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I keep thinking I'm going to write full-length posts for some of the things I've been doing, but it's just not happening. So, then, here's the essence of it:

Where I've been )

Where I'm going )

and other random stuff )
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So, that'd be A, with the bonus that it was a short enough book that I finished at 12:30 and will have time to sleep.

I was incorrect in my description. It was a world and characters entirely different from the ones I knew, but the main character has the same name. The plot is... "related" is perhaps the best word. The theme is the same and the culminating sequence is remarkably similar given the differences leading up to it.

I strongly recommend Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. Thus, no spoilers provided at all. I'll be seeking out some of Scalzi's other work.

I also recommend the original, Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper. It was published in 1962, so it may be a little dated, although I think it holds up pretty well.
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I have just downloaded to my Kindle a newly published book by an author I've never read but who has been recommended to me many times, about a world and characters I grew up loving.

The Kindle and I are going to bed together now.

I predict that one of the following will occur: a) it will be the best thing ever and I will read it straight through and get almost no sleep tonight; b) it will be terribly horribly wrong and I will be sad I didn't wait a year to get a paperback I could throw across the room; or c) I will fall asleep in ten minutes and repeat this attempt tomorrow night.

Hoping for A. Betting on C.
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I did not get up early enough to watch the British royal wedding. Somehow I doubt that the newlyweds will have noticed my absence.

I remember getting up to watch when his parents got married. I don't really remember the wedding itself, just waiting with my mom and grandmother for it to start. I checked the dates on that, and it turns out that it's among my earliest memories. It's funny which things stick.

Americans are so proud of the system we have, of the history of the revolution and of the ability to get rid of anyone. And yet so many of us still are fascinated by monarchy and nobility. Equality, no one's better than anyone else, the triumph of mediocrity -- but maybe some day I will grow up and marry a prince. The Commonwealth realms ended up with a pretty good deal. They get to keep the symbolism of the monarchy, while mostly handling things on their own. We just borrow.
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The thing about Latin is that it doesn't change. If you're translating something and have to put it down, but don't get back to it for five years, it doesn't matter. It's just the same as you left it.

The other interesting puzzles change, sometimes at the blink of an eye.

Some days I miss having Latin homework to bury myself in.
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When I was a kid, one of the TV shows we used to watch occasionally was Black Sheep Squadron (originally aired as Baa Baa Black Sheep). All I really remembered was that it was about a squadron of WWII fighter pilots who were not exactly by the book. I have this hazy recollection that it may have run on Saturday nights, and we'd watch it while eating our tuna salad sandwiches before going off to gaming. Later on, that was This Old House and New Yankee Workshop, so I don't know that I've got the timing right. At any rate, I know I liked it, but that was about it.

I remembered it a year or so ago, and indeed Netflix had it (or most of it), and so I dropped it on my queue. It showed up at home recently, and I thought it would make a nice break from the science fiction I've been working my way through. So that's what I've been watching yesterday and tonight.

To my amusement and geeky delight, I just finished an episode with guest star George Takei. Even if I hadn't seen his name in the blurb or in the credits, he was absolutely unmistakable once he started speaking. Er, once he started speaking English, anyway.

I'm enjoying the show very much. I'm realizing, thinking about this and a number of the other movies and TV shows my parents enjoyed and raised me on, that it's no great wonder that I have difficulty respecting authority figures. My whole upbringing was full of these examples of irreverent screwballs and misfits who treated all rules as nothing more than optional guidelines.

Misc.

Apr. 5th, 2011 10:13 pm
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Sign near my office: College Hunks Hauling Junk. I find this to be an aesthetically appealing idea.

_____________________

When I win the lottery? Never mind all those other things. I want a tailor and a cobbler. I want clothing made for MY body, tops that fit my shoulders and bust and arms, pants that fit my waist and my hips. And shoes! I would like just once to own a pair of shoes that fit correctly that aren't sandals with adjustable straps.

_____________________

This year my grocery store has put the kosher-for-Passover Coke in the seasonal section, instead of on the shelf next to the regular stuff. It's well hidden, probably to keep people from picking it up casually. But I'm not casual about it. Coke made with sugar instead of corn syrup is so much better, and it bugs me that I can only get it for a couple of weeks a year, and only then with accompanying guilt because it's not meant for me. And Canada is a little too far for me to smuggle regularly.

_____________________

Melissa brought me a gift that she picked up when she was in China a few years ago. It's a penguin, of course. It was carved out of a single piece of wood. And it's a bowl hanging in a stand. Penguin pictures )
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I finished watching the animated Star Trek series earlier this week. I had stalled out after several really dreadful episodes in a row. It seems those were the worst of the batch, because the rest were better and some were quite good.

I'm also back to watching Doctor Who. I know better than to try for completing all of that, of course. I'm just watching what's available streaming on Netflix. Tonight I've gone from the third Doctor to the fourth. It's certainly an interesting way to sample the changes in society. I do hope that not all of the companions prove to be so... ordinary. I understand that it's a way to handle the necessary infodump, through the Doctor having to explain everything to the silly widgets. I just think it would be nice if at least one of them could hold an intelligent conversation.

There's a certain amount of humor inherent in buying a brand-new television and then (so far) using it only to watch TV programs older than I am.

Meanwhile, [livejournal.com profile] oidhche and [livejournal.com profile] palingyuan and I are still watching ST:TNG on Friday nights. It's slow going, because we don't get through more than four episodes a night, and we don't do it every week. But there's progress. Last week, the crew visited the colony that had sustained itself by cloning the same five people repeatedly and was suffering replicate fade. When Riker and Troi refused to provide genetic material, they were knocked out and it was taken from them.

This prompted a certain amount of discussion on our part. I agree wholeheartedly with the outrage at the violation and theft. I also agree with the point that even if they had that material, they would just suffer the same problem in another X generations. But I wouldn't have been so offended by the request in the first place. Oid sided with the characters. He said he didn't like the idea of lots of him running around out there somewhere, and was horrified by the possibility of someday coming face-to-face with himself. That doesn't really bother me. Clones of me wouldn't be me. They'd just be people who happened to look like me. Their knowledge and experience would make them very different people. I do feel that anyone who wanted to clone me exactly, without altering or combining the genetic material, would have to be out of their mind. There's too much wrong with me. But if someone wanted to risk it, then I think I'd let them. It would be fascinating to learn about those clones as adults, to see if we had anything in common. What is controlled by nature instead of nurture? I know they do those studies of separated twins. But is a clone the equivalent of a twin?

Then again, my favorite book is Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh. One of the major plotlines of the book is the attempt to replicate an individual after her death, not just physically but psychologically. The clone was raised with as many as possible of the same influences as the original, most memorably including having her foster-mother sent to a far-off space station when she was the exact age as when the original's mother died. The ways in which this succeeded, and failed, and which triggers were or were not necessary, is a large portion of the book and its sequel. So these ideas are not new to me.
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The 25th annual Medfest is Saturday, April 9, 2011. That's just two weeks from tomorrow! Are you coming? You should be!

You don't know what Medfest is? Why, it's the Medieval Festival put on by That Medieval Thing, a student organization at Drew University in Madison, NJ. Like a renaissance faire writ small, it features music, plays, vendors, food, archery, and a living chess game among its many diversion. There's no charge to get in. It's a great way to spend a spring day. So plan to join me there!
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It's quiet here tonight. John's away for a few days, so I've got the place to myself. And tomorrow's going to be even quieter, because Joe's going to be out of the office all day, and if the weather's as lousy as they're predicting, no one will bother calling for him.

I had a good visit with my parents on Sunday. We watched Avatar, which even my dad expressed interest in seeing. That's rare for anything created since 1975. (Remember, this is the man who hasn't seen a movie in the theater since Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1990.) It was fun. I've seen part of it before, but this was the first time I saw it all the way through. Then we went to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in the area.

Things are pretty good in general right now. Of course there are still the same couple of stressful things hanging over my head, but we're between crises and I have this chance to take a breather and appreciate the rest of life. And I do.
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The skirt I bought from the nice ladies at ALE came in today! I can haz pretty outfit!

see my pretties! )

weekend

Mar. 14th, 2011 12:50 am
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I'm glad I didn't let Keith talk me into going to Mythic Faire this weekend. It was so good to just stay home. I hadn't spent a weekend at home since... well, since long enough that I'm not sure when it was. Mostly, I caught up on sleep and I cleaned. The annual parental visitation, usually right after Christmas, had to be postponed this year because of snow. I had thought it was being postponed until next year, but apparently they'll be coming to see me next weekend. So cleaning became urgent. It was already necessary. When I'm not home much, I tend to dump things in the middle of my bedroom floor to deal with later. There wasn't much floor left.

before and after )

Yesterday I went to [livejournal.com profile] palingyuan's board game party. I managed to avoid having to actually play anything. I don't like playing most games. I generally prefer to just watch.

I pause here for those with dirty minds to get themselves under control.

Besides, more games than you'd think require a neutral party to act as judge. And I've always found that just about everything is improved by commentary from the balcony.

Later in the evening, [livejournal.com profile] oidhche convinced some of us to go out to the garage for pseudo-karaoke. It was a bit like old times, having a party devolve into a RENT singalong. It was really painful to test just how terrible my singing voice has become. Either I need more of these garage parties, or I need to give it up altogether.

I may also have inadvertently acquired a new creative writing project for my copious free time. We'll see what happens.

worms

Mar. 11th, 2011 09:40 am
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On the morning after a drenching rain like yesterday, it's sad to walk across the parking lot. I feel for the poor earthworms. They climbed out of the ground so they wouldn't drown, but their chances of survival haven't really improved.

weekend

Mar. 8th, 2011 09:46 pm
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On Saturday night, our GM said, "An ogre charges you from behind. However, he has all the subtlety of... a charging ogre." As laughter ensued, he ruefully added, "And I have all the creativity of a charging ogre." I think it's a useful standard of comparison, though. Certainly I've seen people demonstrating all the subtlety of a charging ogre. Myself included, more often than I'd like to remember.

The world in which our game is currently situated is very intriguing to me, but there's plainly something we just aren't picking up on that is keeping us from finding direction. Although, as I write this, I've just had an idea about that. In the meantime, we're following what sounds like the way Star Trek: Voyager has been explained to us. We want nothing more than to go home, but we have no idea where that is. Instead, we're flailing about in uncharted territory, encountering either the monster of the week or the peculiar, dangerous civilization of the week. I won't be surprised in the least if Q shows up next session. (This is not a request, Andrew.)

On Sunday I headed over to the Alternative Living Expo, a new event put on by the same team that does Wicked Faire. It took me several passes to find the place. I knew I was coming in the back way and that the road I needed was nameless and thus unmarked, but I didn't realize it would also be cleverly disguised. From the road I was on, it looked like the signs were direction to hiking trails, which made sense since I'd just passed a large park. It was I think my fourth pass back and forth when I decided that had to be the road I needed and drove up far enough to see that the signs were for stores and buildings in the giant parking lot complex I was looking for.

I was mostly just there to hang out with friends. I had volunteered to help out [livejournal.com profile] hughcasey with his photography booth as I had at Wicked, but business was slow and he didn't need any help until tear-down, when it was all hands on deck. Instead, like [livejournal.com profile] lynati_1, I helped [livejournal.com profile] elionwyr at the next table over where she was selling jewelry for her friend Alanya. For anyone keeping score, Alanya is the woman whose baby I made friends with at Arisia. With several extra people to cover, this meant that all three of us had time to wander and shop and so on, while not leaving the jewelry unattended.

I explained about my inability to dress myself, so Lynati took me shopping for things to wear with the new corset I'd bought two weeks earlier. At the first place, we looked at blouses, and while none of them spoke to me, I did get a better sense of what I'm looking for. I might be able to find that in ordinary stores. The second place had great skirts. I tried one on, and the woman assisting us sent me to look in the mirror while she helped Lynati. There, the business owner put a corseted jacket on me, just so I could see how the skirt looked with something in period instead of just over my street clothes. It fit beautifully, and as she was lacing me up, I kept thinking how comfortable it was. Yes, I felt comfortable being laced into a corset. It was gorgeous, lots of velvet and chiffon, and fully boned. And it could not have fit me better or been more my style if it had been made for me. I didn't even ask how much it cost. I also didn't take it off. Gentle reader, I bought that garment! I didn't even really get a good look at it until I took it off 4 or 5 hours later. It is the most beautiful piece of clothing I have ever owned. It is also the most expensive piece of clothing I have ever owned, even if the alterations to the sausage-casing bridesmaid dress are included. There exists a picture of me wearing it right over my jeans and T-shirt (Hugh snuck up on me when I wasn't paying attention). If I see a copy, I'll link. I also bought a skirt, which needed alterations to the waistband. They're doing that and shipping it to me for the same price as if I'd walked out with it that day. After it comes in, I'll find an excuse to wear the whole outfit and get a proper picture taken.

I am not allowed to buy any more period clothing for the foreseeable future, except for a blouse to go with the leather corset if I find one.

Now, I understand that today was International Women's Day. I support this. I've always wanted to be an international woman, but I don't have the budget for that kind of travel. And yes, I know what it really means, but still.
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I've been trying to do a proper writeup of last weekend at Wicked Faire, but between my laptop dying, and the need to actually do work while at work, I've gotten nowhere. So this is the Reader's Digest version:

I have a lovely new corset, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] palingyuan, who went shopping with [livejournal.com profile] oidhche and her co-worker Natalie while I was otherwise occupied. Now I need the rest of an outfit to wear it with.

Speaking of Oid and Paling, take a look at this picture: )

That's courtesy of Hugh Casey Photography, where there are many other beautiful pictures of the event. Hugh is a talented photographer, and he's trying to make a business out of doing portraits at events and other such things. I spent most of the weekend working for him, trying to keep things organized and hassle-free so he could focus on the art. I was really pleased to have the chance to be useful.

And I had so much fun! I talked to people from life-before-cons, people I've met more recently, people I was meeting for the first time. I spent the whole weekend talking. Then I had no voice at all for three days.

Pictures of me? Oh, no. No one takes pictures of the photographer's assistant. Mostly.
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Today is just going to be spectacular, I can tell.

My laptop became non-useful overnight. If I understand the messages it's giving me, it can't find the hard drive and thinks a cable might be loose. I would look at it and see if I could find something to re-attach, except I can't get one of the screws out to open the door over it.

I have next to no voice, even less than yesterday. I just emailed my boss to tell him that I'm not answering the phones. The timing is very bad.

And I have a checkup with the gynecologist today.
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1. February Tea of the Month: Night of the Iguana Chocolate Chai Tea.

2. Wristbands are evil.

3. Amusing spam juxtaposition: a) Cougar and Cub Dating - Date experienced women! b) 50+ Singles - Mature Dating.

Cougar and Cub, well, that's just wrong... mostly because they seem to think I'm a young studly male. As opposed to the spam on my other email address, which is where they think I'm a middle-aged male with performance difficulty. I know I act like "one of the guys" most of the time, but I'm all woman, really and truly.

But the mature dating. When I was in my late 20s, I was getting spam for 30+ singles. Which was OK, that was my target audience, I just wasn't old enough. Now I'm in my early 30s, and the spam is for 50+ singles. Liking older men is one thing, but 50 is a little past my UPPER limit.

...why do I keep talking about my spam? Because I get about 30ish spam emails per day, between the two main email addresses. Some weeks I don't get half that many real emails. And I'm a compulsive reader. So yes, I read the titles before I delete. Want me to stop commenting on my spam? Send me more real email. :-)
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Today's Dork Tower: My kind of geekery.

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