A web is a concrete accomplishment

I’ve been looking through my cobweb photos from Burnaby Lake, all of which, incidentally, are spider free. It’s all threads and plants and water drops. There were so many I had to divide the upload into two batches, one of fragments and close-ups, another of whole webs, like this one.

Whole cobwebs

A web, I can’t help noticing, is work. It’s a finished thing, purchased with life and effort. The orb weavers eat their webs each night and spin them anew in the early hours of the day, I’ve read. And I’ve been thinking about that as I look at the pictures, and simultaneously work through a bit of teaching work. I am in the early stages of Creating Universes, Building Worlds, which is the first UCLA class I ever developed. It’s a short fiction workshop, all SF/F/H, and the thing that stands out about my current group is how well read they are. I’ve had classes that know from Asimov and Bradbury, Herbert and Rowlings… and almost nobody else. But this month I’m hearing them talk about Marion Zimmer Bradley and Kelley Eskridge, too, Octavia Butler and Charlie Stoss and Elizabeth Bear, people from all over the genre map. It’s exciting; I can’t wait to see what they come up with as their stories develop.

In the winter–which means January–I am teaching Novel II again and come spring it’ll be Novel III, the latter for the first time. My mind is full of teacher stuff for all three courses: interesting challenges for the Creating Universes folks, what do I want to do better with the Novel II class (last time I taught it was my first, so there’s lots thought and feedback and potential tweaking), and how do I want to structure Novel III?

I work on one class, set up another plan a third. Different cycles, no web-eating, less easily quantified results, but it’s perhaps not a wholly unrelated process.

Autumn shifts and shimmers

As I write this, it is Saturday evening and I am parked by the fire, finishing up a few things while kelly-yoyoKelly makes butternut squash ravioli from scratch; yes, I am a lucky woman indeed. Beyond my window, the first real storm of autumn has the trees lashing to and fro. Raindrops are clinking glassily against the windows and there’ve been a few loud skid noises from the busy road outside. No actual crashes, thankfully. This happens a lot at this time of year: not only are the roads wet, not only are we on a hill, but there are the piles of slick, slippery leaves in the mix.

The storm is a real shift from last weekend, when Barb and I caught this heron out in the mists of Burnaby Lake:

Heron in fog

It’s even a change from this morning, which was nice enough out that we ambled along False Creek to the electronics store (I keep hearing the siren song of an iPad I don’t really need) and a grocery I’d picked as a good prospect to have fresh sage for the pasta. The walk takes you through the shiny new developments that were the Athlete’s Village during the Olympics, and that are now supremely expensive condos, waiting for upscale would-be owners with high credit ratings to save them from emptiness. We talked a bit about how they might have been developed differently, or for a different demographic of potential purchasers, even as we appreciated all the Hey, this is gonna be on TV, let’s make it look fantastico and then make a mint for it! amenity-rich design features of the green spaces.

I got in a good round of agonizing over the gadget without actually buying one. Then, at the grocery, sage was scored along with smoked salmon rolls and delicious, decadent figs. We ate them in the park and walked back along a slightly different route.

It was still quite mild out when we returned to East Van. As the skies darkened and the wind rose I fiddled with my web page some more, checked on the current UCLA class, roughed out a synopsis for my spring class, finished drafting an article that has been giving me fits, watched a TED talk, by Melinda French Gates, about what nonprofit aid organizations can learn from Coca Cola, peeked at Twitter and, any second now, I plan to make a salad.

All that and it’s not yet six. I foresee loafing and some television–Merlin, perhaps?–in what’s left of the day.

Facelifting Planetalyx

I am tweaking my site this evening and the time has come to engage in a bit of judicious experimentation… I expect there to be a good deal of fiddling in the days ahead, but hopefully most of it will be behind-the-scenes stuff. An adjustment here, a new photo there, that kind of thing. But right now I need to beg your patience, because I need to see how this will look when it makes the rounds of LJ, Facebook and the like.

If you are curious about the source of the mess-in-progress, it’s here.