collacentaur: (Default)
I'm loving my Kindle. It was very convenient in Boston to have a small bookshelf with me in my shoulder-bag, at least until I ran out of charge.

So far, I've been reading mostly free books. Rather a lot of the contents of Project Gutenberg are available for the Kindle from Amazon, which is the most convenient way to get books. I've been indulging in a lot of late-nineteenth-century girls' novels. I'm beginning to notice the flaws, however. For one thing, there's a distressing lack of adult supervision. This is to be expected in the boarding-school stories, where part of the point is to sneak around the books. But I've read a few too many in a row where the mother dies, leaving the teenage daughter to keep house for her absent-minded father and raise her multitudinous younger siblings All By Herself -- which is to say, with the help of between two and six servants. All of this with nary a mention of the decades of therapy they're all going to need as adults. At lunchtime today, I found myself growling, "Well, doctor, if you'd just kept it in your pants from time to time, you wouldn't have nine motherless children!" Methinks it's time to change genre.

I intend to put myself through a virtual stack of literature with which all well-educated people are familiar, but I have somehow missed. I've got Poe and Doyle and a smattering of others queued up already. Of course, after last weekend, I think I need to catch up on my Norse mythology first. Foolishly, I stipulated that Andrew couldn't use any of the Cthulhu mythos in the game. It didn't occur to me to make him promise not to drive my character insane through other mythologies.
collacentaur: (Default)
I was born near the end of my generation. That was clear subjectively for a long time. I was incredulous the first time I heard a number put to it, however. 1980 was the start of the following generation? My brother was born in 1980. He's only three years younger than I am. How could we be of different generations? Since then, I've seen different definitions that put the next generation anywhere from 1978 to 1982.

One of the less arbitrary ways to divide generations that I've seen is the memory of a defining moment. That is, most or all of a generation will be able to answer in great detail the question "Where were you when you heard about Event X?" For my grandmother's generation, Event X was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For my mother's generation, it was when JFK was shot. For mine, it was the Challenger explosion.

I remember it vividly. We'd all been told about it in great detail, because a New Hampshire school teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was aboard. I don't know if it was being taught and watched in schools all over the country, or just in New England because she was local. I do know there were a lot of schoolchildren watching live. I guess the launch must have been scheduled during the first and second grade lunch period, because they were in the cafeteria with the big TV on. I was eight years old, in the third grade. I was taking a note down to the kindergarten wing. When I walked past the cafeteria, it was quiet. Too quiet. That's a phrase used so often it's cliche, but that was the first time I'd ever had the experience, and it's that uncanny hush that I think of when someone says it. I can't remember now whether I actually went in to find out what happened, which is what I think I did, or whether I just finished the errand and heard about it a little later.

I really can't imagine anyone my age forgetting it. For many of us, it was only our second contact with death (the first being when Mr. Hooper died on Sesame Street – don't laugh if you don't remember that, read about it). And it was the end of most of us having any thought of growing up to be an astronaut. It wasn't so much that we were scarred, as that the space program just stopped existing for the rest of our childhood. And yet, when I had this conversation with my family, I discovered that my brother didn't remember. He was five, a year too young to have been in that cafeteria watching. He remembers hearing stories, but he doesn't have any personal recollection. It turns out that somewhere around the beginning of 1980 really is the generation break based on that event.
collacentaur: (Default)
Sunday and Monday – In which Scheherazade makes an appearance. )

And so that was Arisia. The office was still standing after my being gone for three days, and my boss managed to not call me even once. Of course that meant it's been crazy catching up. Today, I'm coddling a cold. I don't know whether to blame it on concrud, which I've managed to escape in the past, or reading-to-preschooler crud, which catches me every time. Don't suppose it matters much.

Next up: Wicked Faire, February 18-20, mercifully close to home.
collacentaur: (Default)
Posts written in my head:

1. Review of World War Z by Max Brooks.
2. Thoughts before Arisia.

Posts written on computer:

I so want that telepathic transcriber.
collacentaur: (Default)
It's been a long day, for all that I didn't really do much.

A tale of snow )

Anyway, now I'm tucked up with a mug full of gourmet hot cocoa, the kind that has to be made with milk and not just water. I don't often have milk in the house. I should. I also want to know how other people make the whipped cream form that perfect shape. Mine always comes out funny-looking.
collacentaur: (Default)
It's eleven o'clock on a Saturday... and that's as close as it gets to a Billy Joel song, for which I think we're all grateful. I've kicked out my guests, not because I wouldn't love to have them stay longer, but because they're headed back to PA.

Two batches of boozy balls are done, one with John's fancy rum and one with the creme de menthe. More to come.

Now I'm keeping an eye on this storm. My parents still thought as of this evening that they were driving down in the morning. I hope that they'll think better of it before they leave. I think they've forgotten that 12-18 inches is a much bigger deal here than in MA. I would hate not to see them, but I really would rather they stay safe.

It's been a great day.
collacentaur: (Default)
This is the holy night, my religious holiday. But I don't believe that God takes attendance at the services. I don't belong to a church here, for several reasons. So, I make my observations on my own.

I went for a drive tonight. I listened to a recording of Lessons and Carols from Kings College in Cambridge, England. I turned down side streets I'd never explored, looking at the lights and following the luminaries.

As surely as if I were in a pew in a candle-lit church, my car became a sacred space. For wherever and whenever I hear the familiar words, "In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus..." I am hearing it the way I have for decades, the way my family has for generations. I hear the music and it sings to my soul. O come, let us adore him. Glory to the newborn king.

I pulled into the garage, and shut off the car, and sat for a moment in the silence before going inside. On this silent night, this holy night, everything stops for a time. I did, honestly, take a moment to pray for peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Also for my loved ones and their loved ones, for all our concerns and needs.

Tomorrow the world will start again, with things to do and lists and deadlines. But for tonight, none of that matters. I, at least, will sleep in peace.
collacentaur: (Default)
-- I can now say with confidence that I have seen all episodes of the original series of Star Trek. I'm going to watch the movies over again, too. And I've put the animated series on my Netflix queue. If I'm going to be completionist about this, I might as well go all the way, right?

-- Last night I was wrapping presents in front of Star Trek. Usually I do that to holiday movies. Most years it's Desk Set and Love Actually while wrapping, A Child's Christmas In Wales with breakfast Christmas morning, and then some combination of White Christmas, Fitzwilly, Donovan's Reef, and We're No Angels in the afternoon and through the rest of the season.

-- Tomorrow: clean entire apartment in preparation for two days of guests (friends Saturday, parents Sunday), check in on B&K's cat, and do whatever baking I'm doing this year. Speaking of which: Last year at Arisia, I somehow got trapped into an interminable conversation with an older woman who told me all about her multitudinous health problems, and then all about her rumballs. The rumball part at least had some interest for me. She told me she does different batches with variations on the ingredients. And this inspired me for this year. My mom used to do some with bourbon instead of rum sometimes. I'm thinking amaretto, creme de menthe... I'll have to see how inspired I get, and how they turn out. But, if they're good, I may be giving/sending sampler packs to anyone who's interested. Watch this space.
collacentaur: (Default)
I'm struggling with Christmas this year. I know I'm not alone in that. I've seen a lot of people saying the same thing. I'm getting everything done, slowly, but I feel like I'm just going through the motions. With everything I do, I'm asking myself why I'm doing it, and whether it really matters.

I sent out 36 Christmas cards this year. So far I've received two. I know the season's not over and I'm not the only one running behind. I never expect anywhere close to the number I send. But... two? I advertised my open house, but I don't know if anyone other than Amy and Craig will stop by. So I'm having trouble getting motivated on the cleaning and shopping and planning. I haven't baked any cookies at all. I'm not sure if I'm doing any of these things for others, or for myself. If no one else cares, and I'm not into it, why am I even bothering?

Christmas spirit has a way of slipping in past negativity, though. I know that one of my cards brightened someone's day. If I made a difference, no matter how small, then it's worthwhile. Amy's hairdresser asked her about the cookies. [ profile] daernhelm told me tonight that he's trying to figure out if he can manage to visit for a little while on Christmas. I know it's not really practical and it isn't likely to happen. I won't be disappointed. It's enough that he's thinking about it. That makes my whole Christmas, right there. All these little things add up to bring me the magic.

I still believe in the magic of Christmas. When I come downstairs on Christmas morning, I'm holding my breath to see if Santa filled my stocking. I believe I'm going to get kissed under the mistletoe. I hope someone unexpected will stop by to see me. It doesn't matter that I haven't hung a stocking or so much as seen mistletoe in close to ten years. The hope and anticipation doesn't go away. And every year, there's something special and surprising and beautiful at Christmastime.

So, this year, even if I'm struggling, I'm sticking with it. The magic's still there. I just have to hang in there and let it happen.
collacentaur: (Default)
As usual, I will be At Home* on Christmas Day. If you have nothing better to do, or if you're passing through the area on your way somewhere else, feel free to stop by any time from noon until whenever the party breaks up! There will be fun and frivolity. There may be seasonal music and/or movies. There will be presents. There might even be cookies. (However, I have no plans to make buckeyes this year. Sorry.)

If you expect to be there for dinner, please let me know so I know how many I'm planning for. Please also let me know if you are bringing someone I've never met. Otherwise, I don't need a response.

Whether you can come or not, I hope you have a day of merriment and joy.


*In the old-fashioned sense of at home and receiving visitors.
collacentaur: (Default)
The meme sheep are grazing all over Facebook this week.

I was relieved when the cartoons-for-child-abuse thing went away. I really prefer clearly identifiable profile pics/userpics/icons. I want to be able to tell at a glance who I'm looking at – because, let's face it, some people get more of my attention than others. I want people to be able to easily see when it's me. That's why I mostly use my face. I may not like my face much, but it is incontrovertibly me, and mine.

The messages-to-the-numbers thing is interesting. I'm treating the ones I see as a guessing game. I'm not playing myself, though. For the most part all my friends should know what I think of them. I did that whole series of essays, for one thing, and I don't really conceal much. If anyone doesn't know, it's probably because I don't have much to say anyway. I'm not submitting numbers in part for the same reason. I mean, how many times have I exchanged one of these with [ profile] daeron? I think we know where we stand. With others, I want to know very desperately, but only if it's what I want to hear. I'm not brave enough to take the chance, the likelihood, of being disappointed. I don't think my fragile self-esteem can take the hit. Oddly, it's not that I fear hearing something actually negative. I'm more worried about the lukewarm or indifferent. I don't want to know that I just don't matter.

Finally, several people linked to an article about depression. Amusingly enough, until I started thinking about this post last night, I hadn't noticed that I'm currently depressed. It's not like there were any ENORMOUS clues, like sleeping through most of Thanksgiving weekend and failing to contact a dear friend for a visit. Or obsessively playing logic games on the computer in preference over all other activities, including sleeping and eating. Yes, friends, the reason that I so often state the obvious is because the rest of the time I completely fail to see it. Anyway, what I wish I'd learned early, and that I could remember more often, is that one can be in a good mood and still be depressed at the same time. The physiological and behavioral symptoms are just as real and debilitating when the emotional ones are absent.

No need for anyone to be concerned. Both I and my doctor have been expecting and waiting for this to happen before adjusting the dosage. I was on a higher dose of the previous medication, but it didn't make sense to increase this one until we were sure that it wasn't sufficient. I already have an appointment at the beginning of January. And now that I've noticed, I should be able to manage it fine until then.


Dec. 2nd, 2010 11:34 pm
collacentaur: (Default)
Tonight's adventure in geekery: "The Trouble with Tribbles" which of COURSE I have seen before. I was a little surprised when I pulled it out to see that it was the only episode on the disc, when most have held three or four episodes. But, really, there's pretty much nothing that can follow that, right?

To my great delight, the answer was in the extras. For while that was the only episode of the original series on the disc, there also was an episode of the animated series, "More Tribbles, More Troubles" with commentary by David Gerrold, author of both episodes. And, the DS9 episode "Trials and Tribble-ations." This last, to bring the story back to where I started, was mentioned on Big Bang Theory and I thought they must be making it up, until [ profile] oidhche and [ profile] palingyuan set me straight.

This, my friends, is how the world is supposed to work. Extras don't have to be crap.
collacentaur: (Default)
It's good to spend time with family. We have the same sense of humor, the same love of word play, the same desire to learn and fact-check. We know each other's quotes. And, although we're trying to be social and make the most of our time, there's not the same pressure as when visiting other people. I've napped through most of the afternoon for each of the last four days. I know I could still use more sleep. I've eaten well, too. Turkey, of course, but also pizza on Friday, rolled beef tonight, that pecan pie I've been looking for since August.

I'm reading an anthology of steampunk stories, with the title of Steampunk, so my dad asked me what steampunk was. Good question. I'm still working that out myself. I did the best I could to explain.

I went to church with my mom on Sunday. That's like visiting extended family. I grew up in the church, in the choir. I came in, and was greeted with hugs and brought right in. They rearranged seats so there was room for me in the loft instead of the congregation. I joined the rehearsal, and they would have been perfectly happy for me to sing with them on the anthem. If it hadn't been so many years since I was singing regularly, I would have; it was one I remember. But without practice, I've lost much of my range and don't trust the rest.

My parents have been cleaning out a little bit at a time, including their books. I'm coming back with a great number. In addition to all my dad's gaming stuff, I've got a bag of SF and a bag of other books. Some of them are references and classics, at least. I'm going to have to do another purge on my own books before long, because I think this is going to put me out of shelf space again.

It's been a good, long visit, but I'm looking forward to going home again. I want my queen bed instead of a twin daybed with a foam mattress. I want to catch up on TV shows I like, instead of an endless stream of football games. (Sorry, Eagles fans, it's my fault they lost. I was paying attention to that game.) I want my lap desk so I can use a mouse instead of this blasted touchpad. I was very happy to come home -- but now I want to go home.
collacentaur: (Default)
I can't find the right superlative for my weekend. None of them seem good enough. It was so much better than what I expected.

A brief recap: Last year's Philcon was my first con. I don't think I'd ever even been in a hotel that big, let alone stayed there by myself. I knew exactly one person who was there, [ profile] clarkesworld, who I hadn't seen in years. The only other person who talked to me all weekend was one of the panelists on the first panel I went to, who figured out I was a shy scared first-timer and chatted with me then and again later that weekend. The only times I saw people within twenty years of my age were after 10 PM.

After four more cons and two Jeff Mach events, I hope the wide-eyed newbie look had worn off. I'm still terminally shy (just because it hasn't killed me yet, doesn't mean it won't) and terrified of saying the wrong thing, but determined to take the chances anyway. And, as I turned into the Crowne Plaza hotel on Friday evening, I felt like I was coming home. What I saw and did )

Next up: Arisia, in Boston, mid-January.
collacentaur: (Default)
Today's time-waster: Organ Trail.

Oregon Trail meets Zombie Apocalypse.
collacentaur: (Default)
Philcon is only a few days away, and the schedule is not yet posted to the website. This does not surprise me in the least. Last year I think it went up all of 24 hours before the con started. Of course, last year I didn't know that other cons get everything finished with a little more time to spare, so I was more patient. I find that loading the site every 45 minutes or so is not producing results. Sad day.

The panelists did get their panel assignments yesterday, and I've been hunting down posts to find out what I can. First the panelists I actually know. Then friends of friends, friends of Philcon... I wonder whether it would be possible to reconstitute the whole schedule given sufficient webcrawling? Probably not, but it might be interesting to try. However, that pesky gainful employment thing will keep me from finding out.

At least I'm finding a taste of what's in store. No, maybe, probably, none of those... well, THAT'S got my name written all over it... Ooh, I'll go to anything that lets me listen to her talk.

But the burning question in my mind will probably not be answered until the full schedule goes up: Is there a theremin performance, and if so, when and where? Because I wish to be as far away as possible. I have learned that I loathe the theremin with a deep and abiding passion. It's not just because it can be played very badly. The people who play at cons are generally very talented. It turns out that even a well-played theremin still causes a visceral reaction in me which is not quite illness and not quite nails-on-the-chalkboard, but has elements of both. I think it's got to be something subsonic, because I have this problem only with live performances and not with recordings.


Nov. 15th, 2010 04:57 pm
collacentaur: (Default)
On Friday, [ profile] oidhche and [ profile] palingyuan came to my place for Big Bang Theory. I started recording at the beginning of the season, figuring we'd catch up before long, and now we have. [ profile] oidhche was disappointed: not only there is no new content, but he won't get any more for at least three weeks. This weekend [ profile] palingyuan and I will be at Philcon, and the following weekend I'll be in Massachusetts. We'll need to pick a new TV series for Friday nights. Oid thinks he'll just catch up to me with Star Trek and we can go from there.

Speaking of which, on Sunday I finished out the first season. Total score: of 28 episodes, I had definitely seen 8 before. Ten I'm fairly certain I could not have seen previously, or I would have remembered them. And the remaining ten I might or might not have seen before. Since I had trouble remembering some of them by the end of the disc they were on, it's entirely possible I could have seen them 20 years ago and not remembered. Anyway, that's roughly a third each way, which is not bad.

Meanwhile, on Saturday I finished reading The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. While it's technically a romance novel, and follows some of the conventions of that genre, I don't think the romance gets in the way of the story. Certainly it's not the sort which sticks rigidly to a formula and has the sex scenes at prescribed page counts. It's also a mystery/adventure, and a very good one for a cross-genre work. And oh yes, it is also the steampunk novel I've been hoping to find all year. It has characters and plot and world-building that immersed me sufficiently that the clockwork and the airships and all actually made sense. Even the giant sea monsters made sense. And now I want MORE. Since there's no more from that world to be had yet (I read the short story the weekend before), I care enough to try some of the other stuff that's out there. And THAT is what I've been trying to find, the answer to why-should-I-care/what's-in-it-for-me.

So, now I've (finally) started reading Girl Genius.


Nov. 12th, 2010 04:46 pm
collacentaur: (Default)
I received the title to my car in today's mail. This means that now my most valuable possession is something understandable by normal people. By the time I paid off my last car, its book value was slightly less than the book value of my collection of Magic: the Gathering cards.


I was leaving the bank, and overheard someone use one of the few words of Arabic I remember. I can still count to five and say yes, no, thank you, and I don't want any. I used to be able to buy bottled water and ask directions to the hotel or the bathroom, but those phrases have escaped me.

My grasp of Italian is similarly limited, but different. I remember all the phrases that my mother remembers from her trip to Italy in high school. Sometimes I wish I remembered less of my mother's childhood, so I could use those parts of my brain for my own life! I also know quite a few off-color phrases, and just about everything to do with food. This part of New Jersey is so very Italian that you've got to be able to understand some.


From the cover of the new People magazine: Kim Kardashian at 30: "I thought I'd be married by now." I haven't read the article, but my reaction to the headline was "Welcome to the club, honey. Time to go home and rethink your life." I don't blame her for whining about it, though. God knows, I still melodramatically lament my single state whenever I have an audience, and I did rethink my life.


Typing a letter to attorney Phil Kahn, one week before Philcon, is making me slightly nuts.


collacentaur: (Default)

May 2011

89 10 1112 1314


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:04 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios