bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Hi, friends. Thanks for voting in the poll! Indecisiveness combined with a general suspicion that everything I say and write these days is stupid banal can lead to extra-long periods of not posting.

I have been all right. Going to the gym 4+ days a week is not my natural inclination, and I still hurt in many places, but it is clear the activity is keeping my mood afloat, helping me sleep better and, yes, building strength and stamina. I took tonight off to browse the local library book sale -- $2 for Neil Clarke's Best Science Fiction of the Year vol. 1 and Whale Rider on DVD, yay -- and write a post.

My sister came to visit over Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day weekend. (Wow, it looks even worse to put those side by side than to use one alone. Wish we could just say Indigenous Peoples Day now, but it hasn't permeated the culture yet.) We went to a book event featuring chef Jacques Pépin, daughter Claudine and granddaughter Shorey. Having grown up watching Pépin, Julia Child and the Frugal Gourmet on PBS, it was a real treat -- especially since he came out twenty minutes early to do photo ops with anyone who wanted.

The discussion itself was quite funny. Claudine, the moderator, got teased by her dad, but she dished it right back. "Never work with family," she quipped at one point. They told stories about things like how PBS timed its filmings so if Claudine wasn't a fast enough learner at rolling out dough or whatever, Jacques would elbow her out of the way and do it himself. Whereas when he partnered with Julia Child, she just told the film crew, "We're going to make this dish and we'll tell you when we're done," meaning some poor editor had to trim 110 minutes down to 20-something. Nor did they work from recipes, so airings were delayed because the producers had to reverse engineer them.

We also went to the county fair in the rain, figuring the crowds would thin out. Incorrect! Nonetheless, we enjoyed many animals, vegetables and minerals crafts. A pair of goats tried to eat our plastic ponchos, and once again the rabbit and cavy tent drove me to look into how feasible it would be to get a couple of guinea pigs to cuddle at home. (Space, climate control and frequency of cage cleaning & feeding are the main concerns, i.e. I could not be away for more than about a day without arranging for care. And I don't know if I trust my ability to maintain the energy levels to do what's needed. This was easier growing up when we had four family members to share tasks.) LOOK AT ITS LITTLE TRIBBLE TUFTS.

Work has been work-y. We were urged to apply for some awards in our field, which took up most of the last three days. I've won a few in this job, so I'm a bit hopeful. Otherwise just trying to keep my head down and enjoy the aspects of this career that I enjoy while our office's overall stress rises and morale dips. Pretty sure [coworker] is about to quit.

Good news is we still get financial support for professional development. Next week I'm flying to San Francisco for a conference. If any of you have food recommendations in the Union Square/SoMa area, especially for breakfast and lunch, share away. I'm already set on returning to a couple of takeout places in Chinatown for tasty tasty dim sum. Still dreaming of the shrimp and leek dumplings from my first visit there a year and a half ago.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
U.S. politics has (have?) washed over my head again, as it does periodically, rising from the baseline fear and disappointment that mounted during election season and spiked in November.

I don't talk about it much here. This blog, and [ profile] bironicwastaken, are my dedicated fannish spaces online. It looks like we all understand that media consumption, fannishness and other creative pursuits are permissible hobbies, community building in an environment of divisiveness, necessary breaks and even artistic acts of resistance as we struggle with current events. Still, I sometimes (1) worry that fannish-oriented posts strike the wrong tone in wider context, such as yesterday's, and (2) feel a defensive urge to point out that I'm doing things "in real life" to fight what's happening, even if they may not be enough and even though no one has said anything.

When I get down on myself about not doing enough, I focus on things like these, in addition to thinking through how I can have a greater impact:
- Since November, every feature article I’ve written at work has made an explicit or strong implicit political statement
- This auction vid not only raised money for a good cause but is also about celebrating many characters of color in current genre sources, and that's not for nothing these days
- Every month, I donate to activist, investigative journalism and/or minority-support organizations
- I talk to people, including family and friends who voted in ways I am trying to understand
- etc.

That is all. It's a[nother] tough day. ETA: Not least: Event & dream involving anti-semitism )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Writing feels onerous these days, even emails and comment replies, which is unsettling for someone who has considered herself a writer for 25 years. There has also been some of that periodic "What am I doing? What is this career? What are these hobbies?" mixed in.

I am thinking about small, non-intimidating items to post about.

1. You can take the girl out of school, but...

(Note: mentions [wanted] touch from a male authority figure)

Today I went to an awards ceremony honoring a professor I occasionally work with. When I said congratulations at the cocktail reception, he gave me a hug. This was unexpected but quite welcome, as I have a tiny work crush on him. It was a highlight of the day. It also got me thinking again about student/teacher dynamics and how I haven't yet grown out of wanting to please teachers and professors and be among their favorites. Not that I am a favorite of this particular guy, but it evoked the same rush of pleasure.

Plus, it once again highlighted how I need pleasant touch from fellow humans more often. (To be distinguished from things like the press of strangers' elbows and knees on the bus, which are to be avoided whenever possible.) Continuing on the office theme, one of my editors, a woman I like a lot, put her hand on my shoulder the other week for several seconds while maneuvering around some chairs, and it felt so nice. The last time I recall something similar was a couple of years ago, and I think it was actually the same professor as today. Sometimes when hugs from friends and visits from cuddle-able houseguests don't quite fill the quota, I think about getting a pet. There's a reason I wrote John Sheppard like that in Forty Years and Eight Pounds.

2. Nerds tour Cambridge

Some of you might remember my Finnish friend A. from when we both lived in DC, who now lives in Germany? On Friday her husband V. emailed to say he and two of his students were going to be in Boston the next day on their way to a meeting, and we ended up spending all of Saturday together. Being a bunch of fellow nerds, they wanted to see the Harvard and MIT campuses, so I showed them what I could between bouts of drizzle. The students -- one Spanish and one Italian -- delighted in the diner-style Veggie Galaxy, complete with milkshakes and plain red ketchup bottles. We talked politics and science and idioms and culture and personal stories, gazed at the beautiful old houses on brick-lined streets, paused at coffee shops and riverside benches and the Kendall rooftop garden, and to top off the evening, V. traumatized his students by holding up a pair of women's shorts and shaking his hips at the Gap. (We went to the mall. Apparently jeans are five times cheaper here.)

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, even though it made me miss A. and V. more keenly.

Two things make a post. Let's pretend this didn't take an hour. One day soon maybe we can talk about Wonder Woman and Doctor Who (speaking of student/teacher tropes) and American Gods and fannish projects and the announcement that Vividcon is ending, and and and.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
My promotion actually went through at work! I have a modified title and a tiny raise. My supervisor had coached me to brace myself for nothing, given looming budget cuts across the whole organization, so even a little bit is a nice surprise; and while it's taken three and a half years to claw back up to what I was making at my last job, I still don't regret the move. Best of all, the upgrade doesn't involve doing much more than I'm doing now.

This news was especially welcome on the heels of a weekend where I learned that revisiting season one of BtVS + reading some BtVS fics + washing my hair for the first time since the temporary straightening and discovering that it looked like the worst perm I'd ever gotten back in high school = broody, self-recriminating fugue. Fascinating how a couple of days of rekindling a yearning to be Willow and to have an intense core friend group and mentor and whatnot could send me right back to a college-era headspace like that.

But it faded with a little socializing and a return to the work week. I went to an annual St. Patrick's Day concert with a couple of coworkers. This year's theme involved wandering back and forth through time, from the 1600s to contemporary pieces, tracing some of the threads of the evolution of Celtic music, song and dance. A wonderful local-ish musician, Keith Murphy, led a reinterpretation of the shape-note song Clamanda that I'd grown to love when Ann Leckie mentioned it in a discussion of the music she'd included in Ancillary Justice.

(And my hair is fine now. It just took two showers to get back to normal.)


And now today, a vidding zine that Lim has been working on for months has gone live! It's got essays on various aspects of vidding, close readings of vids, ruminations on vidding history, vidder profiles and interviews, stories about copyright appeals, and more, from 16 international contributors.


*warning: the landing page is a still graphic, but when you click through to the article index pages you will get some animated gifs. details below

Lim asked me to write about the Mashup exhibit, so I expanded my Dreamwidth report from last year to include new stuff about, for example, wrestling with legal questions before accepting the invitation to have "Starships!" included, deciding whether to use my RL or fannish name, brief reflections one year on, and some graphics that tried to capture my general feeling of "OMG" from the months leading up to the gallery opening. The article also features write-ins from Kandy Fong, Lim and [personal profile] heresluck. You can check it out here.

I'm at a local conference this weekend and don't expect to be online much, but what I've seen so far has been fantastic -- dynamic design customized to each article, beyond the compelling subject matter -- and I'm looking forward to reading/watching the rest.

*The All Articles index has animated gifs, although the mobile version doesn't seem to. You can avoid them if you go to the About page, and the Contributors page links to the articles by author. At a glance, the Glitter and Gold essay had a flashy gif (and the History of Vidding essay had a subtler one) that the gif-sensitive might want to be warned about.

My piece was given an auto-playing background video in the "Screening Room" section, and there's a non-flashy gif in the slide show embedded in the "Sh*t Gets Real" section. Also FYI, the section headers font and a few pix are styled with deconstructed red and blue like you would see in 3D materials before you put the glasses on.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

Working a lot at work. Consequently, doing not a lot at home. My proposed promotion is still moving forward, although not approved yet. But I'm sad about feeling vaguely unwell so often. (No advice needed; docs have been consulted.) On the tail end of one of these periodic weeks of poor sleep, I had a gross dream about a manager in the office and had trouble looking at him yesterday. Then today my laptop died! Only I looked up the "symptoms" on my phone and fixed it via a method that indicated it was only an issue of built-up static charge, whew. We had an Arctic front sweep through last night; the same dry air made my lip split when I went to the library this afternoon.

Last weekend featured Boston fan brunch, always good, followed by fangirl movie night at [personal profile] thedeadparrot's, in this case Dune, for which [ profile] serenadestrong made a spectacular sand worm spice bread. On the downside, a friend moved away to NYC, and the whole weekend felt vaguely unreal because my ear was plugged for uninteresting reasons, so until these drops from CVS cleared it up I was half deaf and felt slightly feverish, maybe because I associate plugged-up ears with being sick.

...This is the kind of post people used to make fun of when they talked about the banality of blogging. I will stop complaining.


No, wait, I will complain about one more thing, because it is upsetting me: Last Saturday YouTube blocked the Ancillary Justice trailer in the U.S. and Canada because of the DhakaBrakha audio snippets (although it's still up on Vimeo), and then last night Vimeo took down Starships! because of the Nicki Minaj song (although it's still up on YouTube) -- no warning, just down, with an email explanation of the copyright claim.

Things I have done:
- Emailed the OTW's legal team to see if they have experience helping vidders contest copyright claims for music rather than video clips
- Emailed the Vimeo support team to gripe about the sudden takedown and to request screen shots of the comments and last known view counts
- Asked vidding friends on Twitter for advice
- Added the YouTube link for Starships! to the biggest Tumblr post that's been circulating, although who knows if people will see it
- Begun preparing points to make in the appeals

I believe the book trailer has a better shot of being reinstated because it only uses a small portion of the full song and isn't competing with the original. Starships! I'm not super hopeful about, in the same way I haven't been hopeful about previous copyright matches for vids that got denied upon initial upload, and that sucks, because vids are clearly transformative works and I wish I could articulate how video clips transform the audio (rather than vice versa), or form a gestalt with it that the song wouldn't have done alone.

Meanwhile, I requested a song for Club Vivid and it got approved, although I'm not sure I can make it in time because of the scope of one of my Fandom Trumps Hate auction vids, which I am going to post about soon because I could use your help.


Those SF/F compendia. Also Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor. I liked Binti a lot and was pleased to learn of the sequel, which was also good, except for how it's a CLIFFHANGER, sigh.

Next up, The Dream-quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, because the Nebula nominees were announced and some of the novellas looked interesting.


This week I got to see a performance of Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana featuring Amanda Plummer and James Earl Jones! More on that later, I think. We do not often get New York-caliber dramas in Boston, so that was a treat.

Also a bunch of random movies that I will not list exhaustively but that included 13th, just as powerful as advertised; some movies my sister and I used to watch all the time as kids but that I hadn't seen since then (Annie [1982] and The Neverending Story); Cloud Atlas, which was terrible in different ways from the book (the racebending makeup was creepy and wrongsighted); and Child 44, an action film that was utterly unremarkable except for its cast: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Charles Dance, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel and Fares Fares. It took place in Stalin-era Moscow and Volsk so of course they cast Brits, a Frenchman, a Swede and a Lebanese Swede and made them speak in "Russian" accents.

Want to see Get Out and Logan. My sister will be visiting next weekend and we plan to take care of at least one of those.


Stephen Thompson at NPR released this year's Austin 100, a batch of songs by artists he recommends ahead of SXSW. I usually find a handful of vid songs in these -- among the 2016 recs I found this year's Club Vivid song, the song I used for the Chris Hadfield vid, and the song I'm going to use for the Mary Sue vampire vid -- and am looking forward to this new collection.


Posts and emails, mostly. Did I mention that over Presidents' weekend I added some pages to some very old Mary Sue fics? It felt good to get words out and to extend those stories a little, even with the inevitable self-criticism over things like "Why did it take you all day to write two pages?" and "Why are you still thinking about teenage fantasies?"

Off to [ profile] disgruntledowl's for dinner/movie. I made brownies. Before that, I made some mashed cauliflower. The apartment smells very confused.

Hope you are having good weekends.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
A work thing I expected to stress me out in December is instead stressing me out now because I am slow and there wasn't enough time to finish before the holidays, plus I kept bouncing off it when I tried to work on it over the break. :/

Also my officemate L. quit before the break, on the heels of another member of our close-knit subgroup of coworkers in October. Even though L. had many reasons to leave and we'd been braced for her to do so for nearly a year, I like(d) her a lot and am really feeling her absence.

HOW EV ER, in the midst of feeling rotten about turnover and office politics and wondering if learning how to care less about my job would make things better, it occurred to me that a gap can be an opportunity, and I started to change my thinking to something more positive: presenting a case to my supervisor that I should be promoted, now that she doesn't need to worry about stepping on the more senior L.'s toes.

I gathered my arguments and was going to make them tomorrow, but the head of the office gave me the perfect opening first thing yesterday morning and I ended up pitching it right to her. And instead of grilling me on why I deserved a new title or telling me it couldn't be done because of budget or other priorities, she said it sounded like a good idea and asked me how we should tweak our office structure to accommodate the new role! My supervisor also voiced her support when I talked to her, and now the other managers are brainstorming about how best to use me, so to speak. Long story long, basically I'm being encouraged to design my own position. \o/

It remains unclear how long this might take, whether HR will approve a revised job description, and how closely that description might resemble what I want to do, but for now I'm super pleased by how readily my request was accepted. After three years and a few months on the job, it would be nice to show progress on my resumé.

(Now if I could just finish this #$%*! assignment.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I don't even know what to say. You all see what's happening too.

How I've coped this week:

Reading, Watching, Sharing, Doing
I've been taking in as much news as I can handle, which varies by the evening. Since it's all too easy for me to think about things and stop there, I've also made efforts to transform that intake and mental processing into actions. Things like setting up monthly rather than annual charity donations, signing the subset of petitions that have a shot at going anywhere, and building a spreadsheet of local, state and federal representative contact information plus specific issues to thank them for supporting or urge them to oppose. I haven't psyched myself up yet to, uh, actually make the phone calls, but I'm working on it. Still unsure which outreach efforts are most effective when I live in a Democratic state with kickass reps who are already writing joint statements and introducing bills to prevent or reverse the most atrocious developments.

Nobody at our office got anything done the day after the election, but by the next day I was ready to bury myself in work. My monthly productivity is now on track to be one and a half to two times normal.

[personal profile] thedeadparrot, [personal profile] stultiloquentia and [ profile] disgruntledowl came over at various times last weekend for communal laptopping and to talk or not-talk about our government-to-be. I made a [community profile] festivids treat draft in 24 hours and picked at a few others. Current plan: four Festivids and one Christmas vid. Ha. Ha ha ha.

Vidding only worked as a distraction through Saturday. Sunday I tried to sit in the computer desk chair but kept drifting into the kitchen to start some other cooking or baking project. By the end of the day, there was curried pumpkin-apple soup, pumpkin bread, an onion and feta frittata, baked sweet potatoes, roasted vegetable lasagna and lemon-basil haddock with spaghetti squash. It's kept me in leftovers for the entire week, plus extras in the freezer, and one loaf of the pumpkin bread fed my coworkers.

Not much fiction. Finished the Young Miles compendium -- enjoyed the Dendarii parts, gradually lost patience with the rest -- and am wrapping up Vampire Romance 2. Starting to do proper research into the paranormal erotica short story market. I did go to book club last Thursday despite only having read a few chapters of the book months ago (The Goblin Emperor), and was glad to have done so, for the company.

Picked up a high school- into college-era (!) orig fic last night and added 1,200 words in 60 or 90 minutes, which, if you've been keeping track, is a lot for me these last few years. Want to try some more tonight and over the weekend. There is a sequence of scenes I daydreamed about back in the day that for some reason resurfaced, matured with time, a couple of nights ago, and I'm trying to get them down on the page. A sort of recovery story, years after the hurt I put the hero and heroine through: probably another form of self-comfort this month to go with the blankets and hoodies and warm drinks and toast.

Not much besides current events. [personal profile] thedeadparrot and I did go to see Arrival last Friday and it was great; haven't enjoyed a new SF movie that much since Interstellar. Oh, and Westworld. I'm still ambivalent about it but there's more to enjoy than it seemed at the beginning. This week's episode had one particularly delightful scenario and one great twist. Still, laughably Dark and frustratingly male-POV even when it's focusing on Strong Female Characters.

Starting last Tuesday, I went from having never dreamt about politics or politicians in my life to dreaming about them almost every night. Am ready for this phase to pass.

And so another week comes to a close. How are you all holding up?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] deelaundry visited over the weekend! We drove to Connecticut to see Robert Sean Leonard in a stripped-down production of Camelot.

We had been braced for terrible and instead were entertained. RSL's English accent was perhaps the weakest part of the evening. Britney Coleman, who apparently once played Bellatrix Lestrange in "A Very Potter Musical," gave a strong Musical Theater performance as Guenevere. Having never seen nor heard Camelot beyond a song or two, Dee and I were both amused by the Gaston-like characterization of Lancelot and this production's choice to include a bare-chested bathing scene. Michael De Souza did a great job with line delivery and body language, perhaps further endeared to my heart by the fact that at times he looked like Anton Yelchin. As for how to describe Mordred (Patrick Andrews) when he appeared in Act Two in full campy glory... He wore sparkly black leggings and was basically Seth Green playing Ramsay Bolton.

Perhaps my favorite part was learning a little bit of the history of the Westport Country Playhouse, which has been putting on shows starring big names since the '40s. They had rows of -- what are they called, not ads, not playbills -- and pieces of the old theater on the first floor. The place just felt wondrously thick with decades of actors and patrons taking a summer breather outside (but not too far outside) New York City for some low-pressure theater. I stared a little too long at a photo of Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner in the play Butterflies are Free.


Later, Dee suggested we try this show Black Mirror that has been recommended around. We watched the first two episodes of the first season (the prime minister and the pig, and the TV/bikes/game show dystopia). Creative, well-realized, solidly written and acted, and super disturbing, wow. Took days to shake off some of the concepts and images. Rupert Everett's faux-"X Factor" judge in particular induced a surprising visceral fear/attraction response in me. If the camera had lingered on his face for another 15 seconds, I'm positive I would have had nightmares. But in an enjoyable way? I'm looking forward to watching more -- just not before bed.


Then I whisked down to DC for 48 hours for a work trip. Got to see a handful of dear friends and a former coworker, attended the conference that prompted the trip, and at said conference, eee, had half a drink with Jad Abumrad, co-host of Radiolab! I only flailed at him a little before we engaged in some career-, storytelling- and podcast-related chat. If I'd known he was going to be there I probably could have asked better questions, but it was still a real treat.

Tomorrow, back to work and regular life.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Music: NPR/Stephen Thompson's Austin 100 lasted most of the drive to/from New York this weekend. It provided a dozen new-to-me songs I'm calling keepers, including four that sparked vid ideas. Two of the vids I'd definitely like to make at some point. One of those would be perfect for Club Vivid -- next year, that is -- once I figure out what fandom(s) slot(s) into the structure it presents.

Books: That thing where I said I was re-reading The Dispossessed because I'd made it almost to the end last time but petered out? I'm a little more than halfway through now and have no memory of anything beyond the middle of chapter two. It's a perfectly fine story of character, comparative politics and cross-cultural communication barriers. I'm beginning to suspect I didn't read much of it at all and have been confusing it with Stranger in a Strange Land, which I similarly didn't finish years ago.

Brain: Day four of four days off, and I'm feeling better than last week, although still not great. Took care of a lot of to-do's yesterday. Could use more days. Unfortunately, this is another week of Many Things To Do At Work + several evening engagements. Also feeling all a-roil regarding my career path after -- well, a lot of things, but most recently a grad school alumni party at our professor's house last night, at which many people shared the impressive things they are doing. I will continue to plug away at my tasks and do my PT exercises and see what happens.

Food: Taking care of myself by making sure meals are prepared for the week. Tried a couple of new recipes today that came out well. If you are interested: chicken and white bean chili (subbed a can of chicken near the end for raw breasts, and milk & yogurt for half-and-half & sour cream) for lunches; the simplest, silkiest cauliflower soup for afternoon snacks; and quick sautéed mushrooms with garlic, parsley and a mix of butter and olive oil to bring to a friend's tonight.

Now to figure out how to spend the 2 1/2 hours until the get-together.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
In some ways it was a rough week. My friend A. came to visit for two days, and it took another two to recover. My mom was hospitalized for a day. (She's okay now.) Negative self-talk has been rearing its head again. Current events are, as too usual, terrible.

And yet. In the style of [personal profile] kass's gratitudes:

  • Received a small end-of-year bonus
  • Favorite editor gave my work a great compliment
  • I'm going to finish I FINISHED writing this fic tonight, hallelujah
  • Discovered a good shawarma place that delivers
  • Almost finished reading Inkdeath, which, after two so-so predecessors, is full of wonderful little Dustfinger and Dustfinger/everyone-else moments
  • Had a lovely evening full of conversation with [personal profile] stultiloquentia yesterday
  • Tweeted with Linda Holmes (host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour) about the Jurassic World raptor-training meme - first time I've interacted with a Name over there
  • Boston-area fan picnic tomorrow—not too late to join, by the way!—likely followed by Inside Out with [personal profile] thedeadparrot
  • Found out three (I think) of my vids showed at Vidukon; and have many Vidukon vids to look forward to watching
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Odd day.

Dozed after waking to footsteps upstairs, and had a dream about cut for Holocaust-like imagery. ) Jeez, it sounds horrific to write it up like that. At the time, it was just a thing that was happening. One girl hid in a room that was my childhood bedroom by lifting herself onto the top shelf of the closet by the lintel like a pull-up, realized that she could be easily seen, and hastily shoved a folded blanket between her body and the top of the door. I was the girl. Vin Diesel found her/me and said, reasonably enough for a prison guard, something about how the punishment would be eight somethings but he'd go halvsies with her and only do four if she'd just give in. She/I said, calmly, Okay. He seemed taken aback. That was that.


Today marked the end of my three-month probation period at work. I had a good review and was not fired. (I was not worried since my performance has been fine and people like me, but still. Not being on probation is a relief in the current financial climate. If anyone in the office had had to be cut to save money, it would have been me.) (Not to say that fear isn't still there; it's just harder to let someone go after they're off probation.)


Good, easy soup recipe, adapted from my new everything-chicken cookbook: Dice and sauté two small onions. When soft and beginning to brown, add a quart of chicken or vegetable broth. Grate a couple of zucchini or summer squash; add to the pot and boil for ~15 minutes. You can also add small pasta at the time you add the vegetables. At the end, drizzle in two eggs or egg whites and lemon juice to taste. Mm. Looks like it makes three bowls' worth.


Let's answer some vidding questions from [ profile] alizarin_nyc: "What do you use for media when starting a vid? Do you rip DVDs, convert .avi files or what? What editing software do you use and why? What is the next thing you want to learn/try in writing or vidding?"

I tend to rip DVDs )

I use Adobe Premiere )

I want to learn to do a thing with John Sheppard's face )

But also how to better create clip pacing that is less a slave to the music )

...I don't know if I articulated that well at all.

4) That's a good question about what I might want to learn next in writing. Will have to get back to you on that. As compared to video editing, fiction writing is a thing that comes so unconsciously to me -- not always easily, just instinctively rather than as a series of technical steps -- that it's hard for me to approach and understand it as a craft. (I used to think that was something to brag about, but the more I press up against the boundaries of what doesn't come naturally to me and what I haven't been educated about, and the more I look back on many of the fics I've written and listen to others who do understand the technical elements of putting together effective stories and characters, like the more I appreciate that relying on instinct alone can also be a limitation.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Well, I'll be moving out of DC on Monday and into Boston on Friday the 13th. *boxes everywhere*

Yesterday was my last day at work. Aside from the final crunch (my exit memo ended up being 50 pages, since it was half memo and half technical manual and included a ton of screen shots), it was a good end to the job. We had a happy hour mid-week and went bowling yesterday, and people were really sweet and gave me cards and hugs and stuff.

I chose the restaurant for the happy hour, I confess, in honor of The Vampire Diaries. Two of the main characters from that series are Damon and Stefan Salvatore; the owners of this restaurant and a sister restaurant nearby are Damian and Stephanie Salvatore. Really, how could I not go there at least once? Plus, all agreed it was tasty.

Social appointments this weekend, the rest of the packing, getting remaining paperwork in order, squeezing in the last errands, some last-minute panicking (ask me the last time I slept a full night), then movers and a 450-mile drive. It's going too fast. But it's also exciting. A new story that begins between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

One day soon there will be time again for things like vidding and Kink Bingo and talking about how Iggy does hilarious TOS Tumblr write-ups during our online rewatch...

The news

Aug. 26th, 2013 07:25 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Life takes a turn for the exciting, on both RL and fannish fronts.

RL news - Moving to Boston!

You guys, I applied for what is basically the 9-to-5 of my dreams, and (several interviews and tests and negotiations later) they gave it to me. Then I went up to apartment hunt in the best/worst real estate season of the year there. I was so stressed out I got off the plane shaking, yet somehow I was incredibly lucky and landed my first choice. I am thrilled, even though it, like everything else in the city, is $.

Which means in less than a month I will be living in a beautiful 1 BR instead of a studio, giving the work I have been wanting to do for years a try, at a Prestigious University that I didn't expect to have a chance to be affiliated with.

Is this my life? I'm not sure this is my life. Something is bound to go wrong. Right?

(The downsides: becoming yet another person leaving my office, leaving some coworkers I like and sticking them with a lot of work; and, more important, leaving friends behind. [ profile] deelaundry, [ profile] cincodemaygirl, [ profile] alpheratz, [ profile] ellen_fremedon, [ profile] recrudescence and [ profile] v_greyson whom I've hardly been able to see, etc. etc., and of course [ profile] synn, although we have already weathered three or four interstate separations. :( :( :(

It will be nice, though, in exchange, to see more of the Boston-area fanpeople - Ny and parrot and thirdmouse and kass, maybe get in touch with [ profile] bathsweaver if she's still there, whom I barely got to know before I moved away last time - plus some grad school classmates who stuck around and also my college friend S., the fellow Trekkie I've mentioned here a few times over the years.

Whom else do I know or should I meet up there??)

Fannish news - Starships remix is live!

I have been remiss in not pointing you to [ profile] jetpack_monkey's remix of Starships, along with a source list and a side-by-side comparison that will knock your astrosocks off. He used all black and white footage, all pre-moon landing air dates, aglow with hope and joy and silliness and the sort of string-and-matchsticks special effects that hold a special place in so many of our hearts.

As if the effort he put into securing and cleaning up the footage over the better part of a year weren't enough -- seriously, be sure to read the vid notes -- he scoured it all thoroughly enough and worked the speeds well enough to achieve pretty much a shot for shot homage to Starships. Cigarette smoking, salutes, bubble helmets, launches and crashes, little flying pellets, you name it. Chess for poker. Astro Boy for WALL-E, holding up the sky. The Lost in Space robot for Data the android, embodying the way technology and the sources themselves have evolved over the decades. A flying submarine for the flying Winnebago, because ridiculousness endures though it may change shapes. Billy Mumy for Nog, the boy wonders. And the TARDIS, stretching across eras. So many brilliant choices. So many I have yet to fully appreciate because I don't know all the source material.

It's an absolute thrill to see [ profile] jetpack_monkey's vid come to fruition and receive the accolades he and it deserve. It's a humbling tribute to what I rushed to put together last year, and it absolutely stands on its own as a love letter to the sci fi shows and movies of yore.

What are you waiting for? Go watch it. (Or, you know, go watch it again.)

(I've been able to watch some other Vividcon vids and need to do a recs list. One of these days, in between packing boxes and getting paperwork settled.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Thanks a lot, every insurance company I can find in this county, for refusing me two months of health coverage to fill a gap between school and work in case I get hit by a car or stricken with swine flu, all because I had a kidney stone and a scan for what turned out to be a benign growth two and a half years ago.

This is especially irritating coming as it does a day after Obama's speech about the ideal healthcare environment in this country. It may have wanted some substance to back up its ideals, but the moral motivations can't be faulted. Also, he's an excellent speaker.


Working a lot this week. Tired. A bit demoralized. Have more to do tonight. Dreading an interview tomorrow at which I'm almost certain I'm going to be offered a job. Dreading because I don't know if I want it and I haven't been able to figure it out since this became a possibility more than a month ago. Am probably going to take it anyway, and then deal with whether it's a good fit or not -- and telling my current supervisor, who is expecting me to be around for another several months yet.

But: [ profile] synn is coming tomorrow for the weekend. There may be a Tim Gunn event in person next weekend. And tonight is the premiere of The Vampire Diaries, which looks just as terrible as every other TV show that utterly misses what makes vampires compelling, but I was obsessed with L.J. Smith for about a month in high school, several years after I knew better, and it'll be really cool to see those characters in whatever mutated hypersexed teenage incarnation on screen.

("I'm going to eat you, Salvatore.")
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Hm. I said I was going to stop writing summary posts like this. Another time, I guess.

This week in a nutshell:

Furniture. Up to NY on Saturday—saw my sister for half a day between a gig and the next leg of the tour, rescued her from a flat tire when she had no money and a dying cell phone, played a rousing game of "where the hell are the table legs?" in a house full of stuff from my dad's moving-in girlfriend, and ate sushi—back from NY on Sunday, and now I can has furniture. Well, the table/chairs, an area rug, a small bookshelf, a little papasan chair, and a metal cart left over from college, anyway, but at least now most of my things aren't on the floor.

Oven. Adventures in broken-down apartment features this week included the smoke that came steaming out of the oven when I tried to use it for the first time. Long story short, it took one day for maintenance to identify the problem, another for them to come back and fix the problem instead of just telling me about it, and another for me to find out they had come, because they sent a note to the previous tenant's email instead of leaving the piece of paper on the door like they'd always done. Aie. I had, naturally, just bought a chicken to roast; the poor thing ended up in the fridge for a day, cooked for ten minutes on day two, put back in the fridge for a day, frozen for another day, and it's now defrosting so I can cook it tomorrow. If I die of salmonella or something when I finally eat it, please all of you play nicely as you divvy up my things.

Hair. Attend: I am making a pact not to use elastics anymore (except at the gym, where I have been trying to go most evenings right after work). Gone with the ponytail of yesteryear, I cry! Thanks in part to a book about curly hair recommended by [ profile] hannahrorlove and wisdom accumulated five or so years ago the last time I got a good haircut, I am trying to care for my hair with conditioner and gel so it can do its thing without frizz, and plan to use some freelance money to get a good-quality cut at a real salon in a few weeks when a spot opens up.

Alcohol. For the first time in all the years I've been over the legal drinking age, I bought a bottle of alcohol for myself. Two, actually: amaretto and sweet-and-sour mix. I plan to use it as a wise professor once advised me, to lower inhibitions so I can actually write without the impending deadlines of Kink Bingo. Okay, his advice didn't mention Bingo, but the rest is true.

Plants. A coworker who gardens potted two small plants for me, a spider and a philodendron, and they make a disproportionate difference in this place than their size would suggest. The spider plant is in a pretty earthenware pot that's glazed deep blue-green with brown streaks in the light. She said it reminded her of my eyes. Aww.

Job. I have absolutely sucked at work this past couple of weeks. Just sitting there all day getting nothing done. I have to get my act together and make up my mind about which of the two offers I have I'm going to take, because while neither is ideal, I can't keep stringing people along and agonizing so much that I'm totally unproductive. On the bright side, just got a raise and will have health insurance in November. On the dimmer side, that means a two-month lapse in coverage; need to find a stopgap plan, because there are prescriptions to fill and possible illnesses and accidents to be prepared for.

DVDs. After following up with Amazon, the postal service, and the place I used to live, a refund was attained, a new order placed, and SGA S5 finally arrived here on Thursday. Hopefully that'll kick-start the vid-that-was-in-progress about how Pegasus people are angry.

Fanpeople. Thanks to [ profile] kassrachel, I was put in touch with a local cluster of fans who gather weeklyish to watch sci fi down the street from me. I met many of them for the first time last night and it was wonderful. We watched the Vividcon premieres along with a few others, had tasty food, and chatted about the usual hit-and-miss collection of fan topics -- vidding, knitting, cats, various Star Treks, works in progress, textual analysis, slash, Canadians, mpreg. Okay, the last was my fault for having brought up, as we were leaving, the fact that I was glad we hadn't talked about it, after [ profile] barely_bean scarred me for life the first time I hung out with the NYC brunch crew.

Good vids included [ profile] greensilver's American Tune, a tribute to The West Wing set to Simon & Garfunkel that moved me even though I barely know the show, and another viewing of Seah and Margie's spectacularly unsettling Dr. Who vid No Handlebars (again, need not know the source material), and Learning to Crawl by [ profile] jarrow (BSG, ditto). A couple of nice vids introduced me to lovely songs, including Greg Laswell's It Comes and Goes in Waves (vid) and Jars of Clay's Boy on a String (unlinked vid of the same name was by traykor).

Okay. Off to see the wizard Laundrys for the first time in a while, and then… long weekend!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Today I felt so tired I couldn't see straight, let alone get any substantive work done. When I asked if my supervisor would mind if I worked (such as it was) through lunch and left an hour early, she said go home whenever, and don't set my alarm tomorrow morning if I don't want to. At my last job, it didn't matter how much overtime we worked; we were expected to be in the office from 9 to 6, and never mind that you have the flu or there's a blizzard or the air conditioning is broken and it's 90 degrees inside or they're tarring the roof right above you or painting the neighboring office and people are taking breaks outside from the fumes.

In other words, another reason I really like this job. Too bad that by virtue of technically being an internship, it's not going to last. The reason I felt so tired in the first place is I haven't slept well for about a week, which I'm attributing to birthday angst followed by job angst. Need to find a place to take me in in just under a month, and a place to live near wherever that is. Or, if that plan doesn't work, find an apartment near here and look in the area. Have put out the metaphorical feelers; we'll see. Prospects are uncertain in this economic climate, and I do not do well with uncertainty. And then there's the Groucho Marx syndrome to deal with of losing respect for companies who would have me as an employee, especially if they're the ones who seek me out and not the other way 'round.

Have also landed what might be a regular freelance writing gig (nonfiction). I've done freelance writing before, but usually only one job at a time. So that will be nice if it works out. I have problems with letting go of money, particularly when -- for some strange reason -- future employment is not guaranteed, but earnings outside of a salaried job go right into the spendable file, guilt-free. Which means I can do things like fly to see [ profile] synn and my grandparents and not mooch off the [ profile] deelaundry domicile more than I already have.


Before I duck back into the hunt, here are some stories and vids that have brought me joy recently: )

Anyone read any good House fic lately? I am out of touch.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Happy news, for some of us:

1. Remix signups are open. Each year I fear what I'll be assigned, but I'm three for three now, so that must mean something, right?

2. Getcher automatically generated Kink Bingo cards here. I am excited, although who knows whether I'll be able to follow through with a whole bingo. My card contains tentacles again (!), and medical play (I have a House WIP I want to finish for this), and consent play (a secret favorite of mine; and I've been wanting to do a story where it is clear from the beginning that the participants are playing, with mutual consent and enjoyment; none of that 'surprise, it wasn't a real attack!' stuff), and other goodies. It would be great if I could find a way to write in some fandoms I haven't shared online before, like DS9 or BtVS or the Vampire Chronicles.

2a. I feel like I've posted mostly gen and vanilla or ordinary kink (i.e. bondage) slash here, but I thought about it while glancing at people's Bingo cards and realized I've done some weird edited 2011, for and with sensitivity: a surprising variety of stuff, often unintentionally: bestiality, double penetration, aphrodisiacs, bizarre object insertion, facial/bukkake, biting/vampires, scars; and, in stories offline, suspension, consent play, student/teacher, god/mortal, celebrity/fan, alien/human, guard/prisoner, virginity, electrodes, bloodplay, gang bang, and humiliation. Huh.

3. Now is the time to leave House/SGA crossover prompts for the upcoming Porn Battle. That semiannual 'fest has been great for not only generating lots of PWPs in many fandoms but also stimulating me (heh) to produce a few new ficlets of my own, often after a dry spell (heh heh). Hopefully this round will be no exception, even with my daytime hours out of commission.


On the walk home before from the bus stop, the clouds over half the sky looked lumpy underneath, like bubble wrap with the big bubbles. But nothing's come of it. We must have only caught the tip of the system. Too bad, because it was horribly sweltery today, and D.C. gets great thunderstorms.

Second day of work today; first full day. Place and people seem nice. There's enough work to keep me busy, and they're encouraging me to take on what I find interesting. The hours are also flexible, and it's seven hours a day (eight if I want a full hour for lunch, which most of the time I won't), not nine. What a change from my last company. Not having LJ/email access is going to be a good thing, too; I'm focused, not tempted to stall with easier, more comfortable, irrelevant stuff, and there's a neat little collection of posts and messages to read when I get home. (Though I did smile to myself when the two-hour security training I completed this morning warned multiple times against accessing or transmitting sexually explicit materials.)

I melted part of a spatula-turner-thing yesterday. Note to self: Gas stoves burn hotter than electric, and scraping stainless steel pans with nylon utensils is not recommended. It was my—subleaser's?—spatula, too, so I'm going to have to replace it with the same model before I move out.


It is very weird, and wonderful, to see one's sister appear in a YouTube video a stranger took from the audience of a David Cook show. It's a funny clip, actually. A cake is thrown.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
After a busy but very nice birthday weekend I had a dentist appointment after work on Monday and a doctor's appointment after work on Tuesday and got a flat tire on the way in to the office that morning but had it fixed with little hassle and then signed a loan promissory note and registered my bank account on the financial section of the school's website and paid my first bill and found that the school said they were paid but the bank said the money hasn't been withdrawn so tried to fix that and in the meantime arranged with my new building manager to let me come visit my apartment next week which is coincidentally around the same time a friend from abroad will be in the area which is cool but because my mom wants to come with me I also have to look up hotels since I can't ask her to stay on my other friend's futon like I usually do, and I went to lunch with my ex-manager yesterday and with my boss today and have been training two of my four replacements all week in between being innovative and productive because I want to prove that I'm not slacking off just because it's my last week and finishing up my own tasks that are so numerous there is not really any time for goofing off on LJ so to relax last night I wrote up a packing list and watched two Star Trek episodes and am considering watching a few more tonight because the letter I got in the mail today about coming up with well-considered thesis topics by Labor Day is too scary to contemplate considering I've been awake since 4:30 a.m. and now tomorrow is my last day of work following which we're having a going-away party until who knows when so I'll have to record SGA and instead of spending my first weekend as a free person sleeping and writing stories I'll be going into the city to see a Birthright friend for dinner and then to my sister's friend's rock show and staying overnight at my mom's only to be dropped off home early enough to pack her car with a grandfather clock she wants before I go to a morning picnic with my dad and—

Is where I've been and am and will be.


Want to write up the last two Israel photo posts (photos having already been chosen, edited and uploaded). Want to do a Porn Battle ficlet. Want to finish a WIP or two. Want to reply to outstanding comments. Want to talk about birthday things. Want to post about the writing/performance thing and other assorted small philosophical moments that've been striking lately. Want to watch more Star Trek. Want to do a lot of things.

One day at a time.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Now that I've done it, I can say outside of friends-lock that I gave my two weeks' notice at work today, and my boss, a.k.a. the company president, did not in fact get angry and ask me to leave right away (which is not an uncommon occurrence 'round these parts), but instead gave me several genuine, wide smiles, a hug, a clap on the shoulder, a fond pat on the cheek, well wishes and congratulations, and a partially serious request that I give him a call when I get out of school. And then proceeded to announce the news around the office like a proud parent.


My manager—well, ex-manager, but even four months after my promotion she still hasn't admitted that I don't work for her anymore—actually took it the hardest. Aside from losing the most senior member in her department and the only experienced writer in the company, she said she's going to miss having someone around who's on the same wavelength, sharing knowing glances whenever someone says or does something crazier than usual.

So yes, for those I haven't told, I am going back to school next month. I haven't decided exactly how much I want to reveal about what and where, but I'll be moving to the Boston area for a year, and afterwards you may call me Master. Two more weeks of work, two and a half weeks-ish to prepare, and then moving day. Whew.

It's funny; after four years at this place, fantasizing of quitting out of spite or exasperation, finally resigning has been something of an anticlimax. I even imagined what my post about it would look like, all capitals and exclamation marks. And yet here we are, not very emotionally moved: on good terms with everyone there, and writing plainly like any other day here. It probably has to do with the fact that I knew I'd be leaving months ago, so I've already been enjoying all the stress relief that comes with having an end date in one's head. Also to do with the fact that waiting at the end of these last two weeks is not a relaxing vacation or exciting new job but 12 months of hard work. Twelve months that I'm looking forward to, yes, but still.

For some reason it didn't occur to me that some people in the office might be sad that I'm leaving and want to do things like take me out to lunch. Those sorts of comments today were nice. A bunch of us will probably hang out that last Friday at a local pub, too, the usual event for developers who leave.

Oh, and the semi-final turnover numbers since I started mid-2004? Ninety-five people hired, and 65 left/fired. Average total employed at any given time, 40.


In other news, photos of the carnival and moon from last week: )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I wrote 4,000 words of story over the long weekend and felt good about it, even though I haven't been able to get back to it yet and it needs some rehauling.

I usually put off reading fic while I'm writing it, because if I didn't I would (a) lose faith in my own abilities, (b) start unconsciously mimicking other people's styles and phrasing, (c) get into passive rather than creative mode, and (d) not be able to stop reading anyway. The result was that I had a nice pile of things to read Tuesday and yesterday, and some of them were really good.

Some SGA recs - all slash except for the first one and sort of the fourth one, and a must-read for TNG fans: )

Oh oh! This awesomeness (actually entitled "Hold") by [ profile] foreverdirt - a Rodney/John double sestina that is tightly constructed, hot as hell, and contains some beautiful phrasing. I was so incredibly thrilled to find out that she was partly inspired by An Unanticipated Side Effect of Dosing Oneself with Wraith Enzyme.... It sounds / like madness, letting himself feel / like this over a man who would burn / his life away on a dime. It's not. ...She hasn't crossposted anywhere; I hope she doesn't mind me reccing it here.


I swear I'm still a House fan. See, here's a rec: Paresthesia and Pain by the always excellent [ profile] mer_duff (post-finale, House/Wilson friendship, pain as metaphor). It's just that I've been bookmarking rather than reading since the season finale.


I also swear that I can and will talk about more than fandom/fanfic (but not that I can start sentences with words other than "I"). I want to have discussions about things like the difficulty of writing PWPs, and just how much stupider a person becomes as a function of how long it's been since they left school (and by "a person," of course I mean "me"), and how hot Stephen Colbert was while summarizing the shortfalls of string theory before guest Brian Greene, and whether the career path I've selected for myself is the right one, and whether my Saturday would be better spent relaxing on the couch or going into the city to see Alan Alda play Richard Feynman followed by a session with feminist astrophysicist Vera Rubin, and. . . but tonight does not seem to be the right moment for it. *yawn*

I blame an overtaxed brain; I worked for 9 hours straight on a new project at work today after spending the last three-odd years learning absolutely nothing, and then got through a cassette and a half of Hawking's The Universe in a Nutshell audio book in the car. (No, he does not narrate it.) Picking up unfamiliar physics aurally, while navigating traffic? Not so much my strength.

I think I will go read about how Thoughts of death make us eat more cookies.

ETA: This is news? "The authors believe people with low self-esteem use consuming as a way of subconsciously escaping self-awareness, which is heightened by thoughts of dying." I've been consciously escaping painful awareness of mortality through (fiction) consumption for as long as I can remember.


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