Fix all the things!

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:54 pm
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I have the correct invoice for the Tour!  And I've paid it!  So I must be going to Europe soon!!  By the way, if you are reading this, and you are in Europe and would like to catch up, send me a message, and I'll let you know all my dates and where I will be, so we can give it a try.  Sadly, I won't be getting to England this time - I'm really only away for three weeks, and I'm spending the first 12 days of them racing around east Germany, Austria and Prague - but if you are able to pop across to the continent, I will be winding up in Paris, so that might work.

It's been a bit of a mad week.  My wrist is still causing me grief, and the exercises my physio gave me weren't helping (and with 4 repeats of a half hour routine every day, they would have had to help a lot and fast to be worth my while), and I felt that she wasn't really listening when I told her the issues I was having, so when she forgot to ring me to touch base, I decided not to bother following up.  Ghosting on one's physio is probably not the best move, but at this stage I know SO MANY wrist exercises and I think I'm really better off resting my wrist and trying those for a week or two and then trying someone new.

Despite this, I managed to write not one but two short stories for my Stories Under Paris site.  Basically, I had Chardon Lagache station, which clearly required a thistle-related story, and depending on how you translate gâche it means all sorts of things, ranging from 'trowel' to 'spoils'.  I had this plan to do a whole bunch of drabbles, but then I realised that one of the drabbles wanted to be a proper story about Sir Gareth of Orkney (also known as Sir Gareth Beaumains), who spent his first year at Camelot in the kitchens and was notably mild tempered, and thus clearly my sort of knight.  And then I realised that I had another story I could write about him crossing paths with the princess from Donkey Skin, because really, if any knight of the Round Table ought to be sympathetic to someone who was trying to escape the threat of incest, the mild-tempered brother of Mordred ought to be that knight.

So I wrote The Trowel and the Thistle: Two Lost Stories of Sir Gareth Beaumains, and I think they are both rather sweet, provided one ignores the fact that one starts with attempted incest and the other one has sort of got cannibalism in it.  (My choir friend told me that she thought I had found the blurred line of cannibalism, which is not a line I had ever wanted to blur, but there you go.)

Meanwhile, Australian politicians continue to turn out to be not quite Australian enough (there was a nice article today suggesting that actually, since New Zealand recently changed its laws regarding the rights of Australian citizens, nobody in Australia is eligible to sit in Parliament any more.  I don't think that this will fly, but it's a pleasing thought.).  I emailed my parents to check whether I was still the only person in the family who was eligible to sit in Parliament, and they said yes, and then Dad went to the Italian Embassy website and said, oh, actually, maybe not.  This is frustrating, because I was told when I was 18 that not only was I not Italian, but I couldn't even apply for citizenship without living in Italy for a year first, which was thoroughly annoying, since my brother, being under 18, got citizenship when Dad got back his.  Except that, oops, I was advised wrongly, and I've been Italian all along.  Which is really quite infuriating, because I would definitely have made some different decisions about where I was going to live long-term if I'd known this back then.

Also, apparently I can't become a member of parliament unless I renounce my Italian citizenship, even though I've never got any good use out of it.  But, on the bright side, I could compete in Eurovision for Italy, so I suppose that's a silver lining...

Work has been interesting this week.  One of my favourite postdocs came and asked me to join the Women In Science Parkville Precinct group, because apparently they have lots of brilliant ideas and very little ability to bring any of them to fruition, and she thinks that I can get them sorted out.  I had never thought of myself as someone who could do this, but yes, from what she is describing, I certainly could get them focused and pointed in the same direction, and it's an interesting opportunity, so I've said yes.  I'm going to regret this for sure.

In politics, oh Lord.  I'm finding it very hard to read Facebook and Dreamwidth at the moment, because there are so many posts that are saying 'You need to be doing something about the Nazis, yes, you, and if you are not, you are complicit', which make me feel terribly guilty because I am not currently doing anything specifically about Nazis, but that's mostly because I'm way over here in Australia, where we have our own horrible government doing terrible things, and I'm pretty sure I have to make that my priority.  I mean, I only have so many hours and resources, and we are in a very big glass house when it comes to racism in Australia, and I'd rather put my energies towards preventing home-grown racists here.  And I already feel guilty about not doing enough about that.  Feeling guilty about not stopping Nazis in the USA seems excessive.  And I know those posts are not necessarily directed at me, specifically, but my emotional brain inevitably reads them that way, because she already thinks that she is responsible for every single bad thing happening in the world that she is not actively fighting (which, realistically is everything), and it's all a bit much. 

It's tricky, because a lot of the people doing this sort of calling out are writing other important things that I think I really do need to be aware of and understand better (racism, for example, is something that I know is an issue everywhere, and it's something I rarely comment on because I don't feel educated enough to do so), so I don't want to mute them entirely.  But I don't know what I can do, and I'm feeling overwhelmed at present, with so many people around me suffering from awful things and wanting to support them, and our government determined to make everything worse.

I think it's a matter of sorting out useful guilt from useless guilt, which I can do to an extent on an intellectual level, but I'm kind of bad at emotionally.

I may have to give myself a social-media-free day once a week to clear my head.  I can't leave entirely, because it's how I promote the political action I *do* manage to do.  And the fun stuff, too.

Of course, all this stuff about how I should be putting my energies towards acting locally is less justifiable when I'm not doing enough about that, either, but I'm overwhelmed on that front, too.  How do people manage to support multiple causes at once?  How do people manage to survive at all?  It boggles the mind.

Anyway.  Right now, I'm kind of doing Marriage Equality stuff to the exclusion of all else, because it is directly affecting my friends, and because it might actually be something where I can be effective.  I wrote a post today updating people on how to register to vote, and also included a link farm for people who really needed to read something affirming and non-depressing about LGBTQI people right now.

So at least I've done that.  Still feeling guilty about refugees, of course.

I wish I could stop being politically aware.  It must be so nice.

kjn: (Default)
[personal profile] kjn
Apart from Fantastika 2016 (where I edited the con newsletter), I have only had light duties at most cons I've been to recently. At Worldcon 75 I was the Area Head of childrens' programming. To make matters worse, my co-Area Head (and wife) [personal profile] thette had been battling exhaustion due to work for the year before the con, and busted her knee the Friday before the con started, so she had to strictly ration her work.

I'm not even that good with kids, especially when they are excited and in a group. Luckily, I had some excellent staffers, who did most of the work with keeping the kids happy, while I did most of the behind-the-scenes jobs. So this report is dedicated to Silja Lampela, Mia-Pia Asomäki, Katherine Catchpole, Marie Engfors, and Therese Norén, my excellent staffers. (Technically Katherine was "only" a volunteer, but as she joined our security briefing, I thought it simplest to just declare her a staffer as well.)

Pre-con travel and work )

Wednesday )

Thursday )

Friday )

Saturday )

Sunday )

Post-con )

Announcement: RainbowCon 2.1

Aug. 17th, 2017 07:09 pm
mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)
[personal profile] mdlbear

RainbowCon 2.1 (our second convention, in our third year, thanks to a brief hiatus for moving) will be held on May 4-6, 2018! North American Guest of Honor is Cat Faber; Overseas Guest of Honor is Gwen Knighton Raftery. We are hoping there will be a toastmaster, but we don't have a name to announce for that yet.

Location is 4414 Skyline Drive, Freeland WA (on beautiful Whidbey Island), and there is information about local hotel options for people who want them. The new location has two acres of outdoor space in which we can spread out, hold our traditional maypole dance, and have outdoor song circles around the fire pit. Keep your eyes open for our neighborhood deer, who like to browse on the lawn.

We're still doing free membership but accepting donations to offset the out-of-pocket expenses of bringing our guests here and running this thing, for those who are able and willing to contribute. We welcome members who want to run events -- workshops, games, theme circles, or whatever. RainbowCon is a participatory event... everyone's welcome to take a turn at leading if they want to, but nobody is required to do more than show up and have fun!

Please contact with membership requests, or questions about the convention. Ditto if you want to be part of the programming. It will be really helpful to us if we can get early memberships, because then we'll be able to block out hotel space nearby.

We look forward to seeing you here!

Catching up with the future

Aug. 13th, 2017 11:48 pm
lemmozine: (Default)
[personal profile] lemmozine
I'm not going to talk about politics here, other than events and actions that concern me personally. I do a lot of ranting about politics over on Facebook, and all I have to say is, the last couple of days have been personally draining to me.

Partly because my health insurance after 9/1/17 is uncertain (I'm on a program that renews manually every 6 months, my circumstances are changing, and I may or may not qualify again), I've been doing all the medical stuff that needs doing with a deadline of the end of August. I've also (shhhhh!) been ordering my 90 day prescriptions at the 2 month line on the dot faithfully, and I'm a bit ahead, which will tide me over at least until 1/1/18, when I may be on a different insurance.

I don't want to go into TMI personal med stuff, but I had 2 appointments last week (including the one where one needs to bring along a driver), I have 2 more this week (both follow up visits, first with specialist, second with PCP), and the following week 2 more (dermatologist and chiropractor.)

On the 17th, my birthday, I will be signing the closing papers for the reverse mortgage. I've been planning and reading about this for 7 years, since I took early retirement, and I'm sick of hearing uninformed people saying, "Don't do it!" My other choice is to sell the house and use up all the money on rent, then die in poverty, or sell the house and move to a more affordable area (Waco seems cheap, or Flint, Michigan, where houses go for practically nothing.) - I don't want to do those things. So, reverse mortgage it is. It funds on the 22nd, which means I can pay a few overdue bills, get things like glasses and shoes that I've been putting off, and stuff like that. I only get a percentage the first year, and most of the cash isn't available until year 2. I do have some plans for that cash, but the focus is to hang on to the bulk of it for income and/or emergencies. Out of the bit I get in - 8 days now - they're holding out a large sum for some painting work that needs to be done. Thus far, I've had one bid, and didn't much like the bidder or the bid. If I can get the painting done for what I think is a reasonable amount, I'll save about 2-3,000.

Monthly, I will have more spending cash due to not paying a mortgage any longer, and that extra cash will go toward improving my enjoyment of life. Little things. Like flying into cons on Thursday instead of Friday so I can get over jet lag and enjoy Fridays more. I plan to stay in the hotel for MileHiCon this year instead of going Saturday only as I have the past few times. It will be nice to have a place to put stuff, so I'm not walking around carrying things all day. Perhaps I'll have money for t-shirts and books and CDs, and going out to eat more than once during a con. I'm sure I'll go to more concerts, see movies in theaters, and so on. There are also home repairs to do, some now, and some in the future.

I have other plans. It's been really difficult to relax the past 7 years sweating out the paychecks, and one of the changes will be a bit more time, I hope, to devote to things that I consider more productive, like songwriting, getting back to that novel I started in 1972, reading books (!), and playing music outside the house more often.

I love house concerts, and there are two I'm planning to go to on my calendar for September. A lot of great music coming up. Tom Paxton will be here - I thought I'd read he was cutting way down on touring, and didn't expect to see him again, so that will be a treat.

Done last week (20170806Su - 0812Sa)

Aug. 13th, 2017 02:59 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

Very domestic this week. Mostly, putting up shelves and getting stuff unloaded from the pod and unpacked from boxes. Some things are still in the pod. I do, however, have the shelves up behind the beds, modulo a couple of missing brackets. Nothing much on them yet, but it's a start. I also got Colleen's pole set up, so that she has something to grab onto when she wants to get out of bed.

Cricket and the kittens were sick, so a lot of time and worry went into their care. They have spent a couple of nights in with me and Colleen; we have been a little short on sleep as a result. It's amazing how few kittens it takes to constitute a thundering herd.

Not much going on, other than that. We are gradually finding out how friendly people are here -- that's nice. Several nice little conversations with total strangers.

Notes & links, as usual )

Recipe suggestions?

Aug. 10th, 2017 08:54 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
Checking what I've got in the freezer, I find that I have several packages of ground pork. Not pork sausage, just ground pork.

Any suggestions on something to use it for?


Aug. 11th, 2017 11:03 am
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Less than six weeks to Europe!  This would be even better if the invoice I was sent on Tuesday had been the correct invoice.  Since said invoice is meant to be paid by Sunday, and they haven't actually managed to send me the correct one yet, I'm feeling a little concerned...

(I have been informed that the deadline will be extended for me.  But I still would like to know how much everything will cost.  Between deductions for home stay, additions for one more night in Prague, additions for single-share, but a deduction for three nights of twin-share, and an addition for a later flight back, I really have no clue how much my final bill will be.  But I do know that one more night in Prague can't possibly be costing $621, so the bill I was sent was definitely not mine...)

Anyway.  Europe will be good.  And I now have a YELLOW suitcase (it's definitely YELLOW and not just yellow), and have ordered walking socks, and bought power adaptors and a neck pillow of a design that looks like it might not give me bachache, and next pay I shall replace my boots, which are beginning to be holier than needed.  (Nobody really wants religious boots.)

The concert music is well-chosen, I must say.  Duruflé's requiem, plus a lot of shorter pieces by Bruckner, Rossini and Bach, and a sequence of very short pieces by a contemporary Australian composer.  It's good music, and there's not a lot I couldn't sing creditably after two rehearsals.  Quite a bit of it I have sung before.  After two rehearsals.  After the extreme difficulty of the last two conferences, I'm pleased to see that the music I will be singing while jetlagged is, indeed, music I can sing in my sleep.

In other news, our government continues to be a toxic embarrassment.  Their latest idea is a non-compulsory, non-binding, postal vote on marriage equality, to be run not by our electoral commission, but by the bureau of statistics, alongside Australia post, over a period of two months, with no bar on abusive or false campaigning because the Australian public can apparently be trusted to be respectful and polite.

Here are some of the ways Australian politicians have been respectful and polite on this subject in the last 24 hours.

It's frankly disgusting – a way for Malcolm to cling to his Prime Ministership for just a little longer, and also to distract from the refugee situation.

I have some opinions about this.

I'm also wondering whether it would be a good idea or a patronising one to try to counter some of the nastiness headed in the direction of my GLBTQI friends over the coming months by finding and sharing a positive news story about GLBTQI people each day. 

And that's about all.  My wrist still hates me typing, which is a pain.  I'm a little depressed and feeling burned out at work.  And my next story can't decide whether it will be about artichokes or the Jacobite rebellion (the station in question has chardon in its name, which means thistle).  If I can make it about both, that would be fun, but I don't think that's where it is going.  

Grammar silliness

Aug. 10th, 2017 11:23 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
I had an odd thought today.

Both "you" and "they" get rather slippery with regards to number. That is they can both be singular and plural.

As a side note, next time someone tries to get on your case about using they as a gender neutral pronoun, point out that it goers back to at least the 1400, and it wasn't until the latter half of the 1800s that grammarians started trying to discourage it in favor of using "he" in situations where gender was indeterminate. Which is not that acceptable nowadays.

And you gets interesting as well. Many dialects have have evolved phrases that indicate that a plural you is meant.

What triggered all this was a comment in one of [personal profile] fayanora's stories with members of a collective (multiple personalities) noting that they couldn't use "they" as a gender neutral pronoun because they used it to refer to the whole collective.

Since they were British, that caused me to free associate to the expression "you lot" which definitely refers to a group. That lead me to the stereotypical "youse" found in parts of the US east coast.

"You all" (also y'all") is rather more complicated and I'm not sure if it's properly used as a singular or plural. "all y'all" is definitely plural though. :-)

Anybody have any other examples?

Isn't grammar *fun*?

this and that

Aug. 9th, 2017 02:58 am
kengr: (geocaching)
[personal profile] kengr
A while back, something had reminded me of the old movie Repo Man. And when I asked if she'd ever seen it, Fay had said no.

It sort of slipped my mind for a while, but I tracked down a copy. Didn't remember it when Fay came over Monday for our regular TV night.

But as we were shutting things down, I remembered it. I showed her the first few minutes (the traffic stop scene). She was hooked. It'll be first up on our TV night this Friday.

I had some good computer stuff Tuesday. A local computer store is going out of business. Sad, because I *like* being able to actually look things over before buying and not have to deal with shipping.

But they are selling off remaining stock and significant markdowns.

Alas, several things I wanted were already out of stock since I'd checked Monday night. But several others were still available. So off I went.

I just missed a bus and had to sit around in the heat waiting for thee next one. So I walked the long block to where my geocache is located. As I'd feared, it wasn't there. I'll have to replace it in a day or three. Though I really need to make some changes so it doesn't keep disappearing.

Walked back to bus stop, and managed to survive until bus showed. Rode it to the Parkrose TC, then transferred to the 73 and rode it to 122nd & Prescott.

Then came the no fun part of the trip. It's a fairly long walk (for me) from that stop to the computer store. At least this time I'd been smarter than last time and had a bottle of PowerAde Zero along.

Got to the store and picked up the stuff on hold for me. Considered the 19" widescreen monitor they had marked down to $25, but reluctantly decide to pass on it.

Then there was the even longer walk to the Bus stop by the Wendy's as I wanted to pick up some things I'd forgotten to get at Winco on the monthly run on the first.

Got those and headed back out into the heat. Even more bleah. Got home, had some dinner and crashed out for several hours.


Aug. 9th, 2017 02:40 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
The weekend was not kind to my computers.

Kalonia (an IBM Thinkcentre I use for torrents and as a secondary media server/player) went into a coma. That is, when I got up that morning, the power was on but the Teamviewer connection was down. Switching the TV to the VGA input that Kalonia was hooked to, and rebooting didn't help. It'd power up but no video or other stuff.

So I dug it out (had various things on top of it) and took it to the kitchen table which doubles as my workbench. No go, still wasn't responding to things.

So I dug out the hard drive, and stuck it in a Mobile Rack, so I could truy it one a different system. It was readable in Bench (an old Dell Dimension I use for that sort of thing) so I figure it wasn't the problem.

So I put Boskone 2 (a system that died months back) on the table and finished stripping drives (and the all important mobile Rack) from it.

Then Ploor 3 (the Dell Dimension 5100 I got via Freecycle a while back) went on the table and I pulled the (empty) second SATA drive out of it, and replaced it with the 2 TB SATA drive that'd been in an external dock attached to Kalonia.

I also stuck the mobile rack from Boskone 2 in. *That* was a pain. It was hard to get the IDE cable attached to the back of the rack. It was even harder to get the power connector attached (mostly because of the way DEL ran the IDE an floppy cables).
the saga continues )

On My Shelves today...

Aug. 8th, 2017 09:34 am
seawasp: (Default)
[personal profile] seawasp
... is The Delirium Brief, the most recent of Charlie Stross' ([personal profile] autopope ) Laundry Files!
mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)
[personal profile] mdlbear

So, it was a week.

I actually got in a couple of walks, so that's good. Half an hour takes me to the bus stop at Goss Lake and E. Harbor, so it makes a nice turnaround. It is, unfortunately, uphill coming back. But a nice walk. I've also been making progress with shelving, and the last pod arrived, with our mattresses, so I could put the beds together. And I have Flame and Snuggles, my guitars, back.

That was the good stuff. On the other hand, ...

I also paid the outrageous copay for Colleen's humira, and (after something like six hours on the phone spread across multiple calls) got what I hope is correct information about how much I'll be paying before the "catastrophic" coverage kicks in. The whole system isn't designed for patients -- it's designed to transfer money from the large corporations that pay for their employees' insurance, to "insurance" companies, and from there to drug companies. As soon as one transitions to Medicare the "copay assistance" card goes away, and your copay goes from $5 to $1400.

Meanwhile, two of our four cats had pretty serious upper respiratory infections. They responded to antibiotics, thank goodness! but...

And it being that kind of a week, one of our toilets isn't draining properly, and I can't reach the problem with a snake. So tomorrow we'll have to call a plumber. Oh, joy! And, it being that kind of week, I got confused about the beds and swapped the head and foot ends. This doesn't work so well with adjustable beds, because the ends adjust differently. Fortunately they roll, but I may still have to do some extra work.

Notes & links, as usual )

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