In the question of what would happen for us about Iceland, those of you who voted for the angry sheep have won the day. This was actually my code phrase for “We may be asking for too much money.” Because we have a two year commitment to the apartment in NYC, we needed to be able to make enough money to support two households. In part, because I would have to commute between Iceland and NYC in order to keep the puppetry career moving forward.
We are sad that it couldn’t work out, but living in NYC is not a bad consolation prize.
I was going to do a post about how we’re settling into the rhythms of living in NYC but that was before we got the call from Iceland. At the moment, all I feel is a sense of waiting again and that the uncertainty has returned.
So, since my father asked for it, here is a poll about what will happen next.
Robert A. Kowal is a New York University graduate holding a B.F.A. degree in Film & Television with two decades experience in both creative and technical roles. His production credits include director, producer, writer, story editor, and production coordinator.
Robert spent 2006 in Iceland working on the childrenâ€™s television series LazyTown.
It will only last today, but the weather cooled off. Oh, heavenly day. I actually put a sweater on. I baked! I cooked dinner! I even took a long hot shower. Clearly, the year spent in Iceland has skewed my idea of what the weather is supposed to be like. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s back to “normal” today, even though this is freakishly cool for August.
It was gray and overcast and cool…that’s just like Iceland and Portland, so that’s what normal is, right?
At one point today, Rob said, “You look very nice.” I must have looked confused–I was wearing ratty work clothes–because he leaned back to look at me with more care. “I guess it’s because you aren’t sweating and your hair isn’t matted down.”
Nice. That’s what nice means. Not sweaty. No mats.
Why can’t the weather be like this all the time, so I can look nice?
I’ve returned from a preview screening of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust–tickets provided by the fabulous Livia Llewellyn. Since I got out of the theater, I’ve been wanting to go back. When was the last time that happened to me?
Princess Bride? Goya in Bordeaux? But since then… I can’t remember one.
I’ll see you there. Partly because I want to see it again and sink back into the world, and partly because I want this film to have a really strong opening weekend so that there will be more.
There’s a funny sort of symmetry for me about seeing this film while I’m making the Coraline puppet. The first time I performed in NYC, was with our production of Old Man Who Made Trees Blossom at Here Theater. The puppets are made out of paper–it’s a different technique than the one I’m using now, but still, it’s the first time I used washi paper on a puppet. One of the other performers loaned me a copy of the ARC (advanced review copy) of Stardust–and behold, here I was tonight at an advanced screening. Funny how things work out.
Edited to add: I forgot to mention that large parts of the movie were filmed in Iceland. If you want to understand, really, why I want to move back…
I’ve just come back from a trip to buy groceries. Now, it’s a faster process than in Iceland, because I can read all of the labels and signs. The checkout, on the other hand, is surprisingly similar to my Icelandic experience.
I can’t understand what the clerks are saying to me.
I find myself responding by rote, based on what part of the transaction we are at. It is astonishing. Some of this comes from people who are speaking English as a second language. I don’t begrudge them the incomprehensibility of their speech. I’ve been there myself and understand. But the majority of them are native speakers who mumble. Would it really kill them to open their mouth when speaking? I know they can speak loudly; I’ve heard them on their cellphones. I just want to be able to understand what they are saying when I check out.
Really. Is there anything else to say about today?
Well, actually there is, because I got some news about three different exciting projects none of which I can tell you about. Gah! So, for the moment, you’ll just have to watch the paint dry.
La la la.
Oh, and no, the news is not about selling a novel–I’ve had two different people guess that, so I figure I can save you that much. Nor is it about going back to Iceland.
Here is the wall of the dining room that is finished. We finally pulled Rob’s Magnapan speakers out of their boxes. In Portland, we didn’t have anywhere we could put them that was cat safe. I mean really, to a cat, those are not high end speakers, but the perfect scratching surface.
The table is not in view now, because it’s to the left of the photo under a sheet. I’m still painting. The color requires three coats each of which have to dry for a couple of hours before I do the next. I have one coat left on the wall I’m working on, and then there’s one more left to do.
Isn’t drying paint fascinating?
Look! A new lighting fixture. That’s much shinier than anything else that I could possibly be talking about now. It glows!
We started by having brunch with fab girl, her friend Leslie, Jodi and Jed at Cafe Deville. It’s a nice big open space with good food, but the service was questionable. We kept having to send water glasses away because they had floaters in them. Ugh.
After that, Rob and I spent a couple of hours tromping around to various paper and art supply stores looking for the paperwood I want for my laptop’s space bar. No luck. I finally picked up a piece of thin birch ply for model airplanes. I’ve found paperwood online, but there keep being minimum orders and, you know, I want to test it first. It’s very frustrating. If you know a store that carries it, do let me know.
Giving up on that, we headed to Home Depot to pick up paint for the living room and dining room. While I’m all for shopping locally, I just can’t plunk down $45 on a gallon of paint. Can’t. And that’s what the paint costs in my neighborhood.
In between painting, I wrestled with a couple of different computer programs trying to crank out an ad for Shimmer, because my software is still in the boxes coming from Iceland. All the trial versions of other software have expired, leaving me with nothing very useful. Again. Frustrating. So I went back and forth between that and the walls, which are also frustrating because they are just a wee bit uneven. It’s impossible to get a clean edge, even with tape, at any point. I do it better freehanding, really.
I’m heading off to shower and bed now. I’ve got a job interview for a temp position as a receptionist tomorrow. While I’m here to do puppetry, it usually takes a year or two to establish oneself in a new community. Gotta keep food on the table and paint on the walls while that’s happening, eh?
Last night, Kahlua invited us out to dinner with her and her daughters. We hadn’t seen them since Iceland, so were delighted to go. She suggested Gavroche, a French Bistro. We had forgotten that it was Bastille Day, so it was crowded, even more so than usual for a NYC restaurant. But they have a charming garden in the back, and it was Nicole’s (her oldest daughter) birthday. (The youngest one is the one I worked with in Iceland.) We were also joined by the girls’ father, Miss Emily DeCola, and Nicole’s boyfriend, Davi. I have no idea how Kahlua swung getting a table in the garden for such a large party.
Much to our surprise, Stefan was in town from LA for the night. We had no idea he was coming. I guess he got in around 7:00 pm, has a gig today, and is flying back home tonight. Crazy life of actors. It was so good to see him. We trotted out the Icelandic for about three sentences and then spent the rest of the evening in English. Which is good because I have so not been practicing.
But I think we all really enjoyed reminiscing about Iceland itself and didn’t talk about the show at all. Certainly, Stefan had wonderful, wonderful stories to tell about growing up as the son of a whaler. Fascinating stuff. I miss being there.
The meal itself was good, but not exceptional. Solid, well-conceived food. sigh… I sound like such a food snob. It was a lovely evening. Hopefully the first of many.
(By the way, for those newcomers to my site, I worked on this show, but try to avoid using the name to make it harder for fans to search for it. The producers of the show let me blog while I was working there with the understanding that I would keep my posts generic and specific to the work that I was doing. There’s also the fact that one of my co-workers, the youngest daughter referred to earlier, is a minor and some of her fans can be a little creepy.)
I’m somewhat amazed at how easily we agreed on a color for the office. Unfortunately, finding a place where the paint was affordable proved significantly harder. The first place I went to wanted $45 per gallon of paint. That’s more than twice what I usually pay in Portland and totally not in our budget.
Rest assured, that I did find affordable paint, although still more than I’ve paid before. Sigh. BUT the room is painted, mopped and we began moving things into it. The painting of it was pretty funny. All of my work clothes are in the boxes we shipped back from Iceland. After considering several options, I finally decided to paint the room in my work jacket and a t-shirt. Rob says that I looked like a pin-up girl, since I was sans trousers.
I’ll post photos once it’s a little more put together.
Edited to add: Of the office–I’ll post photos of the office once it’s a little more put together. Geez… you people. One little slip of an imprecise pronoun and your minds go straight to the gutter.
All of my participant things were today and, considering how little prep I did because of the move, everything went amazingly well. I caught the train out of Penn Station this morning, rode up in comfort and met Joy Marchand at the station. She whisked me over to Readercon. I had to print out all of my material once I got here because we haven’t unpacked the printer cables yet.
The reading was surprisingly well attended. I didn’t think there would be anyone here so early in the con, but I had maybe ten people in the room. I read “Rampion” from Prime Codex. I had an hour off and did a workshop on reading aloud, which again, had a larger attendance than I expected. The last one I did had eight people, this one had around thirty or forty.
Hm… I’m really exhausted. I think I’m going to go collapse before finishing my report. My brain is toast. Suffice to say that it is fun and that I’m enjoying seeing everyone. I realized that last Readercon I’d flown in from Iceland and this time we’d driven cross-country with the move, so I’m sort of feeling like travel exhaustion must be part of the experience for me.
(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 […]