Kelly McCullough writes fantasy, science fiction, and books for kids of varying ages. He lives in Wisconsin with his physics professor wife and a small herd of cats. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series — Penguin/ACE, and the forthcoming School for Sidekicks — Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star — part of an NSF-funded science curriculum — and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp, which he co-authored and co-edited — funding provided by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope. Kelly on Twitter, Facebook, G+, ello
Last night was one of those great meetings where it was genuinely fun to be an elected official. Agenda item: awards and recognition.
In addition to being an author, I’m what most people think about as a county commissioner, though that’s not the language we use here. My county is a largely rural, midwestern county with a university town in our micro-metro area, part of which I represent.
Last summer our local 4H cow judging team took the state championship, and then went on to nationals where they also won. This is unusual for two reasons, my county is relatively tiny and most state teams are an all star slate instead of a single county team.
Until they came before the board to present on that last fall, I didn’t even know we had a cow judging team, much less what it does. But they cheerfully educated us on the topic.
Having won nationals, our cow judging team was invited to the international competition in Scotland. The county helped pay their way. Last night they came back in to report on how they did and to thank us.
Fun for me both because we helped them along and because I have spent many happy weeks in Scotland where I was married in 1994. So, lots of slides of places I know.
But, even better, they did very well. For the world cow judging competition, they split our four person team into two sub teams. They took 3rd and 6th place. They also took 1st individual, and 1st individual for showmanship.
The young woman who was their lead person on the report was the one who took 1st individual. She was poised smart, and focused. She was also a dead ringer for Hermione Granger, which warmed my geeky heart.
So, why do I bring all of this up?
Because, these smart and talented young people from a tiny rural county were significantly helped by local government. Too often, we hear about government getting it wrong. I thought it was worth pointing out a place where government got it right.
It’s also worth pointing out that in a representative democracy, WE are the government. Me more directly than many, but it always comes down to us, either as the people making and implementing policy, or as voters choosing who will do those things for us.
This is exactly why I am now serving my 5th term despite low compensation, and the drain on time and energy that I could be sinking into my primary job of writing fiction. Because it’s important, and someone needs to do it.
Brain: Ooh ooh ooh!
Me: What? It’s three in the morning.
Brain: I figured out the whole unicorn thing.
Me: What? The? Hell?
Brain: No, it’s great.
Me: It’s not great, it’s three in the morning.
Brain: No, I’ve got this.
Me: All right, It’s obvious you won’t let me sleep. Tell me.
Brain: *assuming an erudite English accent* It’s the equinox!
Me: …the hell.
Brain: *in accent* You see, the mistake is easy. Vernal instead of virginal. Right?
Me: *blinking* Not sure where you’re going with this…
Brain: *in accent* And equinox. Equi meaning center and nox…well, it doesn’t mean horn, but it sounds like ox and oxes have horns. Easy mistake.
Me: *in accent* First, it’s oxen…oh gods, now I’m doing it.
Brain: *in accent* See! It makes perfect sense. Vernal equinox and virginal unicorns.
Me: Go back to sleep, brain.
Brain: *drops accent* Not till we tell Laura, she’s going to want to hear this.
Me: Not at three in the morning.
Brain: Sure she will.
Me: I may not be _good_ at self preservation but I’m pretty sure on this one.
Me: *sigh* All right, I promise I’ll jot it all down and we can tell her first thing in the morning.
Me: You’re asleep already aren’t you?
Addendum from a few hours later with Laura.
Me: *sighs* My fucking brain.
Her: That’d be a good autobiography title for you.
Fly, my steed! Run like the wind!
That is soooo undignified. Monkeys were made to bring food, not ride.
Also, you can eat them in case of emergency.
I am intrigued by your ideas. Do you perchance have recipes?
You can’t eat monkeys! They bring the duckies!
Also, as noted above, they make epic mounts!
Who needs a mount when you have this excellent frog launching pad?
Why the hell is there a frog in this story? Cats and caterpillars only, man!
I am skeptical of the caterpillar half of that statement…
On second thought, screw it, you do what you have to. Ima take a nap.
Again, thanks to Matt Kuchta, Mandy Little, Neil Gaiman, and Frogdor the Ribbinator for various guest appearances.
Hooray for Friday Caterpillar Blogging!
This isn’t going to end well…
I like caterpillars. They are delicious!
Dat not so bad.
What about frogs?
Frogs are also delicious!
I would not eat a frog. Not with a dog. Not in a bog.
Only if someone else catches it for me. Because I ain’t amovin.
Man, it’s a good thing cats are so lazy.
Not all cats!
Thanks to Matt Kuchta, Mandy Little, Neil Gaiman, and the Hot Tub Frog for various guest animals.
Is today the day for the competitive sleep off?
I don’t know, it’s too bright out to check the roster.
I’m going to throw down just in case. 3.2.1. zzzzz….
I call this one Cannonball Z
Dance party and sleep off in one move!
Did someone say dance party?
Oooh, I’m always in for dancing I’ve got the legs for it. 200 of them!
I’ve got the disco floor lit up!
Don’t ask me, I was hired for the sleep off, as a couch…
She’s behind me, isn’t she?
What the hell is with the frog?
I think something like this…
Cats are sooooooo weird.
She’s behind me again, I just know it.
That’s it, I’m going to watch something really surreal…
Like this Gratuitous Author Cream Pie Sequence:*
With thanks to Neil Gaiman, Matt Kuchta, and the ever game Laura McCullough,