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Imaginary Researcher's LiveJournal:
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|Sunday, March 17th, 2013|
|This is so cool I have to go to the bathroom!
I've been shaking and sighing for over an hour now, and I still haven't quite come down from the high. This is seriously up there in personal accomplishments - okay, let me explain, that tonight I found this post
espousing their love for Put On Your Face
, with great and deep praise that had me grinning like a loon, and here, and let me quote:(This story and waffleguppies’ Blue Sky are what made me finally try writing fanfiction, actually, and I feel like Sparkler owes everything to those two stories)
Guys. Guys. YOU GUYS. YOU GOTTA GET THIS. Making people want to make stuff is one of my biggest goals in life as a creative-type person! And here I've learned I've done exactly that!
I know - very realistically - what I have to do next is get someone else to want to make something. To keep going, to not look back, to never flinch. And I know for tonight, that for tonight at least, I'm going to hold onto this bright, sharp joy as fiercely as I'm able. That something I wrote in turn made someone make something.
(And not even Livejournal crossposting troubles can harsh my buzz. That's how good it feels.) Current Mood: jubilant
|Sunday, October 14th, 2012|
|The turtle moves.
I can now say with complete certainty and truth I've shook the hand of a knight. Sir Terry Pratchett came to New York this weekend, and I was there in line to say hello.
He'd come to the city for New York Comic Con, a fairly big deal in the industry - not as big as San Diego, which is large enough to conquer modestly-sized European countries, but big enough to attract major names. Like Terry Pratchett. I didn't go see him there; if he'd just come for the Con, I wouldn't have seen him at all. He spoke there Friday to a huge gathering, and Saturday afternoon, he spoke at the Union Square Barnes & Noble to a much smaller, intimate crowd of less than 150 people who happened to be lucky enough to hear about it beforehand. I got there two hours early to get a seat in the front row, and spent most of that time talking to the fellow geeks waiting for him to arrive. It was a pretty good way to spend two hours, talking about education reforms and tenure systems in American colleges and universities, hard ciders, the shifts in cultural attitudes towards children and the associated lightening and darkening of fairy tales as entertainment versus oral tradition and morality tales, the various Doctors Who, stuff like that. We all waited and waited, knowing he'd be coming, some of us writing questions for him to answer or dashing out to get a copy of Dodger
so we could stay. It was a decent way to spend two hours.
I kept looking around like a meerkat, glancing about as the hour got closer and closer - would I see him? When would he arrive? Was he -
And then, there he was. No trumpets and heavenly choirs. No silence. No fanfare, nothing to mark it. Just a man...just a man and his fabulous hat. There was no mistaking that hat.
He took the ramp up to the stage, not the stairs - that was something I noticed. And the way he held his hands, how he picked up his coffee cup in three distinct movements and was very careful about drinking from it and putting it back. The times when he had to look inside himself for his words, and when the words flowed out of him. I know he's going. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would to see it. He was very much there on the stage, very much happy to be there.
During his conversation with his assistant, they talked about the writing of the book and the necessary research, the goddess Narativa, the writing of Nation
and the nature of endings. I learned he was there for the first episode of Doctor Who - no, the first
Doctor Who - no, the first Doctor Who
! - when they talked about who they might have played by David Tennant. He spoke about a woman who had him sign a scythe to engrave, and how she grabbed a beer can he'd used to make something half Foster's beer and half Englishman - an Australian! His assistant read for a bit and then they took questions, from how to write humor (let it flow from the work, don't go looking for it, if it's there it'll appear), the origins of the Duck Man (Daniel Pinkwater is to blame), how things are going with The Watch
(very well, and they'd call it CSI: Ankh-Morepork
if it weren't for copyright violations, so they don't), and why he writes such strong female characters (he has a wife and a daughter). He talked about the nature of language, and how assisted suicide isn't something that can rightly be called murder. He talked about writing in a chapel and running out of libraries, and I'll quote, "If you have enough room for books, I don't want to talk to you!"
His days of signing books are over, but his days of being photographed are not. Rather than try out everyone's camera, his assistant took photos of everyone, one at a time, sitting next to Sir Terry, which will eventually be uploaded onto a Flickr account. I was in the front row and one of the first ten people to be able to shake his hand and say hello.
When I got to him, I shook his hand and said hello - and told him how much it meant to me to hear him talk about endings, I'd just written something where the characters couldn't live together happily ever after in the south of France at the end, it wouldn't have fit the story.
And he said yes, that's true with endings: "What's nice isn't always what's right."
"Yes, that's it exactly - thank you for finding a way for me to tell it so neatly and simply, as you always do so often and so well."
And I could tell, sitting right next to him, that he meant it when he said, "Thank you."
I left the stage having shook his hand and exchanged words with him, meaningful words. I'd gotten dressed up for the occasion in the sort of dress I wear to job interviews to make a good impression. I was walking on clouds, and I knew I'd lost one more regret.
Yesterday, I shook the hand of a knight, spoke with him, and had the chance to tell him how much his words mean to me. When I was in my freshman year of college, Going Postal
was on its US tour in San Francisco, on a night when he was within two miles of my dorm room. I didn't go. At the time I thought he'd come again, that he might have another tour on another night near another street that didn't scare me so - I didn't go see him because I was scared of going out of my room at night in such a big, strange, dangerous city. The night passed, when I read the novel I was blown away as usual, and it became something to think about and sigh. Then his diagnosis was made public, and I wasn't scared so much as terrified: I'd lost the chance to see him forever. It was something I came to accept, that being scared cost me something. I've since learned it's all right to let myself be scared and to not be held back by fear, which was a valuable lesson, and I still looked back and wished I'd known better then, not now.
When yesterday came, I was finally able to toss that lost chance aside. Being able to say that just as much as being able to say I heard him speak, and finally having had the chance to thank him for his words. Current Mood: contemplative
|Monday, October 8th, 2012|
Friday hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit around four in the afternoon. Saturday was more subdued, around sixty, overcast but not cool. Yesterday it was drizzling just enough to make walking unprotected difficult, and a little nip to the air - finally, sweatshirt weather. Today was much the same, with enough chill to make a sweatshirt nice, but unnecessary since I like the feeling of cold when it's this gentle.
But the biggest sign it's autumn - the thing that made me stop what I was doing and make a little noise of delight, just because I was so happy - came tonight, when I realized the heat's been turned on in the building. Current Mood: working
|Sunday, October 7th, 2012|
|Imaginary storytelling, Supernatural edition: Places to come from, places to go.
This is for neotoma
. And everyone who likes fictional anthropology.
I had a moment of great jubilation when I got to the fourth season of Supernatural
- not just because the plot was kicking into high gear, not just because of Misha Collins, not just because the effects budget had been increased to about $72 per episode up from $65. A lot of it was from the fact I'd finally found something to fit the premise-in-search-of-a-plot that'd been kicking around my head for a few years.
Then I went and dedicated myself to Team Fortress 2
before I could get a chance to write anything. I did, however, take copious notes on the story idea set off long ago by the phrase "angel sanctuary" - an anime series I knew nothing about save the title, because I find late-90s anime trailers obtuse at the best of times - and might as well get around to sharing them since I don't have to be up early to go to work tomorrow.
, some of it was a reaction against all the fics forgetting angels are, in Castiel's words, "Multidimensional wavelengths of celestial intent" and are instead treated as physical beings - while also giving them characteristics belonging to said multidimensional wavelengths in a way that struck me as internally inconsistent. Too many stories where it wasn't one or the other, or even lacking in a clear set of rules for the story itself. I found myself wanting to read a story that didn't seem to be written yet: something with angels not as wavelengths but entirely physical beings, with fingernails, digestive tracts, oil glands for their feathers, and all that good stuff. Something where - perhaps more importantly than having clearly delineated gestation periods - the culture of the angels was also given attention and care and not just added to as the author felt the story needed. Something set in a world where where angels were in textbooks along with kappas, selkies, and werewolves. And, going with the original story idea, live fairly removed from the rest of the world for their own safety.
In addition to being one of those, "Hey, wouldn't it be neat if...?" stories, the underpinning of this AU would be an exploration of the relationship between Castiel and Sam and Dean, and the impact the brothers' have on angels - and through that lens, the impact of sudden external influence on isolated cultures.
Angels, being highly magical beings, have long been hunted by humans for use in spellcraft and magic - blood, feathers, eggshells, bones. Their original homelands were the Middle East, with them seemingly going extinct in the wild by the time of the Crusades, and went extinct in captivity a couple of decades after that. England and France have the largest collections of skeletons and assorted remains, and will sometimes tap into their dwindling stores if the need is great enough, such as a potion to save the life of the ruling monarch curently ravaged by lung cancer. There are a few bone flutes that still see use, and Sam and Dean were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to hear one played once.
In addition to the shifts regarding angels, hunters are fairly well known in society as well. Somewhere between lawyers and plumbers in terms of prestige, it's a profession that ranges from the well-respected white collar academic to the dirty-fingernailed blue collar monster dispatchers. Mary and Sam Winchester lean towards the former; John and Dean, the latter.
As a side note, I didn't ever take the time to figure out if Mary and John are alive, if it's only Mary who's dead, what happened without an apocalypse two thousand years in the making to give Sam and Dean their current relationship. But I did settle on the Winchesters having a family cabin out in Arizona in the mountains somewhere. Because that's where Dean shoots down Castiel.( A few thousand more words are under the cut, for reading convenience.Collapse )
It's still something I think about from time to time. There was a lot of time spent on it, and I really would like to read this sometime. And I honestly can't think of a better reason to write a story. Current Mood: creative
|Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012|
Let it be known that today I cleaned 1900 items out of my inbox. Go me.
I'm not sure what brought it on, exactly - it's something I've been meaning to do for ages, clean out all the old messages, and somehow, something today had me buckle down and just punch on through. Some of those messages had been there for years, and in a few cases, literally years and years and years, six in total. Whatever brought it on had me realize nobody's going to miss those items, nobody's going to much care, and if it's bothering me this much I'll be happier when it's over. And I am.
At least half of them were Livejournal comments. Given, received, left in the inbox for one reason or another. The rest were proper e-mails I haven't gotten around to sorting, items I forgot to delete, miscellaneous stuff that didn't have reason to stick around. But by volume and mass, Livejournal comments ruled the day. And because I'm me, I didn't delete them. I honestly couldn't bring myself to. Maybe I'll go back another time, clean out everything in the folder for that, but not today. That'd take much more effort, a lot more care, and I enjoy having them all archived like that. I do like comments, very much. Getting, giving, the whole act of conversation. Answering, that I'm not terrifically good at, not as good as I'd like to be. But every comment that someone makes in my journal, I read. Even if it's a random drive-by thing, I've read it.
I came to Livejournal for conversation, and I'd like to remember that. My hope is that having fewer items hanging around past the edge of the curtain will make it easier. I'll see.
Meanwhile, I have less than 100 items in my inbox, and my guess is tomorrow and next week will be devoted to cleaning up those last stragglers. Wish me luck. Current Mood: accomplished
|Monday, October 1st, 2012|
No writing today, but other forms of productivity were had. And hopefully, more writing soon because of that - I've got enough stuff in my fridge I won't need to worry about food until next Sunday, and even then it'll be minimal. What's more, next Monday is a federal holiday, which might mean another four-day working week. Which, if I do it right, could mean breaking 30K on my current fic by the end of next week.
I honestly have no idea how long it's going to be when it's all done. I'm looking forward to finding out - I'll know when I get there. In the meantime, if I do it right, it works as motivator to keep going with the cover letters to get them out of the way.
That, and I need to remember to put on music. Having my own place has definitely shifted me away from individual songs to albums since they're easier to queue up while I'm cooking or cleaning. Picking and choosing one song and then another isn't something I do much anymore - and it's a little hard to remember, even at the best of times, that putting on something helps me settle down into myself before heading off to something. Work, errands, cleaning, heading to bed. Current Mood: exanimate
|Sunday, September 30th, 2012|
|General status report.
I managed to coordinate multiple recipes tonight - timing cooking dinner against the first long rise of the bread, letting the chicken simmer while I prepared the loaves for the second rise, and finishing everything up at its own pace. Both of them came out lovely, and tomorrow, I might do something similar, assuming I find another bread recipe that allows for long periods of waiting for the next step.
Last Friday at work, one of the big phases of the records project ended when the external consultants finished scanning the records. We didn't have the capability to do the full extent of the necessary scanning ourselves, so we got a couple of contractors to come in the last two weeks' Thursdays and Fridays, and they managed to finish around lunchtime Friday. They're sort of why I have managerial experience on my CV now: I had to train a couple of people to help me finish collating the records before the contractors left and took their scanner with them. It's taking some time to sink in I'll be doing something else come Tuesday - Monday I have off for the first day of Sukkot, which is why I might have the time for proper yeast bread tomorrow. It's something that calls for a dedicated afternoon or evening.
That said, with the crunch time past me and a little more breathing room opening up, I should have an easier time managing my sleep schedule. And getting back to cover letters, and hopefully, some more writing. Current Mood: awake
|Saturday, September 29th, 2012|
|Kitchen Gadget Quiz.
Taken from linaelyn
. And I'm with her on multi-purpose saucepans.
Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of:
I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders
, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes
, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives
, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers
, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers, sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, and fondue sets languish dustily at the back of the nation’s cupboards.
About the only things I want for my kitchen I can see myself using often are two more baking pans, a wooden slotted spoon, a big metal meat pot, and a big metal spoon to go with that. Pretty much everything else I can manage with what I've got on hand. Current Mood: awake
|Thursday, September 27th, 2012|
|It's a good feeling.
There's something wonderful about a heavy workout after a disappointing day. I've talked about it, and I know it's always true, and it still surprises me how effective it is.
I had a slow, dull day at work - coming across a sizable cache of records that might or might not have been duplicates of existing documents meant checking them against the extant folders, some of which I've gone through three times now, which just led to general frustration about the whole project. The slow dullness extended into lunch as well, even with a few tangents onto the Folsom Street Fair and personal venues for self-expression. I'm about willing to kick a puppy for some good conversation there, seriously.
I was worn out enough I didn't think I'd go to the gym, but I managed to push myself into it just the same. When I got there, I didn't think I'd do much. But the squat cage was open, and I found myself walking towards it without even thinking, and set down my bag and shrugged and started on my Thursday squat workout. And it saved the day for me. The feeling of having accomplished something, the application of physical capability, the endorphine rush of hard work and honest sweat plus a bit of preening over random compliments for lifting heavy. I pushed myself on my last set of overhead squats, since I didn't need to save anything, and ended up doing enough to add an extra set to the total.
And I ended up realizing I was stronger than I thought I was. Current Mood: cheerful
|Wednesday, September 19th, 2012|
|Why I didn't write today.
The filing and record compilation I'm working on these days is for the specific purpose of collecting documents for scanning and uploading to the shul's website. The scanning's set for tomorrow and Friday, and Thursday and Friday of next week. And I still have an embarrassing number of files to get through - I'll definitely be finished by the end of the month, but I'm not sure if I'll finish before the scanning's all caught up with me.
Thankfully, there should be some help coming in.
Unthankfully, I think this means my position will be over by the end of the month. And I have to be at work around eight-thirty tomorrow, so I've got to hurl myself into bed. Current Mood: awake
|Tuesday, September 18th, 2012|
|Cutting a storm.
Last night, my mother gave me one of the finest compliments from her I've ever received: "I didn't know you could bake like that."
I'd decided to do something fun and fancy for the first night of Rosh Hashanah - a lunar calendar means the days are measured from sundown to sundown - and made this challah
in the afternoon. I've never baked a bread that fancy or that pretty before, and I knew it was a good loaf, but I hadn't known how good it was until I heard my mother say that to me.
I think when my job ends, I'll spend more Fridays making challah. Beats the storebought stuff hands-down, every time; unless it's one of those tiny neighborhood corner bakeries, there's no arguing about the texture. It's something that needs to be made by hand.
And today, someone told me I was an inspiration.
One thing my gym offers is the occasional complimentary massage: five minutes for free to entice people to pay for a full hour. Before my five minutes started I chatted a bit with the masseuse, telling her what I'd done for the day's workout, which was squats - I did them today instead of Thursday so I could use the hard physical effort to deal with period cramps and a bad mood, and they worked wonders for dispelling both of those. And I got a new personal record on back and overhead, to boot: two hundred pounds, and eighty-five pounds, respectively. And when I told the masseuse, she was astounded at the amount, and after I was done in her chair, she told me she'd have to keep working on her squats herself now that I'd inspired her to do so.
I'm too restless and tired and it's too late for me to make some tea and focus in on either cover letters or fic since I've got work in the morning, and I'm in a good mood just the same. Current Mood: satisfied
|Thursday, September 13th, 2012|
I'd probably be writing right now if I hadn't had to go get a phone. But I did, and the experience of insisting the phone was at the store and swapping out the SIM card and learning what was involved in everything wore me out enough I don't have the feeling of being capable of strong mental processes.
Tonight I retired my a Nokia 3150
- a brick of a phone that served me faithfully through high school, college, graduate school, and the first two years of post-grad living. And it still works fine - it doesn't hold a charge as long as it used to and the buttons are a little more recalcitrant to respond, but I've had it for ten years, it's to be expected. The only reason I have a new phone right now is because the network it uses got discontinued by the phone company. The frequency or the bandwidth or whatever isn't being supported since they're moving away from 2G to 4G and 5G. Not that I know what the G stands for. In any case, what I need to do before setting it aside completely is go through and copy all my old text messages from the phone to my computer. I've got some good memories in those.
What I have now is an LG Xpression
. It was that, or the Pantech Swift
, and the deciding factor above chassis color, visuals, usability, and country of manufacture was the feeling of the LG in my hands. It's got a bit more heft, a little more bulk, and it feels more like a phone.
I'm still getting used to it. And I'm taking the opportunity to clean out my contacts list - like I said, I've had it since high school, and I still have my older brother's dorm room from his sophomore year in college listed in there. What with the new year coming next week and all.
So if anyone wants me to have their contact number, shoot me a message, and it'll go in there. Current Mood: tired
|Tuesday, September 11th, 2012|
I've begun picking up more hours at work, doing about four-and-a-half days a week, with the half-day letting me come in a bit late on Tuesday to let me keep on going to therapy at the same time. It works out pretty well except for the part where I'm always tired and ready for bed by the time I'm done with everything and get around to writing the therapy session wrap-up, instead of doing it a couple of hours afterward in the afternoon.
We talked about trying to communicate with my assistant at work, a woman with a very sheltered perspective on relationships. I take some pleasure in trying to chip away at that, and test how she reacts to shift my own behaviors accordingly. We talked about my frustrations at having to get a new phone, and how if you need to get me to cry, have me think about endangered marine mammals. What I had the most fun talking about was the research I'm doing for the story I'm writing now, and how the main character's behavioral issues have to be addressed without him being aware of the vocabulary and terminology.
I should start taking notes on these. You know, for added redundancy. Current Mood: sleepy
|Monday, September 10th, 2012|
|Days like this.
The first cold breezes came in off the Hudson today, pleasant on my skin and gentle reminder that winter is on its way. I made a pot of cranberry black tea, with extra dried cranberries, and now I'm a little excited and restless from having guzzled it down in under 45 minutes and finished my job work for the night. All it consisted of was sorting through 48 bookmarks down to nine possibilities worth the trouble of cover letters, and another 12 worth the trouble of updating my profile on the library network's website. And having done that, with the time of the evening it is, I can't be assed to do more with it. If it was a couple hours earlier, I'd feel better about taking a break with something and coming back to it, which isn't the case when I have to be awake in the single digits of tomorrow's morning.
I did manage to get a couple hundred words edited and a couple dozen more added to my outstanding work-in-progress, so there's that.
I'm not looking forward to the end of my job for many reasons. I will, however, be somewhat relieved to not have to split up my time and partition it out the way I've been doing, and just go back to cramming all my job-related work into three miserable days per week and focus on my own writing for the rest of it. Maybe do more baking, too.
Though I did take a moment at work today to think this is exactly the sort of job I'd wanted as a kid. Something with a reasonable amount of autonomy where I can just do my own thing off in a corner somewhere. Or a closet, as the case is now. And that I'm going to miss. Current Mood: restless
|Thursday, September 6th, 2012|
|A funny thing happened on the way to the shul.
I met someone from work in my building today. She recognized me by my hair.
It was a near thing, too. This wasn't a regular employee who I see nearly every day of the week that just didn't register because the context was so out there - this was someone I'd talked to yesterday in the hall for a few minutes, who was there because she's a consultant for sign language classes for kindergarten kids and their parents. She just happened to be in the hallway at work when I was there, and we were both leaving our apartments literally across the hall from each other at the same moment. If I'd been on time to go to work, I wouldn't have seen her. But I was a little late, so I did. And as I said, she recognized me by my hair.
Sometimes, these things happen, and when they do, they're worth recording. Current Mood: silly
|Beautiful thirty-dollar fifteen-piece knife set.
Home.Woot's deal of the day right here
, if anyone else is interested in an affordable, quality knife set for their household, whether or not it would be a redundancy.
I'm tempted, and I already have a good knife block I bought from that website almost four years ago. They're just so pretty, it's hard to resist. Current Mood: curious
|Tuesday, September 4th, 2012|
|Notes from the morning's session.
Twenty minutes late to therapy again this week, on account of a long night. Yesterday I'd wanted to get some headphones from a local electronics store, but the outing proved fruitless - leaving me with two hours' lost and a sense of having wasted the day, on account of that. As consequence, I stayed up almost until two to get the feeling of having done something. I'm starting to learn about how I need to portion out time and manage it, and how not to get frustrated at myself for having poor days of it. Even days I'm not going to work or doing chores and errands I still want to be out doing things.
I would've felt better if I'd come back with headphones, and in retrospect I should've looked at more than one pair - I was still frustrated with the process of what I had to go through to get there to try them on, and being there, and having to search for a particular kind of headphone that's already hard to come by to begin with. What I'd have liked to do is replace my broken headphones with a new pair, but that was discontinued by the manufacturing company. I realized yesterday, as I told my therapist today, for a lot of things I have a very clear, specific idea of what that thing is and what it would do and look like, and because I have such a good idea of what I'm looking for, I get frustrated and angry when I can't find exactly that. Dresses, sandals, headphones, shoes - all have their own specifications. And if something doesn't meet those, I dismiss it immediately. The frustration comes in both when I can't find what I'm looking for because it seems to not exist, and because I know I can't just get something else that is close but not exact because that just wouldn't work. It's simultaneously an inability to communicate with the rest of the world, and the acceptance that I'm too picky and selective and fussy for my own good and should figure out how to tough it out and accept these things under protest.
I'm getting better at dismissing the second part for the nonsense that it is, ingrained or otherwise - this isn't a kidney transplant, this is a pair of headphones, or sandals, or whatever. It's a struggle.
We also talked about my frustrations towards Boolean searches not being an option for some online retailers and the people I work with, and how it felt to have someone in my apartment last week. Not too bad. And next week, I'll try to get to bed earlier. Current Mood: calm
|Friday, August 31st, 2012|