What a fantastic way to start off 2007. Patrick Swenson just emailed me to say that he’d like to buy “Death Comes but Twice” for issue #35 of Talebones. I’m delighted. Talebones is one of my favorite magazines and I’ve been hankering to get in there.
I have a mild cold that I picked up from the germ factories that come aboard the boat to meet the Cinnamon Bear. It’s not bad, just a scratchy throat and fatigue–although I suppose the fatigue comes from other sources. Anyway, we carol as people are boarding. I enjoy this even though I’m scantily dressed in a fairy costume. What’s interesting about the way my voice functions when ill is that I lose my mid-range.
My speaking voice drops, but usually my head voice stays more or less clear. I can’t blend the two ranges at all. Now, this is a problem if I’m trying to belt Christmas Carols, (which uses the chest voice and blending) so I dealt with it by jumping up to my upper end and avoiding the midrange. So here’s me, speaking a couple of steps lower than normal, and then singing high soprano because that’s the only sound I’ve got reliable available. It’s useful to know how one’s voice behaves when sick.
Next time you have a cold, I want you to hum through your range. Start at the low end and hum up to the high end, then back down. Now, with me, my voice drops out on the way up the scale, and then comes back again. On the way down, I have more notes. It usually happens this way for me. I’ve been able to use this to compete, perform or audition by either picking pieces that fit the “sick” range or by adapting the work that I doing.
For a reading, I pitch my narrator higher than usual, to get above my dead zone. I save my suddenly deep low end for the male characters. It’s the only time I can really do a convincing male voice. I’ve always wished I were an alto because of that. It seems like it would be sooooo much more useful for voice work.
Richard Horton does a summary of the different magazines, and my name actually shows up in his summary of Strange Horizons. I’m all the way at the end under “strong work.” It doesn’t give the title of the story, but since the only one that I’ve sold to Strange Horizons is “Portrait of Ari,” it’s pretty easy to figure out which one he was thinking about. I’m very pleased.
I’m very, very pleased to announce that Shimmer’s spring cover will be graced by the art of World-Fantasy award-winning artist, John Picacio. For the spring issue, we’ll be taking a look at the role that art plays in fiction. For this issue, the cover art comes first and the story follows. We’ve teamed with Liberty Hall Writers to host a contest where we provide the cover image as a trigger to the writers.
I had planned on going to see Christmas from Home 1941 last night, as it was my only chance, but about 6:00 realized that I wouldn’t make it unless I took a nap. I did wake up from the nap in time to go. I was just dizzy with fatigue and decided that it was smarter to go to bed for real. I slept from 7:30 last night until 6:30 this morning.
Now I’m unpacking and getting ready for our Christmas party tomorrow.
The jaw is creating two problems; it’s contributing to the ventilation issue, because it’s solid fiberglass, so is providing a shelf that the actor’s breath bounces against, shooting it up against the eyes. It’s also not fitting one of the actors well. This bear needs to be able to fit multiple people which provides challenges, since masks are usually built to fit one person. Particularly with a mouth that’s activated by the performer’s jaw, the mask needs to fit extremely snugly. The fiberglass, while providing clean movement if well-fitted, is too big for one of the actors.
So. To start with, I created a copy of the jaw in reticulated foam. I use a brand called drifast which is designed to wick moisture away in outdoor furniture. Hopefully, this will help with the venting issues. To get really specific and uber-jargony on you, I used 1-inch DriFast with 35 ppi (pores per inch).
Next, I stitched elastic to the exterior of it, in the same place I had elastic on the original fiberglass jaw. I also added a piece across the interior, which serves to two functions. It helps the jaw retain its shape and it also acts to cup the actor’s chin.
I lined the jaw with black fabric, and covered the exterior with fur. One of the things that I love about reticulated foam is that you can stitch to it very easily and it’s tear-resistant.
Once it was all covered, I installed it in the original location. To my surprise, this has better movement than the original fiberglass. Usually you think of going rigid for mechanism, but, I’m guessing, because of this is a really snug fit it responds more quickly to the jaw’s movement. Think of it like wearing a ski mask.
Sadly, the thing still fogs, but it’s slower and not as hot so that’s movement in the right direction. I’ve been reading about defoggers for scuba divers. Most websites recommend spit. Somehow, I can’t see myself recommending spitting into a mask that’s supposed to be worn around sick children. There are actual products, so I’ll see if I can find any here.
Before anyone recommends it–there is no place to put a fan in the bear’s head and even if there were, it would not solve the humidity issue. I think we have oxygen flowing in the mask now, but the humidity is the next hurdle to deal with.
If the defogger doesn’t work, then I’ll try putting a vapor barrier between the eyes and the nose, but this will likely make it uncomfortable, so I’m trying to avoid that.
(For the puppet geeks reading this, I buy my foam here. They ship.)
We’ve discovered that the bear has ventilation issues. I was worried about the heat buildup in the mask before I left, but it turns out that is only part of the problem. We have more of an issue with fogging in the eyes. If you’ll recall, the eyes are made of sunglasses and the mask, despite my cutting away for the fiberglass, is still a very closed environment. There’s nowhere for the humidity that the breath carries to go because the fur is too thick to vent.
I’ve started by opening the fur over the holes in the front of the mask.
Next, I filled the hole in with a fine net.
Using small plugs of Hringur bear’s fur, I carefully place them on the net. My goal is to create the illusion that the bear is still fully furred, while allowing more air to pass into the mask.
Here it is in the finished state.
Next I’ll replace the lower jaw with a foam one, which should allow for more ventilation.
You too can participate in science from the comfort of your own home. Click on the link above to read the details of the experiment, or take the shortcut and just follow the instructions below.
Write a post, in which you explain the experiment and link to the original post (http://acephalous.typepad.com/acephalous/2006/11/measuring_the_s.html). (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)
Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances. Imply I’m one of them. (Do whatever you have to. If that fails, try whatever it takes.)
Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.
The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration.
Very often a choice needs to be made.
Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that’s actually more apt than "Lovers." Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can’t understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]