat, your feet within the outlines.”

TSA:“Do you have anything in your left pocket?”

Me: “Oh! Yah! I put my license in there.” I took it out and showed her.

TSA: “I’m going to need to pat you down on that side, Ma’am. Please hold the license in your hand.”

Me: “….ok…”

TSA: “I’m going to run my hand on the outside of your leg and hip.”

Me: “…ok…” I nervously start looking around at the hustle and bustle of a very public place.

TSA: “I’m now going to run my hand up the inner left thigh.”

Me:“…ok….” I can feel my cheeks start to flood with crimson.

She moves her blue-gloved hand up from the inside of my left knee up toward my crotch. She stops only after hitting the resistance of my clothing protecting the side of my vagina.

TSA: “Thank you, have a nice day.”

Me: “Thank you.”

I gather my things that have been sitting in their bins as other passengers walk on by. The walk from the security checkpoint to the gate is rather fuzzy. I know I felt highly anxious, very embarrassed and extremely violated. All of my personal alarm bells were ringing in my head. Why did I allow someone to humiliate me in public? Why on earth did I let someone touch me there? I immediately regressed into childhood as I recalled the stranger talk teachers and parents gave me about my right to bodily privacy. I got angry at myself for saying those two simple words. I got angry at myself for going along and submitting.

“Thank you.”

I updated my disgust on Facebook and Twitter and then I tried to let it go.

I can’t.

I flew again three days later. As you can imagine, anyone who feels violated tends to relive those moments when placed in similar situations. I was a wreck going through the full body scanner. I made sure nothing was in my pockets. I waited anxiously while the TSA agent looked at me and asked me to wait for clearance. I don’t know what I would have done had I been pulled aside for yet another pat down. Would I have declined and raised a stink? Would I have just given up and asked to leave?

Why was I torturing myself like that?

Any intellectual who has looked up the meaning of terrorism will find this:

ter·ror·ism

1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2.the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
– dictionary.com

You can’t tell me that all the emotions I experienced during and post-traumatically doesn’t fall under some of those definitions. My one minute experience has terrified me. I will rethink the act of hopping a plane to see friends or go to conventions. I will protect my children from this unneccessary security theater and invasion of privacy as well. Guess what airlines, that Disney vacation that I’ve been saving for, the one where I would have paid for five airline tickets to journey to Florida? I think I’m going to take another two days vacation and drive. Or maybe I’ll spend my money on something closer to home.

It’s funny how I don’t feel any safer, but I sure feel humiliated.

It’s also rather interesting to note that I believe I would be one of the passengers who would have jumped on any threat should it arise while flying. I can hit pretty hard. But thanks to our new “safety guidelines”, that’s one more person who won’t be available when a determined terrorist shoves a weapon or bomb up his undetectable ass and makes it past the joke and theater that the TSA calls security.

World Fantasy Convention Wrap-Up

This was my first World Fantasy Convention. I’ve never been to one, so I was a bit surprised at the lack of panels, however conversation with friends old and new made up for everything that was lacking. 

I got to meet some very wonderful people at this convention namely, the sweet Christie Yant, the wonderful Brenda Cooper, Functional Nerd Patrick Hester, SF Signal Guru John “Turturo” DeNardo and the Goddess otherwise known as Cat Valente. While there I chatted with the likes of Brent Bowen, John Anealio and Nick Mamatas. I met some of the rest of the super awesome Clarkesworld staff;   Nayad Monroe, Daniel Robichaud and Jamie Lackey were amazing.  Altered Fluid members, Matt Kressel, Paul Berger, David Mercurio Rivera and Raj Khanna were ever awesome in both their companionship and spirit.  I gave hugs to Sarah Goslee, Jeff Hentosz, and Jeremy Tolbert and talked quite awhile with a Ferrett. There are of course others, and I hate to name drop, but these were the people with whom I conversed the most.

The ever nice and born-to-give-me-hell Neil Clarke was there along with Sean and Jen Wallace. They happened to bring their newborn twins along and I was in heaven the few hours I got to spend rocking and holding. Unfortunately the rumor I tried to start that one of the girls was Neil Gaiman and my love child failed to take off, but more than one person congratulated Neil Clarke and I on our new twins as we tried to get the Wallace babies to sleep for their REAL parents.

Speaking of rumors, you might have heard that I record my narrations in one take, with no mistakes. This is absolutely true. More on that later, but I did enjoy coming home to these tweets:

  1. atfmb  FYI – @Kate_Baker Rocks. She is The Voice & The Legend. That is all.
  2. daemonrange @Kate_Baker And the legend of “one-take Kate” lives on … Glad we could contribute to the smoky voice. 🙂

Note to self – prepare a box to ship the bag o’books home that you receive at the convention. I was cursing myself that I hadn’t as I dragged what felt like 50 lbs around the airport on connections. Speaking of airports and airlines, the con got off to a rocky start when I arrived to Columbus to no checked bag. According to Delta, my bag was running up a bar tab in Detroit. After repeated calls, they finally delivered it to the hotel around midnight.

Despite my claims of being socially awkward, I did have a fantastic time and it was thanks to all those wonderful people mentioned above. Would I go again to a WFC? Absolutely. Maybe not San Diego next year, although my love child’s father is the GOH, but most definitely to Toronto.

My Digital Photography Architecture Presentation

These are the final six photos I used in my digital photography presentation on architecture.  The buildings were all taken during my time at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA. The pictures in the cemetery were taken down the street from my house. Surprisingly, I haven’t come across many angel topped headstones. There were two in this particular place, right across from each other. There is a lot of really cool history in New England, and it’s part of the reason I do love living here.

The first pictureis a shot I did with the camera on a headstone with lots of foliage. I experimented with depth of field in this picture (incidentally, one of my favorite things to do with a camera.)

Second picture: Downtown Atlanta during Dragon*Con. It immediately caught my eye as we walked through the downtown area.

Third picture: The Carnegie Monument outside of the Hyatt Hotel in Atlanta. I used one of the artistic filters in the picture to give it a bit of a old painting feel to it.

Fourth picture: Sitting at the Corner Bakery, I was still looking for fun stuff to photography. I looked up, then behind me and saw the reflection. It came out beautifully.

Fifth picture:Angel in the graveyard. If you’ve followed my Facebook, you would have seen the other angels I took. Loved, loved, loved sitting in that place. I think I will go back and write there.

Sixth picture:There was a little mausoleum in the graveyard and through the doors I could see a Fleur de Lys through the barred window. I walked around to the other side and noticed the broken stain glass. It made sad that someone would destroy such a beautiful thing, however, within that destruction, it was beautiful and made it special.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-12

  • Back home from Dragon*Con! All I got was to be a part of a staff that won a Hugo for Best SemiProzine *hells yeah* #
  • Had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day today. I think I'll move to Australia. Or eat ice cream. #
  • Feeling really weird. Very light headed, migrane — stuffy. Wonder if I got the concrud #
  • I need a deadline. Someone give me a freaking deadline. It's the only way I'm going to start writing again. #
  • Just bough two tickets to the Dallas W00tstock since I'll be down there. Can't wait to go. #
  • Going apple picking today. Maybe I'll make some pies. #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-05

  • I need the power of Twitter to push Hurricane Earl away from the Northeast on the day I'm supposed to fly to Atlanta for D*Con. #
  • RT @clarkesworld: Recruiting volunteers for our slush army! http://clarkesworld.livejournal.com/161339.html #
  • *giggles* Listening to the Inception soundtrack while I work makes me feel like a super spy. Lots of urgency implied to the mundane. 🙂 #
  • RT @NathanFillion: That's right, folks. Today is Flatterday! Don't have anything nice to say? Pour yourself a nice glass of Shut Up. TY! #
  • Hrm. Earl. You and I won't be friends if you keep cozying up to my coast so closely. #
  • Just tried on the shoes that came for the steampunk costume for d*con. The whole costume looks great! 🙂 #
  • I am ANGRY. For no apparent reason though. Nope. None at all. #
  • Hello from 35000 feet! #
  • In "What Editor's Want" panel right now. Great stuff for new writers. #
  • Attending parsec awards at four today in hyatt ballroom v come see me! #
  • Sitting in line for parsec awards… In steampunk goggles at front of line come say hi #
  • Omg it is too early sitting in the hugo breakfast #
  • Congrats to @starshipsofa #
  • Omg omg omg #
  • Thank you everyone! I still maintain I have the best job in the world #
  • Wooooo Peter Watts! Abyss of belief works don't it #