Yesterday was good, but very exhausting. (The remnants of the flu include a tight chest, generalized soreness, and I’m still very easily tired. Apparently that’ll last for awhile.) I woke up late this morning, crawled out to the studio, and happened to glimpse a flicker of bird movement out of the corner of my eye.

I fished out the binoculars, not with any real hope–it was in pretty good cover–and indeed, I never caught more than a flash of the body. The tail, however, was spread, bright yellow, and had a sharp black T-shape on it. Being very bad with warblers, I went to the book, where I discovered (as most veteran birders are probably already aware from that description) that it was a female American redstart.

It’s not a lifer, but it’s a much better sighting than my last, which I barely recall (I have it noted on the list, but memory is fickle–must’ve been on my trip to Tennessee during the migration. Obviously not a very dramatic sighting.) 

And now, finally to work on Wurstbreath…I want this sucker done by the end of the month.

Up early this morning to prepare for my speaking gig at the NC Lit Fest. I have waited the CDC proscribed length of time to ensure that I am no longer significantly contagious (I wouldn’t recommend rubbing my mucus membranes, but honestly, I’d frown on that even in perfect health) and other than a terrific backache from laying down for days on end, and an occasional sporadic cough, I seem to be doin’ fine. Appetite’s still a little depressed, but since I’m trying to lose a few vanity pounds, I suspect that’ll wear off much too soon.

Got some doodling done yesterday–mostly phalloi, a few random rodents. I’ll post those later.

The nice thing about being up this early is that I’ve caught sight of a couple of birds that I don’t normally see. The fall warblers are starting to come through, I suspect–I didn’t catch anything beyond small bird-shaped flashes of black and gold and grey in the treetops, nothing you could ID from, but enough to make my brain go "Warblers!" Plus there were two extremely scruffy wrens in the garden this morning, one of them bopping around on the feeder, the other actually hopping cautiously along the gutter just outside my studio window. They looked a lot like winter wrens, but were so scruffy from molting that it’s hard to tell (plus I’m not sure when the winter wrens come into this area.) Could have been house wrens. Butt was wrong for Carolina.

Okay, enough staring out the window…time to get dressed!

Well, my fever is broken, so I’m probably out of the woods. If the CDC is to be believed, it’s almost certainly swine flu, but I managed to skip most of the nasty symptoms. If I don’t have the sudden relapse with dreadful cough, then I’m on the road to recovery!

I have a headache and I’m weak as a kitten, but at least I’m not hot-and-cold-and-hot any more, and the nasty raw-skinned feeling is almost entirely gone. Spent a good chunk of the day in bed, until restlessness forced me to wander around and do some very slow cleaning. (I know! I’m taking it easy! The state of the floor was far more detrimental to my health than five minutes with the vacuum!) Unfortunately, although I’m very weak, I’m not TIRED, which means laying in bed is growing increasingly tedious. Yesterday’s Clint Eastwood marathon was rare prize in the lint-filled grab-bag of daytime TV, and probably will not be repeated.

As per the CDC instructions, I will wait 24 hours from my fever breaking before returning to work, which means I’m skipping tomorrow’s event, but should be okay to do Sunday, assuming I feel suitably human by then.

ETA: Also–and I had forgotten because of the plague and all–this is the one year anniversary of having moved in with Kevin! I am quite astonished that it’s been that long. It’s been awesome. Occasionally frustrating, frequently bizarre, and the house is still not in the state that either of us would like…but awesome. One of the best years of my life.

Of course, this also means it’s the one year anniversary of my apartment getting robbed, and whatever else I can say, the swine flu’s cheaper.

Still knocked flat by crud. Hoping to stabilize enough by tonight to make speaking engagement tomorrow, but not holding out a great deal of hope. Sunday, though. Definitely Sunday. (God, the ONE weekend I need to be well…)

Kevin is threatening me with the doctor if I don’t start to improve soon. I am skeptical of the ability of doctors to help much in this scenario, but at least they can tell me whether it’s swine flu. Which is something.

Off to ride the Nyquil Pony again…

Is it crud, is it crud, is it crud that I’m feeeeeeeeeeeeeelin’…..?

I appear to have the con crud. I was holding out hope that it was just an allergy attack–my hayfever can lay me out quite effectively–but the post-nasal drip and sore throat has been joined by chills and body ache, and I must reluctantly admit that I probably picked up something at Dragon.

Which was probably inevitable when you think about it.

Hopefully I’ll be better come Friday–I’ve got speaking things on Saturday AND Sunday, and I’d be bummed to have to bow out. If I want that to happen, though, I better spend tomorrow in bed. *sigh*

We return from the con! We are not dead! I bought more corsetry! (I’m starting to think I have a problem…)

DragonCon is indeed very very large, but I have to say, it wasn’t nearly so alarming as San Diego ComicCon, for the simple reason that D*C is big in about six rooms and three hotels, and ComicCon is even bigger and all in the same room with you. This makes a substantial difference in the level of terror. I’m very tired and a bit people’d out, but I’m not at the "I don’t need to see another human for the next week," state that I was after ComicCon.

I have no real con report. Decatur Book Festival was great, I bought earrings, I signed books, I talked to children, I did not swear or say anything wildly inappropriate. There was a near miss when the portable microphone I was wearing fell off the back of my pants and hit the floor with a distressing thud. (I had no back pockets, because women’s pants suck.) I could actually feel the obscenity rising in my throat. It hit somewhere about the larynx and I managed to choke it off. One of the A/V guys retrieved the bit of electronics, fixed it, looked at me, and said "How good of friends are we?" I’d never met him before in my life, but the show must go on. "Good friends," I said, sighing. The microphone pack wound up in my pants, hooked over my underwear. It stayed put for the entire presentation, too.

Dragoncon. Whew. I met a lot of people. They were awesome. I met fans. They were also awesome. (The one dressed very convincingly as Rorschach was a little unsettling, though. Rorschach: "I’m your biggest fan!" Ursula (warily): "….so you claim.") Ellen Million is awesome. Fatfred is awesome. Mur & Cmar & Laura and crew are awesome. Diana Stein and Jennie Breeden, also awesome. I went to the art show. I looked at the art. I said "Oh god, I’m a hack!" and went and drank heavily, which is kinda the point, and was awesome in its own self-flagellating way.

And lord, the costuming. Generally most of the con eye candy is for the guys, since you get a zillion women in corsets wandering around–Heroescon, while awful in many regards, was nice in that there were a fair number of male superheros who wore Spandex very well.* But this con, while light on superheroes, had some very nice steampunk, a Bram Stoker’s Dracula that I noticed even through coffee-and-Samubuca-induced queasiness, and a dark elf wearing nothing but bodypaint and leather pants that walked by and completely halted female conversation in the booth for some time.

Mind you, they do love the costumes a LOT, which meant that when we went to dinner with Kevin’s old roommate Mike, who was doing a very good Harvey Birdman, it took us twenty minutes to get from the hotel lobby to the corner, because everybody wanted photos with Birdman.

And now, I’m going to go laze around and look at stuff on-line and try to recuperate from both the mental exhaustion and the regrettable toll taken on my digestion. (I have got to learn to stop eating so much beef jerky on road trips…)

*Spandex is one of those things that should be a privilege, not a right. And I say this as one who cannot and should not wear it myself

Whew. A day of frantic prep today, as we leave tomorrow for the Decatur Book Festival, where I’m on a panel, and thence to DragonCon, which I have never yet attended. (I’ll be presenting at the Parsec Awards Saturday night–either because I am mildly internet-notorious, or because I have really awesome Boots, it’s anyone’s guess.) Sunday, I will actually go to the dealer’s room and wander around and get some of that credit card debt back. I don’t have a table and won’t be selling, but Ellen Million Graphics in the Imperial Ballroom will have a selection of my art in print and merchandise form.

Honestly, I’m a bit terrified by the size of the con. I looked at their little pamphlet, and my brain exploded. I’m overwhelmed by crowds and I haven’t even left the studio yet!

On t’other hand, it can’t be as packed as Comic-Con. Comic-Con was more humans that I’ll meet in my entire lifetime, in one building.

So today I have to get a Digger done, get all my directions and contact info printed, and pack the clothes so that I can go from Respectable Children’s Book Author at Decatur to Deranged Artist at DragonCon.

Not…overwhelmed…yet…

Vote the Pear!

You can now vote for the pear at Patchtogether.com! It’s free, no obligation to buy–if the pear gets enough votes (and I’m unsure of the exact number required), it’ll go to pre-orders.

Go, biting pear!

ETA: If you get a "server down" message, try again–it seems to be jumping around a bit this morning. 

Just posted a concept piece of the Biting Pear to Patchtogether.com I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile–the incomparable Miss Monster recommended them highly–and if they approve it, I’ll post all the links so that, at long last, people can indeed get their very own Biting Pear figure. (It’s done based on pre-order numbers, I b’lieve–you won’t be charged until and unless it actually goes into production.)