I swear I'm still here. I really am. And I will write a long updaterish post in the near future.
Here's a short version: I'm teaching 2 classes this semester. One's a freshman SF class I've taught before; the other is a new graduate course that I've dubbed "The British Empire: ALL OF IT." My days right now are mostly taken up with trying to whittle down ALL OF ITand finishing a new book chapter.
And I've started training to crew on a 17C tall ship. It turns out there's a replica Dutch Pinnace stationed in a nearby harbour that offers classes on square-rigger sailing. As an academic, I research the history of the British navy, and as an SF writer, 17C sailing knowledge is sure to come in useful at some point. So I signed up.
I'll do a longer post once I've done some more training: we're still land-bound right now, practicing knots and using ropes to haul trucks around the parking lot. So far my observations are limited to: knots are fun and tall ships have lots of parts.