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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 07:10
via at September 16, 2014 at 02:00AM:

Morticia A. Addams is the fictional matriarch of “The Addams Family”, created by cartoonist Charles Addams and based on his first wife Barbara (who became the second wife of John Hersey, a colleague at The New Yorker and the author of Hiroshima). Morticia is the wife of Gomez Addams and mother of Wednesday Addams, Pugsley Addams and Pubert Addams. The character originated in the Charles Addams cartoons for The New Yorker magazine in the 1930s. Charles Addams gave her the name “Morticia”, implying “death” (derived from “mors mortis”, the Latin word for “death”, and perhaps also from “mortician”). Morticia’s maiden name is “Frump” and she has an older sister named Ophelia (also played by Carolyn Jones). Morticia is described as a vamp; she is slim, with extremely pale skin and long flowing straight black hair. She commonly wears black gothic dresses to match her hair, tightly form fitting, with a hobble skirt. 

"The real head of the family … low-voiced, incisive and subtle, smiles are rare…ruined beauty … contemptuous and original and with fierce family loyalty … even in disposition, muted, witty, sometimes deadly … given to low-keyed rhapsodies about her garden of deadly nightshade, henbane and dwarf’s hair …" — Charles Addams
Monday, September 15th, 2014 22:28
1. Well, I can now officially drive a forklift, woohoo! (Not sure I really want to, but at least now I can.) And the coworker I got a ride from was twenty minutes late picking me up, but we still got there on time (a bit early, in fact).

2. It's nice to have ice cream on a hot night. :D

3. We finished our Better Off Ted rewatch, which is also a sad thing because it means no more Better Off Ted (why only two seasons!?), but it really was so much fun watching it again.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 07:06
On the upside, I am now once again up to date on my vaccinations, getting vaccinated for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio yesterday.

On the downside, this was the second night in a row I barely slept. Dann arm was hurting too much.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 00:47
UP TO DATE ON THE INTRODUCTIONS MEME. Please go see if you'd like to get to know any of my awesome friends better, and if YOU, TOO would like an introduction but have thus far been too shy/busy/forgetful/whatever to request one, by all means go ahead and ask (though be aware that it may well take another fortnight for me to get around to catching up again...).

It may surprise those of you who have heard me complain to know that I do actually genuinely enjoy saying nice things about people, and it is currently very good for me to do so! So. (I am thinking I might run a more traditional love meme in November, also, because November is always hard and it's been a while since we've had one around here.) Thank you all for being wonderful.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 23:19
post-tags: instagram, crosspost And then there were two. #bikesf #everydayonabike #multimodal
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 00:04
(Not sure what's going on here? The answer is Ancillary Justice.)

We're told that Radchaai does not bother with gendered pronouns. It seems to me that the default pronoun used means gender-irrelevant (rather than gender-unknown or gender-specific, which seem to me to be a useful way of considering pronouns of gendered beings). We're told that Strigan's society uses gender-known pronouns even though it professes to consider gender irrelevant.

And yet: the Radchaai frequently refer to ships as "it" (I note that the standard English pronoun used to refer to vessels is the same as the way in which the Radchaai default pronoun is rendered). It's clearly not as simple as in/animate - ships have emotions, ships have personality and identity, ships are sentient, ships have ancillaries. Except that this is done in a literally dehumanising way - ships are explicitly not Radchaai, not citizens, and therefore not considered human; characters who are uninterested in or unsympathetic toward ships are far more likely to refer to them as "it", whereas characters who like ships seem to mostly not pronoun them; non-Radchaai humans are generally called the standard pronoun for Radchaai, despite being considered by at least some in the society to have sub-human status - and so I am left picking away at what distinction it is the Radch is making here...

Thoughts very much appreciated!
Monday, September 15th, 2014 22:39
post-tags: instagram, crosspost A place for everything and everything in its place: the bike priority area on BART cars. Hint hint BOS.
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 08:34
Originally posted at

I see Andrew and I had our fifteen anniversary (as a couple, not as spouses) in August and I think managed not to remark on it to each other at all. Happy times. Not very surprising when that was just a week out from his flu recovery. We’ve always largely ignored that anniversary, although it would make sense to mark it since it’s the only event of any significance in our household that occurs in the second half of the year. Instead, we pack it all into the first half with both children born in January, Andrew in February and me in April, followed by our wedding anniversary in May. Andrew and I usually take each other to a joint birthday lunch in March or April, and then we have a family lunch at the pub where our wedding reception was each May and then we’re done partying for the year, evidently.

We had a couple of very quiet weekends after we got back which was good from the point of view of recovering but had the usual effect on me: once I haven’t done anything socially for a few weeks I wonder if I have any friends. We went to the aquarium with V’s friend A (everyone I talk about has the initial A) and A’s family; they commented that it was the fastest aquarium trip they’d ever done, with V hauling A from exhibit to exhibit. “Look here! Look here!”

I was really cranky about it though, because we decided to buy an annual pass — like most tourist things in Sydney, you only need to go three times for an annual pass to be cheaper, and their passes also include Wildlife World — and their system couldn’t be more contemptuous. We bought the pass online and showed up at the aquarium to find that the queue to have our photo taken and cards printed was over half an hour long and for that matter really poorly managed, as it was also being fed through a side door by people who’d been sold passes at the ticket counter as well as the main entrance by people who’d bought them online. And the queue was in a gift shop, so that’s delightful to wait in with children, especially V who is very tactile and would love to shake everything, stroke everything else, and swing off the remainder.

Not recommended. I had to go through half the aquarium before I calmed down, and that was only in the underwater tunnels beneath the sharks which mostly made me wish I was using SCUBA. Partly because a dive site might have 12 people, but the underwater tunnels were packed with 100 or more, but mostly because being underwater is really calming. It was easy at that moment to forget all the difficult aspects of diving: the early mornings, the seasickness, the wetsuits.

I don’t think I’m done with diving forever.

The following weekend was V’s school’s BBQ for the incoming kindergarten group, which was sweet. The kindergarten classes have just hatched chickens in incubators, so while I am dubious about this practice (I am not sure the creation of fifteen chickens, presumably to be short-lived and perhaps not even used for food, is justified by the educational outcomes) the whole day was chicken themed with chicken crafts and so on. V was very excited and left his craft chicken with the real chicks so they could admire it.

We had a lot of trouble and worry trying to organise someone to look after V when I was in labour with A. (Scheduled births made a lot more sense to me with my second pregnancy, especially when A was three weeks overdue, stretching the time for which we needed 24/7 on-call carers for V to six entire continuous weeks over Christmas and New Year.) So in late August I remembered to reach out to our friends Ben and Anna, whose second child was due, to offer at least “call us if you’re stuck”. Sure enough at the end of August Anna went into labour on an evening when their promised child carer had taken off to the snow at short notice (!!!). Andrew got to try and be the big damn hero in this case, driving across Sydney in the middle of the night, because it makes more sense for me to stay here with the baby than for him to. But in the event he only arrived at the hospital as Ben and Anna’s baby was being born. It would have been very handy for them if it had taken longer or there’d been an emergency though, so not wasted effort.

Last weekend V was to watch Star Wars for the first time with his friend A, but as Andrew predicted, the early sequence with characters walking the desert for twenty minutes completely lost them. They watched The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course instead, which was a cultural experience for us all. I was only familiar with the Steve Irwin phenomenon by cultural osmosis while he was alive. The movie is a good type of bad movie, with Irwin doing his own stunts (mostly falling out of dinghies constantly), unsubtle editing together of crocodile scenes and Irwin scenes to make it look like they might be in the same vicinity, and his educational pieces to camera set incongruously in a plot featuring fish-out-of-water CIA agents, Magda Szubanski as a crocodile-shooting station owner and David Wenham as a fisheries employee.

Finally, yesterday we went to visit Ben and Anna, and their child G and to meet new baby H. This was a nicely symmetrical visit, as we took A out to them in her first few weeks as well. H is still the dusky rose colour that newborn A was, and very sleepy. I held him, but didn’t miss having a newborn baby. Without hormones, I think they aren’t a lot of fun before they smile, although they are sweet in their own way. V had a very good time playing with G for hours, from drawing in chalk, staging a concert, and making sandcastles on the beach.

Writing this is half giving the lie to a recent complaint of mine, which is that I don’t really have a social circle! We are lucky to have a reasonable amount of social contact, although some of it would drop off if V had his own friends and could visit them under his own steam. I think two things are going on: the first is that we don’t have a circle, as in, people who know each other. I think that’s probably tough to overcome now unless we primarily make friends in our workplaces. Which brings me to the other problem, which is me working from home. While Andrew could socialise mostly with friends from work, although it would mean his circle would be comprised almost entirely of men and would talk about nothing but Google projects (this is a common condition among people who work there), the entire concept is moot for me. I’m planning to try co-working next year when V is in school and I’m working more days, and seeing how I feel then about the need to have more adults in my life. In the meantime, I will try and value all of my one on one friendships at their full value!

Monday, September 15th, 2014 18:22
T-minus 8 days until the parental units arrive. T-minus 9 until my great aunt comes to visit for a couple of days. T-minus 10 until my aunt and uncle come for a weekend. T-minus 10 and a half until Becky comes visit.

In anticipation, I did something resembling grown-up grocery shopping. Ish. I am also getting ready for the Holidays - I have 3lbs (~1.5kg) of apples, 3 wait no 4 different kinds of honey, memorial candles, shabbat candles, and ... some other stuff probably. Milk and eggs and the like. I still need boring things like cheese and sliced meat and yogurts and bread, but that can wait until the weekend.

Last week I ordered a catered turkey dinner for the first night. That includes turkey, gravy, chicken soup, matzo balls, carrot tsimmes (stewed carrots), kasha varnishkes (buckwheat groats with bowtie noodles), potato kugel, noodle kugel, and apple noodle kugel. Sadly it does not include the challah or dessert. That is also to be picked up next week. And some non-sweet options for my great aunt who is diabetic.

Yesterday I got 3 loads of laundry done. Many many more to go. The weather (cool and gray) is forcing the issue in some regards, as I never really finished the end of winter/spring stuff like long sleeves and sweatshirts.

This morning fleece was a valid life choice. I think it was ~47F/8C when I left the house. It allegedly got warmer, but now it's 63F/17C and dropping. I like sleeping in this weather. I don't like waking up wondering if the tip of my nose has frozen solid.

Work continues apace. Finally wrapped up some of my endless slog, and working on new slog. And on an "experiment" about low level touch DNA samples -- things like doorknobs and smudged fingerprints on cash drawers. I already have about 30 samples worth of data, but my supervisor wants 100 *cases* worth of data. The kits we need to use for the testing expire on the 27th. Hahahaha that's not going to happen. 100 samples, sure. Not 100 cases.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 23:01
1. I ate raspberries I picked in my mother's garden yesterday.

2. I have worked through another level and a bit of Psychonauts on my ludicrous completionist replay. I appear to have little-to-no interest in the storyline this time around; apparently my patience for the misogyny and sizeism and even cissexism is 0 while I'm still interested in the mechanic. Also, I am playing through MUCH faster than last time.

3. Two meals, lots of meds. (Dinnerfood was leftovers from last week; it meant it was easy and I didn't have to wash up, just put things in the dishwasher.)

4. I continue my Ancillary Justice reread, and am probably going to put off reading the first chapter of Ancillary Sword until I have finished. (And I wept all over it on the tube, as ever - the scene at the beginning on Nilt with the kid whose family member was injured! The way the kid interacts with their mum! I have FEELS EVERYWHERE, every time.)

5. To my complete astonishment, I appear to have managed to tentatively set up a collaboration with someone I didn't previously know who is acquainted with my supervisor, on the merits of explaining my own research and asking tolerably intelligent questions about hers. I am flummoxed, but also greatly relieved (I feel like having set up a collaboration before I've even actually displayed my poster is fairly good going). (I really don't know how to feel about this conference - neither of my supervisors is present, but my head-of-group's wife & my mentor is one of the coorganisers, and two of the other organisers lectured and supervised me during undergrad, and there's an awful lot of people I know from Cambridge hanging around. Also an awful lot I don't, but... still weird.)

6. Wheelchair. I'd otherwise have been in even more pain by the end of the day than as it happens I was.

7. Continued progress on the introductions meme. I will post announcing properly when I'm actually up-to-date, but I've written a small pile more introductions!

8. D has arranged for me to own metallic teal eyeliner. I'm pretty chuffed about this. I mean, I'll have to learn to use it, but if I also acquire some gold + silver I will actually be able to do drag make-up eyes at least a bit?

9. Going via Green Park station (at least when I'm not transferring between Picadilly and Victoria lines) always makes me smile: the station art is lovely, as I believe I mentioned the last time I went to a conference in the area. (It's mostly built out of a limestone full of shells, in the way that means the outside face of the block has depressions for the hollows of the shells; one line of blocks is, instead of limestone, concrete with similar patterns made at like 100x scale.)

10. Because this conference is in Burlington House and hideously inaccessible (... more later maybe; not a good thing to dwell on now), I ended up waiting around a bit for help leaving. This meant that I got to peek behind the curtains at the bottom of the stairs that cover the first geological map in the world.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 21:35
post-tags: instagram, crosspost SILVANAS!!! (Filipino meringue and frozen buttercream cookie sandwiches). Got ube + pandan, natch.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 11:41
There is a thing that sometimes people do, to be funny or for emphasis or whatever. It is the thing where they substitute the letter L for R in words, such as "VICTOLY" for "VICTORY".

There are many possible places and reasons to have picked up doing this, including the ever-popular "somebody I know was doing it and it seemed like fun".

The roots of this substitution is making fun of people with no distinction between R/L sounds, which is common when people whose first language is Chinese learn to speak English.

Which is why I cringe every time I encounter it, and would prefer that people not do this around me.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 11:30
The whole back-to-work-after-vacation thing is going smoothly, except I tried to pull up a cruise product using the product code for a system that I only ever used in reservations, and that we stopped using two or three years before I moved to data entry (so that's almost 7 or 8 years ago). Whaaat?

Convention brain is as bad as fest brain, apparently.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 09:54
America's Christian Conservatives ponder a "Babylonian Exile"

Okay, guys, I get it. You really, really wish you were victims. You also have a massive philosemitic hard-on for Judaism and Israel, as long as you don't have to confront the actual politics of American Jewry, or the social politics of even conservative non-Haredi Israelis. But do you understand the concept of what the Babylonian exile actually was?

Do you get that "you are going to voluntarily decide to be cranky and not participate in secular society" is not the same thing as "you are removed from your home in chains and marched to another country while your capital city is burnt to charcoal and your country is turned into a client state"? Do you understand how deeply offensive it is to draw that parallel, when "voluntary" is at the core of the parallel you are drawing?

Do you understand that, in 2014, the world actually is chock-full of stateless people who have been forcibly removed from their homes? Do you understand that many of those stateless people are Christians who are failing to get refugee status in the United States? Do you understand that there are stateless people who have been deported from their homes because of their religion? Do you understand that there are wars going on in the world right now in which people's cities are bombed to rubble and the population is made homeless? Do you understand how many people there are who could make a reasonable Babylonian Exile analogy to their current situation?

Do you understand that you are not persecuted? Do you understand that you are revolting?
Monday, September 15th, 2014 01:51
Yay family!

This weekend has involved some pretty wacky sleep schedule things, although I have also managed to catch up somewhat on dishes, take out some trash, do some laundry, get a little bit of vacuuming in, and modify a skirt which really required a slit up the side in order to be wearable.

There was also the S-themed family dinner, featuring Guide Dog Aunt, Woodworking Uncle (who has located a distinguishing hobby in addition to the fishing, skiing, and tangoing), Tay, Tay's Young Man, and a cameo appearance of Infamous Cousin. The poodle and Sharkface also attended, with the guinea pig wheeping from his enclosure. The menu wound up including, among other things: salmon, strawberries, sourdough, soft cheese and savory snacks, squash, salad, soba salad, and satsuma marmalade. (No soft meat crowns.)

Since dinner involved cooked salmon, Infamous Cousin scrammed before it went in the oven, but not before happily bonding a bit with Tay's Young Man about delicious sushi.

Tay has been back in town about a week, and is happy to have hit at least the end of tomato season, though sad to have missed the local avocados.

I realized that Tay has not yet met JD and Teshi! At some point we must fix this. I also mentioned that a few of my #cupcake crowd from work are musical and it would be nifty if they happened to get along with the musical members of my family. Purple is a synthesizer kind of guy. phone does computer stuff and plays live bass. At this, Tay's Young Man did a bit of a double-take. Apparently there are not that many people in the world who go by phone. They are vaguely acquainted. And I realized that I sort of register #cupcake as family now.

Guide Dog Aunt let in Sharkface, who was very happy to see everyone. Since everyone did not make much of her (as we'd been warned) she kenneled up and settled down quickly. After a while she came out and flopped on her mat next to the couch.

The evening's entertainment, after dinner, was baking crackers. Guide Dog Aunt had mixed up the dough before dinner, but hadn't prepared all of them by dinner time. So there were shenanigans involving the pasta-roller, which is also useful for crackers. I sang the roller song, which surprised Tay. (There are a lot of little songs from our childhood, and shared context makes them hilarious. Perhaps I will get around to recording some of them at some point, just for history's sake.)

Sharkface decided that my hand was delicious and licked me and my cardigan sleeve all over. Sharkface is a guide dog puppy. This means that her come-when-called is a little different from most dogs. Most dogs will stand in front of you and look at you expectantly. A guide dog needs to do something else to make sure that their person will realize they're present and waiting. A guide dog sticks their head between their person's knees, generally. One of the things that Sharkface will grow out of is the tendency to wallop people in the crotch a little bit. This head-knee training also sometimes results in a phenomenon that Guide Dog Aunt calls "up-skirt nosing". That was about when Sharkface decided that the backs of my knees were delicious. Since she was not sharktoothing me, this was fine, if tickly.

Next time there will be another lettered theme, which should be delightfully wacky. At some point I'm to hang out with Tay and Tay's Young Man up in the city. He'll let me know when they're playing the tavern, also.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 01:11
I am listening to the audiobook of Dorothy L Sayers' Strong Poison and a couple chapters in, and I have a bit of an irritation. (I mean mostly it's lovely and I can very much see the influences on Bujold, oh yes; BUT.)

Spoilerssss )
Monday, September 15th, 2014 04:04
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
Sunday, September 14th, 2014 23:26

If there’s anyone on Tumblr who hasn’t checked XKit out?  Check XKit out.  You may check it out and decide it’s not for you and that’s fine!  On the other hand, I encourage my friends to at least look to see whether or not it has something they want.

XKit is your one-stop shop for browser extensions on Tumblr.  It has over 80 different features you can choose that can improve your Tumblr experience in every way possible, however you want it.  You can also sync your XKit preferences between computers, and to your iOS device.

Every time Tumblr annoys me, XKit has a fix for that.  I love it.  So I’m telling my friends.

Sunday, September 14th, 2014 21:58
1. I went in to work this morning even though it was my day off to try and catch up on some stuff. While I still feel super behind, I did get a lot done, plus now I can take some short days later in the week to make up for the time today. :D

2. Speaking of work, tomorrow morning me and four other guys from my store are going to the main store for a forklift license class. Fun! Right now my manager is the only one at the store who actually has a forklift license, though two of the other guys (who are going to the class with me) do have some experience driving one.

3. It's still really, really hot and muggy, but at least it's cooled down a little tonight. I hope I won't have too hard a time getting to sleep.
Sunday, September 14th, 2014 20:50
To be honest, I'm a little vague about how to classify this dinner I made. I know that it's diabetic-friendly, primal (and easily paleo with a single mod), vegan with two simple mods, and damn tasty. But is it soup? Casserole? A baked something or other? Whatever. It's food and very good.

Despite the confusion above, this dish is an awesome one-pot meal awash with veggies that's easy to scale up for a crowd.

I know this recipe is vague, but it's a near to my process as I can get. Questions are always welcome.

This soupy, delicious mixture will serve 6 people easily. (The Farmer and I ate a big bowl each, and the rest is filling up my 7 cup Pyrex container.)

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 medium (5-6 inch) zucchini
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cups of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 1.5 cups of whatever broth or stock you have handy. (I used crawfish stock.)
  • 4 ounces of hatch chilies
  • 1 pepper of your choosing (hot or mild, your call)
  • 1 large, bone-in chicken breast
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
  • cumin (I used 2 teaspoons.)
  • garlic to taste (I used 3 Tablespoons.)
  • salt to taste
  • avocado for table-side garnish
  • sour cream for table-side garnish

  • optional 8 ounces of whatever mushrooms you are feeling good about. (White button mushrooms work just fine.)

    1. Preheat your oven to 350˚ and roast that chicken breast! It should take about 25 minutes if your chicken is properly defrosted. (If you are making a vegetarian version, skip this step. Obviously.)

    2. Haul out your food process or box grater. (If it's a box grater, I'm sorry.) Shred the onion, carrots, and zucchini. Add them to the pot as you go.

    3. Turn the stove on to medium-high heat.

    4. Add the salsa, chopped tomatoes, hatch chilies, as much garlic as you want, and the stock/broth. (If you're doing mushrooms, now is the time to add them, too.)

    5. Let your pot of amazing veggies simmer and come together. Some of the veggies will put off water, some will absorb. But I promise the amount of liquid will be okay. Stir this occasionally. Turn the heat down after it's bubbled for a few minutes.

    6. When the chicken hits 165˚ at the thickest point, set it aside to cool for 5 minutes.

    7. Add salt and as much cumin as you like to the pot.

    8. Chop your hot or sweet pepper and toss it in.

    9. Chop your chicken and add it to the pot. (Obviously a vegetarian version would omit this step.)

    10. Stir everything again. If you think it's looking too soupy, let it cook without the lid for a bit so the liquid cooks off. If you like the amount of liquid, put the lid back on and let it all simmer together for a hot minute.

    11. When you like the texture and amount of liquid, turn off the heat. Stir in the cup of cheese, which will melt into amazingness. Serve hot and fresh with chunks or slices of avocado and sour cream available table-side.

    To make this vegetarian: Omit the chicken. Add mushrooms or beans...but beans are not Paleo and rather carb-y and starchy if carbs or starches are something you are concerned about

    To make this vegan: Omit the chicken, cheese, and sour cream. Add mushrooms, beans, and probably some nooch. Something creamy table-side might be nice, too.

    To make this paleo: Omit the cheese and sour cream. Add mushrooms because more veggies = more awesome.

    To make this go further: Serve it over rice. When I made it in Ohio, I made rice with turmeric and tomatoes that went over very well.

    Notes on substitutions: There are a lot of places to make substitutions. Ground beef for chicken? Sure. Yellow squash for zucchini? Sure. Adding yellow squash anyway? Why not! I would not recommend switching the cheddar for anything else, and I would not recommend cutting back on the tomatoes. And yes, you can add canned enchilada sauce. I didn't because the only kinds I could find had MSG (which is a migraine trigger for the Farmer) and were full of random fake ingredients I couldn't pronounce. But yes, those can also be added to this. That will probably increase the heat. Plan accordingly!
  • Sunday, September 14th, 2014 17:37
    Now that I have health benefits I can finally afford dental work (since I've gone without even a checkup in a shamefully long time) and I've sent in an appointment request to the closest dentist. Having done that, it's like I finally have permission to really look at my teeth; which is how I noticed that the bottom edge of my eyeteeth is uneven with little chips and notches. I'm, um, assuming a dentist can fix that? And the tooth edges inside my mouth that are so sharp I routinely cut my tongue on them?

    Anyway, I'm really feeling this post right now, about Neville being seriously interested in Hermione's parents' professions and then impressed with the badassery of Muggles, because we go to dentists.

    So this weekend I had a fit of FEELS and wrote some Tumblr posts on Bucky Barnes and PTSD:

    Bucky and how PTSD therapists are different than more general therapists
    My theory of how to get a post-Winter Soldier Bucky who does not have PTSD
    Bucky and therapy animals!
    Bucky and therapy robots

    One of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about is how PTSD and trauma vary so much for everyone in large part because of how we cope, because you can make so many different choices. You can prioritize building and maintaining social networks--or cling to some internal sense of self in defiance of current reality and group consensus--or admit to being broken and discouraged--or push yourself to achieve perfection. And we don't know what price we'll pay when we choose those things, partly because our culture does not overmuch work to teach its citizens that there are prices, much less what they are, and when it does by accident half the time it's misinformation. When I chose perfection, I didn't know it would hinder me from friendships; but when I chose to stay true to myself, I didn't know that would lead me into profound communion with others.

    But that's a body of knowledge I would term wisdom, the kind of thing elders need to teach children and youths; and I think our society has a deficit of relationships where that kind of knowledge transmission can take place.
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 18:38
    At family reunions when certain relatives come up to me and say, "oh, oh you look so goooood" all I hear is "oh, oh we're so happy and shocked that you're not fat anymore."

    and it pisses me right off.

    But on the same token, the first thing I exclaimed to kommando when I saw her was "omg you have such big boobs". Which I then quickly followed up with, "and they were great before too!" (which they were, and obviously she knows I don't really care about her chest size) I guess it's not the same exact thing, and her boobs are (to me) a relatively new thing - whereas I have been 60-80lbs lighter for years, and still they fucking have this weird pity-tone and eyeballing of my body when they see me. GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 22:52
    post-tags: instagram, crosspost Making the pilgrimage for some real pizza.
    Monday, September 15th, 2014 08:42
    Originally posted at

    Andrew had, as near as we could tell, pretty typical flu-like symptoms: fever, pain, respiratory symptoms. This makes this the third time in seven years he’s been sick like that, two times in years when he had a flu vaccine. (The first time of the three was the reason he started having flu vaccines.) So not the best of of luck. In a way, however, he felt comforted that it explained aspects of his snowboarding he’d been unhappy about earlier in the week. Had something fundamental about his body changed since 2008? No. He was getting ill.

    He’d been a bit of a hero over the previous days, bringing V to his ski lessons and so on, but on the Friday we needed to pack for the trip home, so I lost five minutes of my lesson dropping off V myself. I told my instructor A I’d been planning to go up Merritts but couldn’t now that Andrew was ill, and she agreed that I could be up there at this point, it simply was too long on a chairlift for our one hour lesson for her to take me. So we did one last lesson on Friday Flat and agreed that I would do a lesson next year in which she would take me down a blue (intermediate) run, because of course she would come back and I would come back &c. (Ski lesson version of Before Sunrise, and, spoilers, the Julie Delpy character didn’t make it to their rendezous.) It does become an intense shared endeavour, rather like a theatre performance or something, and the break-up is just as sudden. I later looked her up in the top-to-bottom race that she was hoping to win the following day and didn’t find her name at all; I don’t even know her surname.

    I went up to the apartment to help Andrew pack up and lug the bags out of the room; thankfully the owners were storing them for us until the evening. Andrew was determined that I would ski Merritts, and was doing basically OK, so we lugged our gear and our baby down, installed him in the lounge of the Thredbo Alpine Hotel, and I returned his sadly underused performance snowboarding gear, and set off up Merritts.

    It didn’t begin promisingly. Merritts is its own little peak and there’s two ways to reach the base of it, the fast Gunbarrel chairlift from Friday Flat or the Merritts chairlift from Valley Terminal. Being at Valley Terminal, I headed for the Merritts lift, which turned out to be old and ricketty. I had to take my skis off and hold them to ride it, no mean feat when they were 155cm long, and it was so old it didn’t have a pull down bar but a flimsy chain that I had to pull across and work out how to fasten while being lifted into the air and holding my skis and poles under one arm. So I was already a bit uncertain. I enjoyed the terrible terrain below me with all kinds of things poking out of the uneven snow, and wondered if it was indeed a ski run. (Yes, it’s the advanced run The Schuss, and I didn’t see a single soul on it on either the way up or the way down.)

    Merritts itself has a fast chairlift The Cruiser running up it. I was accustomed to the ludicrous hot and lengthy queues at Friday Flat and The Cruiser didn’t have them, so I was zooming on it before I had a chance to get oriented. It was fast enough I was very worried about getting off, but of course it slowed for dismount, if only at the last possible second. I didn’t fall there. And then there was only one way down; on skis.

    This turned out to be really tough for me. Merritts’ beginners runs are at the other end of beginners difficulty from Friday Flat, so they were like the toughest bit of Friday Flat only for about a solid kilometre of unrelenting slope rather than ten metres. (Tough is relative of course, but even so.) I talked myself down the first bit but then chose — it turns out — the slightly harder Squatters Run for the first half rather than Walkabout and arrived at the top of a bit that was steep enough I couldn’t see over it and despaired. I ended up removing my skis, prompting a children’s instructor to come over and point out the escape hatch traverse back to the Gunbarrel Express to me before zooming off with her teeny intermediate skiers, trudging over to and down the steep part (which was only a few metres high, and probably serves as a brief test of intermediate sloped terrain for borderline intermediate skiers) and fixing my skis on.

    But of course by then my confidence was pretty shot. I could at least now see clear down Walkabout and knew what I was in for. I prepared myself to just get down it, no need to fret about parallel turns but to stick to A’s Italian-style snowplow turns and take it at my own speed and so on. But I fell twice on two consecutive turns, and the slope was steep enough that the experience was reminiscent of New Zealand all those years ago. Stand up. Try to get in skis. Fail. Knock snow out of my boots. And around. I probably spent ten minutes or more on each of those two turns, all the while crying and heating up. (Thredbo is a pretty hot resort, at around freezing or a bit above.) And I had several hundred metres to go. Eventually I convinced myself to go even more slowly and carefully and just get down and have done it, and I did: several more hundred metres without falling.

    I feel just fine about this now and it’s easy to explain what went wrong. It’s just hard to do a new run at the edge of your ability without an instructor or better partner to prepare you for the tricky bits, identify what technique your fear is causing you to forget, to help you knock your boots clear of snow and pull you up from falls. If I’d had time and energy for even one more run I probably would have been slightly better. If Andrew (who is a better snowboarder than I am skier by dint of about two weeks practice if nothing else) had been there, he could have done a run ahead of me and told me which bits to brace for and hung out with me if I’d taken my skis off and had a sulk at the side. If I’d gone up for two consecutive days I’m sure I’d be going down both Walkabout and Squatters Run and enjoying it and beginning to contemplate the intermediate runs. But I didn’t have two days, I had about 90 minutes, and so that was my one run up there.

    I was intending to go back to Andrew and work through that line of thought and feel better that way. On my trip back down the slow and creaky Merritts chair I realised that it had a halfway station labelled “Friday Flat” and I could get off there and return to a slope I knew for a final run. So I did that. Unfortunately, that meant entering at the intersection of Sundowner, which is a beginners run, and High Noon, which decidedly isn’t, and having High Noon’s exiting riders fly around and past me, some of them falling themselves. So even though it was fairly flat and well within my ability (I should try Sundowners next time), I fell again and had to have another little chat with myself again about focussing on basics and ignoring parallel turns and taking it at my own speed and etc. I did then make it to the Friday Flats lift for one last run down that, which I tried to enjoy but wasn’t in the right mood for. So I had to have forced pride that I’d picked myself up and tried and tried, even if I wasn’t feeling it.

    I feel good about it looking back though.

    And then it was time to head back to Andrew, check in, and begin the flurry of things needed to get us home. I returned my skis, and headed over to V’s class to pick him up and return his skis, and smile through V’s own reports of the joys of Merritts where he’d also been that day. (“I went up the mountain on the fast chairlift Mama. And I wasn’t scared.” Thank goodness I didn’t run into his group.) Andrew went up to the apartment to help the owners drive our bags down.

    We’d figured the bus back would be easier, because V would be exhausted, and it went into the night, meaning both children would be asleep. This was true as far as it went, but no doubt it was not any fun for Andrew to sit up for seven hours trying not to melt from the inside out. Everything about ski holidays is utterly fixed and unchangeable, including our accommodation and bus tickets, or I might have been tempted to stay another day.

    We had a very complicated plan once we got back to Sydney centered around the problem that taxis will not take A without an infant carseat, and that taxis with infant carseats are like hen’s teeth. One of us was going to taxi back to our house, pick up a car share car, fit our carseats for both children to it, drive back to the unlucky parent waiting with two exhausted children in the midnight chill, and drive us all home, at which point we’d put the kids in bed, remove the carseats, return the car and fall into bed. We’d completely forgotten that we were arriving home on a Friday night, and that commuter buses were still running at midnight. So instead we merely hauled our bewildered four year old, who has almost never been out of the house after 8pm, onto a bus, home, and into bed.

    The aftermath was substantial for Andrew. He recovered in bed all weekend and into the following week, returning to work only on the Thursday. He still however kindly reflected that he was glad that he’d had a bad week at the snow rather than me, as otherwise we would have viewed the enterprise as thoroughly cursed. Which is fair. But hopefully some year soon I can report that we went to the snow and enjoyed a run in each other’s company and a hot chocolate to wrap up.

    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 19:21
    Read more... )
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 19:14
    post-tags: instagram, crosspost Mission bell selfie. I made one out of sugar cubes in 3rd grade.
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 19:00
    Today I made friends with some new perfumes on my way through John Lewis, on which very brief notes.
    • Bulgari Jasmin Noir: unpleasant bubble bath, fading to mild but non-descript bubble bath. Perfume says "** Noir is the new silly. This is the sort of industrial-strength, thickly scored, too-many-cookes (four perfumers, apparently) composition the French call une soupe. TS describes the genre as cough-syrup ice cream, and I agree." Unlike Bulgari Black, doesn't simply turn into vanilla cookies on me.
    • Guerlain Shalimar: goes on very strong, fades to quite a pleasant vanilla with something a little medicinally wholesome around the edges. Unnoticeable except right up against my skin, a couple of hours on; on me, it is entirely unclear why Perfume gives it five stars (but then they give two stars to a bunch of stuff that's nuanced and exquisite on me, so! Skin chemistry...)
    • Guerlain Shalimar Initial: described by the counter staff as "lighter, more rose". Well, maybe, but it went on uninspiring and has faded away to pretty much nothing. Underwhelming first foray into Guerlain.
    • Penhaligon's Lothair (linked because actual notes listed): thing that grabbed me most today. Amazing on the testing strip and in the bottle. It goes on very green on me, with the fig milk obvious; unfortunately I seem to amp juniper so it spends the first few hours just smelling like I've bathed in gin. Some time on, it's instead vanilla and lightly burned toast with a hint of bitter greens and, yes, tea. Alas it is probably not nice enough on me to buy any, but once again I am kind of tempted towards scent lockets...

    Other adornment-related snippets: Lush Christmas release apparently hits shops on the 3rd of October, whereupon I will pounce on a large bottle of Rose Jam, if it is rereleased this year. There is going to be an enormous Lush store (biggest in world, containing spa, etc) opening on Oxford Street in March. And METALLIC TEAL LIQUID EYELINER.
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 18:36
    (copied from infodump at an absent [personal profile] quartzpebble, the better to keep track/tick things off; includes several blog posts, so apologies in advance about that!)

    (nb self: there's a poem trying to happen about "it is a luxury to know you'd make the same choice again", also stuff about material vs spiritual gain/growth, also disability-stuff about how building stamina isn't really relevant to me with my combination of conditions because fundamentally I need the chair because otherwise I will unpredictably collapse with pain)

    todo )

    tada )
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 17:12
    post-tags: instagram, crosspost Somebody just wants to stay in bed all day long.
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 17:12
    post-tags: instagram, crosspost Pillow fort.
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 18:35
    So, at last, after a YEAR, I am actually posting my ~epic~ 40k AU where Patrick Kane is a pro dom and Jonathan Toews is his client. I'll be posting all 9 chapters over the coming weeks (posted the first two chapters last night and this afternoon) and since as of chapter 2 we get into the explicit stuff, I figure it's time to announce it ~officially~.

    The Way You Drink Your Coffee (7890 words) by sabrina_il
    Chapters: 2/9
    Fandom: Hockey RPF
    Rating: Explicit
    Relationships: Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews
    Summary: Patrick Kane is a professional dominant, Jonathan Toews is his client.

    It has been SUCH A FUCKING JOURNEY with this fic, guys. I kept myself from adding this as a disclaimer on AO3, but let me just say it here: the fact that I worked on this for a year is not reflected in this fic being ~brilliant~ or whatever. I am a just a fuck up, OK, do not think amount of effort I spent on this = quality.

    I am so far not regretting the decision to post this in chapters. I'm sure posting it all at once would have been a different kind of rush, but this way I got to wake up and get a bunch of comments on how people REALLY LOVE THIS AND WANT MORE. I've never had that with a fic before! It's really cool to see what people respond to, so far. I think/hope I've structured the fic in a way where it keeps getting better/more intense/more interesting, so I hope the people who are enjoying it now will continue to enjoy it even more as it progresses.

    Also, I can't believe there are still people left in hockey fandom who haven't read this considering how many people helped beta it, lol. I needed A LOT OF HELP, guys. And still do. I'm praying [personal profile] roga has time after she gets home from her corporate retreat to look over shit because there are still a few scenes I need copy-edited.

    Anyway, I love this fic, a lot. I have zero expectations about people reading it in parts - I mean, I hope they'll read it when it's fully posted, but the chapter-by-chapter thing is just an experiment I'm doing for me, so, no expectations about how it'll work out.

    OK. POSTED. ANNOUNCED. Will now go and watch Outlander and maybe make dinner. ♥
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 09:05

    I just found out that the Hövding invisible bike helmet has gone into production and is now for sale. I saw a video about this idea a while back and thought it looked pretty interesting. It's quite expensive — £300 — and also it uses electricity, so it's not obviously better than a conventional bike helmet. I'm not a cyclist so I can't evaluate it further than that, but it's certainly interesting.

    If you're a cyclist reading this, I'd love to know what you think.

    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 23:51
    1. We got pizza for dinner. :)

    2. I got a package from [personal profile] kiwimusume today! I had totally forgot I'd asked her to get some manga for me, so it was a surprise. ^_^;;

    3. I'm so close to being finished with this big project at work. Hopefully this coming week can be more about catching up and getting back to normal.

    4. Day off tomorrow! (Though I'm going in to work for a couple hours, but at least I can sleep in and have most of the day free.)
    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 23:28
    Here's the thing: I am neither a Moffat-lover nor a Moffat-hater. I think Stephen Moffat has written some shitty episodes of Doctor Who, has said some hella sexist crap, can't write a sensical season arc to save his life, and has a tiny box of props and themes that show up in every episode he writes; I also think Rory and Amy had fabulous chemistry and Moffat has written some pretty brilliant episodes of Who.

    But "Listen". Oh, man. "Listen." There is too much to say about this episode, so I will narrow it down to two things only:
    1. The Doctor insulted Clara's looks so often I lost count. The jokes about how fat, ugly, and poorly dressed she is have got to freaking stop. They are not funny, they are attacks.
    2. Spoilers on the side of my FACE )
    Actually, one more thing out of the very long list: maybe if there were some women on the writing staff someone would have caught this )
    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 20:10
    I got the email from the Apple store today saying that Penguin had its new harddrive installed. So we went today in the course of other errands and picked it up. Tonight, I type to you from neither [personal profile] bell's desktop, nor from my tiny-brained back-up emachine, but from Penguin its very own resurrected self!

    Of course the new harddrive means I have to set everything up again. It's actually a nice feeling, almost like it's new. (I definitely think they cleaned it. I do tend to get fingerprints, and food, and cat hair, all over it.) They've upgraded it to the most recent OS for me, so I don't have to worry about that part for a while. But it does mean my dock is all wrong, and my button bar needs fixing, and I need to transfer all my files back from my external. But it's so much comfier sitting here with a keyboard I'm used to and a bigger screen, while not having to stay upright at a desk chair. It's a laptop, it's on my lap! Yay!

    While I'm at it, I think my crossposter was broken again--I blame livejournal. But thanks to [personal profile] wisdomeagle's pointer, I was able to get my flist back looking like it should! If you can read this on the livejournal side, I was this close to giving up reading on livejournal altogether. There are only about three people I read over there these days, and with the ugly new layout that my eyes couldn't parse, it was getting more difficult and less rewarding. But that's better now, and for the foreseeable future, I'll still be reading and commenting on both sides. In case anyone's in doubt, dreamwidth is my main journalling site still, and I read everyone I'm following over here.

    Anyhoo, busy weekend so far. We did a lot of errands today, and lots of cleaning/tidying/organizing as well. I think we're definitely entering the nesting phase. One nice thing is we took the sixty-odd books I have for the diss over to my office on campus, so hopefully I'll be inspired to get more reading done.

    On Friday, I did Grad Boot Camp again, which they run every few weeks. It's really good for me. I got an article peer-reviewed and sent in, and about 600 words of first-draft critical stuff written (all of the 'What Terminology Will I Be Using In This Exegesis' sort).

    Tomorrow I really need to work on teaching stuff (prepping for next week etc.), and hopefully get back to the creative part of the diss. Wish me luck--I've been away from the story for a couple of weeks, so I'm hoping it won't be too hard to get back to it.

    How's y'all's weekends coming along?
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 00:27
    As most readers of my journal know, I am a transgender woman. As part of the process of transitioning, I've been changing the names of the various accounts I use online.

    I encountered a roadblock when I wanted to change my Steam username, but couldn't because of Steam's policy that accounts cannot be renamed. (That situation eventually got resolved when you guys spread the word about what was going on, but at the time it was really frustrating.)

    Since then I've been keeping track of whether their policy has changed. That appears not to be the case, sadly - one-and-a-half years ago I asked if anything had changed, and the answer was no. And now, it appears as if Steam is at it again, in exactly the same way as it did three-and-a-half years ago with my original request.

    A new friend of mine, Katy ([ profile] kateunafraid) is trying to get Steam support to change her username.

    Here's how her ticket started (ticket 4642-QTSL-8416, reproduced with permission) )Oh hey, I recognise this. That's exactly the same stock answer they sent me, with just the name of the menu option to click changed.

    Now, like me, Katy has already done all this. Changing the names that are visible to other people isn't the issue here; the issue is changing the username itself.

    As I stated in the follow-up post when this was resolved for me:
    ...a username is not just an arbitrary selection of letters and numbers. That is to say, from a technical perspective it is, but in all other respects it's part of an identity. For a lot of people, that identity overlaps with their real life identity, and if that identity changes, it only makes sense that the username should be able to be changed along with it.
    Now, it's true that a lot of sites don't have the ability to change your usernames. Conversely, however, those same sites often do not involve financial transactions, or if they do, they normally allow at least an option to transfer any purchased assets to another account.

    Steam doesn't even do that. What Steam expects you to do if you want to change username is to register a new account and re-purchase ALL your games. If you don't do that, you will be forced to either split your games between two different accounts, or to leave Steam entirely.

    Um, no. Nobody should ever have to give up hundreds, even thousands of dollars' worth of games because of an identity change. Yet that is exactly what's happening with many people in the same situation. Why is this allowed?

    You may remember that in my post one-and-a-half years ago where I asked Steam staff if they had made any policy changes, I outlined a deliberately narrow group to ask about, because I felt that if any policy change had been made, it would apply to the people within these criteria:
    ...having had a legal name change (with evidence in the form of legally-recognised documentation such as a deed poll or statutory declaration), a username which was clearly based on their old name, and a clean VAC record...
    I believe the option to change username should be available, at the very least, to people who meet these criteria. I would not be fundamentally opposed to this username change being subject to an additional charge, but I do believe that if you fit these criteria, imposing an additional charge on top of the charges already incurred by obtaining the legally-recognised evidence doesn't really make sense.

    I don't believe that these criteria are unreasonable, and Katy meets all three. That being the case, I believe that it's reasonable to ask Steam to allow Katy to change her Steam username, hence this post.

    As with the last time this happened, this is a public post on DW (as are most of my posts). Please feel free to link to it from elsewhere if you agree!

    (Subscribers to this journal should watch for another post after this one that I'm going to make access-only; I'm writing an email to Gabe to hopefully get this sorted out for all trans people, and I'd like your thoughts on it!)
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014 09:04
    Originally posted at

    As I expected, I woke up on my second day of skiing, Tuesday, very sore and stiff. As I expected, V did not. We grumpily trudged through our morning.

    There was an annoying timing issue at this point: my expensive and timed down to the minute private lessons were to begin at 8:30 on Tuesday through Friday (because 8:30am lessons are significantly cheaper), and that was the earliest possible drop-off time for V at his ski school. I didn’t want to waste ten minutes of my lesson on his drop off. So Andrew gathered up himself and the baby solely in order to do V’s drop off and then go back up the mountain to chill out with her.

    Because I’d switched lesson times after Monday, B was not my instructor for the remainder of the week. My instructor was A, a young Italian ski racer and instructor. A and I didn’t start off great with her evicing some skepticism that I was ready for the Giddy Up run, if I’d fallen up there. Her students, she reported, do not fall. She took me up there, I presumably embarrassingly fell off the end of the chair lift and she very cautiously took me down the steeper bit of Giddy Up with a critical eye.

    We did better from there, because she agreed that I was the right level for that run. She then wanted me to tell her how I’d learned to turn, and discovered that her suspicions were right: I’d been taught the “Australian way”.

    A brief digression into skiing technique: as a beginner skier, I skied with the front tips of my skis close together and the back ends far apart, called a snow plow, or a “triangle” at the kids’ school. This let me go very slowly, because it’s easy to turn both skis inwards and brake by dragging the inner edges of them both along the snow. The “Australian style” of turning (which I also learned in New Zealand in 1998, and which is also shown in the beginner ski school videos I’d watched, is that I turned by pressing the inner edge of ski which was to be the outside of the turn (my left ski when turning right and vice versa) harder into the snow than the other ski.

    The “Italian style” turn that A preferred involved shifting weight throughout my body instead. Specifically, she wanted me to do nothing consciously with my feet, but instead always ski with my shoulder dropped down the mountain and my hips tilted up the mountain, with my upper body driving my weight into the lower ski. (Later in the week, she had me actually stepping my uphill ski up off the snow a lot, to prove I wasn’t bearing excess weight on it.) To turn, I was to slide my hips over the downhill ski and my shoulder over the uphill ski, which caused me to turn and restore the original weight distribution only I’d be pointing in the other direction.

    “OK,” I thought. “But I really hope I’m not switching instructors every day this week.” Sometimes it’s best to learn one technique well than several poorly, even if it’s not the single best one. (Oddly, learning to breastfeed has this problem: every lactation consultant seems to have their own slightly incompatible technique.)

    However, since A was assigned to me for the remaining four days, and the technique worked well, this worked out. Specifically, it resulted in quite fast and very controlled turns, which is great because the slower the turn, the more chance I had to point straight downhill and lose control of my speed and fall over. At the end of the week, A triumphed that I hadn’t fallen in her lesson and suggested we might be at Merritts (the advanced beginners area and early intermediate area, higher up the mountain) at the end of the week.

    A had a rare and excellent quality in a physical teacher, which was that for every mistake I was to make throughout the week, she had a diagnosis. To be fair, it was almost always “lean further forward” or “your weight is on the wrong ski again” (especially, for some reason, when my right ski was the downhill one) but even so. Many a person has tried to teach me physical skills but has not brought relentless and flawless debugging skills to the party.

    She was, I think, in her early twenties, her first time in Australia, and seemed to be naively charmed by all the lifties greeting her in terrible Italian. There are very many Italian instructors in Thredbo this year! Everyone is being kind and trying to learn Italian and speak it with us! If she had any inkling that there might be any special effort being made to speak Italian with smiley small young blonde winners of the women’s section of the instructors’ race, she didn’t hint at it.

    But she probably knew it. The incredibly slow chairlifts meant we had a lot of chances to talk during the week, partly about travel and partly about the many, many things she disapproved of on the snow. For example, people who don’t wear helmets (one time she split a helmet in half in a racing crash), people who ski with babies strapped to them, and, especially, snowboarders. On the first day with her, she side-eyed the snowboarders joining us on our lift chair and asked them pointedly if they knew how to get off the chairlift. I pointed out that I didn’t know how to get off the chairlift and she ignored me while continuing to glare daggers at the snowboarders. (Sure enough I fell and they didn’t. She said nothing.) On the second day, I had my first fall in her class when I heard an “uuuuuh-oh” from behind and a snowboarder knocked my skis out from under me (I was fine, I fell up the hill on my side and slightly bruised my hip) and it’s possible she killed him with her brain. On the last day, I think one of her final piece of advice to me was “steer clear of them.”

    I was still confined to Friday Flat, the beginners area, mid-week, on Wednesday progressing to the slightly steeper main area. But after my first day with A, it was my first ever time on the snow that I would happily just circle around. Ski down. Ride lift up. Ski down. Ride lift up. And of course, this kind of practice is necessary to progress, so I was extra thrilled that it wasn’t ski down, nurse injuries, cry, ride back up.

    I also solved the chairlift issue after my Tuesday lesson on my own. The trick with dismounting chairlifts is that you need to get your weight above your skis, because that’s the general trick to not falling over when skiing. However, I’m very tall, and while I’m fairly strong in an absolute sense for an untrained woman, I’m not strong for my height or weight. Together, this means that getting my weight above my feet takes me appreciably longer than it takes most people and during this time, I figured I was falling over, especially since the ground beneath chairlifts at the dismount point is close enough to the seat to allow three year olds to get off comfortably.

    So, I simply waited half a second longer than most people. Chairlifts all have a short slope leading down from the dismount point, and I would wait until the chair was a little way over the slope, and get off then, meaning I was basically dropping down into a standing position rather than forcing myself upright into one. This was a touch tricky; once I waited long enough that I actually had to jump down very slightly. But it worked and I didn’t once fall again, nor did I ever fail to actually get off and have to go round embarrassingly. (Presumably with increased skiing ability and faith in my skiing ability, I would be able to get off at the normal disembark point too, but I never tested again.)

    So on early Tuesday afternoon, I headed up to Andrew comfortably smug at my ability to stand up and slide around on skis. He said he was feeling a bit tired, and we planned out that he would “only” do the Village Trail, Thredbo’s easy but long run at 5km. He didn’t start quite at the top but took the slower Snowgums chairlift most of the way up it (spying a wombat on the way) and came down. He was feeling a bit ill from something he’d eaten and figured it wasn’t the day for a lesson and a short outing was fine. We gathered up V, fed him a donut, and came back for the evening.

    On the Wednesday, Andrew was becoming feverish and decided to take the day off. In a selfish way, this was good as I was able to double my practice time, but I was sad for him. He saved energy to do one beginners run with V, who at this point had turned into a child-shaped snow-bullet and left Andrew fallen in the snow half way down Friday Flat. Andrew was worried that he’d inexplicably become a bad snowboarder but (spoilers!) he was in the early stages of getting quite ill.

    It was on Wednesday, I think, that A decided that I should start turning parallel rather than in a snowplow, and instructed me to drag up uphill heel with a turn so that the skis turned together. This caused, I’m pretty sure, my first self-inflicted fall under her instruction. No more mention of parallel turns was made for a little while.

    Shortly after that, I felt that I was doing a particularly dodgy turn, hurriedly managing to shove my legs back under me before I fell over. A observed this and I waited to be told how to avoid it ever happening again. “Yessssss,” she crowed. “That turn, that turn parallel.” I had been wondering how on earth skis turned parallel, it seemed like it would involve impossible stresses on my knees and ankles to pull two skis around together while both bore my weight. But no. The mechanism is, essentially, to have so much weight on the downhill-side ski (or when turning, the ski that is about to be downhill-side) that the uphill ski can just be yanked around smoothly; thus, the exercise later in the week of stomping my uphill ski in the snow to check how little weight it was bearing. So that was pleasing, considering that A described it as something that was very hard to predict, taking some skiers a few days and some years.

    Thursday was another fine day of skiing and gradual improvements as I linked parallel turns on the flatter part of Friday Flat (which is, in its entirety, very flat by the standards of skiing) and another day of Andrew ceding all his snow time to me. Perhaps, I said on Wednesday, this fever just needs a day to blow itself out, but it wasn’t true. On Thursday morning I was planning that I would try Merritts on Friday. By Thursday evening, Andrew was on a continuous loop of paracetamol and ibuprofen to manage the fever and pain, and we were very worried about packing and getting everything down the mountain. I said, very sadly, that probably on the Friday I should just do my lesson, have a celebratory run down the slope to acknowledge how far I’d come, and call it a week, rather than leave him alone for the day to handle packing and look after A while barely able to walk.

    Thursday I also had the frustrating experience of my rental skis disappearing during my after-lesson meal, so I trudged sadly around the rental places sorting it out and believing I’d be out a few hundred dollars in loss fees. I ran into my first day instructor, B, during this, and she enquired how I was doing and we had a nice chat in the midst of my frustration, and in the end the rental place told me that they usually recover the skis and, honestly, probably wouldn’t bill me if they didn’t. But it was annoying all the same, not least for costing me an hour of skiing while I sorted out replacements.

    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 07:25
    It was, yet again, beer bash day. I don't much care for beer. I have a large box of hard hard lemonade left over from OS Bridge, which I'm slowly making my way through. Having done the same once previous, to excellent success, I decided that I was not going to count on the sangria being drinkable, and unceremoniously grabbed carefully brought two random flavors out of the box, to spend some time in my work fridge before bash.

    After being advised by Gaff himself that not having yet watched Blade Runner was a Fault, I asked around a bit about who else might be interested in a movie night. And it turned out that the Dean was interested in making it happen. Plus he knows which meeting room has the best sound system.

    In search of some better information than those punks at the helpdesk were capable of giving me, I tried googling some of the information I wanted to know about the helpdesk software. This turned up the manufacturer's wiki. Read more... )

    Sadly, the first date that the Dean proposed for Blade Runner Night is up against something else. He's thinking again about it.

    The beer bashes are often themed. Today's beer bash was themed for that SaaS upgrade initiative. The name, of course, has nothing apparent in common with the actual effects. We wandered out to find that there were piles and piles of branded bottle openers on all the tables. Sort of nicely themed for a beer bash, but we actually don't have beer bottles at the beer bash (having long since reached the keg stage) so it all seemed a little futile. I grabbed some nachos and sat primly down at an "I don't know you personally but I'm sort of with your group at lunch and we nod and say hi in the halls" distance from some of Purple's teammates. There was a band, but they weren't amplified past hear-myself-think stage.

    Purple and lb emerged and spotted me. They went after refreshments. As I sat there waiting, I saw the Dean. I had been mulling over a few more thoughts, and felt I should share. So I headed over to where he was, and pitched: "You Haven't Seen This Yet?!?!!" -- the movie night series. Just then Purple showed up over one shoulder and lb showed up over the other, for all the world like an angel and a devil. (Purple gives me the bad ideas, so he was appropriately on my left.) Read more... )

    Purple's rule for me has become an in-joke: No more blowing bees in the courtyard! (It was not that I was previously actually allowed to blow bees in any location, courtyard included, but that now there has to be a specific rule about it.)

    lb likes to program language games. And "no more" "blowing bees" "in the courtyard" has somewhat the same ring of "Brad" "with BML" "in his dorm room" -- the savour of a really satisfying Clue answer. He's going to toss the idea around in his brain for a bit and see if it's possible to come up with a three-card mix-and-match form of shenanigans which involves a modifier of some sort, an action, and a location, or things that swap in and out well enough.

    A navy-blue shape snapped my brain's attention, and I pointed my chin across the party. There was That Security Guard. The guys looked. I moved nearer Purple. lb: "How about that local sports team?" I unwound a little in the presence of trusted friends.

    The party cleared out some. The band ceased performing and began to clean up. Things got more quiet.

    Everybody had been playing with the piles of bottle openers from the start. Purple stared at the stack on our table, and aired a thought which had clearly been nagging at him all evening: WTF does a person in today's world need with that many bottle openers anyway; are there really THAT MANY BOTTLES TO OPEN IN THIS MODERN WORLD??!!?

    -- And because sometimes life is just really that great and presents opportunities that great, I reach my hand in my tote bag and slam a hard hard lemonade down on the table in front of him. Everybody cracks up.

    lb: "I don't drink things I can't screw off with my hand."

    Azz: "In the courtyard." (again with the laughter)

    Purple reads the bottle: "HARD Blood Orange", and that reminds lb of a certain Japanese celebrity. Pro wrestling characters are wacky and arguably embarrassment-squick when doing Reality TV Stunts in every culture! ~Hoooooo!!!!

    Eventually it was time to go. Purple stopped by my cube and we headed for the parking lot. This time the chatter was mostly about our respective levels of general functionality in the morning, with bonus Shawn trauma )

    I now know what I want to be for Halloween. This is a change from the previous several years, where it was a last-minute effort. This one is going to involve a shawl, a necklace, a hat, and a whole bunch of white buttons.
    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 08:25
    I'm leaving the Wikimedia Foundation. I announced this yesterday and got a bunch of praise from the developer community and Twitter, and OVERWHELMING praise from my colleagues. People I barely got to talk with will miss me. My last day will be 30 September.

    Signs of progress: we've fixed this bug: "Vector: Default icon for "profile" in personal tools should be gender neutral and fit with other site icons look & feel". And someone I know helped add a code of conduct to a "Foo Cafe" meetup.

    Mindy Preston & Lita Cho both attended Hacker School and then did Outreach Program for Women internships, and wrote up interesting wrapup posts. I'm noodling around thinking about the confluence of Hacker School and OPW. I think it's clear that women who do both are much more likely to get programming jobs than are women who just do one. Together they constitute a 6-month apprenticeship, half face-to-face and pretty unstructured (often working on lots of small projects), half remote and preplanned (usually working on one 3-month project). I think this is complementary in the end, but people going from one to the other get disoriented I think.

    I have been getting stellar performance reviews at work and they're really sad to see me go. I'm genuinely choosing to leave. But of course some people will squint at my statement, practice their Kremlinology, and wrongly presume that I'm being pushed out. I think I'm sending pretty strong "this is my choice" signals but I have to be ready for people to doubt that.

    Leonard and I have now watched the first half of "British Transport Films Volume Ten: London on the Move". I love old industrial films. And I'm maybe 20% of the way through this His Dark Materials fanfic and a third of the way through "Perfecting Sound Forever".

    Several important fundraisers happening right now. TransTech, Growstuff, Ada Initiative, probably more but those are the ones that come to mind.

    Time for tea.

    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 09:35
    * You Need A Budget is great

    * So is Assassin's Creed 2

    * I think after years of coming back to the thought every few months, I will be getting an industrial piercing in my left ear. After the holiday, of course, but shortly after. I just love the look of it.

    * So much left to do before the holiday, eeep. Only three more weeks left to do them

    * Two weeks ago, the husband and I were at my nephew's birthday, last weekend we were at a wedding, this weekend we'll be visiting his parents and next weekend my father. And we also haven't seen his biological dad in a long time. Right now I just really crave a quiet weekend spent at home. That would also certainly be good for the state of the flat...
    Friday, September 12th, 2014 22:19
    1. We got burritos for dinner. :D

    2. Tomorrow is my late day so I get to sleep in.

    3. The trend of cooler nights seems to be continuing. I dislike when it's hot during the day, but the worst is when it's hot at night.

    4. I've been working on the drinks section for the past several days and had no time for anything else, because the VP is constantly harping on this and wants it done now now now, but I think I really might get it all finished tomorrow and then hopefully things can go back to normal and I can spend some time on the other sections I've been neglecting.
    Friday, September 12th, 2014 22:04
    What material/programs do you use?

    Is it expensive?

    Is it worth it?

    What would you suggest to a beginner who used to draw with oil pastels, sanguine, charcoal and graphite (both pencils and sticks) as well as paint with oils and acrylics and tempera paint pastilles/discs, and hasn't drawn/painted in years that would be decent but not overpriced? Or maybe secondhand?

    I think that would be it...
    Friday, September 12th, 2014 21:59
    My stepfather's gallbladder removal surgery went really well. They were able to do it without having to open him up (he has massive scar tissue from two major abdominal surgeries in his early 40s and that may have been a problem for surgery, but all went super!), and he's home and resting, mildly nauseated from hunger and side-effects of anesthesia and high on Dilaudid.

    I've been betting my mother he's going to feel like a million bucks once he's over the surgery, because he's been having the same alarming symptoms as one of my friends' father when his was really bad, and it mimicked heart-attack symptoms (chest pain, shortness of breath), and other things. I mean he even had a bad day last weekend while we were there, and vomited twice in the 30 minutes following supper.
    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 00:59
    post-tags: instagram, crosspost Also, every lunch should have a local cheese and charcuterie plate. #latergram #nofilter
    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 00:59
    post-tags: instagram, crosspost Also, this chilled corn soup was amazeballs. #latergram #nofilter
    Saturday, September 13th, 2014 00:58
    post-tags: instagram, crosspost Our streak of fabulous Pacific salmon continues. #latergram #nofilter
    Friday, September 12th, 2014 19:26
    dwarf index = 4