Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #95 - HUGO Results

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #95 - HUGO Results

Hi Mom,

I know you care so much about the Hugo Awards, which were given back in August, so I thought I would share a follow up.

I originally wrote about this subject in HEY MOM #44.


The award I really care about is the novel award, and the novel I voted for, did win. See here:

Best Novel (5653 final ballots, 1827 nominating ballots, 587 entries, range 212-387)
  • The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
  • Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
  • No Award
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Orbit UK/Roc Books)
  • The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
Note: The Three-Body Problem was originally published in Chinese in 2008. The 2014 publication by Tor was the first English-language version, and therefore it is again eligible for the Hugos, according to section 3.4.1 of the WSFS Constitution.
I am also please to see that the comic book I voted for also won:

Best Graphic Story (4412 final ballots, 785 nominating ballots, 325 entries, range 60-201)
  • Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
Here's some reactions.



also worthwhile

ANN LECKIE (winner of last year's best novel HUGO) ON SLATES

That's all for tonight, Mom. These can't all be weepy and saccharine.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 97 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.09 - 20:00
and again 20:42

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #94 - More Birthday for Throwback Thursday

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #94 - More Birthday for Throwback Thursday

Hi Mom,

Very busy day. But still thinking about you and your birthday.

Up top is a picture Dad shared in Facebook. I am not sure what year it's from, and it's grainy, so I am hoping to add both the year and a higher resolution image later.

Detective work to date this picture: In email to Dad: "Look closely at that picture and note Lori's Tigers place mat, which means it's probably the 1980s. Also, the yellow place mats in the center of the table, which she did not use in later years. Also, there's 15 candles on the cake. 15 times 3 is 45 and in 1981 she would have been 45. But I suspect the pic is a bit later than that. She loved that T-shirt. I have a pic from 1985 with her in that shirt. She was using the yellow place mats, then, too. So I suspect some time in the 1980s, around 1984 or 1985."

I had a day of scrambling and hard work, but I did manage to take the puppy for a walk, attend both my classes, and clean the kitchen.

I am also learning some valuable lessons. One is that I need to keep the pressure on when it comes to my Pre-Calculus. I had FOUR sets of problem due this week (two today and two Tuesday), and I did not plan ahead to get those done and get help on ones I did not understand far enough in advance, and so too much time was eaten up on Tuesday and Thursday with Pre-Calc, which then put me behind with the work I get paid to do.

With our next test in thirteen days, I not only have to finish all the online homework, but I need to find time to do many practice problems, review tests, and the like in addition to just studying the formulas and procedures for all the maths (as they say in Britain: Maths).

I am even going to RECOPY some of my notes from last year. I know this would please you, Mom. I may even ask the hearing impaired student if he would share his transcripts. He is in my Java lab.

Speaking of Java lab... I had some heart break. Last Friday, I basically finished the lab work program due tonight, Thursday in the lab itself. BUT when I went to finish my Java program, it was missing from my flash drive and the copy on my desk top. THE FOLDER WAS EMPTY. I am not sure what I did, but I did not get the program, not any of it.

Luckily, the program was easy, and I recreated it easily. But if it had been a harder program or more time consuming like the first two programs, I would have been in big trouble as the program was due at midnight (and there's no way I am staying up that late).

So once again, I learn a lesson about back ups and redundancy. I am very religious about back ups, so I am surprised I did not have the program from lab. From now on, I will double and triple check. I will also copy and paste the code into a Word document, just as an extra precaution, which is what I have started doing in the lectures, anyway.

Sorry this is all about school, Mom, but that's what is going on.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 96 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.08 - 20:01
and again - 1510.09 - 7:11

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #93 - Happy 79th Birthday, Mom

Marjorie Tower's birthday October 7, 1999
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #93 - Happy 79th Birthday, Mom

Happy Birthday, Mom. Thought that would be a better start than the usual "Hi, Mom."

The picture up top was taken a few months before you came down with the Meningitis. It shows you blowing out candles for the last birthday before the Meningitis changed the way you lived the rest of your life. I have a feeling that before the meningitis you would not have wanted me to share this picture with the world, but then, after the meningitis, you wouldn't have cared. You would have laughed at this picture after the meningitis, once you were back to her best self and laughing. You had such a great sense of humor, but an even more easy going sense in your Post-Meningitis days.

The very first picture I shared in this series of "Hey, Mom" posts was of you, Mom, seated before a birthday cake. This photo had sat out, unprotected, on my desk, for over a year, always in sight, when I could think about the happy times we all shared and how your life was very different after the meningitis. By no means did you have an awful life or too much misery after the meningitis, but life was harder, there were many close call hospital visits, and there were just certain things you couldn't do, even before the palsy began to work its degenerative perfidy. I know you would agree.

But that's a depressing subject, so instead CAT UMBRELLA!!

That's much more fun.

Looking at this picture, your expression looks a bit "what the Hell?" But actually, aren't you identifying the different kinds of cats in the umbrella design?

You loved cats.

You don't need me to tell you that, but other readers may need reminding.

Birthdays were a big deal at our house. You loved holidays, Mom, especially birthdays. When I was writing the T-shirt blog, I dedicated an entire blog (a BIG ONE) to what made our birthdays so special. I have provided the link below. It's also about SPACE GHOST.

T-shirt #303 Space Ghost

I thought about you all day today (October 7th, a Wednesday), your birthday, which I spent mostly alone as Liesel is away on a trip. It was a day full of activity and busy work but also bittersweet sadness, which is less a raw and open sore and more a deep ache in the heart.

At one quiet moment, I heard you, Mom, speaking to me, quite clearly (though in my head): "it's all right, Christopher. I am fine. I am happy and well. You will be all right, too. It's all going to be okay."

I felt re-assured and loved.

I may not have always been the best son. I may not have always helped make your birthdays as special and wonderful as you made mine in the years up to and including 1999. But in 2000 and after, shaken up by your near death experience and long recovery from surgery and meningitis and dealing with your partial paralysis, I tried to make each moment like your birthday. And then we had fifteen more of them before you had to leave us. I know you thought they were just as special as I did, as our family did.

I love you, Mom. I will think of you every day, but especially on your birthday.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 95 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.07 - 21:07
and again - 1510.09 - 6:47

PS: This lateness is tradition, too. I started to assemble this post on Wednesday, your birthday, Mom. But then with work and school and home work and the dog and all that, I was unable to finish it (a state I consider finished) until Friday. This delayed celebrating was something we did a lot, especially with your birthday. There was the actual day and then the celebration on a different day, one that best fit all of our schedules. Why should that change now? :-)

this photo is a bit of a cheat
it's a mother's day photo (1996)
but it's a great photo, so I used it anyway!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #92 - Gender Performance

from Sex Criminals #12
sorry - best resolution I could get
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #92 - Gender Performance

Hi Mom,

Yesterday in class, I talked about gender, which was in itself a follow up on previous gender and sexual identity talks.

The image at the top is difficult to read, but if you squint, you can make out the words, which are quite smart and the concern the elusive subject of "normal."

As you know, Mom, gender is one of my favorite subjects, especially after teaching the gender and women's studies class for ten years. I had already treated my students to the whole term shift and new paradigm for how we refer to gay issues. For instance, I discarded the term homosexuality, which "The American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from its official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973" (The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality). I spoke about the inadequacy of terms like "sexual orientation" (sounds like a special camp/workshop that orients a person, IE. points him/her in a direction) or "sexual preference" (sometimes I prefer toast for breakfast; sometimes cereal; this is not right either). And so, I told my students about my preferred term (and the term preferred by many): sexual identity. Because after all, who we are in regards to our gender and our self is all about identity.

And so, then a week or two later, I followed up with a recommendation of Sallie Tisdale's Talk Dirty to Me, as it's a book I taught in the gender course. And so I read the following, written by Sallie Tisdale.
"'We all pretend to be more of a man or a woman than we secretly suspect we are,' writes my friend Laura Miller. Thus, emblems: the tidy little acts of straightening a skirt and freshening makeup, shooting shirt cuffs, ruffling hair. Tiny details, unconscious habits, little trills of pretense and belonging. See me, they say, I am-- whatever I hope I am. We cultivate those things which set us aside from the other, the opposite gender, squarely among our own.
Over the last year, and with considerable surprise, I've come to realize I can't define woman. I can't tell you why I'm sure I am a woman, why others think I am, why my personal and internal experience seems to  fit what culture tells me a woman's experience should be. I am a woman because I look and act like the social convention called "woman." But not wholly, or always. What I once thought a permanent and objective state seems to me more and more like vapor, a fantasia, a wisp" (Tisdale, 41-42).

From Tisdale, Sallie. Talk Dirty to Me. Anchor Books: New York. 1994.

But then there's competing perspectives (see image at bottom of this entry).

I am just trying to immerse my students in the world of ideas and deliver content not usually discussed in high school.

I could go on and on about this subject and I probably will. But that's enough for now.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 94 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.06 - 20:00

and again - 1510.07 - 7:32

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #91 - Monday Night Football

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #91 - Monday Night Football

Hi Mom,

Actually, it's Tuesday, but I am going to send this blog post backwards in time. It's going to be a short talk today, Mom.

I had some guys over to watch Monday Night Football as Liesel is out of town.

Lions lose 13-10; Wright a cheater

Okay, not a cheater, but the officials may have blown a call about batting the ball after the play above in this picture. The Lions should have gotten the ball back.

So that makes this loss even more terrible.

Slept in, so I am exhausted and have many things to do.

More in Tuesday's post.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 93 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - for 1510.05
actually 1510.06 - 7:39

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #90 - Baseball Ends

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #90 - Baseball Ends

Hi Mom,

Today is the last day of the regular Baseball season, which always makes me sad. Though there is more Baseball to enjoy, my beloved Detroit Tigers will not be among the teams still playing. Time to pack away my radio. No longer will be serenaded to sleep by Dan Dickerson and Jim Price.

Yes, I know the word Baseball is normally not capitalized, but you capitalize the name of a religion, right?

I can hear you breathe a sigh of relief, Mom. For the last fifteen years, I subjected you to a lot of Baseball. You were a good sport about it. Heh.

And here are some pictures of Justin Verlander. I know you think he's cute.

At least, the Chicago Cubs have one more game, and I hope many more. We shall see. I am sure I will tell you all about it.

Yes, yes, I can hear you. "Oh, Christopher..."

Thanks, Mom.

Also, I made dinner. Ham that I cooked in the crockpot with canned pineapple chunks and juice. Fried cabbage. A Salad with some of the remains of the cucumber salad I made, and that is marinating in the refrigerator. And sticky rice, under the cabbage. Yummy.

Ninety blogs, Ninety-two days. That hundred mark draws closer. Not sure how I will feel about that one.

And so, bye bye regular season Baseball.

Good night Detroit Tigers.

See you next year.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 92 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.04 - 19:31

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #89 - Sixth wedding anniversary

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #89 - Sixth wedding anniversary

Hi Mom,

Six years ago today, I did the smartest thing I have ever done. I married Liesel Creager, who took my last name, because she says it's cool, and she became Liesel Tower.

As you know, Mom, because we talk about it so much, I cannot imagine life without Liesel, now. She is the love of my life, the greatest relationship of my life, the longest relationship of my life, and the last relationship of my life.

She is my sun and stars.

She is my everything.

There was a time, not that long ago, when I thought I would never find any one to love again, let alone marry. I was very depressed in the 2000s. I had some relationships, and for a time, I was in love. But nothing measured up to most of my previous romances, and the new experiences I was having were becoming fewer with farther time between. I could see them ultimately stopping entirely. I saw my life as a shut in care giver, taking care of you, Mom, after Dad died, managing everything in your life, and when you passed, ending up alone with a lot of medical equipment and a lot of care giver experience.

But that's not what happened.

I met Liesel.

Technically, we re-met as we had met in 1990. Everyone who saw me on the day we re-met, some time in early December of 2008, will attest that I was flying higher than ever since I had just met the woman of my dreams, who knew my name and promised to friend me on Facebook. It took her 26 hours and 34 minutes to send the friend request.

Last night, as we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary in a very low key way, I realized that the decision to marry Liesel went counter to how I usually make decisions. I like to agonize over big decisions. I may take months to buy a pair of shoes or anything I perceive as "big." But I told Liesel I would marry her the first time the subject came up in conversation, almost exactly two months after we started dating. A month later, I asked her officially, and seven months later we were married.

It was right. It is right.

It is true and real and perfect.

I did not need to agonize about it. I knew in the core of my soul that it was the right thing to do.

celebrating our 4th
anniversary in 2013
I love Liesel more today than I did yesterday. I will love her more tomorrow than I do today. Our relationship evolves. We do not always agree. But we have chosen to move forward together, and when we are together, it's like nothing else matters, which is kind of the whole point of love, right? Oh, and there's a puppy and some kids and a cat, but those are stories for another time.

Mom, we have talked a lot about Liesel and all the wonderfulness that makes her who she is.

But we never really talked much about how I would need her so very much once you, Mom, were gone.

Not that Liesel is a replacement for you, Mom. It's not like that.

You're my mother; Liesel is my wife.

These are quite distinct relationships.

But Liesel gives me a strong foundation upon which I may rely, have faith, and see through adversity.

We both knew that your death, Mom, would be difficult for me. Liesel believed I would completely fall apart and be inconsolable. She was pleased that I did not become a total basket case.

But I need Liesel to help me through this time. She went through it also, having lost her mother years ago. And she is my wife, and she loves me, and I need that love, more than ever. For the record, Liesel has been just great, evrything I need and more.

Thank you, Liesel, my love, for marrying me six years ago, for staying married to me for six years, and for holding my hand -- or holding all of me -- as I cope with the loss of a parent.

Thank you for being my partner, my equal, my best friend, my confidante, my lover, my adviser, my supporter, my personal DJ, my companion, my guide, my inspiration, and my soul mate. I am learning to live without you, Mom. I could not learn to live without Liesel.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 91 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.03 - 18:15