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Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 07:01
This tweet mentions that FogCon is coming up in Walnut Creek. As my eyes moved past it I briefly misread it and imagined a world in which there is a fan convention celebrating my old employer, Fog Creek Software. That was a strange half-second.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 01:29
I've just finished four days at work in a row. There's a position posted currently that's the same job, full time over weekday evenings, but I'm not applying for it, no matter if it's more money, because I honestly don't think I can do the job that much. Especially during the week, the job is so hectic and full of details that I can't cope with it. I need the option to pick up extra shifts, or turn them down (and for now I'm going to turn them down as much as I can).

Work is full of enough bullshit drama that if I can get the same money and work anywhere else, I'll leave. One coworker is super annoying and I've gone to my supervisor about her (and making me resent someone enough to take action against them is not trivial) and the management have started doing things that are explicitly forbidden by union rules. I got another coworker hooked on Call the Midwife and she loves it and its sense of being hectically busy with meaningful work... but we both sighed longingly over the idea of a workplace where you get adequate support and training, and when you screw up you're treated with understanding and respect.

Now I faceplant and sleep for twelve hours.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 23:30
1. Kinda hectic at work today, but nowhere near as bad as this weekend, thankfully.

2. This week's Brooklyn Nine-Nine was (unsurprisingly) pretty great. Seeing Damon Wayans Jr. on there made me want to rewatch Happy Endings, though. (I miss that show!)

3. It was definitely cooler today than yesterday.

4. Got the state tax refund, too! We're planning to go look for cars on Thursday, so I'm hoping we find something.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 19:06

In which your author prioritizes

[personal profile] cnoocy: "I bought the Hamilton soundtrack!"
[personal profile] jadelennox: "Ooh!"
[personal profile] cnoocy: "Oh, and both Galavant season soundtracks."
[personal profile] jadelennox: dopplers away at top speed to play Galavant soundtracks endlessly
[personal profile] jadelennox: wakes up having earwormed "Finally" while sleeping

In which your author wishes Samuel Whittemore were fictionalized in musicals, television, and space opera blockbusters as he truly deserves

I finally switched to Hamilton this morning because I was running late, and I needed music with a high BPM to make me walk faster. And it worked brilliantly, but it was a little surreal when I passed one of the several monuments I usually ignore on my brief walk, which corresponds with a chunk of Paul Revere's Midnight Ride.

In which your author discovers the true location of her lines for overwhelming disgust

This is the story where [personal profile] jadelennox:

Hears Donald Trump bloviating in the background of the loudly playing news on the public-space television.
Shrugs, tunes him out.
Hears Wolf Blitzer's dulcet tones in the background.
Shrieks quietly in despair, turns on music as fast as possible.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 11:20
I do a general updatery with cute baby pictures once a month, and sometimes other little posts, either positive or WAAAAH, in between. It's on my baby filter. If you aren't on the filter but would like to be, just let me know. If you are on the filter and would rather not, you can let me know that too! I will make changes accordingly.

ETA: Argh, and I was just doing some edits to (what I thought was) a different filter, and I think I may have added a bunch of people to the baby filter by accident? I don't mind if you don't, but if you happen to see posts about babies and you wonder, WHY? SUDDENLY? SO CUTE?, that might be why. Again, happy to take you off, apologies for any weirdness.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 15:22
1. Two days ago I spent about 5 hours dealing with a dead car battery. FIVE. HOURS. There was no real reason for this, except for the fact that I am an immigrant from a family of immigrants and everyone I'm related to is inexperienced with this and terrible at handling a crisis. (I'm a little comforted that my biological father in NYC is in fact really good at handling a crisis, so at least I know I got those genes somewhere.)

But this included several hours of being stranded on a busy road with a dead car battery and a dead cell phone, freezing and starving. The cops came by! A dead car was pushed uphill in the rain! Good times.

2. I've caught up on Agent Carter. I have nothing to say, really, except that Dominic Cooper is still a horrendous actor and this show still does AMAZING, AMAZING things with Peggy's character while being repugnant to me for many other reasons.

3. I've started playing Neko Atsume. See you next millennium.

4. I've started watching Person of Interest because there was nothing else to watch, it's on netflix, and an IRL friend recently told me that it wasn't terrible. (Tumblr showed me way too many white middle aged straight dudes on that show previously for me to bother, even with a f/f ship in the background.)

spoilers? )
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 00:08
Birchbox January 2016

I mentioned that I was using my $10 coupon to buy adorable kbeauty things. This is the best one: a little aloe eye stick in an adorable panda container. It is greenish, makes my eyes feel cool for a minute, and serves basically no purpose in my life except that it looks adorable beside my sink. I'm ok with that. :)
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 00:00
1. My mom brought some of her recycling and we went over to the recycling center with whatever of our cans could fit in her car, which was only about half of what we have piling up in the garage, but it was still enough to get $35 for it!

2. It was really hot today and that kind of made me feel blah and like I didn't want to do anything, but I did enough up doing a fair bit of translation, even if not anywhere near the amount I had wanted to do.
Monday, February 8th, 2016 21:57
Unsurprisingly, the Birchbox for January is new year's resolution themed. Here's the eye-searing outside:
Birchbox January 2016

And the contents:

Birchbox January 2016

So let's talk about 'em!

Birchbox January 2016

Key West Aloe Gentle Aloe Facial Cleanser

I know, I know, more lather doesn't equal more clean, but I love how this lathers up and it's so easy to see to rinse clean even if I'm exhausted when I head to bed. I normally don't think much about my cleanser, but this one feels like a treat. The person who described it as smelling like pina colada mix isn't wrong, but I like it.

I've tried a billion cleansers thanks to birchbox and most of them make very little impression on me. Since it's sometimes a struggle for me to remember to wash my face as much as I should, I figure anything that makes me actually happy about doing it is a good thing. I'm putting the full-sized version in my next birchbox order!

Birchbox January 2016
Birchbox January 2016
0.2 Meet Your Destiny® 0.2 Eau de Parfum - 50 ml

It's a perfume. While I don't immediately hate it, I also don't love it or even care about it. It's a grand meh on the perfume scale. The nicest thing I can say about it is that the incredibly meh "0.2" name goes well with the meh scent and the meh packaging.

update: okay, after putting it on my wrist and leaving it there while I wrote the rest of these reviews, I care about it enough to wash it off. bleh.

Birchbox January 2016
Ciaté® Nail Polish

I love getting nail polish samples and I'd never tried out Ciaté so I was pretty excited. It looks pretty neat on my nails, fairly different from the way it looks in the bottle. But unfortunately, that's where the fun ends for me: it's a fairly thick, textured polish (not a personal favourite) and it chips pretty easily so my mani only lasted two days. Maybe fun for a special event, but certainly not a daily wear for me. Alas!

It did look pretty for a day, though:
Birchbox January 2016

Birchbox January 2016
TONYMOLY Delight Tony Tint

Using this feels like I'm staining my lips with strawberries -- it's got that berry scent and a light liquid formula. I kind of love it! It's quickly become a favourite of mine because of the easy-to-pocket small curvy sample container. Do be careful on chapped lips: it can stain dry edges a bit more than other places and leave you uneven, but I've used this as motivation to remember to put on lip balm overnight so that I can use this in the morning.

Definitely nicer and easier to use than the benefit stain, maybe a bit less easy to use than the stainiac one, similar to the one I have from Sephora but the scent is more fun.

Birchbox January 2016

Birchbox January 2016
Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner

This seems like a perfectly nice liquid liner, but I just can't seem to get the hang of using it even in a nice big easy-to-hold pen. I did manage to get some thinner lines without much difficulty, but I still end up with mis-matched eyes half the time I try. I guess at least there's lots of sample for me to practice with?

Birchbox January 2016

In conclusion...

I guess if I had to pick one of those stickers, I'd go with creativity, since when I thought about resolutions, I realized most of what I had were craft/maker goals. I think honestly, though, that it's less about creativity and more about refinement. My goals are mostly based on learning new techniques that complement what I know and using the skills I have more effectively, and about tackling bigger projects. That's honestly true across non-maker goals too.

I think this carries over to makeup: I'm feeling less like it's a fully creative endeavour and more like I'm in a slow skill-building phase. And this is good, because tuning the looks I can use at work is super useful, and also means I have a sense of subtle tweaks that make a difference in my continuing use of makeup as a social engineering tool. (everyone uses makeup that way, I'm just more intentional about it than some, I guess.)

Anyhow, overall, this was a good box for me: I loved the cleaner and the lip tint. While I didn't love the nail polish or eye liner, they were both products I'd considered paying for and I'm glad to know not to spend money on them. A few dollars of sample continues to be a much better investment for me than most full-sized products, even if I wind up with perfume samples every other box.

I've been wondering if I should give up my birchbox subscription when it comes up for renewal this summer since I've gotten myself into another yarn subscription and honestly, how many boxes does one gal need? But given the way I use makeup, it's still looking like a reasonable investment especially because it encourages me to keep my makeup fresh and toss old samples so I don't have bacteria-filled tubes of mascara around. Plus, I like the points system. I'll make a decision when the subscription comes due, though.
Monday, February 8th, 2016 22:32
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!)
Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 00:52
When X-Files fans think alike. #xfr #thexfiles #mementomonday #downtothesecond
Monday, February 8th, 2016 15:06
Bunnies in wine glasses!

(from [ profile] xxdaybreak)

Now that I've got your attention: my friend Erica is raising money for much-needed trauma therapy and could use your help. I've known her IRL for ten years and can vouch for her as much as I can for anyone in the world; she's a real person and the money will go to do what it says on the tin. Erica is someone who's supported me in a myriad of ways, and I'm not the only one, so if you help her, you'll be helping me. She just needs $145 more in order to meet her goal.

If you have a couple bucks to spare: do it to support an intersectional social justice writer, do it to support a disabled queer trans woman of color, do it to redistribute wealth, or just do it because that would make me happy. Here's the link to her fundraiser. I reserve the right to keep nagging you all until she meets her goal.

Edit: Erica reached her goal! Thanks to those who donated.
Monday, February 8th, 2016 20:28
The Idylls of the Queen is one of my favourite Arthurian novels, so I was interested to learn that its author, Phyllis Ann Kerr, had written a fantasy sequence (or at least duology) with rather pretty titles (do not underestimate a the power of a pretty title). I obviously wasn't paying enough attention however and so ended up with Frostflower and Windbourne (the second in the sequence) rather than Frostflower and Thorn (the first).

More Under the Cut )

I appreciate intellectually what this book is trying to do, presenting a different take on a medieval society with magic, which focuses on the small scale and has distinct characters but I found it an oddly unsatisfying read. I feel it would get a fairer hearing from me if I had read the first book but, on the other hand, I didn't really enjoy it enough to want to make the effort of tracking the first down.
Monday, February 8th, 2016 20:37
What good, exciting things happened to you last week? What are you looking forward to this week? It can be one thing or many things, something big or small - especially the small things, they don't get enough credit.

If you are uncomfortable commenting publicly, you can leave an anonymous comment instead which will stay screened, and I have turned off Captchas.

♣ I have decided to throw overboard my self-imposed restriction on how many books I am allowed to acquire per month. I have cut back - or given up completely - on a lot of the things that give me an addictive high (you know what I mean - the "shiny things!" accomplished feeling, or caffeine+sugar rushes, also chocolate) and I felt it was overly harsh to limit my book intake on top of that. Thus, four books have arrived/are on their way to me.
♣ Speaking of books, I received a PDF copy of Apex Magazine's ebook anthology through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers group.
♣ Don't have to go back to work before Thursday.
♣ I made delicious sweet cinnamon apple-jelly cake, with a cookie-crumble base, a thin layer of sliced apples, and a cheesecake-ish top layer (its main ingredients are self-made apple jelly and some soy yoghurt). The best thing is that I made it from scratch, without a recipe. *is proud*
♣ I have friends online and offline ♥
♣ Decided to get rid of my microwave. It feels oddly freeing.
Monday, February 8th, 2016 11:41
1. Yesterday got much, much better.

Read more... )
Monday, February 8th, 2016 00:40
1. Well, I was looking forward to catching up on stuff at work today that I didn't get to yesterday, but haha, joke's on me, two cashiers called out again today. >_< It actually was less hectic than yesterday, though, and I got everything urgent that needed to be done done, so there's that at least.

2. Carla got some strawberries that were actually really tasty for being out of season. :D

3. I just checked the weather and the heat spell we're having is supposed to continue for another week! D: At least it's supposed to be back down in the high 70s by Wednesday... The only good thing is that the high doesn't last long and it's pretty cool at night. (I still would rather have actual winter weather, though.)

4. Trader Joe's has these Swedish Fish-esque gummies called Scandinavian Swimmers that are so good! Much better than Swedish Fish (and they have multiple flavors). Since it's Trader Joe's they'll probably disappear soon, but we're enjoying them while they're there.

5. Day off tomorrow! After the hecticness of yesterday and today I'm really looking forward to it.
Sunday, February 7th, 2016 00:49
1. Two cashiers called out sick, so we were super short-handed this evening, but I made it through!

2. I didn't really feel like doing any translating tonight after getting home, but I'd done some in the morning before work, so at least I didn't get nothing at all done.

3. I made a new default icon using this icon maker.
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 16:26
creme brulee
Caramelising the sugar on top of creme brulee using a butane-fired soldering iron.

(With no apologies at all for the quality of the photo, but mild apologies for the lack of apologies.)

I have also, I informed my counsellor yesterday afternoon, Engaged in a Hobby.

... you have Engaged in a Hobby, my counsellor repeated, looking slightly mystified.

I have made Custard, I said. (And did not add "look at it! it's got anxiety!")

... you know, I really do look forward to our sessions, he said, while wearing his the-NHS-is-actually-and-for-realsies-paying-me-for-this-shit face.

All of which being as it may, turns out that the butane-fired soldering iron does an excellent job of bruleeing creme, at least when wielded by A as I look on suspiciously (the suspicion being in large part because it's his soldering iron and What If I Break It). Lessons for next time (we have another two ramekins of custard in the fridge!) are "use a thinner layer of sugar"; and something a little perplexing happened to the texture (it was grainy until reheated and then... stopped... being... grainy?), but that at least is going to have to wait until the next batch gets made for further Experimentation.

("Okay but what in fact is the Hobby to which you were referring," sed A, "because it's clearly not actually cooking, you do that a lot." "Pointless culinary one-upmanship contests against myself. OBVIOUSLY.")
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 07:49
The student I mentor has an urgent need for info about humanitarian visas from Mexico to the U.S. Her family is dealing with a violent relative and they're divided by a border that only my student can cross. Any help/advice super-welcome. Am googling, as well.
Saturday, February 6th, 2016 00:33
1. The two-year contract I had for internet service apparently ran out last month, so they hiked up the monthly fee by about $20. Carla called Verizon today to see if there was any cheaper plan, since the one I had includes basic TV and we don't watch actual live-as-it's-airing TV at all (I only took that plan because it was cheaper for the bundle than just internet on its own). It turns out they don't have anything cheaper, but for only about $10 more than the newly-jacked-up price, we can get 4x faster internet, so...we're switching to that. 100/100!

2. I got a lot done at work today, even though I kept getting interrupted.

3. We got Carl's Jr for dinner. I really like their steakhouse burger with crispy fried onions and blue cheese and bacon. It's so good!

4. It got pretty hot today, which I'm not thrilled about, but the heat peaked while I was at work in the air-conditioning, so that was good! It's back to being pretty chilly now.
Friday, February 5th, 2016 22:50
The sunset was amazing tonight, but even more awe-inspiring was the moment the snow stopped after falling all day, and the sun emerged from behind the clouds. The trees were glowing pink and peach, the light refracting through the branches laden with crystals of snow.
Friday, February 5th, 2016 09:42
Oh man. I just did a scary thing, insert hammering heart and sweaty patches here. I introduced myself to the new professor with a speciality in SF and then basically blurted out WILL YOU BE ON MY COMMITTEE?

I haaaaate asking for things, especially out of the blue, especially with someone I've only just met, and who I've only just met because I emailed him and said oh how lovely you are here, may I meet you, no reason, certainly not to ask for a ginormous favour or anything, la dee dah.

Anyway, I think the meeting went well. He's wary but he politely asked to see my proposal. He could easily say no, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if he's leaning that way, but oh well. I asked. I did it all professionally and stuff. Go me.

Stupid scary meetings.
Friday, February 5th, 2016 06:24
Are you going to FOGcon, or hoping to? Is the ticket price an impediment to going? If yes, please let me know and I'll give you one or both of our tickets. We paid $60 each, and you can have them for free, or you can pay me whatever you want to pay. I'll let you decide based on your personal situation, no questions asked. Just let me know in comments or message or email. I'll edit this post when both tickets are gone.
Friday, February 5th, 2016 00:30
1. I got so much translating done today! Like really a lot. I didn't get some of every series I'm working on done, but I did seven different series and instead of my usual five-page chunks, on most of them I did ten or even fifteen pages, so it added up to a lot!

2. I also got the house vacuumed, which I haven't been able to do on my last couple days off, so it really needed it. I hope we can get a quieter vacuum soon because the sound really bothers both Carla and the cats, so I hate doing it, but sweeping just isn't enough to get up all the cat hair and dustbunnies.

3. I totally forgot tomorrow is payday! I just went to check and see if my check had been deposited, since it's after midnight, and not only is my paycheck there, but so is the federal tax refund!

4. My cats are super cute. Look at that Molly loaf.

Thursday, February 4th, 2016 23:30
Swung by Purple's desk on my way in to tell him to find a hat (so he could lift it to me, for technical victories); he'd apparently just headed off for what turned out to be lunch.

I had lunch with the guy who used to be on the A-Team but who was in HR now. From his perspective, I've "come out of [my] shell" quite a bit, what with asking awkward questions in front of all-hands meetings and such, compared to going "aaaaa wtf icebreaker woe :(" -- from mine, I've certainly gained confidence about what exactly will go over well here, but I haven't exaaaaaactly been terrified of public speaking for 20 years, and I'm still an introvert. It costs to be socially On, except with a very narrow range of people. (It may, come to think of it, help that I've been spending several hours a week with one of those people fairly regularly for the past two years.)

Madam Standards dropped by to thank me for putting a reminder about dietary information on the potluck sign-ups.

Purple returned from lunch to tell me that one of his friends had told him: "Wow, your friend [Azure] has some big, um ... balls?" re: last week's pointed question. Heh.

My whole team has been hit by the plague. The Stage Manager sounds about like I feel, and was also from-home on Monday and Tuesday. I'm feeling much better! (I'm still coughing, and still have a damaged throat.) Purple was out with it last week, I think, but for him it was just a head cold.

I have not yet got the information for User Acceptance Testing for the new helldesk software iteration. There are some things that ARE APPARENTLY NOT WORKING AS THEY OUGHT, THE BASTARDS, and I am threatening to assemble a crew of engineers in someone's office. Pitchforks optional.

There was an emergency team ping from the other end of campus. I didn't take it. There was a second ping, still calling for people. I eyed it. The third ping was much more emphatic. I grabbed my gloves and bag and hustled (mindful of my delicate lungs). By the time I arrived, of course, the area was saturated with security, and what they'd needed the emergency team for was crowd control. (In the event of a medical situation, the last thing you need is onlookers going all popcorn.gif.) So I headed back down.

I have been slowly making my way through an album that Purple had mentioned that he was digging (it's good; not the sort of thing that I would have picked up myself, but good) and therefore was lost in a combination of chill noise and inbox when the Commandant poked me in the arm. "Augh! Don't *do* that!!" I said. No, the Lunatic will not notice your approach! This is why there is the doorbell! They have apparently filed a ticket to get the room they're planning to use for the potluck next week, but it is (likely) caught in some godforsaken corner of the helldesk, since the Dean hasn't seen it. I gave sage advice. The fact that I am helping plan my own goodbye party is not lost on anyone.

Eventually the building got cold and lonely enough that I needed to not be alone in there. So I pinged Purple, gathered up my gear, stuffed some stuff in the outgoing mail, dropped the portable hard drive back on R's desk, and wandered down to Purple's office. He was chatting with someone at their cube when I wandered by. I waved, drifted into his office, dropped my bag, drifted out, made myself a cup of tea, and settled in with the iPad quite cozily. His office is warm.

He came back in. We talked for a while. If ever I find myself near Palo Alto at the time of a beer bash, I should consider myself his guest. Was that lemongrass? No, it was "sweet orange" tea; I'd been looking for mint but didn't see any. Had I looked in the other, unlabeled drawer? No? Oh, that's where it might have been. I suggested a "MAYBE TEA?" label to go with the "TEA" label -- sometimes there is tea in that drawer, and sometimes there is not. Purple evidenced amusement at the thought of opening the "maybe" drawer and wondering wtf is in these bags, if there's doubt as to the tea status. I declared that the herbal ones would go in that drawer... This idea met with his approval.

Eventually, we braved the cold and the lingering smell of natural gas that nobody has ever got pinned down and the uncertain traffic in the parking lot. A little bird pecked about, nearly camouflaging itself against the white line, before flittering out of sight. There has been a wire coat hanger stuffed behind one of the pedestrian crossing signs, apparently for days, though this is the first time I noticed it. I held out my arm, and Purple obligingly shuffled closer so I could loop my arm through his as we stood there, chatting about things you find on Goodreads, and old movies, and all manner of wackiness.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 17:53
What are you currently reading?
Same stuff as last time. Haven't gotten much further on Console Wars, but still haven't given up on it, either.

I'm about a bit more than a third of the way through Kingdom Coming, though, and continue to enjoy that. It was published about ten years ago, though, so a lot of it just makes me want to read a more current take. For example, I just finished a chapter on the Christian attack on gay rights, and obviously in that regard a lot has changed in ten years!

I'm on volume five of Shibito no Koe wo Kiku ga Yoi, and as I mentioned the other day, have already started translating it, despite having a bazillion other ongoing projects. But it's an easy job, so it will be quick going and not take up a ton of extra time. And considering that scanlations is my main hobby these days, one more can't hurt. :)

Anyway, it continues to be a fun read and I'm really enjoying it a lot. Considering the bulk of the chapters are stand-alone events, I'm impressed at the number of scenarios the author has managed to come up with. Some are pretty standard, but others are more unique, such as one where a guy whose house has a "path of the dead" in it, so there's ghosts walking through the house all the time on their way to the afterlife. The twist comes when he gets sucked into the path himself and ends up escaping it only to have the path now run through his own body.

What did you recently finish reading?
I have finished several volumes of Shibito, but that's it.

What do you think you'll read next?
I have only one more volume of that, so I'll have to move on to a new manga soon, but not sure what... (There are seven volumes out, but I haven't been able to get my hands on volume seven yet as it's quite new.)
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 20:05
Planet of Fire is Peri's first story and also Turlough's last. As such, it struggles a bit at both introducing a new companion while, at the same time, dumping a whole load of backstory on the departing one. It's an odd story really, oscillating between being very good in places, and somewhat embarrassing in others.

More Under the Cut )

Planet of Fire is a decent story. It falls in, arguably, Peter Davison's strongest season (albeit one in which Eric Saward's tendency towards the grim and the violent was becoming more prominent). It's a gentler story than those either side of it, but also more uneven, and I suspect it is often over-looked as a result.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 11:16
I keep meaning to write an update to this post describing my listening habits from three years ago. A lot has changed since then, especially recently.

For one thing, I have a new car with native, hassle-free support for playing music on various electronic devices, so I've pretty much stopped listening to CDs in the car, except for the ones I borrow from the library. I haven't been listening to the radio as much lately, either.

For another, I subscribed to Apple Music four or five months ago. It's like Netflix streaming for CDs. If I see something I want to listen to at a later date, I can add it to my library and it will be there when I'm in the mood to try it. There are only two downsides I've found so far. One is that it only works with the newer versions of iTunes and iOS, so I only have access to it on my laptop right now. The other is that downloaded Apple Music tracks won't sync to iPods.

There are other features of Apple Music that I don't use as much. They have some decent curated playlists, but they tend to only be 10 or so songs each, and as far as I can tell you can't actually view the songs they contain except by playing through them. There are "stations" like Pandora's, but artist-based stations aren't as customizable, and their genre-based ones are too generic. Apple Music also recommends albums it thinks I will like, but I'm already familiar with most of them. Still, the ability to listen to pretty much any CD that's available on iTunes without paying for it is worth the $10/month to me, because I like to listen to a wide variety of different things.

I also signed up for Amazon Prime last month when they were discounting it - their new policy of 20% off newly released video games was what made up my mind that it would be worth the cost. But the variety of music available for Amazon Prime streaming is disappointingly paltry compared to Apple Music's deep catalog. Still, to be fair, Amazon has more of my purchased music in the cloud than iTunes does, their music app works on older iOS devices, and in the long term $99/year for all sorts of things is a better value than $10/month for just music.

I guess my point is that I'm using streaming services now more than I ever thought I would, considering my preference for listening to entire albums when investigating new music. In my case, Apple Music hits a sweet spot that the alternatives don't. And I still buy my favorite new releases, so that I can listen to them on the road - but these days I'm more likely to buy the digital tracks than the shiny disc.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 10:13

I really don't like numerical passwords. I can barely remember my own Social Security number or mobile number, much less a dozen passwords for work.

That's why all my passwords are ridiculous sentences with like, 1 or 007 at the end. (And I do mean ridiculous. I actually borrow from weird old quotes. There was one about blood being the cost of admiralty and then there was the one about fighting in the streets and beaches. What can I say, I'm fond of martial quotes.)

I need to get the phone number for the cosmetology program at PRCC so I can get my hair washed. It's a lot of hair and while I really appreciate Brent washing it, sometimes just need to pay someone $3 to wash my hair. (They're students. And I have hair below my butt. And if I can pay less than $100 for my hair to be dyed as well? Hell yes!)

I'm going to be a Girl Scout troop leader. I'm going to need to find a lot of my old resources.


Thursday, February 4th, 2016 15:36
(I am kind of baffled by how smoothly and rapidly this is all going: I was initially supposed to have my first appointment on the 8th of March, but due to a steady stream of late cancellations I've thus far had an initial assessment and one session of hand therapy, and will be having at least one more session of hand therapy and an information/education session before my the theoretical date of my first appointment ever rolls around.)

Initial assessment. )

Hand therapy. )

Summary. Yeah, I just... yeah. This can stay.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 14:54
RIGHT. Pursuant to previous, I have achieved CUSTARD to my satisfaction, for the purposes of meeting the goal "acquire this culinary skill before next birthday", which means I am going to have to decide what the next one will be.

Read more... )
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 10:47
via at February 04, 2016 at 03:15AM:






my mind says college but my heart says isolated sheep herder in Iceland

@the-tao-of-fandom is this a legitimate career choice

Only about once-twice a year, really, if you’re thinking of herding specifically. Most sheep wander all over the damn place (usually on the farmer’s land, but that can reach all the way into the mountains) during the summer, and they only get herded in the late autumn to bring them back down to the lowlands for réttir, I think.

@pipuhattar, I believe this is one of your areas of expertise?

Yes, sheep are herded only once or twice a year. Sheep are released into the mountains or the specific farm-land they are supposed to occupy over the summer. Since sheep do not care about fences and will destroy them or find a hole somewhere, they often go someplace else than where they are supposed to be. (For example to a neighboring mountain, farmland or near a river and will hang out with other sheep. Or: this is important: if your sheep used to belong to another farmer and you bought it, it will go back to its home-field(s) because it/them does/do not care that it now belongs to you, it/them wants/want that sweet grass that is on the field it knows and it will go on an epic journey to that farm whether you like it or not).

 Sheep love roads, and will often be on them, so watch out if you are driving.

When herding: 

Herding usually takes 4-8 hours on a single, small farm. If you want to be on an isolated farm or a big farm, it can take days to herd all the sheep. 

You will or someone will bring trained sheep-herding dogs (border collie, Icelandic sheepdog, rough collie. Border collies are the most common, though.) The dogs are vital, as they are far faster than humans and know their stuff. The person who brings the dogs is in charge of them and will shout a lot. Be wary of half-trained sheepdogs.

Most of the time you will either be on horseback or walking. 

If not, you will be on a tractor or a sturdy truck that has seen better days (vital as the sheep will hate the car and might try to attack it).

There will be a lot of people: Farmers, their children and relatives, friends and possibly even people that have no idea what they are doing but have been called in to help, various children and teens, people that semi-professionally herd sheep or/and train sheepdogs and various families connected to the farmer on the land that you are herding. 

Expect people to be wearing lopapeysa/wool sweaters/knitted hats with bobbles, horse-riding clothes, mittens, raincoats, angry expressions and warm socks along with good rain-boots.

As finding and forcing the sheep to go in a particular direction in order to catch them all is vital. Most people will be walking in a line, forcing the sheep to run in the opposite direction.

People will be stationed at certain points which have weaknesses (such as a bad/broken fence, gates that cannot be locked, etc. They are not allowed to move. At all. Until the sheep have passed them.

Sheep move fast when scared and it is possible that they will break a leg in fear. You will have to carry that sheep home.

Some people will bring their pet dogs, only to have them bark excitedly at the sheep when the sheep are almost in the rétt/big round fence that the sheep are kept in after being herded. (the purpose of this is to scare the sheep so that they hurry into the fence, and the pet dog is usually placed near the last normal fence that the sheep will see before being caught. The sheep will (in their desperation) try to jump over/find a hole/jump at that fence in an attempt to escape (hence why the dog and all the remaining humans are placed near that last fence).

Sheep are crazy. They do not care that you are in their way. They will jump at you, try to leap over the fence you are guarding or anything at all. They will attack you with their horns. They will run at you. You will get hurt and covered in bruises.

Leaping sheep: Sheep can jump really high. It is kinda magnificent.

Swimming sheep: Some sheep have learned how to swim over rivers. As mentioned above, sheep are insane. They will jump into the river and jump-swim over to the other side of the river. Ewes will teach their lambs to do this. You will take off your socks and shoes and go into the ice-cold water to get the sheep. Your feet will be numb instantly. You don’t care. Then you tackle the sheep and hold it still. And wait for people to come help with the other sheep. Scream for their assistance.

When the sheep are caught and in their locked fence, people will pat you on the back and when inside the farm, you will be served Icelandic meat soup (lamb, rice, turnips, potatoes, herbs).

I love this long, long post so much because it so beautifully answer the perrenial disaffected teen question about life by saying, “oh idk, should you spend the next four years indoors reading things or should you devote your life to standing in the rain and the mud while hundred of irrational wool-covered monsters leap at you while screaming their horrible herd animal scream?”

I suspect sheep-herding in iceland, a place where sheep have no natural predators, is different from in many other places.

I am pleased to know this, because I have considered this before.  
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 01:01
So Sunday I was feeling somewhat poorly... Sunday night I had a hard time getting to sleep for the coughing ... Monday there was no question of stepping out ... Tuesday I was still weak and sore, but much more coherent. Today, finally, I felt somewhat human again.

Therefore I wound up at work. phone is back from Australia. I had lunch with Purple and the guys. Purple was teasing me that oxygen isn't really necessary, because without oxygen, people don't complain at the lack ... therefore it isn't necessary ... right? I told him that he was one of the nicest assholes I knew. (That's the sort of compliment he likes.)

lb came by, and we strolled up in search of pastry. It was a slow stroll as my lungs were not all the way up to the hill yet. On our way back, I decided to try going through a nearby building to see if one of the people I knew from IRC was in. He was. I said goodbye, quite regretful that our first in-person meeting was both hello and goodbye.

One of the new hires had arrived while I was WFH-sick. I helped him navigate the helldesk in order to place the order for his new-hire software. As I popped back out of his office, one of the fellows from down the hall (towards the salesy side of engineering) stopped to tell me that I'd been very courageous on Thursday what with the asking inconvenient questions in public and all. (I hadn't felt *very* courageous, just a little bit. It gets easier after the first time, and it wasn't my dangerous question.)

I am still surprised to work in a place where people go out of their way to tell me that they like me and will miss me. I am still expecting the elementary school paradigm where I'm too weird, and then too oblivious to notice that everyone wants me to shut up and stop being weird at them.

The evening was a bit of an exercise in aslkjdfasdklfjalskdfj, as R had a sudden conference deadline, and therefore there was a bit of a scramble! Factors included: me being out sick, the high-quality photos being on the portable drive, the portable drive being Mac formatted, the general difficulty of getting things off a Mac-formatted drive when what you've got is Windows ...

... and the true helpful glory of a company full of very creative engineers who specialize in certain things, and have certain recommendations and pro tips. For example, they can tell me that certain paths are a fool's errand, and that possibly the simplest route is to plug the drive into an actual Mac. And some other things which might actually work. I decided I would try one of the other things first.

Purple said that he would have to take his hat off to me if I got stuff loaded without resorting to an actual Mac. (He doesn't wear a hat, so this will be hard.)

*gazes serenely at the progress bar*
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 08:47
via at February 04, 2016 at 01:45AM:


Main War Dad:Dick Winters

Literally the ultimate Dad

Looks after his boys and makes sure they get through ok even when he is too high up to lead them anymore

Firm but fair

Drinks tea and coffee and tries to keep Nix in check

Not a quaker 

Notices when things aren’t right with his boys eg. Doc in Bastogne (hell, everyone in Bastogne) and gives sensible advice

Has the respect of the entire company 

Is clean cut even in Bastogne

Has a sense of humour despite what people might think

Trusts his boys in Easy enough to run across a whole damn open field on his own so he can lead the charge


Scary War Dad:Ronald Speirs 

Speirs is that Dad that you dread telling about the stupid shit you’ve done because he will actually kick your ass

However when it comes down to it he is the Dad that will scare the shit out of anyone who tries to fuck with you like Speirs would fuck up the school bully like no-ones business

Like when the boys had a pretty incompetent CO like Dike, Speirs pretty much singlehandedly solved that problem

Can sometimes be encouraging???

This guy will have your back but don’t fuck up or he will fuck YOU up 

Don’t come home drunk.

I’m not a regular War Dad, I’m a cool War DadBuck Compton 

Gets on with the boys because he’s cool

Seriously Buck is that Dad that tries to be down with the kids by like gambling with them and playing darts and hanging out at the bar but will try and subliminally make sure they’re ok and survive through little tips and advice

Like when he was telling the guys not to do anything stupid like mess around with German guns and hurt themselves 

The most American man I have ever seen I have never seen anyone so American looking

Has his own problems and tries to hide them because Cool Dads don’t cry

Will put the boys first EVERY DAMN TIME

Low key really damn educated and smart 

Mid-Life Crisis War Dad

Lewis Nixon

Nix is the War Dad that will stay at the bar real late and not want to get up in the morning and never does any housework 

He’s also that asshole who will make fun of you pretty much all the time and try to embarrass you in front of your friends

Really does not give a shit

However is very smart and will sort shit out for you and get it done even if it means he’s really grumpy with you for a while

Will also make you laugh when you feel like shit

Nix would kinda let you do what you want like yeah you go gettem kid I’m gonna go lie down for 20 mins

EDIT: by very popular demand

Damn Fine War Dad

Harry Welsh

So Harry is that Dad that will pick you up from school and meet all your friends and your friends will end up liking him more than you

Though tbh you don’t really mind because all you wanna do is make this War Dad proud

Loves your ma so damn much like he would get her all the cute shit even though theres a war on and things are tight and would do anything for her 

Family man

All of the Dad jokes

Will grin and try not to laugh when his boys make a crude joke or does a rude impression and probs get told off by Main War Dad for encouraging them

Pretty chill like he probably wouldn’t be too mad at you if you fuck up seriously if you fuck up go to Harry and he’ll sort it out DO NOT GO TO SPEIRS

BONUS:War MomCarwood Lipton

Is very concerned about you 

Played by the nice Wahlberg 

Kinda polite and soft spoken and honest and a good leader and will help any of his boys out

Will tell his boys off but nicely

Gets pissed off when mistakes put his boys in harms way unnecessarily

Keep Calm And Carry On US edition  

1. If I had talent I would add “Norman S Dike Jr: WORST DAD”.

2. But no seriously Harry hauled his reserve chute from Normandy all the fuck over Europe. Why? Because it was white silk! And Harry is totally the guy who looks at a huge thing of white silk and thinks about rationing and goes OMG MY FIANCEE COULD MAKE HER WEDDING DRESS OUT OF THIS SHE’LL LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL.

3. Seriously if you fuck up do not go to Spiers.

Do not go to Spiers.  Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, do not go to Spiers. 
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 08:47
via at February 04, 2016 at 02:30AM:

Watch: Helen Mirren is starring in a Super Bowl ad from a pretty unlikely source.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 23:30
1. Posted my first manga of February! I'm glad I seem to have gotten on a schedule where I can post at least one or two things earlier in the month rather than everything all in a glut at the end. It's better to space things out a bit!

2. It was so nice to be able to sleep in and not have to wake up at six!

3. I have tomorrow off! I do have a couple work things I need to do from home tomorrow, but other than that, just concentrating on translating stuff. :)

4. We watched this week's Brooklyn Nine-Nine last night just me and Carla, and again tonight when Alexander was over, and while it's definitely an episode filled with embarrassment squick moments, it's a really good one. I especially liked the subplot with Holt and Gina.
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 00:37
One of our Christmas presents this year was a "Basic Wheel" class at Baltimore Clayworks, and if you are in the Baltimore area and are looking for a new creative outlet, I highly recommend them!

There are a wide range of classes, from "absolute beginner who just wants to try a one-day class to see if you like it" to "I am an experienced potter who wants to learn some new skills". They're just enrolling for spring sessions now; there's a range of class length from one day to three months. Prices are $120 for members and $140 for non-members for a one-month class and $355/$375 for three-month classes. (Membership starts at $40 per year for one person and $75 per year for two people, and it's tax-deductable; if you intend to take more than one class, it's a money-saver.) You can also arrange for "clay parties" if you and a bunch of friends want to get together and have a clay night.

Why it's awesome: The Baltimore Clayworks is a nonprofit org that combines class instruction with studio space for potters, and the classes are all taught by artists-in-residence, so you get instruction from working potters. The workspace is gorgeous; it's in the old Mt Washington branch of the Pratt Library and the conversion was really well-done. With your class registration, you get unlimited studio time (as long as there's a wheel free, and in our experience, there's usually a wheel free most nights of the week even when classes are scheduled; there are three classrooms total). Class tuition includes 25lb of clay and unlimited bisque firing. (Glaze firing is a small fee; if you're enrolled in a class, you get the student rates for glaze firing.) If you're a member, you can do work exchange for up to half your tuition waived for your first class and full tuition waver once you've established yourself as reliable.

The classes are fun, but the unlimited studio time makes this a fantastic deal. (We spent four hours tonight making stuff, for instance!) If you've been looking for a new creative thing to get into, or just think this sounds like fun, I highly recommend. Sarah and I can testify that the Basic Wheel class is suitable both for complete beginners who have never touched a wheel before (her) and people who used to be pretty darn good at this pottery thing 20+ years ago but haven't touched a wheel since (me; I did two years of independent study in ceramics during high school and then never went back to it).
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 20:48
Just determined I won't be going to Fogcon, so I'm feeling sad today. We had to pay taxes this year (when previously we always had a big refund), so the money was not going to work out. My sweetheart [personal profile] stonebender and his sweetheart [personal profile] loracs offered to pay a big chunk of the expenses, but there were other problems with going, so I'm not, and I'm sad, but it's not, on the whole, a bad thing. Now I have to decide whether to keep my upcoming vacation time or cancel it and use it for something I want to do later. On the other hand, my co-worker is going out on a long maternity leave in April, so maybe it would be good to take it while I can. Anyway. Don't have to decide today.


Have I read anything this week besides work papers and Twitter? I don't actually think I have!


Literally every previously quiet moment in my brain is taken up by snippets of Hamilton. Over. And over. And over. Still obsessed. I bought myself the soundtrack and pre-ordered the book, and it's SUPER tempting to spend way more money than I have to get tickets to the San Francisco run.

I used to listen to Here & Now on the way to work, and Marketplace on the way home from work, but now I take the kid to school in the morning and drive my student worker to the trolley after work, so I don't. I miss it, but not enough to ask the kids to listen to NPR with me.


Mostly Two Dots. I keep hearing that The Witness is wonderful, but my download failed and I didn't try a second time.


James and I re-watched the Blade series and all the monster movies we own, and now we're re-watching Austin Powers. Before I met him, I had only two or three movies I ever re-watched. Now we watch the same ones over and over. It leaves my mind free for other stuff, and he likes sharing the chill time.

No Jessica Jones this week. The kid just started school and work got busy for me, so we're both too tired to bother.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 19:35

Title: All Out!!
Author: Amase Shiori
Publisher: Morning Comics
Genre: Seinen
Status in Japan: 7 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations + Anima Regia
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Gion Kenji is short and perpetually pissed off about it. Iwashimizu Sumiaki is tall but timid. Although it's bullies that bring this unlikely pair together on the first day of high school, it's the rugby club that will make them friends.

Chapter Summary: Gion figures out the secret to a good tackle, but will the knowledge alone be enough to bring down Sekizan?

Chapter 4: Last
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 17:39
What are you currently reading?

Alan Dean Foster's Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelisation, mostly. Plus a book of Australian short stories. And some stuff for work.

Recently read?

Summer's EndSummer's End by Harper Bliss

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blech. I mentioned to a friend I'd been reading some Riptide romances, and said friend recommended Harper Bliss for f/f romance. This was on kindle, so why not? Many reasons why not, it turns out: white people in an "exotic" location of emotional self-discovery or whatever. White people in S-E Asia who have lived there for many years and yet inexplicably still go swimming at midday (seriously, recipe for DYING OF SUNBURN, much?).

Many of these things I could overlook. I could even, on the basis of genre, overlook "healthy summer romance turns into co-dependent long-distance wtf". But if I wanted Magical Healing Cock (seriously! It was a dildo, but nevertheless, it was a Magical Healing Dildo) I'd go read early 2000s slash fiction.

Star Wars: Before the AwakeningStar Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was fun! I wasn't sold on Rucka's Finn story - especially not when Alan Dean Foster's Finn POV snippets in the novelisation are much more plausible, and do more with less - but Rey and Poe's were both great.

Funeral Games: A Novel of Alexander the Great: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC)Funeral Games: A Novel of Alexander the Great: A Virago Modern Classic by Mary Renault

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hmmm. I'm not sure that I liked the super-wide scope of this one, with so many focalising characters. It was necessary, I suppose, to encompass the full political spectrum, but it felt like it was short-changing most of the possible character work. Bagoas, in particular, had no character development. I felt like I would have rather read a novel solely about Ptolemy, or solely about Euridyce, than one which tried to do all these things at once: but neither of those would necessarily have been a good conclusion to the Alexander trilogy.

Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You AreFresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You Are by Robin G. Robertson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Less interesting than I'd hoped.

Up Next:

Well, I bought a compendium of novelisations of the prequel trilogy, which might allow me to revisit Attack of the Clones with less pain than would be induced by having to watch Hayden Christian and remember that I once found him attractive.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 00:23
1. Normally Wednesday is my early day and I have to be at work by 6.30, which I don't love. But tomorrow I don't have to go in until ten-ish! Which means I don't even have to set my alarm, because I'll definitely wake up before then.

2. We had a really super delicious stir-fry for dinner and there's lots left over.

3. I'm still very pleased with my haircut from last week. I finally got around to taking a picture tonight because I definitely want to keep a reference for next time.

Haircut photo! )
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 23:05
Here's a bunny!

(source: [ profile] carrot666 by way of [ profile] kaberabbits)

Now that I've got your attention: my friend Erica is raising money for much-needed trauma therapy and could use your help. I've known her IRL for ten years and can vouch for her as much as I can for anyone in the world; she's a real person and the money will go to do what it says on the tin. Erica is someone who's supported me in a myriad of ways, and I'm not the only one, so if you help her, you'll be helping me.

If you have a couple bucks to spare: do it to support an intersectional social justice writer, do it to support a disabled queer trans woman of color, do it to redistribute wealth, or just do it because that would make me happy. Here's the link to her fundraiser. I reserve the right to keep nagging you all until she meets her goal.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 12:48
The new cold set me back a bit healthwise, but I'm back now to where I was two weeks ago, which is coughing more than I want to but not enough to really slow me down. Symphony chorus rehearsals started back last night and I was fine, if a bit relieved we only went 90 minutes instead of the full two hours.

Finally found a second car on Friday. It's a 2008 Subaru Outback that Robby found on Craigslist, and we only had to drive about an hour instead of all the way to Tennessee. Our first grown-up car was an Impreza and he really missed driving a Subaru. He is thrilled with the Outback. I am thrilled to have Benny the RAV4 back.

Finally saw The Force Awakens in IMAX on Friday night. Funny story: there was an accident on the interstate and we showed up at 7:10 for the 7pm screening, the last of the day. They had just closed the registers for the evening and couldn't sell us tickets - so the staff manager waved us in, no charge. So now I've seen it on the biggest screen available... but it still didn't feel as big as seeing the original Star Wars in a drive-in theater when I was six. I guess everything is relative.

Finally ordered the new Mac Mini I've been wanting for months. I decided to go with the 1TB Fusion drive, instead of all-or-nothing on the SSD vs HD option. Since it was a custom order, I won't get it until next week sometime.

I haven't set up the Windows PC for the kids yet, but I am making progress on the necessary house cleaning that needs to happen first. I decided to hold off upgrading my iPad to iOS 9, but I did update the kids' iPad and my mom's iPhone. I haven't helped my mom with her new laptop yet, but there will be plenty of time for that after this week, because her last day of work is Thursday. (I guess I'm burying the lede on that one, but yeah, my mom is finally retiring.)

So things are decent for the moment. Robby got the Christmas tree down. Our garage door broke last week, which was aggravating, but it got fixed Monday morning. The kids had their dentist appointments last week and their doctor visits are scheduled for President's Day. Cam Newton and Peyton Manning are going to face off in the Super Bowl, which should be pretty great.

February is always a busy month for me anyway because of the boys' birthdays. No firm plans yet, but that just means I need to be prepared to be spontaneous.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 12:02
Well, yesterday I woke up well-rested and feeling cheerful and positive. I had my usual tea and I thought I'd get a million things done!

...aaaaand then I proceeded to completely squander my day. Although I did have plenty of guilt-fuelled energy in the afternoon to do chores around the house.

Today, I woke up sleepy and sad about yesterday's fail and feeling down on myself. I had my homemade mocha and I have been very very productive. I have revamped my synopsis with edits from [profile] zulu_mom, and I feel good about the changes: the various storylines are now, I think, more balanced in terms of happy/sad/ambiguous endings. I've sent it to [personal profile] bell to get another fresh read with the changes in place, just to make sure I haven't left anything dangling.

So it goes...