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A Valley Full of Clouds

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Jul. 6th, 2009 @ 09:55 pm
kethlenda posted a link to this really thoughtful article on New Age bullies. Unfortunately, I've known more than a few of these types. The ones who mouth platitudes about 'creating your own reality' in a way that essentially works out to victim blaming. The ones who think child sexual abuse victims somehow deserve it because they were abusers in a previous life.

I don't actually believe in past lives anymore, but if I'm wrong and there is such a thing, I'm pretty sure that it isn't as simple as abuser becomes abused. Life isn't that neat. And sure, we do, to an extent, create the reality we inhabit, but there's also an objective reality, one of cancer and land mines and car accidents, where rapists are responsible for rape, not victims.

And in my opinion, any belief which leads us anywhere other than towards compassion with the suffering of others is false religion.

Long time, no update Jul. 6th, 2009 @ 02:58 pm
I realize I haven't updated in ages - school is basically kicking my butt this semester. It isn't particularly hard so much as it's time consuming. 18 weeks' worth of work done in 10, and by the time I finish being online for that, it's very hard to be online for anything else.

Like yesterday, I worked through part of my module for Research Methods, then spent 2 hours trying to find websites to help me understand kurtosis (which sounds like a disease. "Did you hear about Sally? She's got chronic kurtosis of the elbow, poor dear...". By the time I'd finished with that, I didn't want to go near my computer, so spent it doing laundry and working on Pennsic garb.

I've redone my Greenland gown pattern to get rid of the non-period princess-y lines and have finished one, cut the second. I've also done the assembly work on an early period undergown, just need to hand finish the seams. Two more of those, a new Viking apron & caftan, at least one peplos and a couple of hoods to go.

Originally, I'd intended to go up to Summer Wars, then decided I would stay home and get caught up with school while Robert went. Well, he woke up and didn't feel like going, and as much as he tries to stay out of my way, when he's home, I get almost nothing done. So we had a quiet 4th - Ellen and Tim came over and we went to Hampton to a gun show, then back here for a cookout. After, we walked down to peer at fireworks through the yards of some of the waterfront properties.

This week, I've got a quiz and a midterm, need to keep on with Pennsic prep and I really want to get back to writing something. I miss it. :(

Archimedes Palimpsest Jun. 24th, 2009 @ 09:50 am
The professor for the no-syllabus class posted a link to the Archimides Palimpsest Project. Fascinating stuff for anyone interested in medieval bookbinding, historical preservation, digital imaging, the survival of ancient texts, or ancient and medieval history in general.

The project is 10 years old, so everybody else has probably already seen this, but it's new to me - I loved the videos of the conservator disassembling the book, and the explanations of the science involved in imaging. Most awesome.

Jun. 23rd, 2009 @ 11:38 am
I just spent an hour going through the list of A&S classes for Pennsic. Why are the classes I want to take:

1) all offered at the same time and
2) only offered once?

And also, if you are teaching a class that has no hands-on component and it's 2 hours long, you had better be a very interesting teacher. 2 hours of listening to talk + stifling hot tent = ZZZZZZ

Camelot? It's a silly place... Jun. 21st, 2009 @ 09:06 pm
As near as I can tell, the only relation Merlin bears to Arthurian legend is the character names. It's fantasy, so I can forgive the bizarre clothing and the magic, and even the tomatoes they were hurling at Merlin when he was in the stocks, but considering the richness of the source material, seems like they could have done better than Camelot 90210 with Arthur the bully picking on nerdy Merlin.


I'll probably continue to watch to see if it gets better, but as of now, I am less than impressed.

Leaves of Three, Let it Be Jun. 16th, 2009 @ 10:41 pm
Or, Leaves of three, Round-up the poor thing to within an inch of its life.

Yes, I just killed what I think is a large bed of raspberry plants because in the dusk, this looks vaguely like this. It wasn't till I was walking back towards the house that I noticed that some of the "poison ivy" had little red growths. This is part of the yard that was basically hidden by the jungle we had removed last year. I had no idea there were raspberry bushes in there.


Oh well, there really is poison ivy, a lot of it, actually, in the bed so I probably would have had to uproot or kill it all anyway.

I had a good time at Golden Rose, even though I didn't get to see or talk to very many people. It was just too hot. As long as I stayed under the shade back by the trees, it wasn't so bad, but the one or two times I came out to the field, even under someone's day shade, was just unbearable. I swear, the weather this year has been downright weird. The last couple of days have been really cool, the weekend was sweltering, and last week we had hurricane strength winds. What's next? Snow?

The tree company is coming tomorrow to take out the two fallen trees and relieve me of $500, oh joy. Better than doing it myself - I have a fear of chainsaws, probably stemming from viewing Texas Chainsaw Massacre at an impressionable age. I think it was at a drive in. I miss drive ins.

Not much else going on - I've been doing a lot of reading, library books, mostly. I finished Elizabeth Bear's Seven for a Secret, which is sort of a sequel to New Amsterdam, and my biggest complaint was that it wasn't long enough. It's a novelette or novella (never sure what the cut off is there), and I'd love to have had more, especially about the cut for spoilers and people who don't careCollapse )

Am starting in on January Dancer, a SF about an ancient artifact found in space. I'm hoping for a Lovecraftian sort of thing, though judging from the cover blurb, I think it's focused more on the people who want the artifact than the artifact itself. Still worth a go, though.

Weekend Jun. 12th, 2009 @ 10:43 am
Golden Rose is back on - Robert gets his bonus today (not the retention bonus, sadly, just the normal annual one) so we can afford to pay the tree service and go to the event. And he's committed to doing a minor heavy authorization, so we're leaving after work tonight.

I'm very excited and totally unprepared. Thank God we don't have to haul much stuff and can take the smaller car.

Hope to see some of you there!

In the dark.... Jun. 9th, 2009 @ 07:51 pm
Huge storm came through this afternoon - I mean HUGE. We have tons of large branches down and one tree, and the house is running on the generator, which means freezer, fridge and one or two lights. It also means we have to buy a chain saw (our is hosed) and spend the weekend cutting up trees, so no Rose Tourney. It was iffy anyway, considering how expensive the trip to SC and then the plumber we had in this weekend was, but now it's absolutely off.

I'm at Starbucks, mainly because I wanted to see what response I'd got to the email I sent my adviser asking about dropping the 'Syllabus, we don't need no steenkin syllabus' class. No response yet. I have till 6/15 to drop and still get 80% refund. Sadly, it's too late for 100%.

Thank you, everyone, who gave me opinions on dropping - you all pretty much echoed what I already knew. I may still stick it out - I'm quite sure I'd get a good grade (just try giving me a bad one, considering there are NO standards. I'll go all the way to the university president with that), and it's only 10 weeks. If I drop, that will mean 3 classes in the fall, which would suck. This whole semester is just going to be annoying anyway, as the other class has way too much group work (I hate group work - I refuse to have my grade damaged by people who don't participate or who can't formulate an English sentence with, you know, verbs that agree with subjects.)

Oh well, battery dying, and I need to go pick up more gas for the generator. I'll reply to email and comments when the power is back.

Weekend May. 31st, 2009 @ 08:54 pm
I haven't updated for a while, sorry. We left Friday evening to drive down to Landrum, South Carolina to stay with Robert's sister Linda and her husband Doug and my MiL. My stepdaughter Kirstyn had flown in from Arkansas to stay a week before she spends the rest of the summer teaching English in Ukraine, so we wanted to see her. Ellen and Tim drove down and Thomas came over Saturday, so we had a nice little family reunion.

It was very nice, but OMG, Linda's house (which I'd never seen before) is gorgeous. I forgot my camera, so bought a disposable and as soon as I get the pictures back, I'll put a few up, because this place is unreal. It's built into the side of a mountain, 3 stories, about 4000 square feet, I think, all windows and mountain views and lovely professional landscaping. Downside, it's in a gated community, The Cliffs at Glassy, very retired yuppie. Blah.

Ellen was so funny - she wouldn't let Tim get onto the tree swing (it hung over a rock and a fairly rapid descent) and then she wouldn't go to sleep alone because Linda doesn't have curtains in most rooms (no neighbors anywhere near) and she was afraid a bear would see her through the glass and eat her. Or maybe it was glass monsters. I have no idea, but it was so cute. Gotta love those pregnancy hormones.

We stopped at Ikea in Charlotte on the way through and picked up some stuff, then finally made it home around 5, made dinner, mowed the lawn and that's about it. I have a gazillion emails and other online stuff to deal with, but I think that's going to wait till tomorrow.

It's very good not to be in the car.

Just rambling, mostly. May. 21st, 2009 @ 10:15 am
I didn't get much done yesterday - a few buttonholes on the gown, a brief poke at some editing, but it was just too gorgeous to be indoors. So I worked in the yard, putting in a couple of new tomato plants and a row of zucchini (which I'll regret later when I have to eat it all), and continuing my war against the Virginia creeper that tries to eat our yard every year.

We also got our tent canvas re-folded. It's been in a kind of jumble since we dried it out after Crown. So today, in theory, we pack the Tahoe and trailer, and then head up the road tomorrow around 3:00. In theory.

I'm really stoked about this weekend - we haven't been able to really 'do' Sapphire for several years because of family commitments, and it's one of my favorite events.

In other news, last Friday, I ordered some new sandals for work from this place that wasn't Zappos and they're still not here yet. I checked the confirmation email they sent me when I ordered and it said 6-8 days. I realize that in the scheme of things, that's not very long, but it's annoying me, and definitely not worth the $5 I saved. Next time, Zappos.

On the other hand, considering I've had the heat on at home 2 of the last 3 days, I'm not sure I really needed sandals anyway.

To Do Today (for me, mostly)
1 hour of revision work
Finish buttonholes
Sew neckline
Mark hem to sew in car
Clean out car and trailer
Pack garb and accessories.

Is it time to go home yet? Please?

Oh, and to prove how juvenile I am, one of the genealogical resources I was looking at lists bondsmen for early Virginia marriages, and it abbreviates bondsman 'BDSM.'

Other entries
» Baby Picture!! Kinda sorta...
It's a boy!Collapse )

They tell me there's a penis in there somewhere.

So now they're trying out boys' names. Tim likes Jonas, but I think Jonas Elsass is too many ssss'ssss. Pity the poor kid if he has a lisp - it will be like Life of Brian - "Hail Thaethar!"

Today was our annual open house at work, so too much cake and too much smiling at people. Ugh. After work, I went over to Central Library's local history/genealogy room and poked around the family tree. My maternal grandfather's family started out in Fauquier County, Virginia (actually, started in whatever FC was before it was FC, but I'm not back that far yet.)

It's embarrassing! My ancestors were deadbeats. I mean, these guys were being sued over money CONSTANTLY. Seems like not paying bills is a genetic disorder. Going through the Fauquier County Minute Books from 1759 to 1780, members of my family were involved in 24 different court actions. About 3 of those involved the probate of an estate, but the rest were all financial.

I have a lot of projects to finish up before Sapphire plus a ton of editing to do, so spending 2 hours pouring over tax records and land deeds probably wasn't the smartest way to spend an afternoon, but it's like hunting for buried treasure. I'll catch up on the sewing later tonight, and tomorrow afternoon is devoted to editing. Yeah, right.
» SCA garb question
My Google Fu has failed. I'm looking for a website with instructions on the best method to set center gores. I know at one point I had some good instructions for doing that, possibly from an A&S class? but I can't find them now, of course, because I need them.

» Is it 2010 yet?
Oh, Lost. I love you so much.

» Gardening, Garb and Grad School
I went outside yesterday to rake up some more of the side yard - the part we had de-forested last year while we were at Pennsic. I'm planning on putting my vegetable garden there, once all the weeds and ivy and mulch is raked up. Worked about 5 minutes and then the rake handle cracked in half. Oh well.

So since God didn't seem to want me to garden, I headed up into the SCA room and started going through the fabric stash.

O.M.G. I have lengths of fabric that I have no clue why I ever bought, including some "wool" that no self-respecting sheep would lay claim to. I think it's going to the Marinus yard sale at Birthday - I firmly believe that every piece of fabric has a home, just not MY house. But among the utter crap, I found 6 yards of a decent light blue linen so I cut out a gown.

SCA costume wibbleCollapse )

I need some more linen for Pennsic projects - anyone have favorite online fabric stores? I've bought from Fabrics-Store.com before and it's okay, but I'd really like to try some other places.

Lost season finale tonight. I have no idea what, if anything, I'm going to be watching on TV come next week because everything I like is finishing up this week. Oh, and speaking of TV season finales, my husband really annoyed me, because we were barely 5 minutes into the House finale when he Spoilers for House and BonesCollapse )

I also did my management final yesterday. I am so glad I didn't bother to study. Open book, multiple choice, with the questions lifted directly from the text of the book. I realize this class is kept easy because librarians aren't generally all that keen on management and because it's designed to be taught with the meatgrinder Organization of Information course, but still. I had harder classes at Tidewater Community College.
» A real update
First things first - Ellen's wedding was 2 weeks ago tomorrow, and it went fine. The weather cooperated, Tim's family turned out to be lovely people, and the park was beautiful

PicturesCollapse )

They actually stayed here the first night and then moved over to his house on Wednesday - I took her out and bought her pots and pans and other kitcheny things that bachelor guys who live on ramen and pizza don't generally have, she took the dishes from my parents' house, and as far as I know, they're getting along fine. He leaves for boot camp mid-July and she's coming back here then and will stay here until he's sent somewhere permanent.

Crown was great - enough people have already posted about it that I won't bother, except to say it was really cool hanging out with people I don't see all the time, and the relatively small size gave it an old-SCA feel that I rarely get at large kingdom events anymore. Next event up for us is Sapphire, followed by University (for me, at least), the Golden Rose Tourney and Marinus Birthday.

One thing, though - it was humid enough that I was having trouble spinning my wool, so I picked up some silk I'd bought at Pennsic last year and decided to mess with it. I'd never successfully spun silk before, but I had the small spindle from Spanish Peacock, and it worked beautifully. I've now got 200 - 300 yards of silk singles. It's not even enough to use as embroidery yarn, but that shouldn't matter so much in weaving. I think it's going to be a veil.

So the Bayeux Tapestry project is kind of on hold due to distraction by the Shiny.
» Finally!
I have my computer back! Applecare was worth every penny. They fixed my laptop, no charge and it's now back in my lap where it belongs. I really thought I was going to have to replace it, because there's no doubt in my mind that the damage was caused by the juice, but apparently someone up there likes me.

Sadly, it didn't come back early enough to save me having to rebuild my project database, but I got it in time to finish up the project and submit it on my REAL computer.

Now, maybe I can get caught up on email and comment replies and actually be online once in a while. I hope.

It's raining again. Still. Always. I'm thinking about investing in an ark company.

Anyway, I'll try to do a proper update tomorrow - hope everybody's been well. I haven't really been on LJ much in the past couple of weeks so I know I've missed lots of posts.
» Blackstone
Blackstone Raids was most awesome, though the 3 hours it took us to get to the Richmond Beltway was not. I was ready to turn around and go home, except that the traffic going the other way looked just as bad, so we pushed on.

The weather was fabulous, though the wind kept knocking over the spear we were using to support the center of our day shade. On the drive home, we made the decision to redo the poles and configuration so we're not relying on spears anymore. Best part was spending some time catching up with Talymar and Melisande. It's hard for me to believe that I've known George for 25 years - I think this Christmas is the 25th anniversary of my joining the household. Over half my life. I feel old.

One thing that bothered me about the event, though, was the mundanes. The site wouldn't allow us to keep them out, which is fine - I've been to a lot of events with mundanes on site, but these were something else. A group of kids with a couple of adults (I think it was a Boy Scout troop) just came up and sat down in Mungoe and Siobhan's tent so they could watch the fighting in the shade. They didn't ask, just sat. I expect better of that from Boy Scouts. Later, when we were cooking our dinner, a couple of kids came over, saying their mom had sent them to see if we were selling food. When we said no, they asked for drinks.

At that point, I got kind of short, and told them to go and see their mother if they needed something to drink. Seriously, what kind of mom sends her elementary school kids to a group of strangers in funny clothes sitting around a brazier drinking wine to ask for food?

Still waiting on word from Apple. I miss my computer very very much. :(
» Friday!!!!
Still basically computerless at home, but I've almost definitely made the decision to replace, not repair. Looking at it logically and considering that I was going to buy a memory upgrade anyway, the difference between repair and replacement with a machine with more memory and a better hard drive than mine is about 1/3 more.

So as soon as word comes down from the Mac Gods on high that my repair isn't covered (which I already know), I'm going shopping.

Yesterday after work I got my hair done and then we went over to help paint Tim's house. Ellen was complaining that she doesn't really feel at home there - she says he only lives in his bedroom, which bothers her. It's a very nice house in what looks like a decent neighborhood in Newport News - 4 bedrooms, living room, kitchen with dining area, screen porch, bath and a half, but it's been a bachelor pad and it looks it. We worked on painting, I did some cleaning all the while channeling my mom who used to come and clean my house. There's more to do, so I'll be going back next week, I'm sure.

Then we stopped for dinner at KFC. Oh. My. Freaking. God. I have never had such crappy service at a fast food restaurant in my life. Every time I go to one of those places, I swear I'll never go back. But I do.

Off to Blackstone Raids today, home on Sunday to do some intensive cleaning before Jehan and Samara come in Sunday night. I hope everybody has a great weekend!
» Whining, mostly
Computers don't like apple juice, not even Apple computers. I discovered that this morning when a small glass of juice went leaping out of my hand to slop over the speakers and keyboard of my Macbook Pro. I sopped it up, and it seemed like everything was fine.

Till I got home and found the screen black and the battery not charging. Panicked call to Applecare, an appointment at the Apple store, and now my computer is on its way to wherever they send them with a probable repair cost of $1200, because apple juice is not covered by the warranty. We're hoping it's covered under the computer rider on our homeowner's - they fixed my old one when I dropped it.

There's also the possibility that it might not be fixable, and to be honest, I'm not sure I want to spend $1200 fixing a nearly 2 year old computer when I can replace it with a better one for $2k. We'll see.

But in the meantime, I'm on Robert's old laptop, which does everything veeeeeerrrrry sloooooooowllllly. My laptop actually worked - it just didn't have a screen anymore, so the 'genius' was able to hook it up to a monitor so I could grab a bunch of my files and stick them on a flash drive, but unfortunately, one thing I couldn't back up was the database I created for my Information Organization class. Which means I have to recreate it from the specs in the report, and re-enter all the data in time to have it tested and write my final report by Wednesday.

All while getting ready for my daughter's wedding, preparing for family from out of town and going to Blackstone Raids. I should just stay home and work, but darn it, I want to go to this event.

Anyway, my access is going to be limited for a while because this thing is just too frustrating to be on very long, and I can't read my Cox account email without going to the webmail site, so anyone mailing me through that, expect delays in replying.
» Unreal.
Dear Virginia Beach ComIT people:

Thank you so much for installing Office 2007 on my computer last night. There's nothing I'd rather do than spend 45 minutes trying to get my email to load. It won't even come up in safe mode and I'm afraid to even try to open Word or Excel. Seriously, seeing "not responding" next to a program five or six times in the space of 15 minutes thrills me to the bottom of my heart - it's better than chocolate, better than ice cream, better than... Okay, when I start to sound like a Sarah MacLachlan song, it's time to move on.

And as you're such experts on technology, perhaps you can explain to me how exactly you expect Office 2007 to run on our 10 year old hardware? As we have pointed out many times, these computers are already so slow they make turtles look like cheetahs in comparison.

No love,

Yeah, not the greatest morning so far. And if the rumors are true and they're going to put Vista on these dinosaur machines, I'm going to haul the typewriter out of the back and revert to the 70's. I'm sure I've got a polyester body suit and some bell bottoms somewhere in my closet.
» Update
Update, with cuts to spare the flist.

SCA BOD meetingCollapse )

Current A&S StuffCollapse )

genealogyCollapse )

schoolCollapse )

FamilyCollapse )
» Have anvil, will travel
I went up to Tir-y-don tonight and learned how to make brass needles! It was easier than I thought, and the end product actually works. All my needles went through the sample wool and linen, plus easily through my jeans. Not through the fleece sweatshirt I was wearing, though. It didn't like that very much.

Lookie!Collapse )

I'm watching this silly thing on Spike comparing Vikings and Samurai. It's frelling hilarious. Apparently there was no farming among the Norse because all their land was ice. So they all had to be raiders. And Samurai swords really rock at cutting up dead pigs.
» Belated Weekend Update
Coronation was lovely. Beautiful weather (okay, a bit cold and windy in the late afternoon), a cool site, and the chance to talk to some people I don't see very often. We used the day shade and it was just big enough, and oh, so much easier to put up and take down than the baronial pavilion. I brought two projects - a knitted mundane sock and my drop spindle and some wool. I tried knitting, but could not make myself sit there in Viking garb with knitting needles - it was anachronism overload, sorry. And anyway, seeing what isenglass was knitting made me want to snap my needles and throw them out. Wow.

One thing, though. Either I A) lose 10 pounds or B) I make all new garb for Pennsic. The budget won't allow option B, so it's time to cut back on the snacks. (She says, as she munches pretzels...) I do want to make some new stuff, though particularly the gown baronessadriana was wearing, one of the Greenland dresses, can't recall the number, but it looked so incredibly comfortable, perfect Pennsic wear.

The wool I was spinning was for my new project - Details here, probably not of interest to anybody not a fibers geekCollapse )

Anyway, so that's what I'm up to, SCA-wise. I also cleaned my workshop and want to get out the sand casting kit and mess with that too.
» And the 2009 Total Failure Award Goes To...
Amazon. Which is made of Fail. What follows is long, but I'm not cutting. I think everybody on my flist knows how to use a mouse, and I rarely post long entries.

A few days back, some authors began to notice that the Amazon rankings for their books had vanished. These are the numbers you find under the basic bibliographic information on Amazon titles that tell how your book is selling in relation to all titles on Amazon, or other books categorized similarly to yours. Authors can use these rankings to get a general idea of sales figures. Readers can use the category rankings to choose books that may be of interest based on other readers' purchasing decisions.

All well and good. Unless your book is deemed as 'adult' by Amazon, then, no rankings information is now being provided. One author asked Amazon why his rankings disappeared and this is what he got back:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D
Member Services
Amazon.com Advantage

(Copied from here.)

Right. Here's the kicker – adult, to Amazon, seems to be anything categorized as erotica and anything with gay or lesbian content, or at least anything that has been tagged or marketed as gay/lesbian interest. Only not exactly 'anything,' as you will see, based on searches of Amazon and Amazon UK.

Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet? Adult. No rankings.

Alan Moore's Lost Girls? Not adult. Ranking. (This is an adult graphic novel. Trust me on this one.)

Mark Probst's The Filly, a YA novel dealing with gay themes? Adult. No ranking.

Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love, Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove, Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley? Explicit heterosexual romances. Not adult. Ranking.

Alex Beecroft's False Colours and Erastes' Transgressions? Explicit gay romances. Adult. No ranking.

Nookii: The Grownup Game for Playful Couples? Not adult. Ranking.

The Dildo Master DVD? Not adult. Ranking.

Realistic White Boy Vibrating Dildo. Not adult. Ranking.

You see what I'm getting at? Tell me why a YA novel about a young man trying to make sense of his sexuality is somehow more offensive than a movie in which the product description finishes with: If you fancy some filthy but fun, top notch German hardcore, you should get your hands on this one.?

Or why Tipping the Velvet, which was Library Journal's Best Book of the Year for 1999, the New York Times Notable Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award (among other things) is adult and must not show up in searches and rankings, where Lost Girls, in which Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan's Wendy and Alice from Alice in Wonderland meet up and engage in explicitly drawn lesbian sex is just fine and dandy?

Look, I'm not knocking Lost Girls or any of the rest of these titles that haven't been affected. My point is that if Amazon's goal is to protect the kiddies from adult material, they fail. Utterly. Even if you accept that their intentions are good, they've set themselves an impossible task. They have thousands of items listed - there is no way they can go through that big a database and evaluate each item for 'adult' content. They're making decisions based on sweeping generalizations and that never, ever ends well.

Amazon might want to take a page from the American Library Association and let parents be the arbiters of what's appropriate for their children. I'm not big on telling people what to do, but if you buy books from Amazon (or even if you don't) and feel moved to do so, you can contact them and let them know what you think.

(Note that the information on rankings/lack of rankings is current as of 4/13/2009, and of course may be changed by Amazon without notice. )
» Death by Writer
OMG, House How could you??Collapse )

I spent the weekend basically reclining on the couch, which sucked. Friday afternoon I tried to pick up a 50 pound bag of charcoal at BJs and did something to my back. I could stand up, or I could lie down, but I couldn't sit. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be revising and editing my draft 3 which was due today. Instead I read Stephen King books ('Salem's Lot and Tommyknockers. I had forgotten just how incredibly good King is when he's on. Parts of 'Salem's Lot read like poetry, and nobody builds atmosphere like King. I don't care if the literary types look down on him - the man is a master of his genre.

After many hours with a heating pad and a couple of Vicodin, my back is better. So today I killed myself getting my draft done. I'll be glad when this semester is over.
» Is it Friday yet?
This week has just been dragging by.

I bought Easter candy and baskets and such to send out to the grandkids - it's fun buying tons of chocolate to give to kids who live far away. That way I don't have to be around for the sugar rush. Of course, I also won't be there to see their faces either.

I'm not sure what we're doing this weekend. I need to finish the final draft of section 3 of the project, but beyond that? Probably yard work, plus I want to try and make something new for Coronation. Not sure what - I guess I should start with assessing the fabric stash. I'm too fat to fit in my GFD pattern right now. I have a Greenland gown pattern that's larger, so maybe that. Or Viking. Can't go wrong with Viking.
» Random
I've just submitted my preliminary draft 3. It's crap, but it's done, and I have a week before the final version has to go to the instructor - this one is just for peer review.

Officers' meeting tonight, and I really enjoyed it, which is disturbing. I think I need a social life.

I have almost 5000 songs on my iPod, so tell me why, when it's set on random shuffle and I play 10 songs, 3 of them are ABBA songs. It is a curse.

OTOH, it was quite cool when "Spoonful of Sugar" was immediately followed by that bit of the Return of the King soundtrack where Sam and Frodo are clawing their way up Mt. Doom.

"FInd the element of fun in this job, you black-booted, snooty b*tch."
» Sigh
Dear Political Bloggers:

Harry Carey was a silent film star. (The baseball announcer spelled it Caray)

The Japanese method of suicide is generally spelled hara-kiri.

Complaining that a Senator suggested the AIG execs should commit harry carey makes you look too lazy or stupid to use Wikipedia.

And there is something deeply wrong in our education system when an adult has to go onto an SCA email list to find out why we have a president instead of a king. I'm not slamming the questioner - but assuming she grew up in the U.S., someone (a whole lot of someones, really) failed this woman. It is absolutely impossible for anyone to be an active, informed citizen in a democracy if they have don't have at least a basic understanding of our history and of the principles of the Constitution.

This makes me sad.
» Death by Metaphor
Oh dear God. This has to be some of the worst writing I've ever seen. I can only think that the author was having us on, making some kind of joke. Trying to see how absurd he could be and still get away with it.

Because nobody could seriously write something like this:

Her face had the fragrance of a gibbous moon. The scent of fresh snow. Her eyes were dark birds in fresh snow. They were the birds' shadows, they were mirrors; they were the legends on old charts. They were antique armor and the tears of dragons. Her brows were a raptor's sharp, anxious wings. They were a pair of scythes. Her ears were a puzzle carved in ivory. Her teeth were her only bracelet; she carried them within the red velvet purse of her lips. Her tongue was amber. Her tongue was a ferret, an anemone, a fox caught in the teeth of a tiger.

And on and on, ad nauseum, describing every square inch of this poor woman's body.

Do scroll down and see the artist's rendition of the girl being described. It's terrifying.
» Saturday
As some of you will have noticed, we didn't make it to Tir-y-don's birthday. We got up a bit past 7 with the best of intentions, but Robert hadn't slept well, and while I was off at the grocery, he fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up till nearly noon. By that time, given the distance to the site and that we couldn't stay for dinner, it didn't seem worth the time or money. I'm sorry about that as I always enjoy Tir-y-don's events a lot.

What we did instead was do our taxes, spend a ton of money and do yard work. I got my payment from IGMS, and used some of it to buy a new lawn mower (the riding mower can't fit into the fenced yard) and Lost Season 4. While we were at Lowes picking up the mower, we saw that they had this lawn sweeper, last year's model, at $100 off. We have a huge problem with pine straw and magnolia cones, so figured it was worth a try.

The darn thing works like magic. We swept 15 bags of yard debris out of one half of the front yard and are going to tackle the second half tomorrow, and then put down a ton of grass seed. Very non-thrilling, but necessary.

Robert is asleep on the couch again, Ellen is off with her boyfriend (of course) and I'm going to spend the evening editing, reading, and watching Lost, not necessarily in that order. Hope you all had a good Saturday!
» All this has happened before, and all this will happen again. In reruns.
Um. Yeah. The BSG finale = awesome battles and a great big helping of WTF.

SpoilersCollapse )
» Stupid People Are Stupid
Okay, you have to file a particular legal form. You have to file 5 copies, in fact. So would you:

1) Print one copy of the form, fill it out, then photocopy it 4 times? OR

2) Print out five copies and fill them all in individually.


Though I guess this woman was smarter than the one who took 5 blank copies of the form up to the court clerk and tried to file them. She said that nobody told her she had to actually put information INTO the form before filing it.

This is why the world will always need lawyers.

I was alone at work today so instead of working or printing out the readings for class I need, I played on the two paid genealogy databases we have access to. While I'm grateful that the names I'm looking for aren't as common as John Smith, I could wish that spelling was a bit more standardized back in the day. One particular family name shows up in (so far) 5 variants.

I think we're going to go over for the newcomers' gathering tonight. I need to stop at Central Library and submit some ILL requests first, though. Nothing SCA related - it's all boring genealogy books, obscure stuff about cemeteries and tax records.
» Drooling, sorry
There's a lawyer in here right now who looks exactly like a slightly thinner Oliver Reed in Three Musketeers.

» Politics, Sorry.
Cut for political rantsCollapse )
» (No Subject)
I'm on spring break, yay! Though I can't really take the week off as I've got part 3 of the Project of Doom due at the end of the month. This segment involves writing a controlled vocabulary thesaurus for our system, and I haven't even started. Got a 97 on the last segment, though, and a 98 on my concept briefing, so the semester is going pretty well.

In addition to doing some editing on a manuscript, I've been slowly transcribing the letters written to my great-grandparents by their mother and siblings who relocated to Illinois in the mid 1880's. My mom had told me about her great-aunt Julia, who left home to go and live with another family and work (something all the girls seemed to do at various times) in 1885 and then, in Mom's words, 'became a religious fanatic and went crazy.'

I've found the letters that deal with that. It's very interesting, and I'd love to have a modern psychiatrist read through the letters from my great-great grandmother Margaret Redman describing Julia's symptoms and the letters from Julia herself as she's having her breakdown, which I haven't transcribed yet. As a mother, I find the ones from Margaret really heartbreaking. You can just feel the frustration and anguish coming off the page as she writes about her daughter.

September 1, 1885Collapse )

You know, almost nobody writes actual letters anymore. Email is quick, easy, and ephemeral. It's kind of sad that my own great-great grandchildren will almost certainly not have this kind of record of our lives.
» Argh
Cut for female stuffCollapse )
» Good news!
Robert was told today that he got the job with the contracting firm that took over Big Pork's data center. Basically he'll be doing the same job at the same place working for a different company. We don't know about the money yet, so if the salary comes back low, he'll probably not take it, but still, it's an offer!

And it looks like he can time his start date so that he works out his Big Pork commitment and gets the severance/bonus. Pennsic could be really sweet this year.
» Bunker of Doom!
OMG, Steven Colbert's Doom Bunker segment last night was priceless. It doesn't matter if you haven't seen the Glenn Beck segment he's making fun of (though I had), it stands alone. The Werewolf Congress! Nuking the Decepticons! That army guy who didn't seem to get that it was all a big joke!

Brilliant! If you've been thinking that the news isn't depressing enough and that the post-apocalyptic fearmongers aren't mongering quite hard enough, you can watch at Colbert's site (it's currently the 3rd video clip) or see the full episode on Hulu.
» Get out the handbaskets, we're heading for hell
Remember that guy who called 911 because Wendy's (I think) was out of his favorite drink? Well, now we've got a woman calling 911 because McDonald's ran out of chicken nuggets and wouldn't give her a refund. They wanted her to choose another menu item.

Okay, they should have given her a refund. But it's not an EMERGENCY. It's not worthy of taking police away from actual crime to adjudicate a problem that could probably have been resolved with a phone call to the regional McDonald's HQ.

What do we need, an 'Emergencies for Dummies' book?

Someone breaking into a house or place of business = emergency
Being beaten by your spouse/partner = emergency
House on fire = emergency
Heart attack = emergency

Failure to provide lemonade = not an emergency
Lack of chicken nuggets = not an emergency
Refusal to give a refund for $5 McFood = not an emergency

» Snow, Obsession, Interviews
It actually snowed. Not enough to bother me, but enough to send this region into a screaming tizzy with school and business closures and morons in SUVs driving like maniacs and causing accidents. I know how to drive in the snow - my father made sure of that. We had a lot of snow the first few years I had my license, and he took me out and made me practice doing stupid things so I'd know how to get out of a fishtail or what to do if the car spins completely around, or gets stuck in a snowbank. I had plenty of opportunity to practice those skills for 20 years before we moved here.

So yeah, 1/4" of powder and a bit of ice is not exactly the Blizzard of '09.

I have yet to do the final revisions on my project, and spent almost the entire weekend editing. I wish I was less obsessive and could better balance all my interests and commitments, but it seems like feast or famine. If I'm writing, I don't want to do anything else. Or it's school and career, 24/7. I'm afraid to even go near my loom, because once I start warping, I'm trapped like a fly in a spider web, and won't touch anything else for weeks.

One would think that after living 46 years, I'd have this sorted out. :(

Robert is having a phone interview right now with the company that's taking over Big Pork's data center. If he gets the job, he basically stays where he is. We haven't heard anything from the VB company yet.

And OMG, this is bibliophile heaven.
» Steam out of my ears
CNN ran an article about controversy over a disabled woman who is hosting a UK kids' show. This quote really pissed me off. (Actually, the fact that the article was even necessary pissed me off)

In one chat room, a father lamented that Burnell being on the show forced him to have conversations with his child about disabilities.

OMG. He had to talk to his kid about disabilities. Had to? Like that's some kind of burden? One of the privileges (and responsibilities) of parenthood is helping your kids develop empathy and understanding, showing them by example that differences aren't something shameful or embarrassing and that this woman and every other disabled person which his kid will encounter, are in every way that matters just human beings.

Probably more human than this father. If his next child has a birth defect, God help it. This jerk needs to realize that in a very real way, we're all just temporarily able-bodied. He could become paralyzed in a car accident. He could lose a hand tomorrow and end up just like this woman he doesn't want exposed to his child.


Off to finalize section 2 of my project and hopefully do some editing.
» Pointless Friday Post
Randomosity because it's Friday and I don't want to work on my assignment that's due Monday.

Shows on my DV-R right now:

Big Love
Burn Notice
One Life to Live

Last 5 songs that played randomly on my iPod:

"Rocky Mountain High" John Denver
"This Girl is Taking Bets" Thea Gilmore
"The Courier" soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans
"Summer Before the War" Fairport Convention
"Badajoz" from Over the Hills and Far Away, The Music of Sharpe

Last books I listened to and read:

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
Grass by Sheri S. Tepper

Random facts:

I was born with 6 fingers on each hand, as was my brother, mom, and grandmother. Back in the day, when I was a huge Darkover fan, that made me very happy.

I was in a sorority in college. A real one, with singing and teas and formals and rush parties. I plead temporary insanity.
» Job update
Robert had his third interview with the Virginia Beach company - it lasted 5 hours, and he said it seemed to go well. They interviewed 3 candidates and he's the most experienced (and therefore most expensive) so it's probably going to depend at least in part about whether they're prioritizing saving money or getting the most qualified person.

Cut for lengthCollapse )
» (No Subject)

I got an email about the forthcoming issue of Intergalactic Medicine Show, which I've got a story in. The email was about contributions to their blog and some details concerning when the edition will be out. They were waiting on the cover story, apparently.

The cover story is by Peter Beagle. I am sharing a table of contents with Peter S. Beagle.

You can kill me now. I'd die happy.
» Girl Scout Crack
I got half of my section 2 for the information organization project done yesterday. I also ate half a box of thin mints.

Coincidence? I think not.
» Merry Rose, still...
I couldn't do it, couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer.

Adding here what I was too nice to say there...

Life is not fair. The SCA is not fair. There is not a prize for every entrant, because this isn't the freaking Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.

With only a few exceptions, no one is denied a peerage for anything other than their own lack of interest, effort, or their general level of assholiness.

Do what you love, the peerage will follow. And if not, who freaking cares? I spent nearly 2 decades in this organization before I became a peer. It didn't hurt me at all, and if I was stripped of my peerage for some reason, I'd be just fine. Who I am is not determined by what hangs around my neck.

Done now, really.
» *headdesk*
Dear Merry Rose,

Leaving aside the banishment thing to argue about the rapier peerage thing is NOT an improvement.

No love,

» The delete key is my friend
I took a break from trying to finish up my concept briefing to read my email. Including the last couple days' worth of the Merry Rose.

Done now.

It is a sad thing when incomprehensible trigonometry is more relaxing than my email.
» Lost
Okay, so we're going to find out about cut for spoilersCollapse )
» I want a do over, please.
The plumber is here because we have an unidentified leak somewhere in our water line. I discovered this when I went to take a shower and found that there was no cold water. I now have a lot more sympathy for boiled lobster than I used to. And the money that we were going to use to buy Robert a new suit for his interview next week is now going to be spent on plumbing. Joy.

Oh, and Othello dragged a bird into the house this morning and killed it. While I was eating breakfast.

And we're all on pins and needles at work waiting to find out if our budget is being slashed. Every day I go in expecting that we're going to have the big meeting with the library director and every day it's postponed because the City Manager's team hasn't figured out just what to do yet. Nobody is going to be fired, but it's likely that one of us (probably not me) will be transferred to another branch and our collection is likely to be cut. Again. :(

And I've got this stupid Concept Briefing and a case study for management due tomorrow, then the 2nd part of my information organization project on Monday. It's huge and complicated and I haven't even begun to look at it. I'm still mystified by the trig stuff and have had to resort to note cards to sort my research out, something I haven't used since like the 7th grade.

And did I mention the plumber?
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