Good things

Nov. 3rd, 2016 09:26 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

Commuting by public transit often means watching harried and/or bitter parents square off against whining and/or hyperactive children. There's this one man, though, who appears on the bus from time to time and restores my faith in humanity and parenting. He's a good-looking guy, black, tied-back dreadlocks, trimmed beard, jeans and blazer chic. The kind of long fingers fandom loves to write about. He holds his blonde, pint-sized daughter in his lap and talks quietly to her while she babbles about her day and asks questions about what's on and outside the bus. He hugs her and lets her squirm and poke his face while being sure not to disturb the neighbors.

Today, she exclaimed about some cranes at a construction site and he introduced her to the concept of an excavator. Later, she asked, "Who's that?" about some stranger on the sidewalk. Instead of sighing and saying, "I don't know," like the weary mother on last week's ride who gave up on her son's constant "Why?"s, he said, "That's a man with a cane." Then he added, "His name is Harold." And, when she asked about someone else nearby, "That girl went skiing and she fell down. She hurt her foot. That's why she has crutches. It's been a few weeks, though, so she's going to get better soon."

I wanted to turn to him and tell him how much I enjoy seeing them on the bus, but chickened out, in part because he had responded to her sudden restlessness with another bear hug that made her laugh, and my eyes stung with tears.


Inspired in part by a recent conversation with childhood friend [ profile] disgruntledowl, I wrote to two favorite English teachers from high school this afternoon about maybe getting a drink in our hometown over Thanksgiving. Despite our not having communicated in about 10 years except for one email exchange when I lived in Maryland, one of them, P., whom some of you may remember from reminiscences during the Memoryfest days?, responded within two hours. ♥

(Pleased to discover from a Google search that he's still a hottie. :) That's him holding the plaque.)


A lecturer at work today spoke about, basically, performative positivity on Facebook and how comparing yourself to others' carefully curated online lives can damage your mental and physical health. Nothing new, but it's got me thinking about the potential effects of my own recent attempts to focus on the happier aspects of my life in this journal. I hope that hasn't contributed to any of your discontents. Let it be known that my life beyond these posts is not all unicorns and rainbows, heh. ("Heh.") Focusing on positives here has been helping me counterbalance troubles at work and some unhealthy thought patterns.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

After an iffy start at the beginning of the nominations period, when it looked like there'd be hardly anything I could offer, I'm now excited about this year's Festivids. Have a handful of ideas it would be a lot of fun to make. Hope the sources end up being requested. Hope at least one of them becomes my assignment. Am preparing, optimistically.

(It wasn't until the last year or two that I learned how many nominations don't end up being requested, either because people nominate things before they've narrowed down what they want to ask for or because people nominate things they want to make and then hope they inspire someone to ask for them. At least now I know nothing is a certainty.)

Requests-wise, most of my Dear Festividder letter is ready to go. I'm going to try a "sales pitch" section for each request this year in case the summary or screen shots appeal to a participant who is not familiar with a source.


Many friends have posted about how their Yuletide matches are for things they'd most wanted to write as treats, so, congratulations to you!

Nothing in the database of Yuletide letters has caught my treat-making fancy. That's a small disappointment, but it does leave more time for vidding and for working on half-done stories. Still determined to finish the Jinni/Dustfinger crossover PWP and the Inkheart foursome fic, small as those audiences will be. Did write a pleasing 1,500 words of DS9 Mary Sue a couple of weeks ago, inspired by the Damaya/Schaffa dynamic in The Fifth Season.


[Warning: gross dog thing]

Last week while I was microwaving my lunch, the office puppy made hairball noises, barfed mostly undigested kibble onto the carpet, sniffed at the pile and ate it. It felt like a metaphor for how work has been going lately.


On the brighter side, one morning on the way to the bus, the usually grumpy crossing guard exclaimed that someone had dropped a bag of chips and directed my attention to a cluster of pigeons pecking Bugles off the sidewalk.


Been reading some stuff. We have been assigned five Vorkosigan novels for book club—so far, I have read one and a half Cordelia novels; the Young Miles compilation is next—and I'm glad to finally be experiencing and (despite Bujold's overuse of adverbs) enjoying them. The appeal so far lies in a combination of competence kink, aspirational relationship model and cross-cultural navigation, plus one particular scene that hewed deliciously close to a Mary Sue noncon scenario I adore. I also ended up really liking The Fifth Season and now have only a few days' wait until The Obelisk Gate arrives at the library.


Been watching some stuff:

Last Action Hero, which, to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed. Cinephile boy gets magic ticket that lets him enter a movie and later lets him, the protagonist and the villain (redhead Charles Dance, no less) exit the movie into the real world. Much cheesy-delightful meta ensues, including debates about whether characters in a fictional narrative can be convinced they're in a fictional narrative, as well as a meeting at a film premiere between Arnold Schwarzenegger as the titular action hero and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays the action hero.

Afterwards I rewatched the quite similar The Purple Rose of Cairo—substitute Jeff Daniels for Arnold Schwarzenegger and add more movie exec hair-tearing and misogyny—which aged well conceptually but developed a level of creepiness I did not recognize when (a) I was younger and (b) we did not know as much about Woody Allen.

I thought about requesting both movies for Festivids but really what I want is a combo/multi thing about media superfans going into and out of fictional universes (see also: Pleasantville, the holodeck, etc.) so in the end I decided I'll probably make that myself.

Luke Cage. Uneven in pacing and dramatic effectiveness, and a couple of the actors seemed to be in a different show (*cough Willis*), but I liked it overall. Mike Colter, Rosario Dawson & Theo Rossi FTW. Spectacular commentary on, and fantasies about being unharmed by, racism-driven police brutality. Mostly I wish I'd been able to watch it later and at a more leisurely pace, but I cared enough to fear being spoiled on Twitter. I also wish there were more shows like it, for obvious reasons as well as because it felt like the poor showrunners felt like they needed to cram all of contemporary Black American pop culture and Harlem history into one 13-episode show because there aren't enough opportunities elsewhere. Except, at the same time, of course it's not even close to being all of either of those things, and the seam-bursting amount of music and literature and sports references and cameos &c can as easily feel jubilant and long overdue as overstuffed. Plus, ask me how many times I Shazam'd a song or jotted down a book to check out. :)

Westworld on HBO. I had been really looking forward to this, and ended up disappointed after the first two episodes. The themes are right up my alley but the dark tone is so over the top and the "edgy" meta walks the same thin, irritating line between cleverness and exploitation as Sucker Punch and Ex Machina; nor am I sure it's making me think anything new. Too much to go into for this post, though.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Do not. Do not do this to yourselves. The only good thing to come out of our group heckling of this movie was our collective crossover pitch, "The Bat and the Furious," TM my friend M., in which Gisele was secretly Wonder Woman the whole time and the superheroes have to team up with Vin Diesel's crew for car reasons.


Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow. Have an easy fast, those who are fasting. ♥
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Lately, it seems like every time I post, hours later I remember something else I'd meant to include. This time it was an anecdote about how I work with smart, witty, poetry- and literature-loving people, and yet the other day I had to explain to three managers who were about to unintentionally insult someone that "bemused" does not mean "amused" but rather "confused." Sigh. I thought only fandom had that problem! Some comfort can be derived from the suspicion that the word is going the route of "literally," wherein common usage ends up in the dictionary and thus isn't "wrong" anymore.

Bonus item: While subscribing to Eater Boston about a month ago has proven a good decision for hearing about local restaurant news, sometimes one has to laugh at the density of trendy culinary terms. Tonight, it's "Eat a Kimchi Hot Dog on a Sriracha Donut Bun Tomorrow Night at Coppa."

(In "hyperlocal" food news, I just threw cubed soft tofu, half a roasted diced sweet potato, leftover steamed broccoli, and radish greens in a frying pan with my sister's peanut sauce recipe and it is delicious. Side of asparagus. Mm. Soft and warm, just like I'd hoped, as the days continue to shorten.)

(Okay, no, I didn't cook the recipe. You know what I mean.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Work work work, there is a lot of work to do. But (1) I asked for it, and (2) after switching meds, my brain is almost all the way back, yay, so there will not be complaining. Instead, let us share a sentence that gives you an idea of what I had to make sense of when putting together some talking points today:

"This review of systematic reviews and overviews of reviews gathered outcome information from the 55 reviews in three distinct categories [...]"

In other news, I have now watched all four seasons of White Collar (third was strong; fourth was also mostly enjoyable; I apologize for previous dismissals of the show as smirky FBI bromance), am up to date on Archer (uneven; loved the Anthony Bourdain ep) and Community (stil haven't formed an opinion on the quality of the post-Dan Harmon era; the line about Tree of Life made me laugh last week), and appear to be regaining the oomph to do things like weekly meal prep. Heavens, if life continues to trend upwards, it's possible a fic or vid could be on the horizon.

*waves to people hanging out at [ profile] muskratjamboree this weekend*
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. A coworker in all earnestness today was telling me about how she gets shoulder pain from time to time because she sleeps with her arms over her head and it stretches the tissues too far, but she can't control it, so one time she tried tying her elbows to her torso with a bathrobe sash, only she woke up in the middle of the night with her arms over her head and the sash across her throat, so then she tried tying each wrist to its corresponding leg, only she woke up because her arm was straining to pull free. Do you know how hard it was not to respond with anything involving the phrase "self-bondage."

2. At a recent get-together a group of us was talking about a possible local swinging community and the rumor that couples put pineapples on their front porches to indicate their receptiveness to partner swaps. (N.B.: This post makes my office conversations sound much more exciting than they are in reality.) This same coworker, who is a few years older than me, responded with a jovial declaration that her aunt and uncle met swinging. We said, That is an awesome story! Tell us more! And she said, Yeah, they both like swing dancing and they went out one night to the same event. And we said, …We are talking about a different kind of swinging. And she said, What other kind is there? And then her face went an interesting shade of red and she disavowed any knowledge or participation on her relatives' behalf.

3. My friend and her husband brought me a pineapple when they visited yesterday. Based on past conversation I am sure they are not aware of its potential pineappley meaning.


…See, the thing is, I got so used to adoring Sebastian when no one knew who he was and he only appeared in occasional movies and TV shows and one Geocities fan page with a purple tiled background and those gif flames that now it's sort of a shock to see the number of Google results and hear that he's on Twitter and find that many friends have heard of him because he's been on Fringe and Supernatural and whatnot these past couple of seasons, not just Roar and Odyssey 5 and the Earthsea miniseries all of which like ten people watched, or General Hospital, which even I didn't watch. Now I, who once managed the only Sebastian Roche fan page domain on the internet, have catch-up to do to see what new info is out there about him. Glory!

I just, I miss his beautiful hair.

(Wow, I sound hyper. Actually it is just the tiredness. [She said, slumped on the couch for the last six hours.] Who needs alcohol to lower inhibitions when one has insomnia-inducing hormones? Also rice pudding.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Walking from the elevator to the office this morning:

Guy 1: You know you've missed me the last couple of days.
Guy 2: Yeah. Like a hemorrhoid. [beat] Like a bloody hemorrhoid.
Guy 1: You just had to go the extra mile and say "bloody," didn't you.

On the phone just now:

Me: My horoscope here says that I should share myself with someone I adore today. It says that will increase our cosmic connection. Do you feel more cosmically connected to me right now?
Dad: Yes, I do. [beat] Or maybe it's indigestion.

In other news, clipping is almost done! I may have a draft of this by Thanksgiving.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Last night one of our professors hosted a dinner party at his house near Walden Pond. Towards the end of the night, all smiles, (and in many cases, after several glasses of wine,) he was asking a few of us where we'll be doing our internships, and my classmate G. mentioned that I'll be in the same city with her. The ensuing exchange went something like:

Me: Yeah, we'll be the D.C. twins, in the sense of not being twins at all!
G: We'll hang out together!
Me: Meaning she'll keep inviting me to go out to parties, and eventually it'll work.
G: No, no, we can just go out to dinner or something if you want. There doesn't have to be any fun involved.

After a second in which we all started laughing, she said, Oh God, I didn't mean it like that! Except she's right. Ha.


I've started like four fics in the last week and none of them are going well, because by the time I get into them I realize I can't put off my work anymore. First of all, let this be a lesson that writing a story because you don't want to work on something else is not a good idea for the story or for you. Secondly, it's finally sinking in that classes end in less than a month. I'm not ready yet. I don't want it to be over. It's making me sad, and put off my assignments, and read massive amounts of fic in the meantime, which makes me hate myself. Yeah, I know, my problems are so significant.

Happy things: I had a picnic with [ profile] ignazwisdom on Friday when the temperature rose and the sun came out. Last night was the party thing. Today I got to visit [ profile] elynittria and meet her beautiful Siamese cat—who made her opinion of me very clear in the longest, most heartfelt growls I've ever heard a cat make—and play Scrabble and watch the first few episodes of Life on Mars. I'll miss being near her and Iggy when I move. But we're talking about happy things. I might actually finish one of the aforementioned little stories, which is not RPS but is the closest I've ever come to it. Wait, that's a lie. It's the closest I've come to it that doesn't involve former professors of mine. (Names were changed to protect the innocent, etc.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (wilson embarrassed)
Today's workday is brought to you by the sentence, "Interdepartmental communication is a GOOD thing." This email volley I had with the manager of another department is the least of it:
Manager: I spoke with the Doctor. I will take care of the [thing he has to take care of]. She wanted to make sure that her content was beefed up. Is that the case?

Me: What does "beefed up" mean in this context? More text, or more procedure names or geographic locations or mentions of her name, etc., within the text?

Manager: I did not know it was so complex. I am not sure what she meant; however I thought she was referring to text.

Me: Yes, all those things I mentioned have to do with the text. I was wondering, when she said she wanted it beefed up, what did she want more of?

Manager: I just spoke with her today. I think she just wants to beef up content.

...Yeah. In other news, the photo meme results went up last night, if you missed them (and care).
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (wilson embarrassed)
(These are a few of the funnier ones today. The rest just make me put my head in my hands and despair for humanity. You know, the usual.)

Conversation with co-worker C. after he got back from the gas station mini-mart:
C.: Look, I got a bag of peanuts.
Me: *squints* Those are sunflower seeds.
C.: *looks at them* Yeah, well, they've got nuts inside.
Me: No... they've got seeds.
C.: Whatever. They're peanuts.

Email exchange with manager:
Me: I would be much obliged if you could help me out by doing 1-2 paragraphs for the Elbow section on epicondylitis and medial instability. Just pathologies, no diagnostics or treatments. Here are some helpful resources: [four websites]

Manager: What sites are you using for research?

Me: *repeats four websites*

Manager: Medial instability as it relates to the knee or shin splints or????

Me: Elbow.

Manager: *sends text describing pathology, diagnostics and treatments*

Excerpts from a paragraphs-long email from the most senior member of another department:
I took the time to send this out to all of you because I have noticed so much of this process is going in the right direction that this is a great example of how to refine it. [...]

All the other area's need to be invoiced and signed off on. I understand this is not your area, and it's not ours either. Anytime a client says to you they want something that they have not paid for send it to the salesperson, that is what I have to do anyway. I know you know this, I know you are just passing along the requests they have made. I really appreciate it, and don't want you to ever not do so. This tells us what we are in store for.

Things like a "balance" between content, and means more content and keyword rich content is not even a question needed to be asked (I know that's not English).

As far as bold links and titles ect. YES! You can't have to many links. You can't be to clear. I have said enough.

Yes, you really have.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
* Thank you to everyone who responded to my last post about fannish grad programs. Advice is still most welcome.

* Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert has died. Man. :( I grew up on that show, settling in with my dad to watch him make glue out of milk curds, talk about the colors different chemicals make as they burn in fireworks, fill a jar to the tippy-top with ice water to show his young volunteer that water loses volume when it melts, demonstrate peristalsis by having kids swallow pieces of apple while they stood on their heads, take a piece of string to a globe to show how flight paths shorten by curving up near the North pole, lift a heavy can on a pendulum up to his chin and let it go and not flinch as it swung back because he knew it wouldn't reach the same height, shake a bunch of people's hands after he dusted his own with fluorescent powder and then wait a few minutes while they all fidgeted during a meeting and then turn on a black light to show how easily germs spread... And then afterwards, we'd often duplicate his experiments. Yeah, many happy memories. I loved his computer's black keyboard with white letters, too; I thought of it when I got my first IBM laptop years later.

* Rifling through the folder of one of my clients, whose plastic surgery practice is based in Montana, I found an email from her to one of our graphic designers describing what kind of stock photos she wanted on her website. That in itself isn't unusual—but one of her requests was "no gay cowboys."

* [ profile] fallen_arazil, thank you again for that LJ gift certificate back in December! It's become the gift that keeps on giving; half a year later, I've used it to extend my LJ paid time by two months. ♥

* Sporadic kidney pain, yay! Well, the best guess so far is kidney; am supposed to get yet more test results tomorrow. Since it started last Sunday I've been treated to a CT scan and an abdominal ultrasound and lots of pokey tests and got to miss a couple of days of work and everything. Aside from the, ah, sporadic kidney pain, it's actually been fun. Getting to experience a CT was enjoyable (and fitting that it happened on a Tuesday; no MRI-of-DOOM complications*, happily), and, at the risk of TMI, I quite enjoyed the ultrasound this morning. I'm very sensitive to touch—I detest being touched by people I don't like or have just met, and relish even the most incidental touches from people I do like—[ profile] synn and [ profile] thewlisian_afer know what I'm talking about—and have been starved for it for a long time. The technician pressing her hand and the handpiece over warm gel just under my ribs and on my side in slow sweeps for 20 minutes was oddly comforting.

On another note entirely, how sad is it that while I waited for confirmation that I could leave, I checked out the brand of lubricant on the counter (Surgilube) and made a mental note to have House steal that from the clinic in a fic?

* ETA: Correction: Now with MRI in the future, too!

* Fruit! (No, not you.) I went to a local year-round farm stand/garden center/petting zoo (former = original purpose, latter = income) Sunday morning and picked up lots of fresh produce, and my sister and I made a fruit salad that we're still eating our way through. Strawberries and peaches and nectarines and plums and grapes and canteloupe—and, not in the mix, string beans and tomatoes and peas and giant red leaf lettuce and sweet onions and corn. These are some of the joys of summer for we-who-do-not-like-the-heat (-and-don't-get-summers-off).

* RSL presenting at the Tony Awards this past Sunday night = yay. All unkempt hair and awkward smile and almost, almost brilliant speech. There were pictures of him and Gaby and him alone backstage at the pre-show over at [ profile] house_daily for those of you who care but don't watch that community.

* Last of the Mohicans was on AMC Saturday night. I didn't see that movie until a couple of years ago, when I rented it because Sebastian Roché (my favorite actor no-one's ever heard of) was supposed to be in it, only it turned out he'd been cut. I was expecting to hate it, as I expect to hate all epic romances with heartthrob lead actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis or Brad Pitt, but I absolutely loved—and still love, as Saturday's viewing proved—the climactic Appalachian clifftop scene with Magua and Alice. His face, his surprised respect. Her serenity. The music. The scenery. Chingachgook's and Hawkeye's and Cora's reactions. Everything. Mm.

* Oh yeah, this is what it's like in the real world. I have no words for stuff like this.

* I was lucky enough to be able to see a montage of the Spacey Awards in which spoilers for the Spaceys? and a casting spoiler for SGA S4 ) and as I said over at [ profile] sheafrotherdon's LJ where she has some low-res screen shots of the brilliance, really, what's better than watching a cast you love be goofy with each other?

Okay, 'nuff procrastinating. Time to convince House and Wilson to get down and dirty. They've prevaricated for a few thousand words now; enough's enough!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Our president and vice-president, discussing a client:

VP - I think she's got other issues going on.
P - Her husband's, like, dying.
VP - Thank God they paid by check.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

Conversation just now with my cubicle neighbor:

J: So this friend of mine found a stray cat the other day and fed it. And it kept coming back. Long story short, my friend has a new cat.
Me: Funny.
J: You would totally love this guy, too. He was a high school and culinary school dropout but he's read more books than anyone I know. His apartment's got books everywhere. Guess what he named his cat.
Me: Something literary?
J: Yeah. It's some obscure poet. Or maybe not a poet. Someone obscure.
Me [thinking of possible obscure maybe-not-poets]: Um, dunno. What?
J: Lord Byron.
Half the office: Turns around.
Me: Lord Byron is one of the most famous poets ever.
J: Oh. Cool.

* * *

Operation: Resensitize chugs along.

I listened to BBC World News on WNYE on the way to work again today, and was struck as always by how much more aware the rest of the world is about -- well, the rest of the world, and how intelligent and incisive the interviews and commentary are, and how much time the program allows for measured discussion of the issues on hand. And I mean "measured" in two senses: balanced, usually with one voice in support of and another against a topic, such as last week's talk about the benefits and detriments of supplying food aid directly to starving nations as opposed to sending money, or this morning's conversation about the announcement that the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to an agency that may or may not be setting the stage for a nuclear disaster; and calm, with an articulate anchor (do they call them anchors in England?) or reporter taking his or her time to explain the situation, its context, its history and possible consequences. I swear a person will learn more "macro news," and understand it better, from an hour of BBC World than from 24 hours of CNN or CBS News. I wonder how NPR's or PRI's straight-news programs compare.

In a wholly different kind of news, an interesting photo graced the Yahoo! home page in the Buzz Log box this morning. The photo. )

...which is doubly remarkable because the related searches didn't mention homosexuality, only the stars themselves -- and it got me wondering whether there are closet slashers working behind the scenes. Surely anyone who knows stuff about either actor has seen this shot before (it's dated 2003 from WireImage), but I hadn't, and found it especially intriguing after having read an essay off [ profile] metafandom last week by [ profile] thevixenne and [ profile] rotpunkt on why women enjoy slash, focusing on the Viggo Mortensen/Sean Bean pairing and citing the former's penchant for kissing his male co-stars on the lips and posing with them in suggestive positions. For those of you who are curious: "You're asking for it, Mortensen..."

(Oddly enough, girlyboy Bloom was in my dream last night, which again involved Lestat [I don't understand it either]; this time we went to see the real show -- row A 101, but shortly into the performance we realized the seats were in the second orchestra section, not the first -- and the cast included Mr. Bloom and an actor named Paul A---* who could have stood in for Robert Sean Leonard in any of his Pert Plus-and-glasses roles. The entire audience cheered when one of the [male] vampires started kissing another [male] vampire. Also the few rows to our left were kept empty for the actors & actresses to use when they weren't onstage, and various members of the audience kept coming over to talk to them. That's as close to Orlando Bloom as I ever need to be.

*I recognized his name at the time, as well as when I woke up, and couldn't place him, and discovered when I looked him up that he's not an actor but one of our clients. This is what things have come to.)

Saw my mother and her S.O. last night. No boat this time: We played a few games of pool in their poor decrepit Moose Club (soon to be fixed up, he promises), during which I found out exactly how much I've forgotten since taking that billiards P.E. class in college and playing at Jillian's every few weeks, but redeemed myself when Wheel of Fortune came on the bar TV.

The S.O. is growing on me. Maybe he was drunk and depressed the first few times I met him -- well, no question about the drunk --

     "A last word, Mr. Darnay: you think I am drunk?"
     "I think you have been drinking, Mr. Carton."
     "Think? You know I have been drinking."
     "Since I must say so, I know it."

-- which made him rather boring, hence my sister's ready adoption of the nickname Captain Cardboard -- or maybe I've gotten used to his different brand of sarcasm, or maybe we just needed time to warm to each other, but these last few months he's been funny and quietly generous and eager to offer help and advice where possible, which makes it hard to continue disliking him. He still makes fun of me for things like not always wanting to drink when we go out, though, which I find more annoying than endearing.

This week's Media In Review:

In closing, it's nice to have a television in the kitchen here so I can sneak bits of DS9 during lunch when everyone else isn't watching Jerry Springer or Mad About You. Am still such a dork.


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