Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #117 - BOO! Happy Halloween






































Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #117 - BOO! Happy Halloween

Hi Mom,

I am continuing my break from seven songs in seven days to bring you some Halloween greetings. BOO! Happy Halloween.

Three pictures in this entry. The first, the one up top, is a promo image I created while doing magic, showing me in the process of cutting off my sister's hand with my Dissecto illusion.

The second image is an image of the reaper, a la Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" painted by my friend Jack Lee in our dorm room in Crissey on the campus of Kalamazoo College.

The last image is from an ad for E-Harmony that appeared in my feed somewhere, I kept it despite the E-Harmony logo. Since we call Satchel the Boo or Boo-Boo, the word "Boo" has taken on greater meaning in our lives here in the Tower house.

Played in Huck Fest today, and then I was falling asleep during a viewing of Nosferatu with Liesel and goblins trick-or-treating.

So, this is just a short Happy Halloween post.

You loved seeing all the goblins, Mom. I hope you were watching.



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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 119 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.31 - 21:01
and again 1511.01 - 10:38


Friday, October 30, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #116 - Super Dog



Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #116 - Super Dog
Hi Mom,

Just this. We love our Boo Boo.

The one and only Satchel Paige Tower.

Happy Halloween.

You know how special Underdog is to me, Mom. I know you know.

Thank you.

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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PS: Taking a one day break from seven songs in seven days.

- Days ago = 118 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.30 - 21:14

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #115 - One - Seven Songs



Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #115 - One - Seven Songs

Hi Mom,

As with all these songs, they do not match my experience. They are chosen for different reasons. The main reason is that they are great singing songs. This one starts with amazing lyrics that nail the feelings swirling around me and through me: "Is it getting better? Or do you feel the same?"

The chorus about "One love" is very powerful and uplifting.

And yet, when I first heard Achtung Baby, I hated it. Then again, I also hated Unforgettable Fire when I first heard it. I have come to love both in different ways. Maybe if "One" had been the first song on Achtung Baby, my initial reaction would not have been strong distaste.

Much of the lyrical content in this song does not strike home in my experience with you, Mom. in fact, it's an angry song, and I have used it to express anger in the past.

But there's great ideas in it, especially this idea of "One Love" for every one, "sisters, brothers." The final chorus really hits home: "One love, One blood, One life, You got to do what you should..."

All the songs I will share with this seven songs in seven days activity will feature strong lyrical content.

And this: "One love, We get to share it, Leaves you baby if you, Don't care for it."

Truly a remarkable song, which is why U2 is one of my favorite bands.

Two videos for this one, Mom. First the amazing version with Mary J. Blige, and then the studio version, which has a completely different quality but is the version that originally inspired me.

Enjoy.

Mary J. Blige - U2 - "One"




U2 - "One" from Achtung Baby - 1991

Is it getting better?
Or do you feel the same?
Will it make it easier on you now?
You got someone to blame
You say

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

Did I disappoint you?
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
Well it's

Too late
Tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
One

Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head

Did I ask too much?
More than a lot.
You gave me nothing,
Now it's all I got
We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
You say
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
Sisters
Brothers
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other



U2 - "One"




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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 117 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.29 - 22:01
and again 1510.31 - 7:14

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #114 - Seven Songs: "The Wood Song"

Long Lake, Traverse City, 1971
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #114 - Seven Songs: "The Wood Song"

Hi Mom,

Time for another song because I am really doing this seven songs in seven days thing. Today's song is about a boat, and see? We're in a boat. Yeah. That was planned.

All these songs this week were ones I played as I drove out to see you as you were dying. In fact, one day, I made a larger loop out around Gull Lake and past the old house just to get in more time with this music, that day I was heavy on Erykah Badu, who, though wonderful, is not making this list of seven, which is a shame. In fact, I am a bit ashamed of how "white" my list is, even though the next one will feature Mary J. Blige, though it did not originally. But it can't be helped. It is what it is.

Today's song is "The Wood Song" by the Indigo Girls from their 1994 album Swamp Ophelia. Here's two versions, live and in studio (the second is near the end of the post).

"The Wood Song" - The Indigo Girls - live
Toronto Pride, 2007



Like all of these songs in my selection, this song has seen me through tough times, which I think is the point of the song. This song helped me to persevere.

As I read the lyrics, this song I see that it is about a group of friends ("my friends and I have had a hard time"). One one level, as the song has many possible interpretations and can fit so many situations, I have always felt that this song is about being gay in America and how difficult that has been up to 1992-4-ish when it was written. Maybe that's too simplistic and only my association because I know the sexual identity of the two women in the Indigo Girls, and yet, I always think about that situation when I hear the song and more besides.

The song speaks of a change ("bruising our brains hard up against change all the old dogs and the magician") that's been resisted but now they ("my friends") are all together for the journey.

I have text from the Internet that I will share, but I think some miss the point of the point. The song mentions a point ("the prize is always worth the rocky ride but the wood is tired and the wood is old and we'll make it fine if the weather holds but if the weather holds then we'll have missed the point that's where i need to go"). One chap claimed it was a literal point in the story of Noah's Ark that is invoked by the song. True, the song uses Noah's Ark as a metaphor, but it's not ABOUT Noah's Ark (if even...). The point is the process. If the good weather holds, then there are no storms. In storms, we grow, so if we don't have storms we will miss the process that helps us to grow and change and evolve, hence: "the prize is always worth the rocky ride." It's just a tough ride, the wood is tired and old. I feel that way a lot. But we must go into the storm. It's the only way to evolve. After all, there's the other side of the storm, the change, the better world, but we only reach it going through the storm. If we stay put, we don't change, then there is no storm and thus no "prize" as there has been no "rocky ride."

Keep reading. The song basically re-iterates what I just shared in analysis. No one gets to miss the storm, they sing.

But the song is about love, courage, going on, keeping on, weathering storms, and, well, LIFE.

I am so thankful to have had the Indigo Girls in my life for nearly 30 years. Thank you Emily and Amy for such great joy.
"The Wood Song" by The Indigo Girls - lyrics
the thin horizon of a plan is almost clear my friends and I have had a hard time bruising our brains hard up against change all the old dogs and the magician now I see we're in the boat in two by twos only the heart that we have for a tool we could use and the very close quarters are hard to get used to love weighs the hull down with its weight but the wood is tired and the wood is old and we'll make it fine if the weather holds but if the weather holds then we'll have missed the point that's were i need to go no way construction of this tricky plan was built by other than a greater hand with a love that passes all our understanding watching closely over the journey yeah but what it takes to cross the great divide seems more than all the courage i can muster up inside but we get to have some answers when we reach the other side the prize is always worth the rocky ride but the wood is tired and the wood is old and we'll make it fine if the weather holds but if the weather holds then we'll have missed the point that's where i need to go sometimes i ask to sneak a closer look skip to the final chapter of the book and maybe steer us clear from some of the pain that it took to get us where we are this far but the question drowns in its futility and even i have got to laugh at me cause no one gets to miss the storm of what will be just holding on for the ride the wood is tired the wood is old and we'll make it fine if the weather holds but if the weather holds then we'll have missed the point that's where i need to go


Stuff by others.


"My boss recently gave a speech about commitment and weathering the storm, at the end of the year banquet. He used a favorite Indigo Girls ballad called "The Wood Song" to illustrate his point.

"As it so happens, this particular song has greater meaning to me than meets they eye. Now I believe that everything takes place for a reason...good and bad... painful and joyful. And so I leave you with the lyrics of this beautiful song to tie together the strings and even find the missing link of how it might bring wonder into our own life."

above from - http://ginkogal.blogspot.com/2008/05/new-england-life.html


from the you tube page with this video

namahe27 6 years ago:  I really like this song; especially now, as I am struggling finding the right thing to do. I dont seem to have the courage that it takes to go this way and instead of being with the one I love I rather play safe and might make a big mistake just because I am too concerned what other people would think. When I told my love that I just cant do it, she asked me to listen to this song.

kolipokinho 6 years ago  in reply to namahe27:  It's the story of Noah's ark, as seen from the perspective of an animal on board. "Now see we're in the boat in two by twos" gives it away.  "Wood" here refers to the wood that the ark is made of.  The old dogs are probably Noah's pets (or family, I don't know...) and the Magician I'm guessing, is Noah.  If the weather holds, and the flood continues, they would have missed the Point, which is probably Mount Ararat, where the ark ends up. At least that's how I understand the song.

kywomanlml 4 years ago:  I played this song to my mom in November of 1995 to help her understand why I was marrying my now husband. She was concerned our road would not be easy together. It hasn't been easy. But, years and years later, we're still weathering the storms of life and continuously learning to enjoy the ride.

Anne Mooney 9 months ago:  if one looks up the word harmony in the dictionary, it should have but one defenition: indigo girls. they've seen me through some horrible times in my life, for 25 years now. damn! that's a long ass time.

And this whole blog entry (which I will not reprint without permission here)

http://optimisticvoices.blogspot.com/2007/10/wood-song-indigo-girls.html

And - from - http://www.wbur.org/npr/9009196/two-decades-later-indigo-girls-voices-still-strong

I was wondering how difficult it is to maintain an interest in performing songs that have been around for 20 years. Do they begin to take on different meanings as time passes or is it difficult to keep an interest? I'm getting married next month and I lobbied the priest to allow me to walk down the aisle to a secular song - yours - "The Wood Song." "The Wood Song" has meant different, very precious things to me over the years, especially in my relationship. Do the meanings change for you as well? Thanks.

Ms. SALIERS: That's a good question. They do change sometimes. Sometimes I write a song and I think I'm writing it about somebody else or other people, and then I realize that I'm writing it about me. Or depending on what I'm going through in life, you know.




"The Wood Song" - The Indigo Girls



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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 116 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.28 - 19:32

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #113 - Seven Songs: "We Walk the Same Line"



Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #113 - Seven Songs: "We Walk the Same Line"

Hi Mom,

Remember this, Mom?

I actually played this one for you because it's so beautiful and so applicable.

And how could it not be applicable?

So this:

This song was written solely (at least credited solely to) by Tracey Thorne, and it deals with the diagnosis and struggle that her partner (Ben Watt) went through with regards to Churg-Strauss syndrome, a disease that would nearly take his life. Read his autobiography / memoir (Patient, 1997) for more e room. Your back aches from lying and your head aches from crying.")
This is a touching song of support, a public airing of undying love from one partner (Thorn) to another (Watt) - and it couldn't be more beautiful if it tried. If you lose your faith, you can have (read: SHARE) mine - we walk the same line.on that itself, but at the time this album was recorded and released (1993/1994) it wasn't quite common knowledge.
Listen to this song again, but look at it not from Thorn's perspective (offering support to her partner (now husband)) but from the perspective of the patient. Up all night, unable to sleep, sick with worry. ("I don't have to tell you how slow the night can go. I know you've watched for the light. And I bet you could tell me how slowly four follows three, and you're most forlorn just before dawn")
Or the agony of waiting for some news or prognosis, knowing that it could be your last. ("And I don't need reminding how loud the phone can ring when you're waiting for news. And that big old moon lights every corner of th
From "beeawwb" on song meanings - 9-05-2013


I wrote about EBTG on my T-shirt blog in T-shirt #163, which appears in a top ten set of results if you Google search: "we walk the same line everything but the girl."

This song saw me through many tough times prior to your meningitis, Mom, but in 2000, it became linked with that illness and our experience with your recovery.

As the analysis above outlines, the song works from either side of the bed: the one in the bed or the one next to the bed.

If you lose your faith, babe, you can have mine,
and if you're lost I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line.

Says it all.

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EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL - "WE WALK THE SAME LINE" - FROM Amplified Heart - 1994


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"We Walk the Same Line" - Everything but the Girl

If you lose your faith, babe, you can have mine,
and if you're lost I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line.

Now I don't have to tell you
how slow the night can go,
I know you've watched for the light.

And I bet you could tell me
how slowly four follows three,
and you're most forlorn just before dawn.

So if you lose your faith babe,
you can have mine,
and if you're lost, I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line.

When it's dark baby,
there's a light I'll shine,
and if you're lost, I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line.

And I don't need reminding
how loud the phone can ring
when you're waiting for news.

And that big old moon
lights every corner of the room.
Your back aches from lying
and your head aches from crying

So if you lose your faith babe,
you can have mine,
and if you're lost, I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line.

When it's dark baby,
there's a light I'll shine,
and if you're lost, I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line.

And if these troubles
should vanish like rain on midday,
well I've no doubt there'll be more.

And we can't run and we can't cheat,
cause babe when we meet
what we're afraid of,
we find out what we're made of.

So if you lose your faith babe,
you can have mine,
and if you're lost, I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line.

When it's dark baby,
there's a light I'll shine,
and if you're lost, I'm right behind,
cause we walk the same line


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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 115 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.27 - time

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #112 - Singing in the car

me in my VW Rabbit- 1990s
yes, I already shared this photo, so what?
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #112 - Singing in the car

Hi Mom,

I have not been singing in the car much in the last two decades and as such I listen to less music per week. I switched to audio books around 1999-2000. I don't have an accurate measure of exactly when I started listening to audio books but that's probably close. In fact, I have taken to listening to audio books when doing chores around the house or in the yard, doing dishes and kitchen clean up, walking the dog, on bike rides, and while driving. Pretty much, any time I can fill the void with an audio book, I do so.

But when you were actively dying, Mom, I abandoned my audio books and resumed my old habit of singing in the car as therapy to get me through the most intense grief as I was watching you die.

I used to sing in the car all the time. I remember when I first drove to Kalamazoo College for freshman orientation listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall on my brand new remote cassette player, as in it sat on the floor under the dash.

I used to keep a constant of stream of music going in my life, not just in the car. But in the 1990s, I found that I was obsessing a great deal about stupid crap. I was not singing along so much anymore, and I was not using the time in the car for something productive like thinking through story elements, characters, and content for the novel on which I was working. So, I discovered audio books. There was a little bit of a learning curve to train my mind to focus, and I still find my mind wanders from time to time (the paper copy of the book helps with this and I always keep it on hand to consult, review, and mark my place). As such, singing in the car became a rare thing. In the last few years, I have only really done it while traveling with Liesel.

But when you were dying, Mom, I took a two (maybe three) week hiatus from audio books, not that I could have concentrated anyway. I did a lot of singing. It was cathartic.

So, yesterday, my head was full of work stuff and I need emotional release. My current audio book is hardly gripping, so I decided to sing in the car on the way to teach in Benton Harbor. I sang for an hour, and it felt really good.

This reminded me of something my friend Glenn Codere proposed: seven songs in seven days and a description of what they mean to you. So, here goes.

I love Peter Gabriel. Many Peter Gabriel songs have helped me over the years, and I have sung them proudly, even dancing around my room as I cranked the volume. "The Washing of the Water" from his 1992 album Us quickly became one of my top five Peter Gabriel songs after its release.

I have used this song to navigate the deep trenches of many painful times in my life, but there's been no time more painful than your death, Mom. None of my break ups matches this pain, and so this song takes on new relevance and significance, especially the last line "bring me something to take this pain away."

Peter Gabriel ~ Washing of the Water (New Blood Version)





Readers who are here, if you have never read the lyrics, READ THEM as you listen to the song. Let me share all that with you, Mom. So beautiful...
Peter Gabriel's "Washing of the Water" Lyrics

River, river, carry me on
Living river, carry me on
River, river, carry me on
To the place where I come from

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside
River, show me how to float, I feel like I'm sinking down
Thought that I could get along

But here in this water, my feet won't touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around
Going away, away toward the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on through the heartland
'Til the sun has left the sky
River, river, carry me high

'Til the washing of the water, make it all alright
Let your waters reach me, like she reached me tonight

Letting go, it's so hard, the way it's hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with this thing, cos if I follow through
I face what I denied
I'll get those hooks out of me
And I'll take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, that loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep

In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 114 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.26 - 20:10
and again - 1510.27 - 8:55

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #111 - A room of my own


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #111 - A room of my own

Hi Mom, It's Sunday and that means finding as much free time in the day to observe a day of rest as possible. I did homework this morning. I did work for my job. I did house work, though not as much as Liesel has done this weekend; she's been a dynamo, and I am very appreciative of her. But my usual laundry and cleaning the kitchen. Soon, I will make the coffee as we go to bed with our usual Sunday night activity: viewing The Walking Dead.

I am in my office in our house. I am supervising and participating in the second of two fantasy basketball drafts. It's that time of year.

Here's a photo that Dad shared with me recently of my very first bedroom in the house trailer in Midland on the lot next to his parents' house. I am reminded of this because of the importance of having my own office to be able to work. However, I wish our house was a bit bigger as Liesel deserves to have her own room, too. My first office of married life was Dad's old office in the Tower room of the West Gull Lake Drive house that we rented for the first two years of our marriage.

See the dresser? I still have that dresser, and I am using it. The toys have passed into obscurity. You will remember, Mom, but readers will have to look closely to identify Popeye over the shoulder of that large boy doll with his legs sticking out.

In the picture, it's Easter time as evidenced by the decorations, which we still have and we still use. You were so good about preserving such things.

I wish I had more pictures like this, simple photos of the rooms of the past.

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

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- Days ago = 113 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.25 - 19:39

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #110 - K-College Reunion


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #110 - K-College Reunion

Hi Mom,

This is a short one today as I am at the Kalamazoo College reunion. (gulp... 30 years!)

More years have passed since I graduated than I was years old when I graduated,

Just for that numbers perspective.

This is our photo from the 2010 (25th) reunion. See me there in the back row? Sixth from the left.

Ed Menta said at the theatre reunion that we should think of Kalamazoo College as our artistic home. I liked that.

Thanks for all that you did, Mom, to ensure that I got to go there, that I stayed there, and that I finished. I hope I made you proud. Until I married Liesel, it was the greatest thing I had ever done.

I am sure I will have more from the reunion tomorrow.

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

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- Days ago = 112 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.24 - 15:54


Friday, October 23, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #109 - Everyday pictures


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #109 - Everyday pictures

Hi Mom,

So this is Throwback Thursday on Friday. I can't keep up with the demands of social media.

I have been going back through all the photos and assembling photo albums. As I look, we have many many MANY photos of the special occasions, like this one from my birthday in 1976, when I turned 14 years old. I chose it because of the DETROIT LIONS shirt.

You can sort of see my cool Daredevil birthday cake.

Note the big candle to the left of the cake that is burning off the 14th year. Every year you woul dget out those two candles, Mom. I appreciated the consistency.

As I am making the photo albums, I am struck by how few pictures we have of just the every day moments. Granted film was more expensive in the 1960s and 1970s, but still, it would be nice to have more of the day-to-day life photo documented. I am not sure if there even that many pictures of the set up in my bed room from that year.

Oh, for a viewer to look back in time. I don't want to go back to the past and risk meddling in a way that changes the future catastrophically, but it would be nice to see things that only exist in my imperfect memory.

I wonder whose little mini-cake that is? Lori's? Did she not like the cake I chose? I wish you were here to ask, Mom, but then I could wish that on every one of these posts.

I am really tired. Time for an early turn in.

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 111 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.23 - 19:28

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #108 - PreCalculus Test #2

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #108 - PreCalculus Test #2

Hi Mom, I am doing one without a photo today.

This one is going to be short.

I had the second PreCalculus test today. Polynomials and logarithms. I did okay. I knew my stuff, I studied and prepared. It still was not enough. I know I did not ace it, hoping for a little better than the first one.

Working hard... more tomorrow.

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

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- Days ago = 110 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.22 - 19:51
and again 1510.23 - 19:08

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #107 - Scotland pt.1

St. Mary's Church Grounds
Dunvegan, Isle of Skye
Scotland
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #107 - Scotland pt.1

Hi Mom,

On Tuesday May 12th, I actually texted Dad in May the following: "Mom has to stay well until I get back from Scotland."

I feel badly about that now. You went to the ER with trouble breathing, which had been caused by acid reflux.

I had forgotten all about the text until Dad texted me from Mackinac Island the other day, and I saw the old texts.

Liesel and I were then in Scotland from May 19th to the 29th. So, you made it! You waited to die until after I got back. In fact, you waited until I was on a work break, which I thought was very considerate of you.

I am probably a terrible person for writing those previous sentences.

Anyway, one of your last times together before your downward slide, Mom, was spent showing you all my pictures from Scotland. I had meant to do a blog entry for each day when we were there, but then that didn't happen, and I was not able to finish a travel log when I returned home either.

So... how about I entertain you again with all the photos. I have 514 of them, so I cannot show you one a day even for the rest of the year, so I will be selective and give you a sample and share impressions from my trip with you on this blog.

I love this picture. I used it as my Facebook banner photo for a few weeks.

I am sorry I said you had to stay well until I got back, but I appreciate that you did.

ST, MARY'S, Dunvegan, Skye

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 109 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.21 - 20:12
and 1510.23 - 19:01

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #106 - Star Wars Boycott


BE ADVISED: NEW HERE? PLEASE READ: If you came here via Google search because this subject is hot, fear not. Dial up the link at the top of the main page for Hey Mom#1. This blog has a grander purpose than writing about Star Wars. This is the first post about Star Wars in the history of this blog.

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #106 - Star Wars Boycott

Hi Mom,

Here we are again in a continuing series of things you don't really care about, but you will listen always listen politely because you love me.

The same day the new trailer for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens plays on Monday Football (see below) some people (they are called white supremacists and racists in the links below) call for a boycott of the new film, due December 18th, because it's not white enough and thus not wholesome. One Twitter message asked if any of us would like our daughters "breeding" with black storm troopers and assumed the answer would be "no." There was a lot more hateful crap that has the Internet all in a titter. The Twitter is in a titter.

Ridiculous.

But then these "asshats" get A LOT OF ATTENTION with their base villainy. For some people, negative attention is the only attention that they know and acknowledge. It's all they have ever received and all they have ever given. They're bitter and sad. And yes, I am making tons of assumptions because like most of the Internet, I am hurt and upset.


AND YET, hordes of Star Wars loving Internet junkies are ripe for the plucking and jibbing. Easy pickings, as they say. Such easy targets, they're not even as hard to hit as blasting womp rats with a T-16 back home (as in "I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home; they're not much bigger than two meters." - Luke, Star Wars Episode IV).

There's a ridiculous amount of hate directed toward so called SJWs or Social Justice Warriors, but given what people who villify SJWs believe. I am happy to bunk with SJWs.

I learned a long time ago to IGNORE idiots.

This ignoring was so much easier to do before the Internet, but then, there is a power off button on most devices, which I hear achieves the same effect. And power off is what I am doing for the night, Mom. I am tired.

The movie preview/trailer is wicked good.




Here's some "light" (maybe light saber)  reading. Heh.

White supremacists call for Star Wars boycott because imaginary brown people


SALON.COM - Racists threaten to boycott “Star Wars VII” because it promotes “white genocide,” apparently

#BoycottStarWarsVII: People Boycott The Force Awakens Because It Promotes “White Genocide”



STAR WARS OFFICIAL THE FORCE AWAKENS TRAILER - OCTOBER 19, 2015





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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 108 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.20 - 20:00

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #105 - Sometimes I forget

Mom and Lori
Mackinac Island, 1983

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #105 - Sometimes I forget

Hi Mom,

Dad is on Mackinac Island tonight, and so I share this photo. And a thought.

Sometimes, I forget you're dead.

I want to ask you something and reach for the phone.

And then, I realize all over again that I cannot reach you by phone.

You, being dead. That's still not normal, not the natural order of things.

I don't think I am ever going to accept that you being dead is the way things are supposed to be. Normal may be gone forever.

That's it for tonight.

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 107 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.19 - 19:52

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #104 - New Laptop


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #104 - New Laptop

Hi Mom,

I am aware of the issues related to announcing to the world that I have a new laptop, but I have a new laptop. What's really interesting is that I bought this machine on September 7th, and I am just now moving in to it. That's how busy I have been lately. I mean, who has to wait a month and a half to start using a new machine? What's worse is that it was a couple of weeks before I even opened the box in which it was shipped, longer before I opened the box containing the actual machine, and just today when I powered on the machine for the first time.

First off, let me just say, I LOVE ASUS. I have been using their motherboards for years. And now that they make machines, I bought an ASUS desktop in 2009 (which I just upgraded), my previous laptop was Asus, this machine is Asus, and I bought an Asus tablet. GOOD STUFF.

So why did I buy a new machine?

I needed more hard drive space, and it was better and smarter to simply get a new machine than to upgrade the old one, the Ultrabook, that I bought two years ago.

My first impressions are generally positive, though I miss the light on the power supply that glows green when I have a full charge and red when I do not. In fact, yesterday, the machine told me I was plugged in but NOT CHARGING. This seems very odd for a machine that is plugged in to an active outlet serving power.

I also miss the speaker bar at the hinge, but that's a small thing, not a major criticism. I have not yet made a piece of cardboard to cover the touch pad because I am hopeful that with this machine the setting that turns off the touch pad actually works, unlike on my previous machine.

But can I share specs that will mean nothing to you, Mom?

I jumped up to a 256 GB Solid State hard drive, which is very nice, and about double what I had previously and more than double if I subtract the partition where I stashed Unix (Ubuntu).

new laptop slimness
I had an i5, and this is also an i5 but there's a boost in speed and the RAM is doubled (I had 4 GB): 2.20 GHz (Turbo Boost Up To 2.70 GHz) Intel Core i5-5200U Processor with 8 GB DDR3L Memory (and ability to add another 4 GB for 12 GB maximum).

And it's a touchscreen!! That could be fun. I do not use the Windows 8 tablet grid thing, but maybe I will fart around with it now that I have a touch screen. Camera and all that stuff. I like this: Co-developed with Bang & Olufsen ICE power, ASUS SonicMaster Technology delivers true-to-life sound with deeper base and wider range.
previous laptop slimness

It's not as thin and slim as my previous computer. It probably weighs a little more, and it did not come with a cool slip case, so I may go buy one to avoid scratches.

I sort of "sold" my previous one (I don't like calling it "old" as it's a 2013 purchase and in really good shape) to the Big Guy, and he just took it with him to Mackinac. He doesn't know it yet, but he may also be getting a tablet.

BUT, here's a thing, when I was deleting bookmarks from what I thought was a locally stored html file on the old laptop I was really deleting them from the GOOGLE cloud. And there's no individual help from Google. Though, Google should do two things: 1. When I am foolishly deleting bookmarks from the cloud which will eliminate them from all instances of Google Chrome on all devices, I should have to click through MANY messages that impress upon me what is happening and it's final. I could swear the one message I saw told me I was deleting local bookmarks saved to that machine AND NOT in the cloud or affecting other machines.

2. How hard would it be to provide a link to restore yesterday's back up? Surely, Google backs up this data. I should be able to recover it.

But the upshot is what I have always suspected: DO NOT TRUST THE CLOUD. Back up your data to files and save multiple copies. It's still more trust worthy than ephemeral storage in space that you do not control completely.

I am still not sure I want to upgrade any machine to Windows 10. Anyone who is actually reading, please share your views. Or Mom, if you have special insight from the spiritual plane, please give me a sign. :-)

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

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- Days ago = 106 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.18 - 20:25
and again 1510.19 - 7:16

I felt that this post needed a picture of Marjorie and her family...


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #103- Bike Fail




Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #103- Bike Fail



Hi Mom, This is not a picture from today's bike ride.

I forgot to take a picture from today's bike ride.

But this picture was taken by my good friend Chris Dilley, who also joined me today at the Kal-Haven trail for a bike ride.


It sleeted.



Not a great day for me. I needed multiple rest breaks. I want to blame the frigid cold and not my age or the fact that I may be in much worse shape than I thought.

I have been biking to school. I have been playing Ultimate. Sure, we rode about 16 miles. Sure, going out was into a 12 mile head wind. But hey, rest? For pansies. I am a man. I should be able to make that ride with maybe one or two stops not six or seven.
It was rough.

Maybe it's a good thing I did not get a picture from today.

But things are going well, Mom. But then you know that as you're right here with me.

I also know you're laughing loudly and with reckless abandon and telling me that I am old. You took delight in that, didn't you?

I can hear you laughing.

Makes me smile.

That's all for now. More tomorrow.

Oh, and GO CUBS!!

Michigan lost... :-(

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 105 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.17 - 20:11

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #102 - The Martian


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #102 - The Martian

Hi Mom,

So Dad and I went to see The Martian yesterday at the Alamo Drafthouse as a lunch time matinee experience.

I must have cried three times, at least, from the tension alone, though life and death stuff and any sentimental talk about parents and pride wrecks me right now.



I read Andy Weir's The Martian earlier this year and LOVED IT.

I am careful to keep a short list of science fiction novels that I would recommend to non-science fiction readers but rarely are those novels "hard" science fiction, by which, we SF people mean novels that are FULL OF SCIENCE.

But this novel makes the list because it manages what I thought was an impossible task: it makes a hard science novel into a thrilling page-turner.

SPOILERS................. if you have not seen the movie or wish to avoid spoilers skip the rest

Though, there are no real spoilers for you, Mom, as you are here with me as I do everything.

I love Ridley Scott, so I find not fault with his direction.

I understand why some parts of the book were cut or trimmed, especially the long trek to the Schiaparelli Crater with the storm and the sand shelf incidents. I also understand why Rich Parnell was re-invented as the actor for the movie was a fine choice.

I loved the movie nearly as much as the book... nearly, because, the beginning.

I had a feeling as the opening credits rolled that the film would start with the Ares III mission and the incident that strands Mark Watney on Mars. But this is not how the book begins. Here's how the book begins.

"I'm pretty much fucked.
        That's my considered opinion.
        Fucked.
Six days into what should be the greatest two months of my life, and it's turned into a nightmare."


Watney has awoken from the accident in the storm that trashed his bio-monitor, leading the Ares crew to think him dead, and is reporting his log of events since the crew's departure, filling in the gaps.

GREAT.

The reader is dropped directly into the action and the book just accelerates from that start.

I get why the movie script downplayed the profanity to get a better rating and more of an audience. That's fine. The book is the book and will always be the book.

And don't get me wrong, I loved the movie.

But I quibble with the beginning.

I get why it starts with the Ares mission and the coming of the storm and Mark's accident, setting the film up to proceed in chronological order. Context. Sets the scene. Flashbacks are cheesy.

BUT how great would it be to have the movie START with Watney waking up in his space suit, injured, the Ares crew gone, realizing he's stranded. He could watch video recordings of the storm and the departure instead of his own flashbacks, which, yes, are cheesy.

It's a quibble. The movie is still great, but the sheer drama that would be generated by starting with him waking up?

Priceless.

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 103 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.16 - 17:35
and again 1510.17 - 7:49


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #101 - Mom with Baby 1997

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #101 - Mom with Baby 1997 

Hi Mom,

If you could give me a sign to help identify this baby that would be great.

Here's my photo for Throwback Thursday.

I was going through old packages of photos recently, and I found this photo from 1997.

You had written "2 weeks old" on the back of this photo. So, we know this baby is two weeks old, but who is it?

I am guessing that this may be my cousin Lois' daughter, Taylor, who would have been born in 1997. But we had no other evidence to identify the baby. It could potentially be someone unrelated to us. A church friend? Someone in the community?

It would be great to see your face Mom, but it's still a good picture.

I had a rough time today when my PreCalculus teacher was talking about judging time of death from how a body cools off and how this function is logarithmic.

Also, I had to take a test, which proved a bit tricky, but I still think I did well.

I have grades to do, Mom, so this is all for today, but it's enough right?

Oh, and let me know somehow who the baby is...

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 103 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.15 - 19:22

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #100 - Revival


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #100 - Revival

Hi Mom,

So here's another thing I am going to tell you about in which you are not interested at all, but you know I am interested and so you will listen politely, humoring me.

I am sorry if I treated you like a captive audience in the last fifteen years, when you couldn't get away from me when I wanted to tell you about whatever I wanted to tell you about.

So, I finished reading Stephen King's Revival.

It's an enjoyable read. Obviously, as you can see from the images, both lightning and religion play key roles.

Once again, King trods familiar territory: Maine, rock and roll, and broken people. His current broken person is Jamie Morton who spends a fair portion of the book gripped by heroin addiction. But the story starts in Jamie's childhood when he first meets Reverend Charlie Jacobs. King manages to add just a hint of something out of whack about Jacobs from the start, and even though Jacobs "cures" Jamie of his heroin addiction, there's an under current of menace even in his caring as he nurtures Jamie back to health.

The title, Revival, plays a dual role. As a minister who eventually hits the carny circuit with magic special effects harnessing "secret" electricity, one meaning pays off soon, one of the old time gospel variety, a revival meeting, meant to revive the spirits who have strayed from God. The other meaning, one of a more Lazarus-type hangs pregnant in the air, and though the question of what gets revived seems obvious, King manages some neat twists that end up at an ending that's not entirely expected at all.


I have always liked King's deftness for "true" American characters. Both Jamie Morton and Charlie Jacobs qualify as each are propelled through the story by their own inner demons, of a sort. Heh. "Inner demon" will be funnier when you read the book.

I love King's exploration of idyllic family time, especially in the landscape of Maine he knows so well. But then he hits the road and characters end up down and out and looking for meaning in a world surrounded by mystery.

I don't meant to be too spoiler-ish but the ending is grim and likely to give some people nightmares.

I had my own unique experiences with the book, especially given the recent time of your passing, Mom. As the book explores grief and heart ache in its own way, grief that can drive people to extremes, to madness, I thought of you often as I read. I may be writing a daily blog prompted by your death, which seems extreme to some people, and yet, as one person shared recently, "there is not handbook for grief," and at least I am not trying to tap the secrets of the universe as Charlie Jacobs tries to do in this excellent King novel.

The book starts slow and has a middle lull, but it keeps steady tension building about where it's headed. Though the setting is well prefaced, what takes place there and the book's ultimate message is quite different than I expected when I began it.

Still, staring the deaths and grief of these characters, of King's own nightmares, tested my resolution, at times, I also feel like I learned things about the universe by reading this as well.



I miss you, Mom. I am grieving. But the grief will not pull me deeper into darkness.

I walk in the light.

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

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- Days ago = 102 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.14 - 19:31

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #99 - Final Grades Park


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #99 - Final Grades Park


Hi Mom,

Long day and actually days lately as I hammered away at final grades for Park University, two classes, both very full, lots of grading.

I am having a drink, and now I have a second reason, THE CUBS WON THE NLDS!!!!

I will write more about the Cubs later.

I am drinking scotch, but the picture featured here is Sazerac I had the other night at Principle. Liesel and I will check it out Friday. It came in a bottle because it was served with absinthe mist and anise smoke.

Happy but tired. This low key thing and brevity and exhaustion all seem fitting for blog #99 and day #101.

More tomorrow.

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 101 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.13 - 20:06

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #98 - 100 days and Learning to Die

Mom contemplating death
Her family's grave marker
May 11, 2011
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #98 - 100 days and Learning to Die

Hi Mom,

You died 100 days ago.

This feels like a mile stone, a marker of passage, and yet I cannot fully the effect of the rite of passage.

The time seems to have passed quickly.

The time seems to have passed very slowly.

I might not be counting days if not for this blog.

If not for this blog, I might not be aware that you died 100 days ago.

I am not sure how I feel about this mile marker.

And then Dad sent me this photo. Just randomly. He did not know one hundred days had passed.

And yet the photo seems perfect for today's blog.

I labeled the photo as you contemplating death as you are staring at the grave stone for your family in New Lothrop, and yet, I doubt you were actually thinking about death.

I know you thought of death from time to time; you discussed it with Dad.

I contemplated what it would be like when you died from time to time as well. But I could not anticipate how surreal it feels, how NOT NORMAL and yet normal, as I am surrounded by normal, and I am adjusting to change, and yet I am still in denial and in disbelief.

It's very much like quantum physics.

Liesel gave me this article a few weeks ago. This author and I, like another friend of mine, and Sarah Silverman, and my wife and so many others are all part of the "our mothers are dead" club. For this author, her mother died four years ago (2011, which was when this picture featured up top was taken) and yet her mother's death was ongoing as the author learned what deaths means as she comes to grip with her own ill-conceived assumptions. She closes the article with "I thought she would live forever."

LINK TO LEARNING TO DIE ARTICLE

I did not think you would live forever, Mom. I knew we were on borrowed time ever since the meningitis in 2000. And yet, I tricked myself into thinking there would be more time. You would live into your 80s, maybe even your 90s, I said many times. After all, you came back from death's door with the meningitis. You had many close calls after that, and yet, you proved yourself so strong. You kept hanging on. Your will to live seemed insuperable. Even when we learned you had the degenerative palsy, I still tricked myself. You were on a plateau. You might stay on that plateau for a long time. As I watched you decline, I knew the borrowed time was growing shorter, and yet I still bargained. I thought you would live on for a long time, not forever but longer than most doctors believed possible. And you did. It was just not long enough. I want more time.

And now one hundred days have ticked off since you crossed over into the beyond and your body was taken away and we said goodbye with loved ones and I have been writing and writing and hearing your voice and feeling you and talking to you and still, it's not enough, but it is what is. It's all there is. It sustains.

And I miss you, Mom, but no more than I did 100 days ago in that first glimpse of your corpse that was no longer drawing breath. I miss you a great deal Mom. The feeling moves in and out like the tide, sometimes it's stronger, sometimes I am distracted by other things, and so it seems less (though it's not), and yet, unlike the days, the feeling of missing you is not growing.

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 100 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.12 - 20:43
and finally 1510.13 - 11:34

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #97 - present tense

10-14-2007

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #97 - present tense

Hi Mom,

I still talk about you most of the time in present tense. I feel guilty if I talk about you in past tense.

Mostly, it's all present tense because you seem to be present, at least in spirit.

I think I hear you telling me "that's all right."

I also, mostly, refer to the condo as "my parents' house." It's how I have the number in my phone. It's how I will think of it rather than changing it. I try not to say "Dad's place" or "Dad's condo" but rather "my parents' house."

Busy work day, Mom, but this single thought seems like more than enough.

I will continue to use present tense for you.

You're present.

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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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PS: See the count? Tomorrow is a mile stone. Actually, 99 feels pretty significant.

- Days ago = 99 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.11 - 20:08

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #96 - Sarah's wedding


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #96 - Sarah's wedding

Hi Mom,

I know you love weddings.

I had a blast yesterday as Sarah Allard became Sarah Jennings.

Liesel was out of town, so I had this handsome gent as my date: my good friend Jeremiah -- better known as Miah -- Newhouse.

When the married couples were called out to dance, we joined in as he was standing in for Liesel Tower.

Don't we look happy?

I love hanging out with my Ultimate friends. We have such a great community. We have so much fun together. We enjoy each other and like each other a lot, our whole crew.

And there were Frisbees, or as we like to call them, discs. We threw the disc in a pasture with horse poop. Step carefully. We drank and joked and laughed and ate. We gossiped. People promoted the beauty of their beards. The food was great. And instead of a cake, they served a variety of desserts, which were yummy.

Plus an open bar.

Loved it.

I had a blast.

And now as I type this text, the next day, Sunday, I am swamped, but I chipping away at the work. Making good progress.
















Thanks Sarah and Bryan.

Great wedding!





















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

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 98 days ago


- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1510.10 - 21:40
and again 1510.11 - 19:52

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.

HUGO AWARDS GIVEN - RESULTS

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.


SCALZI'S INITIAL HUGO REACTIONS


SCALZI'S FINAL NOTES ON HUGOS


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.

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- Days ago = 97 days ago


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