September 5th, 2014
I am not the world's biggest fan of Christianity, but you know what those folks generally don't do? Get super defensive about groups like the Westboro Baptist Church at the expense of the WBC's victims. There is no widespread NotAllChristians hashtag; the general consensus is that 1. Those people are horrible and 2. They should not be allowed in the Yay Jesus club because they are horrible and therefore do not represent the group's core values. WBC is categorically denounced by basically everyone.
When nerdbros say #NotAllGamers in relation to the rampant misogyny found in the gaming community (see *spit* "Gamer Gate"), they're not just absolving themselves of any responsibility to actually think or care about what is happening to the women who work in the industry they claim to love. They're also implicitly acknowledging the legitimacy of the same people they're so anxious to distance themselves from. They're saying "I'm not like those guys who threaten to rape and kill Anita Sarkeesian on a daily basis or committed actual no-shit terrorist acts by "doxxing" Zoe Quinn and Phil Fish... but of course they're still Gamers. They still have a place at the table."
It's kind of hard to see the obvious differences between the good Gamers and the bad ones from the vantage point of the kiddie table, sitting on a broken lawn chair that still has spiderwebs hanging on it from the garage, when all I see is a bunch of guys toasting each other with the good crystal.
August 1st, 2014
I got a comment from someone on my Let's Play of Fatal Frame II
that really sent me over the moon today. He said he doesn't care about the game at all but thinks my writing is fantastic and keeps reading just for that.
June 5th, 2014
I posted this elsenet and it got a lot of positive comments, so I wanted to save it.
In response to:
See this is pretty much what I thought. I rarely ever see people my age that aren't wearing headphones or engaged with a phone thingy, though, so I might try to break that rule sometime.
Yeah, don't. Seriously, do not do this. As McClain said, headphones are a great big Do Not Disturb sign... but a lot of guys ignore them and try to engage girls that they find attractive anyway. All the time. Multiple times a day.
So look at it from the girl's perspective: Oh god, yet another asshole who doesn't understand boundaries.
You don't want your first impression to be Yet Another Asshole, particularly when the very next thing she thinks is almost certainly going to be "Is this one going to call me a bitch when I don't smile fast enough, or -- oh shit -- what if he starts following me?" Because dudes who ignore boundaries often get verbally abusive and scary if they don't get the reaction that they want.
Here's what you do to get the attention of an earbud-wearing girl: Make eye contact and smile at her. Once. Don't stare. Let her decide whether she wants to be social; if she does, then she'll take the earbuds out. If it doesn't happen then it was not meant to be, plenty of birds in the sea, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here, etc. etc.
Note that even if she smiles back at you that's not necessarily an encouragement. Women smile at strange men all the time in the hopes that he'll go away and leave them alone. That's why waiting to see if she removes her earbuds is key; that's an actual sign of interest and not just a polite defense mechanism.
May 26th, 2014
This was posted elsewhere, in response to someone comparing women being afraid of men with racists being afraid of Muslims. When called on it by another poster, he replied "I legitimately don't understand a lot of this, but it feels like talking to people who live in another world." I exploded.
I do live in another world. I live in a world where I can't jog alone without some piece of shit shouting something sexual at me. I live in a world where my every fashion choice, interest, and action is assumed to be for the purpose of attracting men. I live in a world where video game store clerks ask me "And who is this game for?" because they automatically assume it could not possibly be for me. I live in a world where stating an opinion about a comic book is justification for being told I should be raped and killed, and in a world where such death threats will be completely ignored by authorities as a matter of course. I live in a world where I have to leave my husband at home if I want to go to Best Buy and ask questions about computer equipment because the clerks won't even make eye contact with me if there's a man they can talk to instead. I live in a world where I have to tell all the staff of a clinic or ER that I'm absolutely, positively sure that I'm not pregnant thirty-seven times before they will deign to take me at my word. I live in a world where salespeople ask if they can speak to the person in my family who can make purchasing decisions -- because it is automatically assumed that I cannot. I live in a world where politicians are trying to get between me and my doctor and they're no longer even bothering to pretend that it's for any other reason than to control me and make me less autonomous. I live in a world where one hundred fucking percent of fucking Republicans voted that I am LITERALLY not worth the same as a man in the workplace.
My caution, my fear, and my rage comes from daily personal experience. DAILY. Show me your hypothetical Islamophobe who can say the same.
April 8th, 2014
This is a step-by step guide on how to make a backup copy of your purchased ebooks. In the process, we'll be stripping DRM (Digital Rights Management) software -- i.e. copy protection -- from the ebook files. This will allow you to read the ebooks you bought on any device you want. This guide is intended for a reader with at least a basic level of computer literacy. You'll need to be able to download and install programs from the internet and understand how to navigate to different drives and folders.
I'm assuming you buy your books from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and use Windows. The necessary software is also available for Mac OS X and Linux; I'm just not comfortable enough with either OS to write instructions for them. If you buy your books through Apple, you're out of luck, as the DRM removal software doesn't currently support iBooks. ( Read more...Collapse )
February 15th, 2014
It's been just over a month since I traded in the Ralink wireless card for a Linksys USB dongle.
No freezes yet!
I want to give it a full three months before I say the problem is licked for good, but things are looking up so far!
January 10th, 2014
PC Issue Recap
I built the computer in April. It's a medium-high end gaming rig. Immediately upon setup, it would freeze randomly.
Go on, Google "Windows 7 randomly freezes" and see how many results you come up with.
* Not a virus, this was a clean install on a newly built computer.
* I updated the drivers and have been consistently keeping them up-to-date on a weekly basis.
* I tweaked the timings in the BIOS.
* I flashed the BIOS.
* I ran MEMtest, BurnIn, and a host of other diagnostic tools. All my hardware came up clean.
* I reseated the RAM anyway.
* I changed some registry settings.
* asking nicely
* rattles and chanting
* blood sacrifice
Eventually, a pattern became clear. The computer freezes when idle or using bandwidth. It does NOT freeze when watching videos or gaming (and if I can play Sims 3 with all the custom content at highest settings for hours without issue, it is NOT the video card). It does not freeze in normal safe mode. It DOES freeze in safe mode with networking.
* Did some more Googling with this new info as a focus. My ethernet controller is a Realtek and there have been some issues with Realteks conflicting with wireless cards.
* I played with some device settings that was supposed to resolve the issue. This did not work.
* I disabled the Realtek. This seemed to work for close to four weeks, then froze up again today several times in rapid succession.
Despair! But wait... the issue is definitely internet-related. That's pretty well established. And if it's not the ethernet adapter, what about the wireless card? Back to Google!
So. Apparently it's a known issue that the Ralink RT61 Wireless card can cause random freezing in computers that have more than 4 GB of RAM.
* Went to Best Buy, bought a Linksys USB wireless adapter. Disabled the Realtek. Reinabled the ethernet. Installed the drivers.
Let's see if that does it.
000 days since last freeze.
December 31st, 2013
* Denotes a re-read
~ Denotes a classic. Goal: at least one classic per month.January (12):
The Dark Tower by Stephen King*
Velveteen vs. the Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire
Troll or Derby by Red Tash
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein*~
Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
Married in Haste by Cathy Maxwell
The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
Stakeout at the Vampire Circus by Kevin J. Anderson
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Magic for Beginners by Kelly LinkFebruary (10):
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess by Phil and Kaja Foglio
Dracula by Bram Stoker~
The Banishment by Marion Chesney
Start With a Happy Ending #1 by Risa Motoyama
The Scandalous Lady Wright by Marion Chesney
Sir Philip's Folly by Marion Chesney
The Reluctant Debutante by Becky Lower
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonMarch (13):
Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire*
Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum~
The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum~
Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum~
Oz Reimagined edited by John Joseph Adams
So You Want to Be a Wizard (New Millennium Edition) by Diane Duane
Deep Wizardry (New Millennium Edition) by Diane Duane
High Wizardry (New Millennium Edition) by Diane Duane
Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter
Westward Weird edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes
The Ladies of Mandrigyn by Barbara Hambly*April (10):
Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs
Only Serious About You #1 by Asou Kai
Only Serious About You #2 by Asou Kai
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte~
The Miser of Mayfair by Marion Chesney
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong*
Stolen by Kelley Armstrong*
Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong*
Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong*May (9):
Haunted by Kelley Armstrong*
The Ace of Diamonds by Nona King
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald*~
Silent Revenge by Laura Landon
The Most to Lose by Laura Landon
Jane Carver of Waar by Nathan Long
Born to Run by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon*
Wheels of Fire by Mercedes Lackey and Mark Shepard*
When the Bough Breaks by Mercedes Lackey and Holly Lisle*June (5):
Chrome Circle by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon*
The Taken by Vicki Pettersson
The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
The Blight of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
The Scourge of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller~ (ABORTED) July (10):
Archie Meets Nero Wolfe by Robert Goldsborough
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett~
Angel Ink by Jocelynn Drake
Loving Lady Marcia by Kieran Kramer
How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea by Mira Grant
The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley
Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout
The Grave Gourmet by Alexander Campion
Home From the Sea by Mercedes Lackey
Zoo City by Lauren BeukesAugust (9):
Nine Rules to Break While Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
The Snow Queen's Shadow by Jim C. Hines
Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines
The Last Unicorn (graphic novel) by Peter Gillis
Goblin Hero by Jim C. Hines
Princess Charming by Beth Pattillo
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov ~
Goblin War by Jim C. Hines
Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov*September (8):
Moonlight and Vines by Charles de Lint*
Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
Dark Legacy by Anna DeStefano
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett*
Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson
The Biscuit Witch by Deborah Smith
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell~
Cold Days by Jim ButcherOctober (15):
Freaky Deaky by Elmore Leonard
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi
Black Hole Sun by David MacInnis Gill
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley~
Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong
Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong
Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong
Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong
Velveteen Vs. the Multiverse by Seanan McGuireNovember (8):
Parasite by Mira Grant
Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
Intimate Surrender by Laura Landon
The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black
Erotic Vampire Bank Heist by E. J. EhlersDecember (5):
Dear Life by Alice Munro
Silverlock by John Myers Myers*
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens~
King of Swords by Dave Duncan
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain~Total New Books: 96
Total Re-Reads: 18
2013 TOTAL: 114
Goodreads, where I'm tracking my ebook ownership only, here
Database of physical books here
December 15th, 2013
Dear Fine and Noble Employees of the USPS,
If you're reading this, then I suspect you may be concerned about a fine, powdery substance emitting from this package. I'm very sorry about that as I tried very hard to seal it properly before mailing. It's homemade hot chocolate mix and does not contain anthrax or any other nefarious and/or illegal substances. It does contain cocoa powder, powdered sugar, powdered milk, corn starch, salt, and a dash of paprika. Please feel free to run any tests you like in order to verify this. I'm sorry if I have caused you any inconvenience. I hope you are having a safe and stress-free December, and please don't put me on any terrorist watch lists.
Thank You and Merry Christmas,
October 5th, 2013
Most of the conversations in this thread are more straightforward and serious, but this was great.
>>>>Would it be appropriate to say that in the current standoff Boehner is Gestahl, Cruz is Kefka, the three branches of government are the Statues, and Republican success in ransoming the budget would be pushing the Statues?
>>>No. Kefka actually had a plan. And power. Pushing the statues would be going over the debt limit.
>>Would that make the middle class General Leo?
>Let's see, misguided and fighting for the wrong side, but generally good and noble underneath it all, and ultimately will be a tragic casualty of this ugly conflict...
August 30th, 2013
July 31st, 2013
I posted the below as a response to seanan_mcguire's recent post about "fake geek girl" gatekeeping, and I wanted to post it here for posterity.
I have.... a memory issue. When I was a small child, around five or so, I had a very few books to read. My family didn't do libraries, so what I had was what I had. I was in the habit of reading all of the books on my shelf, in order, before starting again. One day, one of my relatives (I don't actually remember who) asked me what I was reading. It was Nancy Drew #1, The Secret of the Old Clock.
"Haven't you read that already?" The relative demanded. "Why are you reading it again?"
I realized I had done something very wrong. I didn't know why it was wrong, but it obviously was. So I stumbled out something like "Well I don't remember what happened in it!"
That seemed to satisfy the relative. I internalized the message that it was okay to re-read things as long as you didn't remember them, and I set about training myself to not retain what I was reading in order to be a Good Girl and not have my books taken away. Or something.
So... yeah. Unless I'm making a deliberate attempt to fix whatever it is I'm consuming in my mind, or I've read/watched it so many times that I basically have it memorized anyway, it just disappears. Broad themes, characters, and certain scenes stick around, but the minutia is totally gone. There's no way in hell I'd "pass" a Real Geek test even on some of my One True Fandoms, because my brain is literally wired to not hang onto those tiny stupid details.
Except for the Sea Ponies song. I watched the crap out of that TV special, and I can still sing it from memory!
Hey veterinary friends... Passing along a question from a friend from elseNet. She's getting conflicting adivce from her vet and pharmacist.
"My own discontent: I'm getting some really conflicting advice between my vet and my pharmacist (and the prescription documentation). Maybe someone will know more about this.
In short: my very old cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes and was put on insulin, just as a normal diabetic would be. Among other things, I was told that this expensive (for me) bottle of insulin would last her six months, and that it should be kept refrigerated except for the brief time it takes to pull out the insulin.
So I go to pick up the medication and the pharmacist tells me that insulin is only good for 28 days, after which the effectiveness dramatically drops. Also he said that I should keep the bottle out for 10 minutes before I inject Nikki with the insulin, otherwise it will be painful to her (or at least he assumes so, because cold insulin is painful to humans). He also said it doesn't need to be shaken or rolled, as I was instructed to by the vet. It was also $60 more than I was told at the vet that it would be, which is bad enough for my income, but moreso if I'm to be purchasing a new bottle of insulin every month. But whatever.
Anyhow, since the effectiveness of the insulin is sort of a big thing, I called the vet's office this morning. I was told that the insulin would, in fact, be okay for a cat for six months' time, and definitely not to warm it before injecting her with it. I am resigned to injecting Nik with cold insulin, as I'd rather err on the side of caution and it's just a small amount (one unit, if that means anything to you). However, both the pharmacist and the inclosed documentation that came with the insulin say that it's no good after a month but the office was certain that it'd be good for half a year. I know that there's a lot of difference between a human diabetic and a feline diabetic, but I assume that that would be addressed in the smaller dosage and that the degradation of the medication is a separate matter entirely. It's pretty frustrating to me because I really do just want her to feel better and keep on Nikki'ing. She's a very good kitty."
June 24th, 2013
Shots were fired at the Detroit fireworks. We're okay but the first incident happened fairly close to us. Being caught in a human stampede isn't as much fun as it looks in the movies.
June 22nd, 2013
Off to go see a man about some ink.
May 11th, 2013
I got a new cell phone last week (Samsung Galaxy SIII) and decided to take it to the Detroit Zoo to see how good its camera is.
So how good is it?( Read more...Collapse )
May 9th, 2013
If I'm really into a book, I can knock off a hundred and fifteen pages in about an hour and a half.
The Great Gatsby took four days.
It actually reminded me quite a bit of a period romance novel. People with more money than sense living a life of endless parties. The problem is, there are no heroes here. And instead of delightful wickedness hidden behind a veneer of elegance, you've got petty and stupid people throwing up in the flowerbeds. It was horrible people being horrible to each other, and the only idealist in the entire book is living so far in his head that he doesn't even see what the woman he thinks he's in love with is actually like. He acts as though they're both still nineteen, and when Daisy doesn't follow his romantic script for happily-ever-after, he loses it. The entire fucked up climax was entirely his fault.
Bleah. Hated Tom, hated Daisy, hated Jordan, felt nothing for Nick, and thought Jay Gatsby was way too douchey to actually like for real. I could go on, but the best part of this being a self-directed project is that I don't have to conform to a word count. I didn't like this book, and I'll leave it at that.
April 16th, 2013
I knew next to nothing about Jane Eyre going into it. I knew it was a romance, I knew it was written by one of the Bronte sisters, and I knew it was generally loved by the sort of girl who starts planning her wedding before losing her baby teeth. I was kind of dreading it, to be honest. I cringed when I saw that it was over 500 e-pages.
I really enjoyed it.
The thing is, I like Regency romances. I like the improbable plotlines, the wacky misunderstandings, the antics of people with more money than sense, the exhaustive descriptions of muslin gowns and food. I like happy endings. I like easily identifiable villains getting what’s coming to them. I really really like sex that’s offscreen, vague, implied, or absent altogether because for me pleasure reading and “pleasure reading” are two foods that don’t belong on the same plate, let alone close enough to touch each other and mingle flavors. Once pulsing, thrusting, throbbing, and melting starts, I roll my eyes and skip ahead. But I also like Regency novels written from a modern perspective. Sweet, pious, and submissive heroines make me gag. Historically accurate or not, I want independence and spunk.
Jane Eyre is pious, but she’s also intelligent, creative, curious, forthright, and outspoken. As a poor orphan child at the mercy of wealthy relatives who see her as an unwelcome burden, she rejects the idea of enduring their bullying without complaint because she might one day be rewarded in heaven for her suffering. She demands social justice as a basic human right and argues that Christian charity should apply to everyone, not just the upper class. How could I not fall in love with this character?
Jane is no beauty, and I can’t tell you how refreshing that is. She’s actually plain, too, not that “Oh, I’m so ordinary and that’s why all the men who encounter me walk into doors and babble incoherently with their tongues hanging out” crap that you see when the author wants to highlight how virtuous the heroine is while not making her, you know, actually unattractive. The leading man, Mr. Rochester, isn’t appearing on any topless calendars, either; he’s consistently described as a rather ugly man. As a result, their relationship sparks are entirely formed by the two strong personalities interacting. One of the cool things about their romance is seeing each of them slowly become beautiful in the other’s eyes as they fall in love.
I loathed the other romantic prospect, St. John. He is a missionary, and supposedly a good man, but he is cold and emotionless, coming off as doing good solely out of obedience and not because he feels any real compassion or has a working moral compass of his own. He decides he wants to marry Jane, not because he loves her – he candidly admits that he does not – but because she is intelligent and hard working. He feels that if she suppressed her “unsavory” traits of curiosity and independence she would make an ideal missionary’s wife. When she doesn’t leap at the chance to wed a man she does not love and who wants to stamp out her personality, he becomes angry and manipulative and tells her that if she denies him she is also denying God and her immortal soul may be forfeit. Jane is clearly affected by this tactic; her choice is ultimately not between two men, but between secular love and religious duty. I’m not sure how much I’m “supposed” to dislike St. John, other than his being the obviously inferior choice according to the romantic narrative. Did “Team St. John” shipping exist in Victorian literary circles? Is he really supposed to represent a viable alternative to Mr. Rochester instead of the creepy fanatic I’m seeing? I suspect I was intended to be drawn into the “is this really what God wants her to do” question, but my secular feminist heart was screaming for Jane to cut off all contact and file a restraining order, asap.
The story was, well, kind of ridiculous. Tragic orphan? Check. Unyielding authority figures who do evil while paying lip service to good? Check. Sudden very large inheritance from a previously unknown wealthy relative? Check. Secret insane wife kept locked in a hidden cell in the mansion only to be discovered on the day of the wedding in order to keep the lovers apart for another two hundred pages before said fruit loop ultimately kills herself and frees them to finally wed? Wait – what? Okay, okay, I get it. This book and its contemporaries are the originals that spawned the clichés, but wow this story reads like a fourteen year old wrote it on the Internet. That said, I was wrapped up enough in the characters to not think… much… about the crazy plot points.
So… yeah. Good book. I’m glad I read it. I’m about ready to read something set in the twentieth century for next month, though.
March 8th, 2013
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
I didn't read a lot of children's classics. I was a precocious reader, and some member of my family bought me the entire Nancy Drew series in hardcover. I pretty much went straight from those to the adult sf/f section before I was ten. As a result, I missed out on all of the Oz books (except for the novelization of Return to Oz, which doesn't count and I didn't like anyway because holy shit that shock therapy bit in the beginning was traumatizing).
It took me about an hour to read this, and it was.... definitely a book written for children in the days when it was thought that adding a B plot would cause their dear little heads to explode from the effort of keeping track of more than one story. The language was simple and repetitive ("Oh no, if we do not overcome this new hurdle, we will never reach the City of Emeralds and I shall never get a brain." "And I will never get a heart." "And I will never get courage." "And I will never get home to Kansas."), and the story itself was a lot of random events strung together. Other than the bit where Dorothy was imprisoned by the Wicked Witch as a serving girl, which was easily the best part of the book, obstacles were overcome as soon as they were encountered. (Oh no, the Scarecrow is stuck in the middle of a river! Oh, look -- a stork! Miss Stork, can you please go and fetch our scarecrow out of the river? Oh, thank you! We almost had some actual dramatic tension up in this story, and that would have been simply awful!) I might have liked it a whole lot more if I'd read it at six when I was supposed to, but as an adult in a post-Harry-Potter world I expect a bit more from my kid-lit. I didn't dislike it, but it's not exactly winning this year's Droewynbery Medal award, either.
It was interesting comparing and contrasting it to the movie. The bit with the green glasses in the City of Emeralds was cool, and I didn't actually know that the "it was all a dream" ending wasn't part of the original story. And the fact that the good witch Dorothy meets in the beginning is the Witch of the North and not Glinda makes a whole lot more sense. I mean, why the hell would Glinda send Dorothy on a dangerous cross-country quest to get home when she knew damn well the slippers could do that the entire time? How "Good" a Witch is Glinda, anyway? The answer is of course that the Witch of the North didn't know what the slippers did, and Dorothy doesn't meet Glinda until the end.
Bottom line: Meh. I liked it well enough to not want that hour of my life back, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to leave a lasting impression. I'd really like to hand it to a six-year-old and see how well they like it.
Sometime in February I decided to take on a reading project this year: one "classic" per month. As-is, no annotations or commentary. I really, really hated analyzing fiction to death in school and arguing over what it meant that the carpet was blue and don't you see this is a commentary on the futility of existence and the ever-looming specter of death?! As a result, I compartmentalized fiction into Stuff I'd Actually Enjoy Reading and Worthy Boring Obtuse Literature. But I've had the nagging feeling that this isn't exactly fair, and besides, I wouldn't want the English teachers to win, so I decided to see if I might actually enjoy some of this stuff when I'm not being graded on my interpretation of the sunlight lancing through the clouds on page 37.
I retroactively decided that reading The Hobbit (which I wanted to compare to the movie) counts for January. I didn't write anything about it then, since it wasn't part of a project when I read it, and I don't want to try to write about it when it's not fresh in my head. Moving on...
February's book was Dracula. I originally posted this to a gaming forum I'm a member of.
So Jonathan Harker is an idiot.
"The villagers have begged me not to continue on to the castle, but I have assured them that the weather is likely to remain temperate and I have heard no reports of bandits along this road."
"Unable to persuade me to stay, the villagers have taken to crossing themselves and gesturing in a fashion which, I have learned, is meant to ward off the evil eye. The customs of foreign people are ever so interesting!"
"Then the three women fell upon the squalling baby and ate it whole. I found it most distasteful, but then I suppose that they should find some of our English fare to be equally disagreeable."
Abraham Van Helsing, on the other hand, has not been treated well in any of the film adaptations I've seen of him. He's not the cross between Wolverine and Simon Belmont that I was expecting. He wasn't obsessively seeing vampirism lurking in every ailment up to and including lupus. He studied the symptoms, did a whole lot of research, consulted with colleagues, and eventually concluded that the answer was vampires.
Actually, what I'm really loving is the way our heroes are combating an ancient evil with bleeding edge technology. Blood transfusions, typewriters, stenographs... these people have all the cool futuristic toys. It was definitely a bit odd the way all four of the men were able to give Lucy blood, but given that blood types wouldn't be discovered until three years after the book was published and so even the best doctors were still picking donors based on "Well, YOU don't look like you have tuberculosis," that's more than forgivable.
Mina is pretty badass for her time and unfortunate habit of ladybit-having, but I can't read this book from any perspective other than that of a 21st century feminist. As a result, all the men rushing around to protect her and giving her high praise like "You have the mind of a man yet the delicate heart of a woman!" does grate. As does some of the correspondence between Mina and Lucy where they go on about what noble creatures men are to look after weak and feeble women. I do like Mina for her intelligence and bravery. I have no real opinion on Lucy.
February 12th, 2013
I'm playing a online forum-based D&D game.
DM: Fallan, you notice a strange(r) spot on the wall where it looks like water and sediment seeped into a gap in the wall in a palm-sized area and coalesced into a kind of coating that forms a faint box outline in that spot. It might take a little work with the point of a dagger, but it looks like you could investigate that spot a little further (no check required).
Me: "Interesting, indeed!" Fallan looks up. "Could I borrow a blade? I think I've found something!" (If someone lends her a knife, Fallan will start examining) (Not buying a dagger with starting funds was probably dumb)
Mathas: Mathas starts digging for his trust dagger... and realizes he can't find it. "How fantastic! I must inventory self case more has been lost in grounding. I have shield that might be capable for job," the strange man says, patting the shield on his back. (Totally forgot to grab a dagger myself.)
Tempest: Tempest looks at them and then speaks, "I have a sword." He produces it and flips it to hand it pommel first to Fallan, "I have no use for a smaller blade than the one I possess."
Emma: "I left my dagger with... a friend. But would an arrow work?" Emma pulls an arrow from her quiver and tosses it to Fallan.
I look forward to when we're all at an inn, passing around Tempest's sword to cut our dinners.
January 28th, 2013
Someone sent me a message on OKC, and I sent her a message back!
I was trying to come up with an analogy to explain why "White Knights" aren't necessarily good things.
Say that I’m carrying a stack of books into a building. They’re heavy, but not more than I can manage on my own.
Some men might let me open the door by myself. It’s a bit tough, but okay — I wouldn’t have taken such a large stack if I wasn’t able to carry them on my own.
Some men might open the door for me. That’s cool; a bit of help is welcome, and small acts of kindness are awesome.
Some men might offer to carry some or all of my books. That’s cool, too. Offering to help is great, but it’s up to me whether or not to accept it. Respecting my judgment means a lot to me.
But then some men might just take the books out of my hands without asking and carry them inside for me. Maybe I don’t say anything because I’m embarrassed or flustered, or worried about what this strange guy might do to my stuff if I complain. Maybe I do protest and am blown off, overridden, or ignored. The point is, I didn’t ask him to carry my load, and I really was fine by myself, but now I’m in suddenly the position of “owing” him gratitude. I’m disempowered, put in a position of helplessness, and while technically I *can* complain, the entire weight of my culture tells me that to do so would be horribly rude.
That last guy? He’s the bad kind of White Knight.
January 22nd, 2013
My car iPod -- the one johnpalmer
gave me -- has bit the big one. It got stuck in a boot loop, which is actually an easy fix if the buttons work, but since the whole reason John gave it to me was because I had a use for an iPod with non-functioning buttons, I can't put it into debug mode and am therefore out of luck. I'm going to give it a month or so until the battery is well and truly drained and see if that breaks the cycle, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope. Oh, well. It had a good run.
January 6th, 2013
So I saw Les Miserables today while the boy was at work... and then he came home and asked if I wanted to see Django Unchained.
This means that I saw two three-hour movies today.
I think my favorite part was when Mace Windu punched Borat so that Jack Dawson and Lilly Kane could live happily ever after.
December 29th, 2012
Protip: If the dealership has to jump start the car they want you to test drive, don't. Just don't.
This public service announcement has been brought to you by Honda, the half mile walk from where the car stalled, and the letters F and U.
December 28th, 2012
I'm on a gaming forum and decided to participate in their "Ninja Santa" gift exchange this year.
I just got my package today. It was full of anime and manga and some other assorted stuff.
Then there was this:
Homemade vanilla extract!
I love these mittens SO MUCH!
December 25th, 2012
Vienna was going nuts at the window last night. This little guy was scrounging for seeds dropped from our upstairs neighbor's bird feeder. So I gave him a cookie!
He dragged it to his hole. Note the adorable nibble marks!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
November 24th, 2012
I've been refining my Legend of Zelda bottled fairy ornaments
with a mind to maybe start an Etsy shop. Here are some of my experiments:Actual bottle
-- I did this one with more of an everyday paperweight in mind than a holiday ornament. It's a little too heavy to hang on any but the sturdiest tree. This prototype will be living on my desk with my Final Fantasy plushes, I think.
Pros: It looks like an actual bottle, what with being an actual bottle. Bottle should be available without difficulty all year long. Standard cork size.
Cons: Thickness of glass obscures fairy a bit. Bottle is a bit expensive.
Thoughts: I like this design. I think someone might be interested in it.
***3" glass disc ornament (blue fairy)
-- The string snapped and I can't get it out to retie it, so it looks like the fairy is dead. That's what happens when you leave them in a bottle with no air holes. If someone wants it I guess you can have it...
Pros: Meh. Problems with the string aside, I like this one the least.
Cons: Very narrow opening, wings got mangled inserting the fairy. None of the standard size corks fit so I'd have to cut a larger one down to use it. Disc ornaments are hard to find, and this glass is very cheap and wavy/bubbly. Fairy looks too big for the container.
Thoughts: No. Too hard to work with, don't like the size, too hard to get materials.
***4' plastic disc ornament (yellow fairy)
-- Not spoken for, if someone wants it.
Pros: Good size, very large opening makes getting the fairy inside easy, I like the look of disc shaped ornaments for this.
Cons: Plastic. I can't find glass in this size at all. Only available at Joann Fabrics, and only seasonally.
Thoughts: If it were glass... but it's not. And even if it looks as good as the glass ones, it feels cheap to me.
***4" glass ball ornament (purple fairy)
-- This one's going to a Secret Santa victim.
Pros: Cheap, widely available, nice wide opening for fairy insertion.
Cons: Fairy is slightly too small for the bottle. I can make the wings a little larger to compensate, though.
Thoughts: This is my favorite out of the ornaments.
So what do you guys think? And, more importantly, what would be a good price? I'm seeing geeky ornaments on Etsy that (in my humble opinion) don't look as cool as these going for upwards of $25, but I have no idea if anyone is actually buying them at that price.
October 13th, 2012
It's been a while since I've written anything of substance. It just seems like I don't have a whole lot to say most of the time. But I did start a "Let's Play" of the PS2 game Fatal Frame for Halloween on a gaming forum that I frequent.
Let's Plays (LPs) are basically guided tours of video games. I play the game and document it along with some (hopefully) amusing and insightful commentary, skipping all of the boring parts like level grinding or backtracking through already explored terrain. Anyone reading an LP can expect to be thoroughly spoiled. They're popular for a number of reasons. Maybe someone is a fan of the game and wants to take a nostalgia trip. Maybe they always meant to play a game but never got around to it. Maybe they started it but were unable to finish and would like to see how it ends. Maybe there's a game that's considered a cultural touchstone and they'd like to finally get the in-jokes. Or, in cases of horror games like Fatal Frame, because it's a "safe" way to experience what's widely considered to be one of the better games of its genre without getting too scared.
Fatal Frame is set in Japan in the 1980s. A bunch of people disappeared inside a mansion that is widely known to be haunted, including our heroine Miku's older brother. So she goes after him, quickly finding herself locked inside a decaying old house that's utterly crawling with ghosts. Her only weapon is an antique camera that somehow contains the power to capture and exorcise spirits. Miku has to learn about the history of the region and discover what exactly happened to create so many hate-filled ghosts before she can have a hope of rescuing her brother or herself.
My LP is here
, if anyone's interested. I'm trying to update on a weekly basis.
June 25th, 2012
Fancy reacts to people crying by waiting patiently at a distance until they're done embarrassing themselves. Folly glomps on crying people and comforts them by making them pet her. Vienna decides that the crying person likes making weird noises, and happily chimes in with her own extensive repertoire of vocalizations.
My cats: they help.
(not that I'm particularly upset today. panic attacks were over the weekend)
The day after we got back from Florida, the boy got word that he'd been accepted for the Head Photo Tech job at a different store. That same day, my mother-in-law called to let me know that she had a late wedding present for us. It was their neighbor's old Firebird, and they wanted $1500 but she was sure she could talk them down to a thousand and it was such an amazing deal and you know that the sonny-boy needs a new car if he's going to be working in Shelby Township and isn't this a great idea that couldn't possibly go wrong?
I winced, hesitated, and told her I didn't think we were interested. We had the car thing worked out already; when Brett interviewed he'd let them know up front that he needed to work the morning shift Monday through Thursday. I work a ten-hour shift and he works eight, so as long as he doesn't close during those four days we can carpool with no problem. Brett's new store agreed to this - Head Photo Tech is a senior position and as such is only required to work a closing shift one night a week. They were cool with that one day being Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The Mini will be paid off at the end of January, and we were planning on looking for a new - reliable, warrantied -- car then. The Mama sounded disappointed and hung up. And called Brett and told him about this great late wedding present she had for us, and at such a deal, etc. etc. She wouldn't take no for an answer, answered all questions with happy burbling about what wonderful condition her neighbor keeps his cars in and at what an amazing deal she was getting, and just under a week later we had a second car. She paid $1200 for it and gave us an additional $500 to cover title transfer, tax, and insurance.
The day we picked it up I caught an offhanded remark that the Firebird hadn't been driven for a year and a half or so. If we'd known that before the title was transferred we would have figured out a way to put our collective foot down. As it was, about all the input we had in the whole thing was to drive it around the block once to prove it ran just as well as the neighbor swore it would. It seemed to run well enough, so we took it home.
The next day is when it started sputtering and stalling. My dad's a car nut, so he came over and we drove it up and down the freeway. Dad noted that it ran fine as long as he was gunning the gas; it was only when idling or coasting that it was getting cranky. He pronounced it "probably fuel line, fuel injectors, or O2 sensor" and we made an appointment with the mechanic that he trusts to have it checked out.
It cost $600 to get the Firebird to a point where it'll run. The fuel line was completely clogged, the spark plugs were disintegrating, and there was some other stuff that got replaced. I don't know what, it's all listed on this nice neat little bill from the mechanic that makes me sick to look at, so I'm not going to do it again. All hoses and belts, at any rate. Basically anything in the engine that could rot did. This is not the bad news. The bad news is the $2000 - $4000 extremely rough ballpark estimate of all the other stuff that needs fixing. From immediately important - rear ball joint (mechanic noted "SAFETY ISSUE" on the list) and all four tires - to less important things like rotting brake lines and muffler (no, I don't know how the brake lines needing replacing is "less important" either), there are a lot of piddling little things that need to be fixed on this eighteen-year-old Firebird. And to add a bright red cherry to the top of this sundae of awesomeness, Brett's mom remarked to him that the car had actually been sitting in the neighbor's yard for closer to four years. He did not kill her when he found this out.
At this point we're down to a decision: do we commit fully to this venture and accept the idea of paying another four thousand dollars that we do not have into a nearly twenty-year-old Firebird (good news: the engine, transmission, and other Really Expensive Important Bits are totally sound and in shockingly perfect working order), or do we cut and run? What's not on the table is "we'll just do the ball joint now and see what happens". That's a quick trip down the road to four-thousand-dollars-that-we-don't-have-ville, and if we're going to go that route it's going to be bloody well intentional, and not because we got sucked into it by momentum.
So... who wants to help us write a memorable Craigslist ad? Because repairing the green Firebird, which will hereby be known by all and sundry forevermore as the White Elephant, is not cost effective. A fully-restored show quality '94, according to Dad's handy car club reference book, would be worth about $11,000. This amount is probably a little too low, since the book was published before Pontiac started pining for the fjords, but scarcity isn't going to raise the value that much. And anyway, that assumes we're interested in modding a car instead of, y'know, driving it places, which we are not. We're going to ask for $3000, hope for $2000, and take whatever we can get that will break us even. It is worth at least $2000 in parts, but we don't have the time or space to part it out.
Who has two thumbs and Does Not Need This Shit Right Now? That would be this girl. Also that boy; he too owns a pair of opposable digits and an overflowing plate of fecal matter. Did I mention that I was starting to feel like I was coming out of the depression tunnel? The sun was shining, I was leaving the apartment occasionally, and hadn't had a fetal-position-in-the-closet sobbing meltdown in months. Ha ha. Ha. I'm panicking that we're not going to get rid of the White Elephant, or that if we do it'll be at a net loss. I'm furious that we're stuck in the position of having to sell a car that if we'd been given access to the facts on we'd never have touched with a ten-foot pole. I'm pissed at the former owner of the Elephant, who damn well should have known better and I can't help but think took advantage an aging lady with medically diagnosed brain damage. And yes, I'm angry with The Mama, whether it's fair or not to feel that way. If she had stopped being so singlemindedly excited and listened instead of bulldozering over all objections or questions she could have given us a $1700 down payment in January when we were planning on car shopping anyway and it would have been awesome. And the back of my head kind of has this ongoing Gregorian chant-like wail of "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!" Because aside from the sudden unwanted responsibility, apart from the cost, Brett and I had allowed ourselves to start liking the idea of having personal autonomy again after three years of sharing a car. For two whole days we could plan our days independently of each other. And now we can't again. The next seven months are going to take forever.
We're not going to make an issue of it. Even if we did kind of get railroaded, we could and should have tried harder to find out more about the Firebird before we wound up stuck with it. Shouting isn't going to help matters, especially with The Mama's mental issues. And they've lost more money than we have, so however this affects their relationship with their neighbor isn't really our business.
And now the Mini has to go to the dealership because her panel has lit up like a Christmas tree and outside mechanics can't read proprietary codes. So it's going to cost twice whatever it should (seriously, want a $150 oil change?). More money we don't have. More credit card debt. More potato soup.
So... how's your life?
June 20th, 2012
My brother found it in a bramblebush. It's eating solid food, no idea if it's been introduced to a litter box yet. Friendly, talkative, assume no shots. He refers to it as "she" but don't take that as conclusive.
WE ARE NOT ADOPTING A FOURTH CAT.
June 13th, 2012
You know the woman raising money for her "Women vs. Tropes" video project? Some dude made a forum account and opined that "She deserves to take shit for selling the fact that she has a vagina and can point out the obvious for quick cash."
And then, after moving the discussion to the appropriate forum topic (why yes, we have a subforum dedicated to misogyny in gaming), the entire group put him in his place.
Seriously, there wasn't that much consensus the last time someone said that Super Mario Bros. was a game published by Nintendo in the mid 1980's.
There was also some discussion about the potential rapeyness of the new Tomb Raider game before and after the extremely one-sided flame war.
I love these people.
June 12th, 2012
My coworker and I were having problems yesterday. The shared report kept kicking us out, forcing us to save local copies, and our work -- stuff we knew we'd saved -- was disappearing from it.
It was several hours later that we found out our other coworker had come up with the bright idea of doing her work from a local copy and then periodically saving over the shared file.
June 10th, 2012
Had a good weekend. Actually, had a pretty awesome weekend. See this:
This is the boy's new (eighteen years old, so maybe "new" should be in air quotes) car. It's some much-needed autonomy for both of us. No more checking in with each other any time either one of us wants to go anywhere. And did I mention that the boy is starting a new job this week, and will have a set schedule with only one closing shift per week? And slightly more money? This is a good thing!
So why do I want to curl up in the fetal position and hide under the covers until the sun burns out?
... fuck depression.
June 4th, 2012
tired of the bullshit
The below exchange happened on a gaming forum. I wanted to archive my response, since it's been bothering me lately.
A: I really don't understand my parents. They would like to talk to me more, so they've complained that I don't call them enough, but they don't want to call me, because ?????
Seriously, my mom point-blank told me that "We want you to call us before we start calling you."
Also, "We have visions of us being old and never hearing from or seeing you."
B: maybe that's her way of saying that she wants to feel valued that you would reach out to them first? like that would reassure her that you think about them and make an effort to interact???
ME: That sounds like my grandmother. She believes that it's the (grand)children's responsibility to maintain regular contact, and then complains when we don't call often enough.
This bit her in the ass when she moved in with my aunt. I tried to call my aunt numerous times to talk to Grandma and got nothing but voicemail. I left messages, but never got a return call. I sent cards and letters with my phone number and "PLEASE CALL ME", and never got a response. I later found out from my mother that the number I had for my aunt was outdated, so I was leaving messages on some random dude's voicemail for a year and a half. But the address is correct, and my aunt says that she has been receiving my cards, so what the fuck. At this point I've basically decided that if making the granddaughter jump through hoops is more important that actually, y'know, having a relationship with her, then I'm kinda done trying. I'll keep sending the occasional letter, and if she wants me she has my contact info.
ETA: This sort of points scoring really pisses me off because I've been dealing with it for so long. I think B's assessment is pretty accurate; the parents probably do feel valued when they get phone calls without having to prompt A to call them, but if they're not keeping up their half of the correspondence -- and therefore, their half of the relationship, how's he supposed to feel? Sorry, but requiring one party to bear the "burden" of keeping contact (HINT: IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A BURDEN) is manipulative bullshit.
June 2nd, 2012
Home from Florida. Did not turn into a zombie. Met felisdemens
; I don't think she turned into a zombie either. Ate alligator tempura and saw injured raptors
and rescued kitties
. I mean we saw
rescued kitties, not that we rescued them.
I. Am. Tired.
Call me in about seventeen years or so. I should be up for people again by then. Probably.
May 18th, 2012
There's an online petition to bring Fatal Frame: Deep Crimson Butterfly to North America (currently the English version is only being released to the UK, Australia, and New Zealand).Please sign it if any of the following applies to you:
1) You're a fan of the Fatal Frame series
2) You support quality survivor horror titles and want to see more of them
3) You support more excellent mature titles for the Wii
4) You support the elimination of region locking for video game consoles and other media formats
5) You support other campaigns to bring Europe-only English titles to America, such as Operation Rainfall
6) You support my personal quest to spend several weeks turning on way too many lights at night, checking the closet for monsters at bedtime, and schlepping around a camera for "self defense"
7) You're an awesome person
8) You've got a spare two minutes and like to click buttons (seriously, it's a petition about video games, not socialist kitten contraception)
Sharing and linkage would also help. :)
May 13th, 2012
Happy Mother's Day to anyone who has cared for something smaller than them.
May 12th, 2012
I was sitting at my desk, reading, when I heard the unmistakable Bad Kitty noise of claws on screen. I looked up to yell at Vienna (she's the only one with front claws) and saw this:( Cut for space. And suspense.Collapse )
April 16th, 2012
This one actually made me laugh out loud!
Okay, I'm done now.
I think I'm gonna like this comic...
April 15th, 2012
"Come off it, Miss Vienna," she said, "you can't win, you know. You can't lie in front of the vacuum cleaner indefinitely." She tried to make her eyes blaze fiercely but they just wouldn't do it.
Vienna squinted at her. "I'm game," she said, "we'll see who rusts first."
April 12th, 2012
So my boss' husband has a seagull with a broken wing trapped under a laundry basket in their back yard. He's been feeding it since Monday. Today he'll be wrangling it into a box and bringing it to our office, so that I can take it to the MSU vet school where it will be treated and cared for. There's a branch of the humane society just down the street from me, but they're more interested in euthanizing the bird... and to be fair, a university has a lot more resources to be able to deal with charity wild animals.
April 3rd, 2012
This isn't any different from my facebook and G+ posts. I just wanted to archive it.( Do you feed your introvert Iams or Science Diet?Collapse )
March 28th, 2012
It's a lot easier to update facebook from my phone than LJ. I'm also feeling tired, cranky, and still slightly feverish, so have a FB recap:
4:30 am - I feel like my right ovary is trying to explode. Hospital now.
7:00 am - I'm at troy beaumont in emergency. The pain tapered off and is a dull ache. Symptoms are consistent with an ovarian cyst bursting but they're testing for appendicitis too. Not how I planned to start my day.
11:00 am - 1. I'm home.
2. I now have an opinion on transvaginal ultrasounds, which is topical!
3. Ultrasound results found fluid in my pelvis, which is consistent with the "ruptured cyst" theory. My ovaries otherwise look okay.
4. They found some growths called "fibroids" on my uterus which can cause pain and cramping if they grow larger. I'm supposed to pay attention for painful periods.
5. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to figure out fibroid pain in relation to endometriosis pain or cyst pain.
6. I hate my genetics.
March 26th, 2012
Okay, so as a young girl you were kidnapped and taken to a mental institution on a rural island. You don't remember what happened, but the experience has haunted your life ever since. Now, of the four other girls who were held captive with you, two of them have recently died horribly under suspicious circumstances. You're feeling an indescribable pull back to the place of your nightmares, and you fear that if you don't go, you'll die too.
So what do you wear to explore the abandoned ruins of a sanatorium where you may have been tortured?( Personally? Jeans, kevlar, sensible shoes, and a fucking bazooka.Collapse )
. Yes, of course
I miss Rei from Fatal Frame III. She got to wear pants.
March 23rd, 2012
So the boy and I have been playing Journey all week. It's my first experience with a thatgamecompany title, and I'm ready to run out and buy their other two games, flOw and Flower, on the strength of this one. "Impressed" is a sorry understatement. "Blown away" comes closer. Journey is riveting, beautiful, emotional, and awe inspiring. At times it's heartbreaking. And at $15, the only reason not to buy it is if you don't actually own a PS3 (it's a Playstation Network exclusive).( I still say that this is a game best experienced as unspoiled as possible, so all further gushing will be below this tag.Collapse )
Conclusion: In a landscape that seems overpopulated with hardened space marines and ragtag bands of unlikely heroes facing overwhelming odds, Journey stands out as a shining example of how mature the medium has actually become. I don't want every game to be Journey -- I do love me some old fashioned monster-killin' -- but I'm thrilled that a game like this exists and that I was able to experience it. It's a reminder that the verb associated with video games is "play", it's a fulfillment of what online play was always meant to be, and it's a great big thumbed nose to the Jack Thompsons and Roger Eberts of the world. I can't recommend it highly enough.
March 17th, 2012
You start here:
You're trying to get there:
Everything in between... is Journey
Okay, look. Any kind of spoilers, even going so far as to tell you what to expect, will hurt the experience. Actually... that website I linked to above? Don't visit it. Just go and buy this game on the Playstation Network (PS3). It's fifteen bucks. Set aside at least two hours when you're not going to be distracted. Play it on the biggest TV you have and with the sound all the way up.