Spring on Medina Road

It’s Spring on Medina Road, here at the edge of the Los Angeles metropolis along the northern base of the Santa Monica mountains, just over the ridge from the beaches and mansions of Malibu where it’s always fresh and moist, and that means a new batch of marigolds and petunias in the planter boxes on our balcony overlooking the San Fernando Valley, where it’s comparatively hot and arid. We even installed a new jasmine vine at one end of the balcony, to replace the one that died of summer heat a couple years ago while we were away on vacation overseas, in a big clay pot that we hope will hold moisture longer than those shallow wooden planter boxes. In the soft spring air, the flowers smell divine.

It’s April 1st, and so that means another year of April First Foolery — our tenth annual edition, in fact, beginning with the 2000 posts, which were inspired by a certain magazine publisher while chatting poolside a couple weeks earlier at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts; we even did a fake April magazine profile then, where even the book reviews were jokes. This year’s alarmist headlines are, of course, a riff on Huffington Post.

Multiple levels of background projects continue; a redesign of the homepage, with section pages echoing a common layout and menu display, is 90% done, and should be posted by this coming weekend (–well, real soon now); the awards index design refresh is done and regular updates are underway; the background expansion of the awards index — I still haven’t figured out what to call it, or quite how to present it, but it will be done — is making progress.

Meanwhile I’m not reading much, nothing in the past 3 months aside from portions of nonfiction books by Malcolm Gladwell and Julian Baggini and Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, but I’m feeling compelled to change that soon. Just as I intend to resume regular postings of Monitor Listings on the website… in part abashed by emails from authors hurt that their books have not been more promptly posted there. (They noticed!)

No travel plans this year, aside from a trip next month to the Bay Area to attend the graduation of my partner’s son from UC Berkeley. Given the new News Blog, the Locus (magazine) editors can post breaking news from conventions and awards banquets, so my presence at such events is even less necessary than it has been; I won’t be missed. And I’m thinking it prudent to play it thrifty for a while.

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