(no subject)

Jul. 30th, 2014 11:32 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Cordelia stayed in all day, and we watched Clone Wars for most of that time. (There was a two hour break while I did my exercises and watched the recorded episode of Antiques Roadshow that was on the DVR). I kind of burned out on Clone Wars, so I'll be just as happy if we don't watch any today. Tomorrow is soon enough. We're in the middle of season two now.

Cordelia said something that led me to think that she was no longer going to be playing with the neighbor kids, but she refused to discuss it with me or Scott. Later on, she told me that they actually wanted to play with her yesterday but that she didn't know that until she checked her e-mail around seven. I don't know.

I worry that some day she'll be in real trouble and not be willing to talk to us about it. Scott thinks we must have done something to make her think she can't trust us, but I'm not so sure. I think it may simply be her temperament. It's going to make adolescence that much more difficult.

Scott is really stressed out. Work is being nasty, and some players are unhappy with the games he's been running. Cordelia not being willing to talk to us didn't help at all because it made him feel that he's failed.

He wants to figure out a way to run a LARP using FATE, but I responded badly to the idea because I understand my current system and really don't get FATE. He thinks there's a way to use FATE so that combat won't require a GM's intervention. I don't really have faith in that as a possibility. I think, no matter how simple the system, people will want a GM if there's the possibility of having one. Doing without a GM requires trusting that everybody understands the rules and will abide by them even if it gets their character in trouble.

Scott also suggested that we use the wrong scale for hit points, damage, etc. The current scale for normal human stamina (hit points) is 60 to 95. Non-humans usually get more, either because they're tougher or to reflect the likelihood that their vital organs aren't where a human's would be. Scott suggested scaling back to use a 0-10 scale instead of a 0-100 one. I didn't like the idea, mostly because I'm comfortable with the current one (I'm conservative about things like that). I did eventually suggest that 0-20 would be better than 0-10 because it would save me from using half points. I count most things by fives currently, so 0-20 would scale properly. I feel like the change is unnecessary, but Scott thinks it would help.

Scott is the one who ends up handling combat when we run LARPs. People come to him when they want to use special abilities or to ambush someone. That means he sees all the ways in which the game glitches. I'm not convinced that switching systems would help with the things he's not happy about-- Players who got their characters five minutes before the game began and who sat through a brief run through of the rules while they were reading their characters aren't going to remember all the bells and whistles of what their characters can do. They're not going to be fully comfortable with the combat rules and are going to take extra time trying to figure out what to do when a fight starts.

feel the fear and do it anyway

Jul. 29th, 2014 09:59 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
We are having some exciting weather. My husband's girlfriend R and I are taking turns going up to his place to feed the horses and water the garden while Neal and Mungo are in Yosemite. Today was her turn, but I was worried about the possibility of flash floods, or lightning, or the horses getting spooked and doing something dangerous, so I--

--if you've been reading here for a while, you might remember that my husband maximized the uncomfortable of our getting acquainted, mostly by treating every potential meeting as terribly fraught. R and I would both rather be friendly acquaintances, but we're both painfully shy and much better at avoiding uncomfortable interactions than making them less uncomfortable. We're working on it. I've had her phone number for a while but never used it. Making phone calls is hard. But today, I really was worried about the weather, so--

I called! And offered to go with her. And it went fine! It wasn't necessary: the horses were up by the barn, not down on the flood plain. But I'm glad I did.


Jul. 29th, 2014 01:54 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Q: How was your vacation?

A: Ten days eight timezones away, with me and Mr. E plus both kids plus the in-laws, every single one of us getting sick, except me who was sick when I left, stayed sick the entire time because you can’t get better when you don’t get any sleep, and am still sick? Staying in a B&B so filthy there were actually insects in the bed, because there literally wasn't another free pair of rooms in town, so we came home to do a full bedbug decontamination on all our stuff instead of resting? That vacation?

Q: Yeah, that one.

A: Well, first let me say that I recognize that I am a very lucky woman. I’m in a position to take a vacation, which not everyone is. And I’m lucky that I have in-laws who are willing to pay their own way to come on vacation with us just to hang out with the grandkids, without which I honestly do not know what I would have done; because even with them, two days into it I would have cracked and tried to change our plane tickets to come back home right away, but I couldn’t because I was too sick to fly. And I’m lucky to have two kids who have such vibrant good basic health that even when they develop a 3-pack-a-day cough and pour snot out like giant ambulatory faucets, it doesn’t sap their energy or slow them down in any way. And hey! The baby is clever enough that at just over 10 months, he has worked out that he can avoid having his nose wiped, which he hates, by smearing his face all over our shirts the moment he feels snot on his face!

So all in all, vacation was absolutely better than childbirth, I would say. Though it did last longer. And I might even be willing to take another vacation again someday.

Not, like, soon, though.

(no subject)

Jul. 29th, 2014 11:01 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
It was really quite cold at last night's softball game. By the time the game ended, our car's thermometer said it was 60F outside, and it was windy. I wore long pants and a windbreaker. I should have worn my heavier jacket. Scott was in short sleeves and sandals (but long pants), so he got very, very cold. His mother actually hauled a blanket out of their car so that Scott could warm up a little.

Scott's parents came to the game. They arrived a bit late, but they came before Cordelia's first at bat. They left as soon as the game was over. Cordelia barely had time to come over and say hello and goodbye.

Cordelia's team lost the game. They played a strong first half, but the other team played strongly the second half. The other team had one pitcher who was amazing-- She pitched fast, hard and accurately. She walked one and struck out six. She's the best pitcher we've seen all season. Fortunately, no girl ever pitches more than two innings.

Cordelia now says that she wants to pitch. At the start of the season, she said she never wanted to pitch. I think it's unlikely to happen. There's only one game left, and I don't think she's ever practiced pitching. I would love to see her get a chance to try, though. I suppose it can't hurt to ask.

yay for good customer service!

Jul. 29th, 2014 10:23 am
the_shoshanna: Dean Winchester giving a gleeful thumbs'-up (thumbs up (Dean))
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Where "good" = "compliant with my wishes," of course.

I bought a FitBit a while ago, and all went well for a while. )

The new one should arrive in a couple of days. Which is good, because I was pretty much glued to my office chair all yesterday.

PS If anyone who'll be at VividCon (or is local) would like to have the old Omron HJ112 pedometer, I'm happy to give it away! (Be aware that I don't have a waist clip or a proper "leash" for it, but you can juryrig one or buy a replacement.)

(no subject)

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:20 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] telophase also linked to http://www.playbuzz.com/gregs/can-we-guess-who-you-are-in-only-20-questions

Answering truthfully, I got
Here is our best guess at who you are:
1. You are male.
2. You are still a teenager, but won't be one for very much longer.
3. You're in college and are already worried about finding the perfect job that will be both fulfilling and will pay well. Your future worries you more than you'd like to admit.
4. You have beautiful, silky brown hair and big eyes.
5. You know that if you'd only believe in yourself more, things would be much easier for you. Yet you still doubt your instincts more than you should, instead of trusting them every time.

So, how did we do? How many of these did we get right? Tell us in the comments!

Half of one. Almost. I used to have beautiful, silky brown hair. And small eyes.

They offered me Pixar characters, I picked Merida! They offered me food, I picked salad! A lot of my demographic never wears makeup!

ETA: Oh, I got Mungo's results! Except he has nooooooooooo trouble believing in himself. None.


Jul. 28th, 2014 08:51 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] telophase pointed to this short interesting article: The experience of hearing voices is complex and varies from person to person, according to Luhrmann. The new research suggests that the voice-hearing experiences are influenced by one's particular social and cultural environment – and this may have consequences for treatment.

It's interesting to think about the culturally-mediated experience of hearing voices in Blackstone, the Canadian TV show set in a First Nations reservation. Two of the characters see and hear someone no one else does. In both cases, it's a close family member who is dead, and the experience is distressing. Neither character thinks of the experience as mental illness, though one does ask a doctor for sleeping pills to avoid seeing the dead family member in dreams.

The second season of Blackstone is streaming on Hulu now. Have any of you watched it?

A bit over a year ago

Jul. 28th, 2014 03:51 pm
jenett: There are not enough capital letters in the English language to let me fully express my feelings on this. (not enough)
[personal profile] jenett
... my dear friend [personal profile] elisem reported harassment, and then she wrote up an essay about the process of reporting the harassment. (I have roundup of links from then starting over here)

Unfortunately, there's another essay required. Like the first, it's been posted on multiple blogs, with those people hosting (and moderating) comments. Natalie Luhrs has an excellent roundup of discussion around the 'Net about the events as well.

Elise's essay (same basic content all these places)
* John Scalzi's blog
* Stephanie Zvan's blog
* Natalie Luhr's blog
* Catherine Lundoff's blog at Dreamwidth and LiveJournal
* Mary Robinette Kowal's blog
* Sigrid Ellis's blog

I'm not sure I'm going to manage a thorough links roundup (yay, stuff in my own life) but I'm glad to stick a link to other people's roundups as they appear.

O, wad some Power the giftie gie us

Jul. 28th, 2014 12:03 pm
the_shoshanna: xkcd stick-figure bride and groom; she asked "Will you marry me?" and he answers "Apparently, yes!" (apparently yes)
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Last week I performed the marriage of Geoff's brother and his partner of more than twenty years, which was a fabulous thing to get to do! They're a wonderful couple, and the whole ceremony -- setting, symbolism, grooms -- was gorgeous.

This morning I had a dentist appointment, for my regular cleaning. My dentist is an old friend of Geoff's parents, so when he came in after the hygienist had finished blasting away my plaque, he remarked to me that my mother-in-law had been in two or three weeks ago and had caught him up on some family news. "And how was the wedding?" he asked me. "It just happened, right?"

"Yes, last week, and it was lovely," I told him.

Then he asked, "And how did it go with that minister? The guy was ordained over the Internet or something, right?"

Ahahahahah no. Wrong on all counts, actually:
• not a minister
• not a guy
• not ordained
• not qualified by Internet

I gaped like a fish for a moment, and then said, "The person who performed the wedding? No, that was me," and pulled one of my cards out of my wallet to show him. And when I came home and told Geoff, he actually doubled over in laughter.

I have no idea if my mother-in-law is actually that unclear on what it is I am, or if this was just an incredibly effective round of Telephone, but I'm not going to worry about it; I'm just going to be over here giggling to myself.

The Half Killed

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:12 am
outlineofash: Drawing of a skull with the text "This drawing is not about death." (Art - Drawing)
[personal profile] outlineofash
Although I haven't resurrected my attempt at a career as an artist, I do still sometimes paint covers for friends. Now that my friend's had a cover release for her upcoming Victorian murder mystery novel, I can post the final painting without spoiling any surprises.

 photo coverartbase.jpg

For whatever reason, I spent THE ENTIRE TIME WHILE PAINTING THIS listening to 80s synth pop.

(no subject)

Jul. 28th, 2014 10:52 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
We went to the library about 12:30 yesterday. Naturally, another hold came in after we'd been and gone. I'm going to let it go rather than trek down there to get it, mid-week. It's a Doctor Who graphic novel. There will be other occasions to get it.

When we went to Bubble Island, they had a sign up saying that they wouldn't open until at least 1:10. We thought about waiting, but we were supposed to be at Scott's parents' place at 2:00, and it's about an hour's drive.

We stopped for lunch on the way to Fenton. I prefer to stop at Arby's, but Cordelia won't eat anything there, so we now go to Burger King. I can't handle Burger King's burgers because of how they're cooked, so I always have a fish sandwich. We actually went inside because it's easier to see the menu that way and because we all like the options on the drink machine (it lets you mix flavors). Cordelia and I had vanilla root beer. Scott had raspberry ginger ale.

We actually got to Scott's parents' place a few minutes early. That's unusual. Scott's sister and her family arrived about ten minutes after we did, and they were really enthusiastic about going out in the boat in spite of the likelihood of rain. Scott's sister kept saying that the sun was out and that it wasn't going to rain. They did end up going out for about an hour, leaving me behind to read. I hadn't brought my laptop, but I did have my e-reader. I tried several different stories, but had trouble settling on something to read.

The others came back when it started to rain. It rained and stormed all the rest of the day. I was still left to my own devices as the others played a game; I think it was Tripoli.

We stayed until just before 8:00. There was a bit of a break in the rain. It was still raining, but it wasn't raining hard, so we were able to get to the car without getting soaked. The drive home was very wet. Every time we ended up behind another car, our windshield got covered by spray. Our windshield wipers don't work very well, so I always get a bit anxious when it rains. (The wiper blades are new. It's the arms of the wipers that don't work quite right.)

We're having a lot of trouble getting Cordelia to go to bed. She won't start the process before 9:00 and always takes at least an hour. I have no idea what she does to take that long. Brushing her teeth and all shouldn't take more than ten minutes. Efforts to hurry her along have been futile, and she hates sharing the bathroom, so it's difficult for me and Scott to start getting ready for bed until she's done. I've told her she has to be out of the bathroom by 10:00, but she rarely is. I think the only reason she turns off her light at 11:00 is that Scott requires it. He can't sleep if there's light coming into our room, and light from her room does.

end of an era

Jul. 27th, 2014 08:50 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
No, not Readercon; my ancient extremely-dumb phone (picture).

I'd been doing pay-as-you for voice and texts, since most of my life is in spaces with WiFi and I didn't feel the need for a monthly payment. But then I refilled my account and realized that I was spending about $20/month as our text messaging use increased, so it would only be another $25/month for Verizon's no-contract plan with a hundred-buck phone. And the prospect of never having to do a text message by cycling through all the button presses, let alone the security of Internet access more places, well.

So: the low-end 3G Moto G, because it's for backup stuff, checking email in emergencies and getting directions, and not streaming media. It fits nicely in my hand [*], though the grippy sides of this cheap case plus belt holster are welcome, and it runs stock Android and basically does what I need it to without fuss.

Here are some apps I've found useful specifically for the phone:

Widgetsoid (with donate add-on). This does two things: (1) it lets me toggle certain things directly from the lock screen (I use it for WiFi, mobile data, Bluetooth, and ringer status) and (2) on a home screen, it lets me fit more stuff in the same space—I have seven app shortcuts or toggles in a 4x1 widget on my main screen, for instance. (The donate version lets you save widgets to edit them, among other things.)

DashClock with DashClock Gmail+ Extension and DashClock SMS viewer [**]. This lets me see multiple things on the same lock screen: the number of new GMail messages (plus the subject and sender name if there's only one new message; I thought it was supposed to show that if there was more than one, but apparently that's a potential feature not an actual one); new text messages with their text; plus time, weather, and my next calender appointment within a certain time. There are default lock screen widgets for GMail and messaging, but they're on separate screens, and if I'm stopped at a red light, it's nice to get everything in one place.

(There are a million extensions for DashClock, but skip the toggle ones: all of them require unlocking the phone, not just the app-launch ones like in Widgetsoid.)

Moon Reader. Syncs reading position across devices with Dropbox, very customizable. The Pro version has more fonts and things, and I bought it to support the developer, but I don't actually depend on any of the pro features, I think.

[*] But though I loathe the idea, I can definitely see that when my Nexus 7 dies, I'm probably replacing it and this phone with a bigger-screened phone. I like the size of this, being able to fit it into pockets and hold it very comfortably, but the convenience of a single device is hard to beat. I already gave away my beloved Sony eInk reader, because I was hardly using it with the tablet always to hand, and I can definitely see the same fate coming for the phone+tablet combo.

[**] Before you download it, you'll probably need to go into Settings/Security and check "Unknown sources."

What about you? What handy little apps or tricks have you found for your Android smartphone?

Edit: I forgot, Verizon gave me a free Bluetooth car speakerphone, which works fine, though I don't use my phone in the car enough to bother with buying one for myself.

Readercon: very short report

Jul. 27th, 2014 02:27 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
This was another split Readercon for me. The hotel situation . . . was better than last year, but still not good, because after I called twice to emphasize how important it was that we get a connecting door and how they messed it up last time, the hotel set aside two rooms with a connecting door for us . . . and then gave one of those rooms away. And apparently didn't notice or care until they handed me the keys for rooms 20-odd numbers apart and my face crumpled.

Eventually they found us two adjacent rooms without a connecting door, and I'd bought a baby monitor out of anxiety about the situation, so it was workable, but GAH. The hotel sent me a "give us feedback!" email, and I gave them feedback, you bet; the manager-type who wrote back said that I should contact them next year, but honestly I don't know. The split thing is increasingly unsatisfying, and I think I might leave the family at home next year and do a proper New England vacation with them separately.

Anyway. One panel, notes of which were just posted; one panel of my own, notes on which forthcoming. Bake sale did well. Pleasant lunch with [personal profile] yhlee and spouse; pleasant conversations with people for a bit on Saturday night. And the kids had fun at Boston museums and in the hotel pool—SteelyKid made fast friends with a kid in the pool on Saturday afternoon, who turned out to be Gavin Grant and Kelly Link's daughter, which amused me for some reason. Things went okay strictly-con-wise for me, but I was hardly there, so, you know, that take with a grain of salt.

Readercon: When the Other Is You

Jul. 27th, 2014 02:00 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Panel notes, belatedly but whatever! Tidying while on Readercon conference call, actually.


When the Other Is You
Being part of an underrepresented group and trying to write our experience into our work can be tricky. We might have internalized some prejudice about ourselves, we might not have the craft to get our meaning across perfectly, and even if we depict our own experience totally accurately (as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie observed in her TED Talk "The Danger of a Single Story"), we do so while struggling against the expectation that our experience is or isn't "representative" or "authentic." How do we navigate the pitfalls and responsibilities of being perceived as spokespeople? What potentially pernicious dynamics allow us that dubious privilege in the first place? Which works make us cringe with their representations of us, and which make us sigh with relief and recognition?
Chesya Burke, Samuel ("Chip") Delany, Peter Dubé, Mikki Kendall, Vandana Singh, Sabrina Vourvoulias (leader).

(My standard note on accuracy and names.)

notes )



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