Are you a Tennessee resident? Sign the petition to protest outsourcing state jobs!

Last month (August 2015), Governor Haslam issued a "Request for Information," seeking input from companies to which the state could outsource jobs in order to "create ... reduced operating costs".

This plan threatens thousands of jobs across the entire state of Tennessee. Experience at UT Knoxville has shown that outsourcing increases costs and decreases quality, to the extent that over the past few years we have gone through the process of "in-sourcing" our custodial services.

The only way outsourcing saves money is if the contractor cuts jobs, cuts hours, cuts wages, and cuts benefits -- after all, they have to make a profit!

The RFI included the following language:

Scope: The State's scope of FMO [Facilities Management Outsourcing] is currently defined to include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Call Center/Customer Service Center
  • Building operations, including, but not limited to,

    • Management Services
    • Security
    • Cleaning
    • Repair/Maintenance
    • Administrative
    • Roads/Grounds
    • Utilities Services

  • Preventative maintenance
  • Subcontractor management for services not self-performed
  • Facilities related purchasing
  • Safety and Emergency preparedness and disaster recovery plans/support
  • Energy Management/Utilities Analysis
  • Financial and Accounting related to building operations

    • Accounts payable and integration with the State's ERP system (PeopleSoft v8.9 or higher)
    • Cost Management and Budgeting (operating and capital)
    • Comprehensive Financial Reporting
    • Comprehensive Operational Reporting

  • Potential Future Components may include

    • Move management
    • Project management
    • Pre-planning
    • Occupancy planning (e.g., strategy, space planning, etc.)
    • Shipping and Receiving/Dock Management
    • Food service operations
    • Administrative Site Services (such as Conference Room Schedule and Set Up)
    • Special Events Set Up and Coordination
    • Master Planning
    • Facility Assessment

The locations included in the RFI are:

  • Office space
  • Higher education: classrooms, administrative space, dormitories, etc.
  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Parks and recreational: hospitality centers, hotels, campground facilities, etc.
  • Military [National Guard Armories]
  • etc.

Note: Inconsistent capitalization from original. Emphasis mine. Text in [square brackets] added by me for clarification.

If you are in the state of Tennessee and would like to oppose this plan, please sign the petition at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tennessee-is-not-for-sale .

Elisian shinies and sales


Once upon a time, Elise made two little crowns, suitable for My Little Ponies. One was called (to the best of my recollection), "My Little Pony is a Zombie Queen" and the other "My Little Pony Feasts on the Flesh of Dead Sailors".

And there was also Seanan McGuire, who is a fan of both horror and My Little Ponies. So I bought the crowns, and quietly shipped them on to Seanan, who squeed a lot over them, which made me very happy.

Elise also made two hairsticks, neither of whose names I clearly remember right now, except they are both Alice-in-Wonderland themed, and I have them, and wear them, and people admire them.

If you like shiny things, you could do far worse than to check out Elise's sale post.

Unsold Poems from the July 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl

If you're interested in poetry on the theme of cats, and things that are not cats but are called cats, check out Ysabet's unsold poetry from July ( http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/3321440.html ).

Originally posted by ysabetwordsmith at Unsold Poems from the July 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl

The following poems from the July 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my LiveJournal profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

There are still some verses left in the July linkback poem, "Look at Me." Link to this list to reveal new ones.

"All Crab Find Dey Own Hole" -- 156 lines, $78 (Polychrome Heroics)
I combined your prompt with several others to get the free-verse poem "All Crab Find Dey Own Hole." It's set on the island of Trinidad and includes a lot of creole. When a girl named Kanica gets kidnapped, the kidnappers wind up with a lot more than they bargained for.

"Bedroom Eyes" -- 48 lines, $20 (Schrodinger's Heroes)
From your Schrodinger prompt came the poem "Bedroom Eyes," which is written in unrhymed tercets. There are small glowing eyes in the compound, which only Schrodinger can see.

"Dance on the Table" -- 246 lines, $123 (Frankenstein's Family)
Meet the cats of Castle Frankenstein in "Dance on the Table." This poem is written in free verse, and shows how Victor and Igor come to have a family of kitties.

"Deceitful Looks" -- 30 lines, $15
thnidu sent a backchannel prompt about lying to cats. "Deceitful Looks" is a free-verse poem that shows how this can go both ways.

"Entanglement" -- 3 lines, $5 (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Yes, there is a gray Schrodinger who lies between good and evil! The poem about him is so tiny, I made a LOL_HEROES image of it. Sponsoring "Entanglement" releases the image too.

"Pine Cones and Pussy Tales" -- 40 lines, $15 (Polychrome Heroics)
This inspired the free-verse poem "Pine Cones and Pussy Tails." Lakia makes friends with a stray cat, admiring his tail but preferring to keep his presence a secret.

"Pussy Cats and Pussy Moths" -- 32 lines, $15
A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Pussy Cats and Pussy Moths." Strange aliens arrive on New Year's Eve and nobody wants anything to do with them except for the cats.

"The Quantum Uncertainty of Feline Solidity" -- 10 lines, $5
From Dreamwidth prompts, mulling the cats of all places, I got "The Quantum Uncertainty of Feline Solidity," written in unrhymed couplets. It explores how cats can go anywhere by being malleable.

"Qui Gatta Ci Cova" -- 48 lines, $20 (Fiorenza the Wisewoman)
Yes, Fiorenza has a cat, introduced in "Marchesa Micia." You really don't want to piss her off, as Otoniel discovers in the free-verse poem "Qui Gatta Ci Cova."

"Swing a Cat" -- 90 lines, $45 (Polychrome Heroics)
A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Swing a Cat." Lakia goes back to school, and some of the kids tease her about her tail. It takes a while to figure out what will make them quit.

"Underfoot" -- 66 lines, $33 (Hart's Farm)
A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Underfoot," in which a cat deposits her kittens in an unsafe place. Auduna has to figure out how to get them to safety -- but she has a baby of her own to think about.

"Waste Nothing" -- 96 lines, $48 (Torn World)
Your snow-cat prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Waste Nothing." When Tekura sees Tefein sneaking out of the village, he knows something is going on, and he's determined to find out what.

"Why Cougars Hunt Young Men" -- 27 lines, $15
The mythological prompt inspired the poem "Why Cougars Hunt Young Men," a feminist retelling of the Wampus Cat legend. It's written in unrhymed tercets.

Also available is another poem that I wrote today in response to comments on "Not the Absence of Fear."

"Jack Union's Apology to Dr. Infanta" -- 125 words, $10
This is one of my rare prose poems.  It's the inside message of an apology card that Jack Union sent to Dr. Infanta after Granny Whammy scolded him for his unheroic behavior.

Property for sale

Dale and I are selling our property in Friendsville (Tennessee). We signed a contract with a Realtor(tm) this evening.

It's 7.9 acres, rolling hills / wooded, with tremendous biodiversity and considerable road frontage. Utilities at the road are electrical, water, and telephone.

If you're interested, please message me.

(no subject)

Originally posted by ysabetwordsmith at Poetry Fishbowl Open!
Starting now, the bonus Poetry Fishbowl is open!  This is the perk for recent fishbowls meeting the $250 goal.  Today's theme is "Frankenstein's Family."  I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.

Keep in mind that this series has its roots in historic horror, gothic, and dark science fiction but has evolved in a much more positive direction.  Feel free to explore that tonal shift by re-imagining dark motifs in a lighter way.

What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "Frankenstein's Family."  I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.

Cyberfunded Creativity

I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:

1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.

2) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).

0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.

3) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

4) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function.  (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.)  These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.

3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.

Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "Frankenstein's Family."  I'll be soliciting ideas for Victor, Igor, Adam, the villagers, the bat vampires, other gothic character types, mad science devices, historic clothing, torches and pitchforks, monologues, castles, graveyards, churches or cathedrals, mansions, mysterious forests, science labs, making discoveries, parenting, teaching and learning, fixing up the home, saving the day, queerplatonic love, sex/gender issues, madness, body horror, things man was not meant to know, side scenes from previous events, and poetic forms in particular.  But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have Lewis Turco's The New Book of Forms which covers most common and many obscure forms.

I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation.) The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

Also: Three cheers for the check engine light

My check engine light came on, so I made an appointment at Firestone. While I was at it, I planned to have my tires rotated (which lately I've been having done when I get my oil changed, because I don't have to make an appointment and it costs less) and a turn signal light replaced.

It turns out that the engine light is caused by an efficiency issue in the catalytic converter. I can get that fixed soon, after payday. (I do need to get it fixed soon, not only for the sake of the environment, but also because leaving my check engine light on means I wouldn't know if something *else* went wrong.)

But getting my tires rotated turned up that both my right side ball joint and my left side tie rod were dangerously close to failure. He showed me both parts, and there should NOT have been that much free movement in either. Now that they've been replaced, I realize just how sloppy my steering had gotten. Frog in hot water, methinks.

I think I'll be paying the extra to get the tires rotated and aligned at Firestone, appointment issues notwithstanding.

Unsold Poems from Ysabet's February 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl

I'd especially love to see additional sponsors for "The Feast of Saint Valentine" (http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/3123540.html), but any of the poems listed are bound to be worth reading.

Originally posted by ysabetwordsmith at Unsold Poems from the February 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl

The following poems from the February 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my LiveJournal profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

There are still some verses left in the linkback poem, "Spirit of Truth." You can reveal those by linking to this page

"Always Like Itself" -- 44 lines, $20 (Tripping into the Future)
From a Dreamwidth prompt I got the free-verse poem "Always Like Itself," which belongs to the series Tripping into the Future.  Love is the one thing that not even entropy can touch.

"Aren't You Already There?" -- 59 lines, $20 (An Army of One)
Your prompt about difficult love inspired the free-verse poem "Aren't You Already There?"  It explores love and long-distance relationships in the Lacuna, and the challenges people face.

"As One of Your Countrymen" -- 113 lines, $56.50 (Clay of Life) SOLD
From the Clay of Life series comes the free-verse poem "As One of Your Countrymen."  It uses Hebrew vocabulary about love and charity to explore the relationship between Yossele the golem and Menachem the blacksmith, along with others they meet while traveling.

Menachem the blacksmith
took the Torah seriously.
He chatted with rabbis when he could,
and loved debating fine points of interpretation.

He recited sections of the Torah from memory,
and told stories from Jewish culture
along with others learned from people
in the countries through which he traveled

"The Children Made Manifest" -- 42 original lines, $20 (Fledgling Grace)
A Dreamwidth prompt about God expanded into the free-verse poem "The Children Made Manifest."  It weaves together a bunch of Bible verses about love and faith, along with examples from the Fledgling Grace setting.

"Drawing Me Out" -- 81 lines, $40.50 (Polychrome Heroics)
The prompt about Damask inspired the free-verse poem "Drawing Me Out."  It's a single-person perspective (which is new for Damask) that shows Clement interacting with Dace.  Dace is being friendly and a little shy; Clement is being friendly and a LOT shy, leaping to some assumptions without really much evidence one way or another.

A late September rain chases people
into the undergraduate library,
damp students and faculty alike huddling
around the old radiators that clink like armor

"Lawless, Winged, and Unconfined" -- 74 original lines, $37 (Fledgling Grace)
The strangers prompt inspired the poem "Lawless, Winged, and Unconfined."  Scott and the incubus share a connection that isn't a chain, which is new and a bit confusing, but they gradually get used to it.

There was nothing of coercion
in what lay between
Scott and the incubus,
yet there was still a force
that connected their souls

"The Love of Brothers" -- 80 lines, $40 SOLD
A true love prompt inspired the free-verse poem "The Love of Brothers." It uses philia as a base, and it takes place in ancient Greece, featuring a queerplatonic relationship between Ariston and Sophus, two apprentices of Archimedes.  This is set in nether-Earth, but a lot earlier than The Steamsmith series.

Ariston and Sophos were apprentices
to the alchemist Archimedes.
Of all the young men in his service,
Ariston was the strongest
and Sophos was the smartest

"Mismatchmakers" -- 30 lines, $15
From your second prompt I got "Mismatchmakers."  There are many goddesses of love, and some of them oversee trouble.  When they get together, it gets even worse.  This poem is written in unrhymed tercets.

"No-Good Lovers" -- 35 lines, $15 SOLD
Based on a backchannel prompt from Anthony Barrette, I got the free-verse poem "No-Good Lovers," which uses the extended metaphor of a toxic relationship to explore how people interact with money.

"A Picnic in the Hills" -- 27 lines, $15 (Fiorenza the Wisewoman)
The prompt about Fiorenza inspired the poem "A Picnic in the Hills."  Fiorenza and Giacinto go out and have a picnic while watching the local fairies.  This poem is written in unrhymed tercets.

"Pulling Pigtails" -- 83 lines, $41.50 (Polychrome Heroics)
Your supervillain prompts inspired the free-verse poem "Pulling Pigtails."  I also incorporated part of your nomenclature.  There are three sets of love/hate interests spanning junior high, high school, and college ages; and varying orientations.  People show affection in different ways, some more functional than others.

In junior high, hormones run hot and cold,
and there is no shortage of drama.

Bully Boy is husky this year,
not the slender waif he was in gradeschool,
and now he grows even bigger
when he beats up the weaker students

"Pussy Willows and Tiger Lilies" -- 27 lines, $15 (Walking the Beat) SOLD
Your prompt about Dale and Kelly led to "Pussy Willows and Tiger Lilies."  This is a free-verse Valentine's Day poem with a light tone.

"Unexpected Affections" -- 41 lines, $20 (Monster House) SOLD
The prompt about Melinda and the bogeyman led to the free-verse poem "Unexpected Affections."  They're actually two points of a triad, the third being the son of the house.  This poem is about childhood romance and friendship.

"Unfamiliar Feelings" -- 84 lines, $42 (One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis)
A prompt about Shaeth led to the poem "Unfamiliar Feelings."  He feels love, but he doesn't understand it.  None of it really fits with his previous experiences, and he doesn't know what to do about that.

Shaeth is having heart trouble.
Specifically, it won't shut up
and leave him alone.

He feels something for Trobby,
but it's nothing like what
he once felt for Zargon