Petals on the Wind trailer, sequel to Lifetime's Flowers in the Attic, oh hell yes.

Shame is for those who didn't secretly read these during class during formative junior high years.
So last night, I finally got around to changing my yahoo and gmail passwords and set up two factor authentication. This sounds like a very boring story, and it is, trust me, but it's also an example of the password equivalent of completionist doctrine: it must all be done.

Because Heartbleed, and why not.

I have a locked and secured doc that has a full list of all my accounts and passwords because you get to the point in your online life where everything can't be happy1 or you end up writing an article about how your iPad was bricked because someone wanted your twitter name and infiltrated your entire Apple ecosystem (that article was nightmare fuel and I don't have an iPad). One of the few useful tips I got from the article is having an account that has no purpose but to be a secondary email on all my accounts; it literally does nothing but receive email about my password changes or activities on my account. I call it my keysmash yahoo account that is the recovery backup for every single account I have. The password is a modified keysmash of thirty-two characters, the username isn't much better, and I don't even know it without looking it up.

This is significant because my master doc is huge--I made an effort with anything important to make a strong password that I could also, at least nominally remember. I added app passwords eventually, so it's ridic long. I started off fixing my gmail first and then my yahoo's--each has a specific type of email it receives (one devoted entirely to Facebook and Harrods, because why not), and setting up two factor authentication (kind of fun) on everything and getting more text messages than I ever have in my life.

Here's the thing; online security was not designed for the human brain, or at least not my brain. I honestly don't know who it was designed for except someone who gets off on calculating pi for days on end or has a hardon for prime number memorization, who can think like that.

At work, I have to change the password (upper case, lower case, number, special character) every three months for my computer, PPM (for looking up defects and modifications for program testing), and my HR login to see my leave and etc. All have a two to three year password memory. My Groove messenger--like AIM, but for work--has another one that can be permanent, thank God. My secure email with Vontage--as opposed to regular email--has to have another one, and I think it has to be changed once a year. Seeing Middleware queues--where webservice calls go to die--needs to be updated every six months. For SQL queries in Oracle, the connection descriptors, usernames, and passwords for six different programs in four environments are each updated four times a year and each program has two to four users. I also have a weird encryption program on my work computer but it changes with my windows login. Oh, and VPN access so I can log in to my work computer from home, Jesus.

In a year as a tester, I will have to create or get updates for about one hundred and thirty two passwords just to log into my computer and do my job.

Online in my regular life, it's more flexible, but to secure my most important accounts, I have to have at least twenty high-security passwords with uppercase, lowercase, special character, number that I can remember off the top of my head and that doesn't count the login for my phone, tablet, laptop, my router login, my wifi login, and my server.

Facebook has an impossible one--I rarely use it, so I don't care that i have to look it up but I do care if someone hijacks it--Apple, Google Every Fucking Thing, Tumblr, DW, LJ, JF, Twitter, AO3, Hulu, Netflix, Roku, Dropbox, Evernote, Trillian, my bank app, my health insurance app, Paypal, Ebay, Sharebuilder, Newegg, my website bank login, cable, utilities, my phone, Amazon, my credit card, my retirement account at work, my health savings account through work, avast mobile security so if my phone is stolen I can erase it, McAfee, okay, I'm getting a headache. All of these have various levels of importance and security, right, because who compares your social media to your bank?

So when i was done with my password changes--smooth segue here--I was looking at my list and started working out how they were connected for vulnerabilities--remember that article I mentioned about the guy and his bricked iPad?--to see which could be considered major keys to everything.

Getting my google, I'm dead in the water, no lie; google infrastructure is like that, so that's a strong memorable password plus two factor authentication. Cracking my trillian gets you my fandom yahoo and google passwords, right, two factor the yahoos, already doing that. Which at this point, I sat down and diagrammed my online life by email address and account and how to limit the damage if one was hacked. The keysmash email seems relatively safe--you know, until fucking Heartbleed--but I ran into a problem here: I'm not a goddamn wizard. Mapping possibilities here in worst case scenario, there's no way I can do a separation that would limit hacking damage to my life to less than 20 percent without magic. For my online life--and real non-work life--I have right now eighty-nine separate passwords that are between medium and high-security needed password levels, and about twenty of them I have to be able to remember off the top of my head because I use them every day.

Modern world, I get that, but every time I read a smug security expert talking about how people are just stupid because they don't choose high security passwords for all five hundred of their online accounts and it's their fault they were hacked I want to destroy worlds or at least explain using small words this isn't (always) an issue of being stupid or lazy; the entire online ecosystem is working against you on this one.

Google alone terrifies me on a theoretical level, because it's linked to so much; Apple, same thing; Amazon, Jesus, it's growing in leaps and bounds; Yahoo, fuck my life; Microsoft, urgh; and I hate to point this out, but there's only so much separation possible. While diagramming my future hacked life, the safest measure seemed to be create a new email account for every single important account (bank, credit card, paypal, etc) to deliver to and secure each one to limit how much information a single hack can get, and it's not like there are a lot of secure online places to set up email accounts, and even if there were, we can't remember that many passwords.

I get--because it's all I know--that this is how it is, that there's no way to be invulnerable, but completionist doctrine: I spent most of last night changing all my major and medium passwords because for the life of me, I spreadsheeted my online ecosystem to figure out a way to be a smart user and limit the damage if I was hacked and I couldn't get it below compromising twenty percent of my accounts with one successful hack. I'd get notified fast--I think I got that much from keysmash yahoo account and two factor authentication--and some of the accounts are pretty minor so it wouldn't matter, but--twenty percent. I'm still working on a security model via staring at my spreadsheet and hating everything, but I keep hitting things i never thought of--my student loan account, places I shopped once or twice where I used Paypal or Google Wallet, and thought about how many places I thoughtlessly and crazily used my credit card and how they link into the ecosystem of online life and what else am I forgetting? And how many passwords I changed yesterday that I still need to memorize because sure, firefox saves passwords, Chrome saves password, IE saves passwords, but if I get hacked, those are the first against the wall, and what if my laptop is stolen or hacked?

Or I take it to a repair shop and completely didn't think about any of that because apparently in the back of my mind repair guy/customer privilege, like lawyer/client privilege, and its not he knew that file existed, or the random name, or feel any need to open it out of the thousands of files on my computer and be curious why it was protected and crack the password. Because God knows, that was a very stupid user mistake, and for four days I didn't know I was 100% vulnerable in my entire online life.

I can't tell if I'm overreacting yet. I also have five passwords >= 20 characters to memorize, which isn't helping my mood at all. Paranoia: it's totally a thing.

Further Reading
Yes, I Was Hacked Hard - welcome to my nightmare
Side effect of having to use only my tablet or my mouse at work to navigate for a week:

...I keep wanting to reach for a mouse or almost bang my fingers on the screen of my laptop to scroll or--dear God--reaching for the mouse, realizing it's not there, then starting to stroke my screen before it hits me--I use a touchpad.

Okay, as I'm here and have time, continued from here.

Supplemental review of Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 at Amazon

I don't think this would work as a full laptop/desktop replacement for most people, but as a very functional laptop supplement/alternative for travel or work, it's better than perfect.

Useful For:
1.) Travel and conventions
2.) Work, meetings, presentations
3.) Final Fantasy I, II, III, IV, V, and VI (all in the Google Play store!)
4.) The Room I and II (really really really)
5.) High graphics/high memory apps
6.) Watching movies/vids/video
7.) Document editing/writing
8.) Photo editing

The Good
Gorgeous scren, colors are vibrant, resolution is (I think) as good as my laptop. With office apps, easy to read text and can be read portrait or landscape. This a very big screen, is what I'm saying.

The weight is less than it looks, but it's solid; it doesn't feel like it'll blow away in a good wind. The back is textured for easy hold, but recommendation: buy a cover immediately. I recommend this one, which also has a strap for your hand and pockets for whatever you use tablet pockets for. It also, like the Kindle covers these days, has a auto-sleep function when you close it and auto-wake when you open it again. There's also an external elastic strap which is priceless when you open it and fold back the cover to keep it open. It's also eight dollars; this is your perfect cover, is what I'm saying.

Major gaming (the Final Fantasy series, The Room, any game with 3D graphics) looks amazing, especially those designed for tablets of 8 inches or above.

The on-screen keyboard is just the right size to type normally on, though next month I'm getting the Logitech or Zagg keyboard, both of which were built with the Pro series in mind and have apparently an independent three week month battery life (at 2 hours a day use, of course) and run on bluetooth. It even makes clicking sounds, and I could almost but not quite type normally; I type fast, but I'm just not used to not feeling my keys, though the click sound did help me there, which yes, weird yet true.

The Other:
This is a 12.2 inch screen-my laptop is 15.6, for reference--and trust me when I say, it's not a one-hand hold unless you like to live dangerously.

Some apps do not look right on this size screen. Not bad, per se, but apps that are created for a phone size of 3 1/2 to 5 or 6 inches do take getting used to seeing at this size and resolution and it is kind of surreal to play Yatzy (actual amazon spelling here) on a 12.2; the dice are huge.

Documents, Writing, Performance

I have six or seven different office programs, one of which comes free with purchase, and I tried three of them on here. It's fantastic; the screen size makes using the onscreen keyboard not a huge problem, though again, I'm getting the external keyboard because keys.

The following apps were tested and found awesome:

TextMaker Mobile - $4.99 - best of breed, only does text/document editing, other apps in family do other things, can read Googledocs and MS Word docs and can access your Word bookmarks in location order. Very nice for writing or reading. Links to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and OneDrive natively.

OfficeSuite Pro - $0.99 I think ON SALE NOW - covers documents, spreadsheets, presentation (powerpoint), and pdfs. Can access your Word bookmarks in alphabetical order. Handles Google docs and MSWord docs, links to remove files at Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, SugarSync, and OneDrive natively. You do need to download the font packet separately for best results.

Hancom - a suite covering documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and some other stuff I haven't had a chance to check yet. This suite is free with purchase of the tablet. I'm still not sure how to access remote documents directly, so give me time to experiment on this one.

Quick Office - Free - a suite covering the above, seems to exclusively pull from Google Drive or the hard drive of the tablet, which makes sense, since the app was bought by Google. Also works fine but only for Google Drive documents.

I have yet to hit a performance problem with this tablet. It also comes with video editing software and photo editing. I haven't tried them yet, as I don't generally do those things, but give me time, I'm still in my honeymoon phase.


Internal Memory: 32 G
SD Card: up to 64 G (rumor states it can manage up to 128 G)
Ram: 3 G
Processor: Exynos 5400 1.9 GHz
Screen Resolution: 2560x1600
OS: KitKat 4.4
Charging/Data: USB 3.0 (BUY EXTRA CORDS TRUST ME, $6-$8 at Amazon, get two)
Multiscreen capability

Can: be an IR remote control for your TV, blu-ray, dvd-player, auxiliary stuff, and cable box through WatchOn. This rocks like you have no idea. I feel very living in the future when I can control the entire entertainment experience from my tablet screen. It can also control the air conditioner. No, I have no idea why, just saying, that's a function. Who saw that coming?

It's a slow charge, so overnight charging, but it has about six to eight hours of functionality, especially if you turn off wi-fi when not needed.

50 G of Dropbox for 2 years
Hancom Office Suite
1 Year of Inflight internet
$25 Google Play credit
2 years Remote desktop
Other stuff

Compared to my previous two Asus tablets

An order or two of magnitude better. It runs cleaner and faster, it looks better, and it multitasks amazingly well.


The Galaxy Pro series comes in several flavors:
Galaxy Tab Pro 8.3 - $369 (16G, 2G)
Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 - $449 (16G, 2G)
Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 - $599 (32G, 3G)
Galaxy Note Pro 10.1 - (I can't find this one on amazon; google for it)
Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 - $659 (32G, 3G)

For substitute laptop use, the 10.1 (if you're okay with a smaller keyboard) or 12.2 (nearly full-size for me) are your best bet. However, the Tab Pro 8.3 and 10.1 both come with only 2 G RAM, which was a serious consideration for me performance wise and was part of the reason I went with the 12.2 and its 3 G because more RAM is always a plus. All get good reviews, and especially if you want a strong tablet that you don't need to double as a laptop, the 8.3 is both perfect and much cheaper than the alternatives. If you aren't needing the office stuff, all of them do the high-end app games well and prettily.

Now, pricewise: your best choice is the 10.1, which is right now at $449.00 for the 16 G. Keep in mind the SDCard slot takes up to 64 G officially, so it's a good deal, but you won't be able to store much on the internal drive; the working amount of drive after the OS is around 9 G if my phone is any example and I'm not sure if the OS scales upward on the tablet in terms of size. This isn't a huge drawback, but it's something to keep in mind in deciding where to store apps. I'd recommend without hesitation the 10.1 for anyone who is looking for a high end tablet at a (relatively) reasonable price who travels a lot or attends a lot of meetings or does presentations at work and doesn't want to drag their laptop around.

The price is ridic for the 12.2 but it does have an almost-laptop size screen, 16G more drive than the 10.1 (there's a 32 G model that comes and goes for the 10.1, I think, if you can find it), and another 1 G of RAM. Honestly, it comes down to if you want to use it to type a lot and what your comfortable keyboard size is, and if you play a lot of high octane apps and want the bigger screen (again, Final Fantasy looks freaking amazing and gameplay....magic, really). If you're worried about size, it fits in my purse, along with headphones in their case, phone, glasses and possibly a small army (seriously, my purse is magic (so many random ass pockets) and doubles as a medium backpack yet is also pretty; who knew).

There are definitely more affordable tablets out there if you're looking for a tablet that run probably just as well, and I've heard awesome things about the Nexus family. My choice of Galaxy was because a.) my last Asus annoyed the crap out of me with the throttling on the processor and lack of RAM, causing problems with documents, b.) the Galaxy family has been good to me via phone and my ex-BIL works for Samsung, so there's a product loyalty thing going on, c.) I love my laptop and don't plan to replace it for another year (especially now that it's all repaired and clean and like new), and d.) (before I tea-killed my laptop) this month was possibly my best budget month yet, and I had enough money to overindulge myself unnecessarily on a tablet.

Hey, while I'm here...

App Recs

I might have done some of these before, so bear with me.

Final Fantasy III - $15.99 - awesome gameplay, very close to the original, amazing fun to touchscreen everything. I have a spreadsheet for all my equipment that is deeply awesome and if anyone wants a copy for their characters, I can send it! Macro-enabled.

The Room - $0.99 - very steampunk mysterious awesome and sometimes a bit creepy. The hints are extremely useful and don't generally give too much away, just enough to work out what to do for yourself, which I like.

The Room 2 - $2.99 - very steampunk mysterious awesome times two. Longer, more complicated, and utterly riveting to play. I recommend getting both of these.

Monopoly - $0.99 - I really like Monopoly, okay?

Mahgong Premium - $3.00 - gorgeous, many options, two levels of difficulty.

Yatzy - $0.99 - I also really like Yatzy.

iSpy Cameras - $0.99 - don't judge, there's like one in an aquarium and one underwater that's amazing. You can also move the cameras sometimes.

Minecraft - $6.99 - to be fair, I'm a very casual player, but my son and my nieces and nephew have built like, massive fortresses so I play sometimes and chase pigs.

WeatherScreen - use with any wallpaper, and it's so cool. Currently I have a forest background for my tablet and a city for my phone, and when it rains, it looks like it's raining in the forest (or city) with lightning. Seriously, this one is awesome.

Backgrounds HD - maybe Free? - ALL THE LIVE HD BACKGROUNDS. Seriously, it's kind of awe-inspiring.

Tetris - touchscreen Tetris. Surreal and yet fun and possibly I need to upgrade my hand-eye coordination.

************RECOMMENDED FOR EVERY ANDROID USER******************

AppSales - FREE - a must-have for the app bargain hunter on Google Play. It has all the Google Play app sales almost as soon as they happen, and it also has a watchlist you can access from Google Play via the share function to add it to the list and it will tell you when something on your watchlist goes on sale. Which is where all the other Final Fantasies are waiting until they drop in price or I get really bored.


Note: The googleplay prices I didn't enter on some because after you buy them, you can no longer see the current price unless you log out, and I usually buy these on sale. The ones I know I bought full price I put in, but it might be lower now. Again, Google Play what the hell.

Still coddling Sherlock; he's a good laptop and dear God, five days; we've never been apart that long before.
So Friday, I spilled an entire glass of tea on my laptop.

...I honestly have no idea how this happened. I've never done that before; I have sacrificed my skin to avoid even the possibility of such a thing. Because this is my life, my laptop immediately died without even a hope of resurrection.

(This is the month, by the way, that I just purchased my new tablet, so my budget did not include emergency laptop replacement. It's like, what the hell.)

So on Saturday, I went to Parts People down the road, who are literally the only people I buy parts for my laptop from and who are allowed to touch it at all. They always have the right part, and M told me it would probably be ready on Monday.

On Monday, he emailed to tell me that they didn't have a new board, which was the most likely culprit, but was still looking.

On Tuesday, he sent me the saddest email in the world that he could not find the part anywhere. I verified this; I did a google search and found two--two in the world--one of which shipping would cost me a new laptop price, and the other twice my budget threshold on the entirety of repairs.

So googling, I pulled up my model and found out why; my model was discontinued due to the quad i7 processor being too high and throttling the system leading to heat death. My laptop apparently is one of the rare few that survived a year alive, much less almost four. Which is why you couldn't find a lot of them, new or used. Further research confirmed there were two others in my series; the lower one was completely incompatible, but the upper one was a remake of mine, but with a duo i7 processor because see heat death issue.

(This was actually a problem with mine; it would get hot enough that I couldn't sit it even on a pillow for very long or risk setting the pillow on fire (a messageboard had a harrowing narrative of such a thing). I've bought a lot of laptop trays with multiple fans. I could first degree burn myself on my laptop easily when it was running for less than thirty minutes.)

The upper model they had in stock.

I called M and he explained the differences; he could use it to test my motherboard to see if it was really burned out or repairable (spoiler: it wasn't, the tea won), but if I decided to switch, I'd get the duo i7, which is faster and with a bigger cache, but it wouldn't be a quad and my multitask capabilities would be slightly lowered (I asked what I'd have to do to push it and suffice to say, I don't run that many programs at once. Ever). It'd be a straight trade on the processor: theirs for mine, since they're the same price, no cost for me. I'd pay for the new motherboard, which was slightly more expensive than my model, but had a much better video card. He also replaced several parts that were damaged or otherwise less than perfectly functional, cleaned it out, reinstalled my drivers, added arctic ice to everything and the heatsink to lower the heating problem, and apparently felt bad for me and gave me half off labor. And I have sound back, which is nice, since that may or may not have been fried by a heating issue. And came in under budget, which blew my mind and I almost cried.

To offset this: last week, my new manager called me into his office, and told me he and the new assistant manager authorized me for a merit raise of 3%. I used to get the merit bonus when I was a caseworker and ombudsman, but not since I got to testing, so I almost cried. He also added a Mac to testing, which will be my responsibility, and told me he and the AM were impressed with my work.

TO offset that: my youngest sister abruptly went stupid two weeks ago that culminated in super!drama this week, and the super!drama is so dramatic I don't even have words that weren't first uttered in daytime TV. I'm not thinking about it right now, but eventually, when Sherlock and I are over the first flush of joy in being reunited, I'll totally vent my ass off because seriously, new worlds of stupid.

So you know, this has been a really weird couple of weeks.
So due to completely unexpected funds appearing--and because my Asus Tablet couldn't handle business documents--I went tablet shopping.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 32 G

My major reason for purchase was I love electronics, but functionality is being able to handle large--and I do mean large--business and design documents at work, which can run from 80 pages to 2000 pages with screenshots and documentation of code changes. I tested it against a 2.4 MB document on load and editing and it was flawless. So you know, that helped.

First off, this is a 12.2 inch screen, which is only a few inches less than my laptop. It's big, and as every review on earth will verify, it's beautiful, and I don't say that lightly. It's also, won't lie to you, not light, and while you can carry it one handed, the balance won't work at this size and I wouldn't recommend it. However, it feels solid and like I won't break it picking it up, which I like a lot. Buy a case when you get it; I got this one and no complaints at all. Plus a hand strap and close/open sleep/wake-up, which I appreciate since my Kindle does that and I'm used to it.

So far, a lot of the reviews hit everything that's good about it, and I'm still in the flush of first love, so will report back later.

....God, this thing is pretty.
My life, now:

1.) Teaching Child the Finer Points of Do Not Engage.

He's a Sterek shipper but loves the whole cast--seriously, even the annoying ones, it's weird--and a hardcore Destiel shipper who likes Sam, and Tumblr is a daily test of his ability to not get his ass doxxed before he's legally no longer my responsibility. It's a countdown to eighteen, when he can play the youtube, instagram, and facebook personal humiliation angle to his heart's content. Per usual, he finds this completely unfair; this would be, he explains, a learning experience for me as a parent; how to deal with your fanboy kid when he becomes the subject of a massive fandom-wide wank. I reminded him I've been here longer and I have an army and I will troll his ass into the ground, because that too, is a learning experience; do not stress your parent during weirdness at work.

BTW, I need an army, just in case. Anyone got one I could borrow? No reason.

2.) So That Family Legend Thing Was Like, Real?

A couple of months ago, we got a random letter from a firm in Colorado or Oklahoma--I should know this, but it's just so weird--to the estate of my grandfather, who died twenty-one years ago, so passing to my Dad, who died almost two years ago, to us, check enclosed. Not much here, but thing; we own mineral rights somewhere since like, my great-grandpa's time (who died before I was born), or possibly my great-great-grandfather (eighteen freaking hundreds, folks), or so we were told. Much like the Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster and the theory of trickle-down economics, it was told over campfires (barbecues and polish sausage?) as a thing that no one actually believed because seriously, who believes trickle-down works?

Right, I digressed, and here's another one; I come from a long, long, Jesus long line of sharecroppers, semi-subsistence farmer, serfs, and ethnic Wends Lutherans running away from religious persecution due to a union between two disparate versions of Protestantism in Bavaria (I looked this up and I still can't tell the difference, but all of them were going to hell from what I understand) while also failing to get anywhere above 'growing enough food to continue the family line, and how'. Which let me say is an accomplishment and possibly a miracle. Some of us live in the Rockies and don't talk to people or possibly shoot at strangers, it's a thing we do. I've heard bears are involved.

So you see why our first reaction was hysterical laughter followed by wtf followed by calling and being genuinely surprised this wasn't a poor British widow whose colonel/general husband died in India (to this day, I still think it was an email from Victorian England; there's no other explanation) but an actual lawyer--seriously, passed the bar and everything--and so many years ago, some great (-great?) grandparent split up shares between their kids and lo, for the first time ever, that shit was 1.) a real thing that was real and 2.) produced (a very small) amount of money that was actually real and came in legal tender form to be--not kidding--deposited in an actual account without anyone (FBI?) muttering "suckers" like those poor people who thought the fake Publisher's Clearinghouse check was real.

Again, very small amount (somewhat more if I kill all the other heirs, the math is very interesting if my how serendipitous genealogy information is accurate but depends on if this is great or great-great-grandpa as origin (if it's great-great-grandpa, I may need a professional consultation for the number I'm getting on the number of direct descendents, because huh, calculators don't lie)), and this proves 1.) wow, so evil really is a light-switch, who knew and 2.) these things actually happen?

The universe moves in mysterious ways. My entire worldview is in revolution, or something.

3.) So That's a Much Better Interpretation Than Mine and I Wrote It.

I read a fantastic review of one of my fic and it was both surreal and gratifying beyond words, but what really got me thinking was reading it again out of the context of the fandom at the time.

It's not just author death in this case; it's well over a decade, the fandom has progressed past all recognition, but far more interesting to me is that it still works, just in a completely different way than it did then, and in some ways much better because it can stand alone like this. To get my intention in the fic--and the readers at the time picked it up immediately--you had to have read not just several other fic in the fandom, but been in the fandom and subject to the atmosphere at the time, enough that you were--if you were me--deeply committed to being very tired of it all.

The thing is--and I say this with mixed feelings--I'm torn on Death of the Author. I don't necessarily believe it, but I'm a massive fan of people who are and practice it, and the reason is why I'm in fandom in the first place. A text is static--it's words on the page, they can't change--but people do, over a week, a year, a lifetime, an age, a millennia. The idea that we are reading Homer exactly the same way as the Greeks did the odd thousands of years ago would imply we've managed, quite literally, to have progressed absolutely nowhere except invented flight and cellphones. What we read, how we read, how we process it, what we see in the text and what we take away from it better be subject to change.

I remember high school and college English as a dark period of my existence--I've never gotten over how I couldn't get the teacher to debate The Lady or the Tiger in eighth grade and I will take that to my grave--and the noble papers I wrote on the real meaning of The Yellow Wallpaper (ghost, obviously) and A Good Man Is Hard to Find (why am I reading this, two thousand goddamn words of making up shit; Man Is Fucked Up, what do you want from me?) and a plethora of forgettable short stories and novels where I was asked to describe what I got out of it and how that was very wrong because reasons (unknown, but definitely there). If there's one defining characteristic of fandom, it's that we all care deeply about the one true interpretation as meant by the author/writer/producer right up until we disagree with them and kill them immediately and write the one true true interpretation their blood, and you get this is metaphorical, right? I can see how that'd be a concern after point two. Metaphor, promise.

Text doesn't change, it can't; it's words. People should. I will happily take a thousand Moby Dick as unsettling psychosexual drama with man/boat/whale threesome on a semen sea--I'll need therapy, but whatever, I'll take one for the team--than risk the stagnation, however small, however irrelevant it may seem, of human thought in which we cannot comprehend the idea of seeing something new, a thought that didn't exist when Homer wrote it that exists now. Anyone who tells you there's nothing new under the sun's never seen anything but a single candle in a dark room.


Brief afterward; it has been a very unsettling work week and insomnia is apparently a feature. I'm kind of looking forward to reading this when I'm rested and relatively sane again. In that way I will never be able to mock Child's tumblr posts again from any kind of high ground, but hey, he won't know that.
This may be the saddest reason to travel ever....

Thanks to FFA thread International Fast Food, I want to do a World McDonald's Tour. Like, all the McDonald's, everywhere, so I, too, can try the McFood Item Here.

It's not just that, though; this food tour would be all-encompassing. As someone in the thread pointed out, I live in the state of "If It Exists, We Can Fry It and Put it On a Stick (Let Us Show You How!)"; this would be like an odyssey to see all the things we have yet to fry and put in sticks (yet). I know for a fact that huevos rancheros kolaches are a thing that are delicious and also, in case you don't know this, can easily be breaded with a delicious Bisquick mix and placed, yes, on a stick, and apply deep fryer.

...I can't think of anything you can't fry and put on a stick, actually, which probably says a lot more about me than anything. I guess beverages, but honestly, I have a deep fry and a deep desire to prove it's possible, so maybe some inventions should not be in the province of humankind. Might also technically defeat the purpose of being a beverage as well, IDK.

ETA: linking [personal profile] amireal to the world of kolache, found Klobasnek, which is the non-dessert version of kolaches. I have never heard this before and I grew up in Czech/German descent households. This is so cool and surreal. Also, the picture shown there is deliciousness personified, jsyk. A less delicious (but still delicious) version is sold at the convenience store, including one stuffed with jalapeno sausage and egg and cheese and slices of jalapeno just in case you missed it in the sausage. Your tongue may scream "OH GOD WHAT DID NOT SEE THAT COMING" but your soul says "Milk please before I take another bite."
...because work is eating my soul, in bites. Small bites, but dude, that just means there's more of them. Also, it froze again Monday/Tuesday, so we had a two hour delay. It's March. I honestly don't recognize weather anymore. I am so very done with winter.

In other, less interesting news:

1.) The cat is neurotic (expected), and we're all getting used to him appearing at random under us. I know cats do this--I know--but see, our dogs do this, too, but unlike cats, they don't have preternatural moving out of the way powers, so basically, there's no point in my life I don't have bruises on my shins, just now they're not necessary a third of the time.

2.) I got to the journeyman stage in tortilla making. Two coworkers gave advice, one of them taking up a very zen approach (You'll know you're ready when you can feel the tortilla is ready) which inspired me to stare into the pan trying to becoming one with flatbread. That worked out well. However, out of three batches, my second was wildly successful, by sheer accident, and they were eaten while I was cooking them so none for storage. The problem is there's no recipe that has what I call a small batch, which makes sense, because of the amount of margarine/butter/lard/shortening you use is so small that it's hard to divide it down more. However, that means when I get it wrong, there's a lot of leftover unbaked and waiting to be badly cooked. The last batch isn't bad, but it's--very flakey, too much so, and I have yet to figure out how this one went wrong when the last one didn't since the recipes are identical.

I think it's how I'm doing the margarine/butter/lard/shortening and flour mix together. I may try to start with one cup of flour mix and the margarine/butter/lard/shortening, then add in more flour when that's well mixed. It's enough like pastry in basics--and I know basic and complex pastries, it may be my only true gift--that I'm stuck in the wrong mindset while making it and treating it like pastry, hence very flakey and not very much tortilla. OTOH, it still tastes okay, just utterly useless for wrapping around fajita meat or carne asada.

(In case you're curious, I'm not using margarine/butter/lard/shortening, just one of those at a timee, but I was originally switching, and after consultation with people who are really good at this, decided to stick to lard until I get it right, then I can judge how to use substitutes. If I get this right, a coworker has promised she'll teach me naan, but I have to get a handle on flatbreads in general first or it will not end well. Well, and I have to pay her with a batch of tortillas using shortening or something vegetarian/vegan.)

3.) In food related news, my Indian coworkers are bringing out the snack foods again to helplessly addict us all. I usually get first pick, since I mentored several of them, and also it's a subtle test of my ability to eat hot things (there was a thing with lemon peel that mostly metaphorically set my mouth on fire; they were all extremely excited about this) or random things that they refuse to name until I eat it, because I'm the kind of person that responds to that very well. The latest is a very hard rice-based--I want to say like a chip, but it's not, it's in twists not unlike a pretzel (but nothing at all like a pretzel) and it has a faint spicy undertaste that was amazing. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to eat any until the woman who brought it left, so my Monday will be spent finding out what it is and who I need to kill to get a bag of it.

4.) In more food-related news, we finally got a rice cooker and I'm eating rice and veggies like it's a drug. I remember someone on my flist or dcircle talking about making rice and then just mixing it with leftovers and eating it for days, and for the record, that works. I've been mixing it up with wild rice, sticky rice, jasmine rice, random rice, and orzo (I think?), but I am actually eating healthier in general now, because add a little cheese on top of everything and my God, yes. It's also nice not to have burned rice. I know there are people out there that can cook rice without a layer of burn at the bottom; I am not one of those people.

5.) In even more food related news, we got a deep fryer. I don't want to talk about how my son managed ot master chicken wings and vegetables and my chicken wings and zucchini so failed sadly, but let's just say it happened and leave it at that.

6.) I had a lot of food related news, okay? It was fucking freezing and I'm either skipping meals or eating my own weight. It's--something. Food, okay?
I need to get my rant out because why not.

I am so tired--beyond words--not of Polar Vortex Marks I, II, and III (so far), but of people who mock the South's reaction to the truly radical weather change we're experiencing. Yes, it's a mistake to read comments on any article on a news website, but when someone from fucking Buffalo explains how people in Atlanta are just stupid if they're taking this cold thing badly because where they're from they don't even notice snow at six feet uphill both ways, something snaps. Advice from those who live in an area with regular, consistent subzero temperatures during winter is blessed--seriously, you people are wonderful--but those who seem to think it's just a matter of wearing a few extra layers and everything's fine, no, it's not.

Note: okay, I had no idea how much resentment I had built up to need this many words. Huh.

Here's the charming personal anecdote to explain why I want to set things on fire and not just because I'm tired of being cold )

How does this relate: let me short version this. )
So I started watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix and just made it to season fourish. I think. I expected--hoped--for another ER, which no, this is not, but I did get excited because I liked none of the character and therefore no shenanigans were off limits whatsoever, which is a fantastic way to watch a soap opera-y medical drama. "Be more of an asshole to your ex while doing neurosurgery!" was my motto, and they fulfilled this beautifully.

I don't know that I love this show--I'm not sure how--but I ran into a problem I didn't see coming. I started finding characters I liked.

it all goes downhill from here )

Now secondary news. My middle sister gathered everyone together yesterday to tell us she's pregnant with her fourth kid, who is due in October. This is much funnier as my uncle was holding court very recently about how four kids in a family was far too many. As her last kid is eight months old, this is going to be a lot of diapers in one family soon.
5 Terrifying Trends Currently Overtaking Etsy - fine, I want the murderducklings like you have no idea. It's a perfect storm of everything--and I do mean everything--wrong making itself right by sheer audacity.

Etsy always makes me feel really really lazy. I'm not creating cat (or dog, rabbit, guinea pig) felt for whimsical purses, nor learning the art of taxidermy so one day a historian will cite my work as an example of twenty-first century nightmare art with learned psychologists explaining how humans back then were murderpaths. I don't crochet anything from human hair or cover jars with cadaver skin or in any way risk showing up on a watchlist for future Law and Order ripped from the headlines eps (and I resent this like a lot). Etsy is elite, and when I crochet or knit, it's with yarn that came from a big box store, because I'm a sellout.

I could totally knit sweaters from yarn carded from all the hair I find (is on people's heads okay if it's really cool hair? Yes?) and create the perfect allergy murdersweater that will kill anyone who wears it (dyed with my own freely-shed blood on the new moon, of course). Epi pens come free with any order over $500. Sign up early and you can send me the fur/hair/wool to do it with, no questions asked (please remove excess flesh via boiling first?).

I think there's a market here.

(It's freaking 32 in Texas and I no longer recognize the feeling of warmth. What does the sun look like? Does anyone remember?)
Finally saw Lifetime's Flowers in the Attic.

Of course, it's not as good as the book, which is really saying something considering the material here. To me, it shouldn't be that hard to pull off. It's got the best shit ever: serial killer mother, poison, evil grandmother, crazy grandpa, so much pseudo-religion and incest tension watching with a family member becomes deeply uncomfortable ten minutes in. Oedipal and Jocasta complexes abound; Freud checked in and went "whoa, too much for me": seriously, what the hell.

okay, so weird )

In other news, the following have occurred: I have new headphones (v-moda M-80s, which make me want to cry from the purity of hte sound), a new cord for my old ones, and we have a cat.

For various reasons, I'm not up to explaining how we acquired a black cat (name: Jo-Jo) that is emotionally needy and affectionate (what the hell), because I'm not clear on the events that occurred between Child saying "I want a cat" and appearing before me with a cat, a lot of cat-related literature, and adoption papers while I squinted at him blankly, not sure if I was living the right life (apparently, I am?).

We have a cat. It's name is Jo-Jo. It's very, very affectionate, hates my cell phone, and kneads my chin for attention. My assumption right now is that I was taken by aliens and lost some time somewhere because we have a cat and I don't remember any comment on Child's part other than the random ass "I want a cat" and me saying "Whatever" (Should have said no? Hindsight). I read the paperwork my mother of her own free will signed and later, I sat with her and we stared at each other while she said, helpless, "I have no idea how this happened, either."

"Child," I said with a nod, staring at my completely non-alcoholic coffee mournfully. "Did he even tell you what you were signing before they handed you the cat in the carrier?"

"Yes." She stared at me worriedly. "I think."

This happens a lot more than you'd think with Child. I'm philosophical about it, because honestly? Could have been a snake.
Qeryana by Domenika Marzione - For various reasons having to do with this author (I googled Marvel's entire Avengers history so I could keep up with her last series), I end up reading way more Avengers than I expected.

I like not just this view of Thor, but how Thor views this world and people in it, especially how he approaches it, with both the mindset of a god upon his (former) worshippers' world and as a visitor and equal, which isn't actually as easy to pull off as one might think. I like his explorations and observations, and here I'll just say it; of all the very good ways to introduce someone into a culture and people in an enjoyable, entertaining, and interesting way--especially if they aren't yet literate in the language--music and audiobooks are the absolute best.'s sleeting. I didn't know central Texas could do that.

This is surreal, like I'm in the wrong state or timeline or something. Have there been any changes in the local timespace continuum I don't know about, because seriously, a heads-up would have been appreciated.
There is a potential freeze warning, which means we could have an ice day at work. THIS IS NOT TOO MUCH TO ASK. Also, my phone is snowing and I officially adore live wallpaper.

Uh, spellchecked. I should probably title this?

spn, dean/castiel, this is not a good idea, dean knows this )
Having the day off--and it's 77 F, so you know, combined with the worst cedar outbreak in twenty years--I engaged in comfort reading, because there are days where you need serious, meaningful things, and there are days you need Epic A/B/O fic with a per capita filth of every five words or less. Because that's how I roll. And sometimes you need like, four, and thank God AO3 tags for this, because I was getting kind of desperate.

I unironically love A/B/O, and to explain why is really easy--it's goddamn hot. Also, and this may be something that's just me, I appreciate the potential of a world built on the idea that talking is bullshit, let's get down and scent-related. Fuck bars, clubs, and talking to people shit--that crap gets you making out with two people you're not sure are attractive in an egg-shaped chair when you swore you just asked for a drink--not that I'm complaining, but still. Talking, bullshit: everything's in the scent. No awkward, weird conversation, your One True Mate knows the same time you do, and yes, free will, but eh.

I don't generally even gravitate to the deconstruction of the tropes one, mostly because they either go fifties housewife deconstruction route or some kind of feminism or queer rights route which I don't mind most of the time, but come on, something new--you're an omega and you can make an alpha lose his mind by being within ten feet of you--why the fuck aren't you using this for evil? Which no one does, and I don't get this.

Alphas lose their minds, omegas get scared, no--alphas lose their minds, omegas say "There's a country I'd like to have conquered in my name, whose knot is big enough to do it?" Why is no one doing this?. You get all the D/s awesome alpha/omega sex, plus the omega gets to rule a country as a bride gift.

(Imagine rewriting Helen of Troy under A/B/O principles; suddenly, the siege of Troy takes on whole new dimensions of interesting.)

Don't get me wrong, I hate the hypertraditional fifties bullshit--I read one more of those I will cry--and I do like taking apart the idea, just I want something that isn't re-treading the same ground. I just don't get why something so biologically overwhelming--that everyone knows is basically mindless, inevitable, and powerful--this being heat--is always so heavily weighted in the alpha's favor when it shouldn't be; that's just logic. The sex is one thing, but up until the knotting in the sweaty sheets, omegas have a period of time where they are quite literally the only thing in the word an alpha cares about, and I'd kill for one story where this was actually acknowledged as a thing that could be both awesome and used for deeply sketchy purposes.

Omega goes into heat unexpectedly in the street--there should be rioting so the omega can pick the strongest, sure there's social controls for this but it's not like the omegas fault, everyone knows that, alphas are like this, no control. An omega can't be held responsible for what happens during heat, everyone knows that, if an alpha they don't like gets too close, there's no penalty for getting rid of them in any way they can--alphas are like this, no control. There should be courtships is what I'm saying, echoing our primitive ancestors of yore, where entire tribes would fight to the death when an omega went into heat, and this is modern days, so we built a society around that, that very specific way an omega is powerful that can't be denied, only very carefully channeled. Because everyone knows an omega isn't responsible for what happens during heat, how could they be, and alphas have no control at all.

I mean, at least a five course meal from an expensive restaurant first, come on. Alphas gotta knot, omegas gotta be well-hydrated and fed.

This is a writing exercise. I think I spellchecked.

spn, dean/cas, this could be dean's fault, yes )
Dyeing hair deep copper. This is the lightest I've ever tried, as I've never been tempted by the blonde spectrum. Hoping for the best.

Interesting note: after [personal profile] svmadelyn said something, I started back on prenatal vitamins and omega-3 tablets.

The first visible sign is always my fingernails and how fast they grow and how much stronger they are. Context: I type a lot, so I have to cut them or end up breaking them, but usually it take a while to get to that. This week, I broke two nails typing, because it happened about twice as fast as usual and I wasn't expecting it. (I have all my life had very, very slow-growing nails except for pregnancy and the year after Child was born.) It was both annoying and also nice, as well as a quick reminder to do a physical survey and see how I feel.

Noted by me: I feel more alert, less grumpy in the morning, and not nearly as tired during the day even if I didn't get much sleep the night before.

Noted by coworker: I'm making terrible jokes again at eight AM and talk more and am more responsive to questions and finishing things more quickly and efficiently. I also have more energy and am more willing to leave my desk to talk to people.

I know--at least semi-objectively here--that I am better in general when I take my vitamins regularly. It's like taking my thyroid medication or my ritalin; it's something that makes life better. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why every few months, I suddenly stop with the vitamins for no particular reason and then forget until something reminds me to go buy them and start taking them again. It's weird.

This has been a message from my day off to go pick up my prescription (because goddamn schedule two's are like this) and buy hotdogs from Taylor Meat Market, which have a bright red casing and are so delicious they make all other hotdogs sad and tasteless in comparison. Also, if you are a fan of macaroni and cheese with cut-up hot dogs in them, they turn your macaroni a delicious yellow-orange.
It's 72 F in Texas, after hitting a boggling 17 F a week ago, which I get is nothing compared to the Deep South and Northern US, but was in a word freaky.

To clarify )

Reading about Atlanta and Nashville and Winnipeg (aka, The Place That Got Colder Than Fucking Mars, Holy Shit) and checking in with friends in New York and Chicago (IM: "TELL ME IF YOU ARE A POPCICLE PLEASE"). Luckily, cousins around the country checked in with various relatives--some for the first time in about a decade--to announce they were still alive and give us a narrative of their lives and times, so apparently the Polar Vortex brought family together. I honestly had no idea some of my great-aunts and uncles were still alive, or that they knew who we even were, since the last conversation I remember having with them was about thirty years ago at my paternal grandfather's funeral. They are all well and my, it's cold.


At the moment, not much, but that changes as of these coming weeks. We're doing an Oracle update, which means a full--and I do mean full--regression of all functionality, which includes SQL queries for database functionality, which as I foolishly learned SQL, I may also be called in for that. One of the big problems that came up during downtime was database mismatching, which is kind of the nightmare scenario for testing.

very boring work minutia )

Learning SQL seems to have been a mistake; now I know enough to worry about a whole host of new things and how they can go tragically wrong.


Because I need to cheer myself up. These are exclusively by way of Pandora, because I ended up buying a subscription and now wonder how I lived without it. And so revoltingly easy to buy a track when you really like it. Damn them.

Sooner or Later, Matt Kearney - he seems to be growing on me, no idea why. Maybe it's the striped shirt?

Wrecking Ball, Miley Cyrus - Dude, judge away. I can't even tell why I like this one, but it got into my work playlist somehow. Goddamn Pandora.

End of All Time, Stars of Track and Field - Okay, I forgive Pandora everything; I love this song. It drew me in a week before Christmas and went onto my home playlist for regular melancholy brooding at the stars and whatnot.

What a Shame, Shinedown - I think they're officially hitting critical on the number of tracks to qualify as a favorite band. The only thing that makes sense is that I need a harder rock presence in my life or something to leaven out the alt. I have no idea.

Face Down, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Another Pandora find. It's definitely not subtle, but the beat is seriously awesome.

Show Me What I'm Looking For, Carolina Liar - I love them. I love them.

I Lived, OneRepublic - So continues my shocking descent into loving OneRepublic. It only took like, ten years?
I've become one of those people.

Last year, I got a pair of v-moda headphones from my mother, which I can tell you now, is something I would never, never, never buy for myself because start value = two 2T drives or 1 4T + tax when on sale which no. Yes, I think like that. Also--foolishly, I admit--I never really thought I noticed or cared beyond certain really wide parameters of sound.

One year later, having used nothing but my v-modas, my ear has been retrained, and boy has it.

My cord broke and though I'm sending for a new one for them, I grabbed a pair on sale at amazon in the interim that got good ratings and was under the price for 1 1T drive on sale (YES I THINK LIKE THIS OKAY; EVERYTHING IS PRICED COMPARATIVE TO COMPUTER PARTS), got them today, plugged them in, took me two tries to realize in horror I know this song, of course I do, but it sounds wrong wrong wrong. The bass is off (what the hell), the treble is too sharp, and they're too light--I have no idea how to explain the abomination. It's like--faded or something, or unsupported--what's the word for nothing is right anyway?

Currently I'm listening to my entire short playlist in fascinated horror at how wrong everything sounds. Also, they aren't heavy enough, which is really bothering me. I'm used to a reassuring pressure of them on. These aren't reassuring.

I used to make fun of people who went on about their need for super perfect audio quality headphones and the words they used to describe what was lacking in less elite models. I mean, really, what the fuck is this. I feel--horribly--like a commercial of some kind who is praising the wonders of--better tonal quality?--and have been converted to their masses.

Is there like, an intervention for this kind of thing? This is embarrassing. These are doing truly atrocious things to A Time for Lions and Carolina Liar.
I don't know why, but it's weirdly appropriate I'm in my cubicle quietly weeping into my morning coffee about a ship of ships.

SCP 1522: Ships That Pass In The Night

...seriously, wtf Foundation, that was my heart that broke.

Child did his first cosplay at IKKiCON today.

I'd like to take a moment to glow in parental satisfaction at watching my offspring wander unselfconsciously out of the house this morning wearing firetruck red jeans--firetrucks seem rather faded by comparison--and a USA hoodie--with eyeholes--so he could join his friends as an AU version of the US from Hetalia.

...then he texted me from a Dr. Who panel while I slaved over testing an emergency release at work and thought about why again I chose to reproduce when they can do shit like that.

One day, they're babies and you're doing psychology experiments on them for class (got an A) and putting them in green velvet rompers because that shit's hilarious in pictures; then suddenly, they're almost six feet tall wearing a red that doesn't exist in nature and perhaps shouldn't.

Life = awesome.
I forgive Windows many, many things--on a daily basis--but not it's propensity to randomly decide I'm booting from the wrong drive and change it to whatever it thinks I should be using. A drive that replaced my DVD drive, does not have an operating system, and seems to resent it mightily, which granted, could be the explanation right there; that drive considered it a status thing. This is one, stressful, and two, it takes me a couple of tries in setup to remember how to move my primary drive back into the correct boot position--panic does not make for clear thinking here--and stare balefully through all of goddamn boot in barely controlled terror that something else will go wrong.

I will say this--Windows does not feel it should be taken for granted and makes sure every so often you're reminded how probable it is one of the developers was watching substandard hentai while doing QC on the final version before deployment.

Plex Media Server

Okay, I couldn't get over how pretty it was, so I kept it for movies anyway. With my TV shows that I didn't rip myself, ffmpeg can add metadata--and ask me about the adventure it was hunting down the right metatags for it and imbedding them all correctly while renaming--but it works well enough that I want to keep it for my mom, who is very familiar with the Roku interface and it makes it much easier for her to hunt through our media to find stuff. It's pretty, it's not terribly draining when it's running, and I can can flip it on and off with a bash script. That it works so well with the Roku is definitely a huge factor here. Doesn't hurt at all that it fetches all the cool data on everything with its agents, so full name, summary, runtime et all are there on viewing.

General Media Things

My bluray collection is a pain in the ass and sucks both bandwidth and space like it's a universal hoover. However, compression to less insane sizes than 32 G per movie, after testing several settings in Handbrake, is officially only worth it if I wasn't watching on a freaking HD TV. I don't know why I can tell the difference, but testing uncompressed Thor against compressed Sherlock, there was a noticeable difference in picture quality at 50 inch widescreen and less noticeable--but totally there--placebo effect on my 40 inch tv. I don't like myself for being badly distracted by that, but I really was. The solution is obviously to get bigger drives and stop stressing about getting everything below my 10 G limit and let it be lossless audio free in the wild. My server has a current max of five SATA drives plus bluray, four with my OS on it's own private SSD, so I'm staring resentfully at current 4T drive prices because yeah, might as well give up and get this done.

This also means, depressingly, that I should look into creating a RAID drive array and sacrifice a SATA to a tower of as many drives as I can stuff into an external secondary chassis for future media needs. That would only be slightly less expensive (but so much slower) than getting a newer--hideously expensive--motherboard with more SATA connectors, but honestly not by much, and at the current rate of progress, newegg's price difference could change at any moment, so there's that. I get the benefits of RAID, I do--a billion fanpeople can't be wrong on their magical properties--but there's something about them that fundamentally bothers me and I don't know why.


Food, presents, wildly excited family trauma. It was magic, really. I have no complaints, and oh, the food. The food.

Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all who celebrate!
My dogs are addicted to coffee. More specifically, my coffee.

Originally, this was a crime of opportunity--ie, the coffee was left on the floor or some low place and being dogs, sure, anything on that level is potential food, fine. Then it became a 'on the coffee table' and 'on the kitchen table' (via chair) and 'when I get up for a minute to go to the bathroom without my cup'.

This week, it escalated because I upped the ante and they need a twelve step program.

My McDonalds caramel mocha--with lid--was left on a low table outside and ran to the bathroom. I returned, cup gone, but a small white head bent down. Circling the table, I stared down at the topless coffee cup, a shrinking puddle of coffee, and crack dog stared up at me smugly with a whipped cream mustache.

Top was fine. No teethmarks. I have no idea how they did that. Whipped cream mustache.
Recently, I started once again looking at the available Media Servers for easy watching of my media collection, which is something I now do every six months or so when I see once again Mediatomb hasn't been updated.

My most recent try at alternate servers: Plex - A Complete Media Solution

A very good tutorial for setup and use.

The Good:

The web interface is gorgeous, you can log into it from any computer on your LAN, and it streams over Roku. You can add channels to it--Colbert Report, Youtube--as well as your entire TV/Movie collection. After setting up your main containers--there are five: Movies, Television, Music, Photos, and Home Movies--you attach each to one or more folders, they scan inside, and the agents look up info on each from The Movie Database and TVDB with all the metadata your heart can possibly desire, editable, with collections that we might as well just call tagging and joyfully at that. It's awesome, is what I'm saying.

Media is available either on the LAN or outside it, and you can have friends and share your library. There's an Android app for it; basically, you can literally watch [personal profile] sisabet's Queer as Folk vids on your phone or table if you have a breakdown in the middle of a desert with good wifi and AAA hasn't shown up yet.

Works on Windows, OSX, and Linux.

The Bad:

This was made for Windows/OSX Operating Systems, and you can tell from the first; there is minimal flexibility, almost no ability to customize more than superficially, an extremely rigid hierarchy, and the user can't do much with the overall design and organization.

This is the guide to naming conventions for your files. No, really. All your files. Every goddamn one of them. You don't have to obey it to the letter, but the margin for difference is bizarre. I can't get entire seasons of Buffy in there for no reason I can figure out yet.

Not only that, the directory structure is internal to the program, not your organization, and you can't change it. There are four types: Music related, TV Shows - Three Level Hierarchy, Movies - One Level Hierarchy, and Home Movies, which you can do in a Three or One, but if you do the Three, the titles aren't the filenames but instead are named episode 1, episode 2.... You can't change this, there is no flexibility at all, and it's goddamn annoying.

Me Sulking:

1.) It would take me less time to learn Java and code my own media server--and get a doctorate in physics with my free time--than renaming all my media files--that's one and a half terabytes--to fit their specifications. I started actually sketching up a bash script to batch while I'm at work and nearly had a breakdown just doing the framing structure for it. For Mediatomb to show my files--ALL OF THEM--in a readable way in the right folders--and alphabetized--took me less than three hundred lines of javascript for the main function, four prototype string functions, and two short alphabetizing functions, and two random functions. I'd have to triple that for the bash just to get the names working in the exact way they want them to show up. Otherwise, some may show up and some may not.

2.) The force directory hierarchy was almost painfully annoying. I hate it.

3.) The ability of the user to customize it--and I'm not even talking about how I write the javascript sort function for mediatomb to organize my files, just basic level user input on structure--is almost non-existent.

OTOH, for movies or tv movies where you have a single level directory Movies-->MovieName, this is very workable. And if you're just starting your career at collecting media, this could work for you.
It is thirty-six degrees right now; as an Austinite, I don't understand temperatures like this. Not in December. Not in Fall. It is upsetting and causes millions--hundreds of thousands, fine--stress.

Also, the fingerless gloves I ordered did not arrive today and UPS declaims even knowing anything about them but that a shipping label exists. This is not fun.

OTOH, I have effectively finished all Christmas shopping, more or less. I think. I keep finding cool things i want to buy for people and the internet? NOT HELPING.

Also, I made cookies!

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes at most
Cook Time: 1 hour
Sitting Time: 2 hours
Amount: 36 - 48 cookies

2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional, lower chip amounts to 1/3 if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
2. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed of electric mixer until they hold stiff peaks.
3. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
4. Add vanilla extract.
5. Reduce speed to low and beat in cocoa powder.
6. Gently fold in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
7. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto foil or parchment lined baking sheets, or silpat baking pads.
8. Bake for 1 hour.
9. Turn off oven leave cookies in oven for 2 hours longer. (Jenn Note: Not sure about this one. They come out hard to me. Test one after the cooking time is complete.)
10. Remove from pan; store in airtight container.

These make very small cookies, but they're deliciously delicious and very slightly chewy.

Next up: sand tarts.

Seriously, thirty-six degrees. What the hell, weather. My appendages are so very confused.
In case anyone is curious, Thanksgiving could have gone worse, but short of stoke or heart-attack among the guests, I can't see how.

However, there is a lot of turkey left, so there's that.

Note: this is Thanksgiving and this is not my happiest entry. Please avoid if it's gonna wreck your mood. Just skip for post-Thanksgiving marveling, as it were.

really, thanksgiving? really? )
Oh God, Thanksgiving - Update!

The bread came out of the oven delicious and golden. I also forgot strangely enough to name the bread, which is challah. It's my one of my four yeast breads I can make that has a 100% success rate: the others are white bread, brioche, and croissants. To say I find this weird when I can burn coffee cake, cookies (all kinds), have yet to pull off frying anything with a success rate higher than 75% is an understatement. I also burn rolls of any kind, which makes no sense but also kind of goes with the WTF theme of my cooking experience.

Adding here my current favorite Fastest Meal You Can Possibly Make With Just Your Cupboard:

Stuffing in General Casserole - 4 to 6 people
1 box stuffing (Stovetop, Really Fancy, Generic, whatever)
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup (cream of: chicken, celery, whatever)
1 to 2 cups of broccoli (any vegetable or mix)
1 package of fresh mushrooms (1 can)
2 cups of chicken

1 cup cheese, shredded
1/4 - 1/2 cup onion
1 can water chestnuts
really anything here

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Make stuffing and set aside
Mix chicken, vegetables, mushrooms, and soup.
(Variation: add cheese and/or sauted onion.)
Mix in stuffing.
(Variation: put chicken mix et al in first and cover with stuffing.)
Bake for 35 minutes.
(Variation: Remove, sprinkle with cheese, bake until melted)

I fell in some kind of creepy infatuation with stuffing. So far, I'm up to four variations, using random foods to see what works. Hint: anything. My leftover variation was exclusively leftovers I found in the fridge mixed with stuffing. Dear God, it was magic.

God, I'm hungry now.
Oh God, Thanksgiving

Along with the turkey, I volunteered to make bread for the upcoming festivities. I honestly don't know what I was thinking; the yeast alone is terrifying me. Currently waiting with bated breath to see if the goddamn thing rises. We did buy rolls for backup, but seriously, what was I thinking?

Oh God, Thanksgiving 2

Apparently all the relatives who signed up for visits (HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?) are still showing. I have spent way too much time hoping for the Apocalypse. And/or snow. Same thing, but one is guaranteed to come with the potential for snowmen before the end.

Oh God, Writing

I feel like I've been writing this fic forever, but I can at least verify progress. It passed 537,000 words. I wrote a set of Excel macros to help me summarize events and follow the plotlines because again 537,000 words.

The following were relevant google searches:
1.) safest dosage of intravenous amphetamines and rate of building tolerance.
2.) minimum circumference of a space to hold X (very large) number of people.
3.) Number of people who can fit into a space 18 feet by 1/2 mile, multiplied by six. (You'd be surprised.)
4.) ....and they don't need to breathe in shifts. (This only occurred to me later. Still surprised.)
5.) How many hamburgers you can get from a single cow. (Really surprised.)
6.) ...bacon from a hog. (Also, pork chops and assorted other)
7.) Meat from assorted wildlife. (I didn't know you could eat some of these wildlife. The more you know.)
8.) How you butcher things. (It is not, as you might think, as easy as picking up a sharp object with an empty stomach and an inner soundtrack exclusively devoted to death metal and Eye of the Tiger.)
9.) Potential practical ways to avoid scurvy with limited supplies but a lot of nature around you. (Also, scurvy as a thing.)
10.) What Disney World's parking lot looks like.
11.) Historical storefronts of towns settled before 1880.
12.) Highway system of the US.
13.) Various firearms, everything.
14.) If you can feel heat or just pressure three inches above your ankle. (Mixed.)
15.) Natural deposits of rock salt in the US that can be accessed easily by car.

There's no way in hell I'm not flagged, I know that, but I'm guessing at least 10 and 11 will at least raise the sheer variety of flags available. Someone at NSA is utterly terrified right now but isn't sure of what yet.

Oh God, Apps! (this is a good thing, weird)

Pepperplate - website, with apps for Android and iPhone for the most awesome recipe holding, menu creating, and shopping list building app ever. I have been adding my recipes to it pretty much all day. Which is why I got all bread-inspired actually, goddamn their ease of import and ridic simple manual cut-and-paste adding. Bastards.

It is the day before Thanksgiving. How is everyone else?
The Hill Country is under warning for Winter storms which hits Austin around 2 tomorrow.

To those living north--pretty much north Texas and up--this is probably fairly normal, though generally I don't think south of the Mason-Dixon it's a November thing, either, or at least, not that often, though admittedly, I could be wrong about those right on the line, no idea. So you can guess that currently, the Apocalypse is coming down on Austin, or at least, what I assume it will be like when it actually happens. You can't? Interesting, so I probably need to explain; the Apocalypse is coming, and this is why.

When someone says "tornado warning" we say "I'm gonna run to the convenience store, but I'll make it quick" in hopes of seeing it and being terribly disappointed by the lack; it won't be quick, because we'll wander around the entire area trying to find it; we were promised that by implication with the word 'warning'. Basically, until the neighbor's trampoline flies by, it's pretty much okay. Or your own trampoline, but it only got like, three feet off the ground before it hit the fence, and for me, it's not worth getting up from the porch for less than six and over my head, or an airborne cow. Because dude, who doesn't want to see a flying cow? Then it's hallways and blankets and doom, but at least you know by sight what's trying to make the house a pile of substandard confetti. Fine, yes, that's a little disconcerting for everyone, happy? Dude, I wasn't even verbal the first time I was in a house between the two houses that the tornado decided to blend, setting frappe; I have special pillows for hall napping these days. Apparently, I like sleeping through imminent death and it started very early.

Tornado Watches are a six month period of the year; to not be under a tornado watch for a certain number of days is weird enough it's worth talking about, wary and deeply unsettling to everyone. Like, what the hell, they have something better to do? Drought, been there, lived with the constant wildfire smoke drifting north and settling over Austin. This last one was longer, don't get me wrong, but the only reason anyone even noticed drought was a thing was finally, someone somewhere, probably high or really bored, did the math and holy shit, it's been a while since rain, check this out, weird huh? Anyone else notice? And everyone said, wow, that explains why the lakes are so much lower. Who knew?

Our relationship with rain is about the same; I live on a hundred year flood plain, but once I lived within a quarter mile of a small yet ambitious lake. Before the city did something with limestone out back, the first time the creek became a river--seriously, I was really pissed we hadn't kept the boat and oars from when we owned lakeside property as a kid--we all contemplated it about five inches below our gate--it was high, is what I'm saying--and figured we could sleep for a few hours; it'd be like, at least a day before it got to the patio, but come morning, there would definitely be work to go to and bosses don't like naps at the desk.

Ice, that's different; that's not wind--we know wind--or water--liquid, in cups, falling from teh sky, refusing like hell to do just that, swim in it during summer. Ice isn't water--we know it is in theory, because it's how ice cubes are born, but this shit--ice, you say? Okay--ice anywhere in nature, free and predatory and coming toward you, is terrifying. We don't really understand it; that shit goes in tea and snowcones and to put in structures containing beer to keep them cold. We make it from water--water, we get, I explained that, right?--which is fine, we all go to Schitterbaun during summer, you're telling me Schlitterbaun. a water park can be a death trap below zero? You don't mean drowning? Really? How interesting. How much have you had to drink? No, I'm not getting you another beer from the cooler; apparently, you've had enough. We're going swimming tomorrow, and you're gonna scare the kids with that kind of shit.

Water + freezer = ice = beer cold, ice tea, snow cones. Water + nature = ice = you're fucking with me, water can do that outside a freezer? The world can be the freezer? Do you know how much water there is in the world? Holy shit it's the end of the world!

As I said, Apocalypse; now you know the math behind it. Don't make us admit it out loud, but we really really can't conceptualize this in any meaningful way; our summer temperature is above one hundred and it's barely worth noting that until it's been seven days of it, at which time it's more a reminder about remembering our electric bill is going to suck so fucking much so you don't freak out when the three digit total may or may not border on four. Right, you tell yourself in the breeze of air conditioned bliss; fuck the goddamn heat. And get a popsicle from the freezer, a magic place we also get ice, and here's where it get tricky; if you have an ice maker, an entire revelatory step in the water to ice process is totally lost right there. We never even see the water in non-ice form and melting it's indistinguishable from it's tea surroundings, or something that mysteriously needs to be dumped from the ice chest. You buy ice for those from giant freezers at the store in bags; the watery remains should give us a clue, but dude, we need more ice, and the water's gotta go to make room for it, because the beer is getting warm. I don't even drink beer and I know how this works.

We can't possibly be blamed for this. Technology is working against us here; my place is not to question why, but to do and get the goddamn ice already. It's hot.

Now the world as we know it is suddenly a freezer--you're fucking with me, it was seventy two days ago--where ice--Jesus Christ, ice? Really?--forms from water--you realize how much water there is out here? It's everywhere! I HAVE IT IN MY HOUSE!--may fall from the sky--IT IS IN THE CLOUDS? OH GOD YOU MEAN RAIN CAN BE ICE, TOO--and not only that, oh no. It's November, and it just dawned on everyone to air out their sweaters, hunt down their coats from wherever they left them last March or so--that was a while ago, okay?--and get excited we can finally wear our boots again.

This isn't bad--this is goddamn traumatic. Let me explain why.

We have turkey to defrost and relatives to loathe coming over to eat food with us and horrifically pleasant mundane conversations to have so we can all avoid saying "Oh God I hate we're related to each other; I die inside just knowing you exist, much less we share a common ancestor who honestly, what the fuck great grandma, may God grant her rest soul" or by sheer accident forget to carefully pretend you know all about their new significant other and hope to God they stop calling them 'honey' so you can get a name already and pray that goddamn turkey is done yet because eating would be good here. Love turkey, but right now a boot would be fine, this is Texas and we got Southern manners grafted onto us hard; no one talks with their mouth full, and everyone is very motivated to keep their mouths very, very full.

At it's best, Texas is a wonderful mix of various cultures and it's nice to look at your family tree and contemplate how many different people you came from, it's a warm feeling to think of all these people getting along and getting married and sprogging their hearts out; at it's worst, it's an unholy nightmare of the most terrifying parts of the deep South, second through fourth German background, Hispanic culture, and in certain circumstances, all of it expressed in two languages that at least two people in any given room only know one of them, half know enough to be hilarious when speaking or answering questions (read: oh God), and in my case, a single representative of speakers of Czech who spoke English but didn't really like anyone enough to want to (when I was a kid, we had first language German in the mix. No one really wants to talk about what that hell was like; apparently great-grandma had quite a mouth on her and didn't mind it expressing it in both languages in the same sentence, and they were long ass sentences. Great grandpa was unclear on boundaries as well. There are scars). It's not that navigation can be hard; it's more that there's no navigation; it's survival of the fittest and last man standing, fueled by desperate faith, hope, and sincere prayer for the turkey to finish cooking before someone cries, bursts into argument, or oh God help me, emanates Stoic, quietly miserable acceptance and forgiveness (of what? WHAT? IT WAS A JOKE) which is like--God, guilt forever, goes well with stuffing and cranberry sauce, thanks. We are Southern enough to desperately need to be polite; we're just terrible at figuring out how to do that well because it comes secondhand. We know that we're just making it worse, but we can't stop.

(If we do, it's actually can get worse; try dealing with a family wake. You drink to stay sane. And not question your paternity and maternity because oh God, Aunt Frances, don't go there. I don't know what that means in English, but no one should turn that color hearing it. May I get you more whiskey? (Whiskey is how we start a wake to warm up; margaritas are when we finish blending the ice from the freezer and keep the pleasant blackout portion of the night at bay between shots. There will be two runs to the liquor store; there will be two more but no one remembers them, so those don't count.) Hell is drunk relatives surrounded in a billion dying flowers and several trays of cold cuts and cheese in a house that exceeds the per capital number of guns per Texan and trucks with gun racks where the guns apparently came standard at purcchase; it's an adventure of potential homicide or hangovers that make you desperately prefer the sweet oblivion of murder one.)

(Admittedly, I have an advantage with Child; he lacks rudimentary shame even as a concept, and like my middle sister, uncomfortable, probing, utterly point blank questions are the rule, not the exception. You can't control them--you can't, you know what you're risking here, you too will be a victim--but you can subtly guide their efforts in productive directions. People are usually too polite--or too utterly shocked--to not answer. Yes, this is dangerous--you will be the next victim, or the next--but not quite yet. You get to listen until then. It's worth it. Mostly. What you cannot change, you must accept and enjoy it while you can. Secondhand embarrassment and appalled horror are inevitable; the trick is to weaponize politeness--you can't not be polite--so everyone shares it. Then at least you're not alone.)

Dude, we don't need this stress, okay. It's November, we just found our boots--and hey, my coat was under the dog, better get that cleaned or something?--and are still deeply bewildered at the entire cold air thing happening outside--the world has air conditioning? And we usually have to pay for that kind of thing--instead of inside, where it's right and natural. Turkey to defrost. Deeply uncomfortable meal to have with people we have to see because great grandma got laid like a lot, thanks great gramps for that shit. Ice? Outside?

Apocalypse, we hope; otherwise, we might have to live through this in inexplicable weather conditions where our roads are layered in what goes in snow cones, do we look like wizards or something? You tell me how to deal. And I still don't know what happened to relative's apparently no longer husband or where this one came from. This isn't ending well for anyone. The Apocalypse can only help.
Watching third season of Vampire Diaries with Child--because he turns it on when I'm in the same room and it's hard to walk away when you've already invested five seconds in it--and I came to a startlingly obvious conclusion about Stefan and also, fanfic tropes applied to television.

so that's what it looks like: a ramble on the nature of television trying to go where only fanfic should ever tread )
I seem to have finally connected with OneRepublic. It took years--and many vids--but I'm there. Which made [ profile] svmadelyn happy, which of course I live to do.

This is also a testament to Pandora. All of the following came from my main Pandora playlist.

Note: All links go to youtube and my sound is wonky atm, so hopefully they are all right.

All the Right Moves - Waking Up, OneRepublic - my gateway song to OneRepublic. It's also associative--I wrote 40,000 words to this song in August, which happens, so--no idea. I thought it was a fluke, until....

Preacher - Native, OneRepublic - we could blame Apology for how much I hated OneRepublic forever, because dear God did they overplay that song everywhere. However, then I met this one and realized my mistake - they're awesome. I honestly can't tell you why I love this one, but I think the first line kind of got my attention.

Secrets - Waking Up, OneRepublic - same as above. I really have no explanation. I didn't like their music. Now I have three on my active playlists. No idea.

Ships in the Night - Young Love, Mat Kearney - this doesn't, generally, fall in to my usual listening range. It got under my radar by coming in after a Rihanna and between two OneRepublics. I haven't tried any more of his songs, but maybe I should?

The Kill - A Beautiful Lie, Thirty Seconds to Mars - I love This is War, which explains quite literally nothing since they aren't alike, but it works for me in a similar way.

If Everyone Cared - All the Right Reasons, Nickelback - I just found out who keeps Nickelback in platinum albums; that would be people like me, bopping along to Midnight City and One Less Reason and end up here. Listening to this. Realizing I've automemorized the lyrics. I have no defense except in 2002-2004 I bought one of their albums and maybe it's time I revisited--uh, a decade ago.

Sweet Caroline - Gold, Neil Diamond - blame Pandora, this appeared like, four times in a weekend on my playlist. Apparently I can really like something if you annoy me with it like a lot. Also, my mom said he was singing about Caroline Kennedy as a child, which--your guess is as good as mine, Jesus.

Clarity (feat. Foxes) - Clarity, Zedd - this is due to my sister playing the radio like forever one day and this one came on. Fantastic work music; it doesn't help me work, per se, but it does entertain my procrastination periods like whoa.

Okay, I say this--I'm weird about country music. In a very, very general way, I like some of it, hate a lot of it, and am neutral listening on most of it because a childhood in the country means this is your life soundtrack. Like R&B (or my sisters with rap), it's such a constant that I don't even think in terms of favorites unless it really gets my attention for some reason.

However. Sampling of my semi-active list.

I Knew You Were Trouble - Red, Taylor Swift - I genuinely don't like her music very often, just because I have a fairly narrow range when it comes to country-pop (blame a childhood in rural bars with jukeboxes; I can sing Waltzing Matilda and every song released pre-1980 country; it was a big deal when we got Hank Williams Jr). But I love the chorus like you have no idea. I sing this without shame but with surprise; I really didn't see this one coming.

Hard to Love - Hard 2 Love, Lee Brice - it's very catchy. And so very universal. The title alone tells you everything you need to know. It's all of us.

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye - Tailgates and Tanlines, Luke Bryan - I've recced this before, but it bears repeat. It's the breakup sex song. Take off your leaving dress and lets' fuck like now.

Beaches of Cheyenne, - Later, Garth Brooks - I have no idea what context most of you have for bullriding or broncos, but as kid I went to rodeos that had it as well as the private version on certain ranches where I didn't know then that this shit is dangerous. It's a beautiful song, the melody is gorgeous, but for me, a lot of it is the barely-memories when I'd see people doing this and wanted to do it myself. Girls don't--didn't, not then, not sure many do now--but I did. And yes, I did see 8 Seconds and none of us walked out of the threatre not knowing perfectly well why it would be worth it.

Traveling Soldiers - Home, Dixie Chicks - my great uncles, my grandfather, many cousins of that generation were in World War II. My dad and my uncle missed the Vietnam draft, but just barely.

I have three stories:

My grandmother's brother met his wife, and I think I've told it here before, a few weeks before he was shipping out to California before he went to Europe. She was fourteen--keep in mind in this generation, we were all first, second, and third generation Slav and German immigrant stock, and most of us came over on the same boats--and oddly enough, this was about the time to stake out a future husband and wife for when you were ready to build your house. She fell in love, as one does, and one night she ran away from home and hid on the train until it was on its way, then spent those few days with Henry. She didn't think she'd ever see him again. She did, and he came home, and they got married and had two children.

This is her daughter:

She fell in love with Jimmy, but he was shipped out to Vietnam. Time passed and she thought she would never see him again, and she fell in love with another man and married him. When she was still pregnant with twins, he left her (she threw him the fuck out for reasons I'm not at liberty to talk about), and a few months later Jimmy returned. He showed up on her doorstep with his rucksack straight from Vietnam, still suffering from PTSD that would follow him his entire life, and asked to come in. She said 'welcome home'. They had a daughter together along with the twins she was carrying that they raised together.

This is my mother's brother:

He joined the army because my mother and uncles's father was a deadbeat and their stepfather was very wealthy and very abusive; the wounds healed, finally, but those scars remain. He came home and met a beautiful woman at UT from South America getting her degree. They fell in love and got married and had a child together, and when she went home to visit her family, her visa was denied. She spent a year in her home country, unable to leave due to US politics and decaying international relations in a time when being the wife of a US citizen could be grounds for official questioning in a country that was at the time unstable due to American foreign policy. They sent documents through sympathetic passengers at the airport, because there was no way to trust the mail, and among them were love letters spanning a year of their lives apart. They never gave up hope. A year later, immigration finally caught up to reality and she was able to come home. They have two daughters.

Because of You - Reba Duets, Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson - I have like, three versions of this song, but the duet is the best of them.

Strawberry Wine - Did I Shave My Legs For This, Deana Carter - one of my favorite songs ever. Just--it works for me.

Maybe It Was Memphis - Greatest Hits, Pam Tillis - I have written more fic to this than I can name, but the most recent was In the Land of the Delta, which shares space with Bruce Springsteen's, Walking in Memphis. The song is as sticky-hot Southern summer as you can possibly imagine.
I continue to have an textual crush on Chris Bucholz. His words seduce me. Even when he's not talking about autoanalrodentation*, a word which I have literally waited a year to use somewhere, please God. That is here. Thank you for your time.

4 Friend Zone Cheat Codes According to the Internet - the abuse of AXE body spray cannot be more appropriate

Comments are also hilarious beyond words. Personal winner of everything:
Woah woah woah....the "Friend Zone?" As in...a place I can get some friends!? HOT DAMN! Where do I sign up?

ETA: * Had to correct spelling for full nightmare fuel of word.
6 Real Serial Killers More Terrifying Than Any Horror Movie - to my everlasting horror, I only recognized two of these, because seriously what the fuck giggling granny? So you know--just for the record, why do we not now do a standard arsenic check in everyone during their check-ups? Blood pressure, pulse, reflexes, make sure you aren't being fed arsenic regularly. It just seems to happen way too much and everyone's always totally surprised by the mystery of their mysterious sickness being solved. By their post-mortem.

My Life

More awesome than anything atm; we are having a building-wide Halloween party and the food is endless. Currently have visited the Nacho bar, the Cold Cuts bar, the All the Fried Things bar, and the Indian and Nepalese testers have an entire endless All the Deliciousness You Can Imagine (And Also Very Hot) table, though I missed the samosas. There are several All the Desserts bars, and a few All the Chips and All the Crackers bars. And this is just in my section of the building; everyone is currently girding themselves for a full scale exploration of the first floor and a hopeful invasion of the second today.

When we can move again, which is questionable. All the Fried Things is a lot of fried things, and chickapea, dumplings, eggplant and pepper mixes are much closer, as are the fields of tortilla chips, stretched as far as the eye can see, and mountains of naan rising from everywhere.

Relevant to Your Interests

FAA loosens rules for e-devices on airline flights - can I get a yeah!

Someone just brought curry chicken. I need to go.
Phantom by Susan Kay - I've been putting off buying the ebook for reasons and finally did it by dint of indulging impulse buying (thanks, Amazon) and stared at it on my kindle for a while.

To say Phantom was a formative part of my psyche is to understate the case; this is the stretch of the sky and the earth and all the feelings, some of which I made up for the occasion. The musical Phantom of the Opera came out around the same time, I got the CD as a gift, and I hit puberty; it was the perfect fucking storm. I don't just read it uncritically--I want to destroy worlds in his name and I just found out, in case anyone is curious, three of my kinks at least were born in like, the first one hundred pages.

There is nothing not epic and tragic and wonderful, operatic with a full orchestra, a troupe of ballet dancers, and possibly a brass section made entirely of depressed trumpets about Erik in this book, which when your start value is a extremely deformed guy with a questionable hold on sanity and a voice his own mother felt deeply uncomfortable listening to--I mean, settling down to anything less than a Greek tragedy is pretty much beneath you. Your narrators are the goddamn chorus.

it can't be a mystery why this is like idfic plus ponies plus magic )

I need more people to have read this to mull the wonder that, for Erik, life might have literally been a stage.
Update to yesterday's post regarding the Roma child, Maria, being taken from her parents for being too white for dark people, I guess:

DNA from Roma girl 'Maria' matches that of Bulgarian couple - it's been confirmed that Sashka Ruseva and Atanas Rusev, a Roma couple living in Bulgaria, are Maria's birth parents.

I just want to throw this out, because it's weird when I was clicking around desperately for news that someone sent Maria back to her family--I live for impossible optimism:



This is a picture of World tab on CNN in the US edition and also appears in the international edition. Note the title used for the link.


This is the actual article it linked to. Note the title of the article and perhaps, what it's about. I'll give you a minute, it's my first link here.

It's almost not a lie. At the very end of the article, they mention an entirely separate case against a Greek couple who are on trial for buying a Roma baby, unrelated in any way to this one except Roma and Greek and baby and trafficking...wait, Maria's case has no trafficking or proof of child selling. Weird.

I could be overthinking this. CNN wouldn't deliberately completely mislabel because reasons, would they?
I honestly couldn't figure out how to title this because pretty much the entire thing is textbook appalling, and by the way, now international.

Woman in Bulgaria says girl found living with family in Greece may be hers - Maria, a blonde haired, green eyed Roma child living with her Roma family and community in Greece, was seen during a police raid on the Roma community and on visual inspection was found too blonde or something to be Roma as her parents were both dark. She was taken from her parents and a DNA test confirmed she was not genetically related, which as we all know is the only real way you can be a parent to a kidd. The woman in the report, Sasha Ruseva--who is also Roma--said she left the girl with the Roma family in Greece because she couldn't afford to care for her and they offered to adopt her.

I want to note here that this one freaked me out from the get-go and it gets worse pretty much daily, because it hit the twofer of racism and the fact that I'm a mother; I honestly can't imagine how I would have reacted to my kid taken away from me and put in a group home for reasons. I mean, it's one of those things where I see myself running after the car screaming in sheer horror while my kid cries in the back window. Sure, he's sixteen now, but in my head right now he's six, and at six, he wouldn't have understood anything except someone was taking him from his mom.

The early accusations were so textbook horrifying folklore shit about the Roma that I had heard them before and context, I live in Texas, which doesn't have (that I have ever met or know of in my area) Travellers or Roma. Though I think I heard them in Grimm's fairy tales, which actually required me to re-read because I kept thinking I was like, missing something, like sanity.

Further News

Sasha Ruseva is now under investigation--they're actually saying 'pressing preliminary charges'--for selling Maria to the child's parents, which I'm sure eventually they'll produce evidence or like, reasoning other than 'Roma' and 'poor'. In case this has any bearing, they haven't actually confirmed as of google five seconds ago that there's been DNA confirmation she's the mother. I guess getting a head start is good, in the event that this woman is 1.) the mother of Maria and 2.) sold her child, because I feel personally that it saves a lot of time if we get them charged with a crime before we even know if the subject of the theoretical crime is the right subject and if there was in fact a crime.

Christos Salis and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, Maria's parents who raised her, are still being charged for abduction, though, so--I guess this covers all the potential bases or something?

under cut on short freakout because dude, I'm a mother, this was upsetting on multiple levels )

I'm sure this is completely unrelated:

Irish police return blonde girl to Roma family - in Ireland, a blonde Roma child was removed from her family home due to--not actually kidding--an anonymous facebook message--for a DNA test. Also in a different family--I bet you know where this is going, right?--a two year old blond Roma boy was removed from his family, and Dad actually pulled out a pic of his blond Romanian grandfather to try and prove how genetics from freshman biology sometimes work. In the former case, there was a history of harassment of the family--they had a CCTV outside their house to protect themselves and apparently suspicion was excited that they used in the home a name for their daughter that wasn't on her passport.

Further Information

Call for Irish ombudsman to investigate Roma family removals
Roma fear witch hunt

I really, desperately need the report that says Maria was returned to her parents who raised her or at least to her family members in her community and is not being held in a group home, like yesterday. I speak here as a mother; this is bothering me to the point I have an alert on this and google daily to see what's happening pretty much every time I have a computer around. Unless I missed something--and dude, I got the stealing babies trafficking pregnant women shit, so I couldn't have missed this one--there was no indication that her parents were abusing her and poverty isn't a goddamn crime and neither is the relationship between children and dirt, and it seriously blows my mind that this was actually like a point of argument.
I want to one day create a Class Jar, in which every day that I don't see at least one completely idiotic and almost painfully wrong argument regarding benefits programs, SSI, disability, or ACA I put in 25 cents. In ten years, I will have enough for a taco at taco bell (plus tax). It makes me want to create a requirement that to graduate from college, you must do the following:

1.) work in food service (6 months)
2.) work mid- and low-end retail (6 months) and/or mid- or low-end grocery store
3.) clerk in a public service/welfare office (6 months)

If you run for congress, you are required by law to do all of those things in double time and as your only job. Because people have wildly--and I do mean wildly--hilarious ideas of how they'd do at minimum wage in theory, and even funnier memories of how they used to do it when they did.

observational on the effects of low income life; I am having a day, okay )
Of the many things you expect to deal with early in the morning--eggs, bacon, sanity, underwear--it's not and never will include your mother and Child watching the entire back catalogue of Anonymous onyoutube, from Chanology to Maryville, and mouthing "We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us," and I still haven't had coffee.

This is my mother and my kid; the most likely outcome is showing up at a bail hearing because my mom figured out how to join the latest DDoS with Child and his tiny school cabal protesting something, and come on, Anonymous had a lot of protests, okay? It's like shopping; they'll scan the offerings and find one they like. I don't think the sane response is to forbid them all internet access, mostly because Mom and Child have a deeply unsettling ability to thinks sideways and this ends in wifi passcode warfare and I have a job interview on Wednesday. Just. It's too early for this.

Speaking of:

Anonymous Takes on the Maryville Rape Case - Maryville, Missouri - okay, you probably heard this one before, but don't stop there. It starts with a football player and a fourteen year old girl who is left out half-naked in the cold on her parents' porch, and an iphone recording. And later, when the family put the house up for sale after the mother lost her job after her daughter made the accusation against the football player, it mysteriously burned down.

The last part is kind of new, but honest to fucking God, is there a fucking rapescript out there somewhere being downloaded and the major points checked off? Yes, I know about the one for frats, so someone, hunt down the 1.) girl 2.) alcohol, 3.) rape, 4.) record that shit, 5.) NO ONE BELIEVES IT HAHAHA manifesto. Society does know about Wiley Coyote's failures, yet even the fact this is an ACME's InstaRape Product line, it always works. When cartoon logic makes more sense than real world, a reassessment is in order.

Youtube search results on Maryville

Also, interesting interview on Mother Jones with KYAnonymous, one of the leaders of Anonymous Steubenville and currently facing hacking charges. Those can bring up to ten years in prison if convicted, as opposed to the max of two years received by the Steubenville rapists.

Okay, so the hypothetical bail hearing, getting my kid and my mom out, I was thinking about what to tell the judge; which sounds better: "Welcome to Thunderdome", quote Anonymous, or "Okay, don't stop me, even though I bet you've heard this one before...."

It's not so early now, I still haven't had coffee, but I feel way more awake now.
Stolen from [personal profile] dine here:

Jim Hines takes on the manly, extremely manly, did I mention manly? task of calling out the Fake Writer Girls! by name, so as we can all immediately identify them and their girl-cootie books. I'd like to thank the commenters for exhaustively listing all the Fake Girl Writers. Y'know, for disapproving of them purposes. So much disapproval. Hopefully the comprehensive list someone is diligently making will be up soon for ease of disapproval purposes.


This is because I have googled and googled forever and cannot seem to get my keywords to find this book, so trying here.

I'm looking for a fantasy book about a kingdom (monarch of some kind ruled land?) that is the target of a conqueror and the army is made up of father and daughter pairs; the father is called the Prime (or the best pair father is called the Prime) and the daughter is called something that starts with an S and is not Satchie, Sachie, Sechie, Setchie, but it's like that. They wore headbands to symbolize their warrior bond, and this was one of the best books I ever read, but as this was before Kindle, it was a paperback lost to the wilds of moving. The religion is goddess-based and the main character marries into the royal family due to her being part of the father and daughter army's lead pair and her mother in law tries to poison the peppers and oil the girl received from her grandmother.

Finally, Octopus Crawling on Land Aka All of the Nightmares - somehow, this combines the chest-seizing horror of a snake's slither with what the despairing screams of billions would look like if they had corporeal form.


The book is The Sword and the Lion, by Roberta Cray, aka Ru Emerson. Thank you, [personal profile] kyriacarlisle!!
So my last couple of weeks were sent watching Black Butler and panicking due to my laptop beginning to do something not unlike having a psychotic episode--artifact squares everywhere and sudden shutdown. As it turns out, my GPU was failing and as this laptop came with it soldered to the board, that meant a new motherboard.

Okay, last month was the third year anniversary of Sherlock and I'm officially unwilling to replace him until every component melts down into slag that I can't replace. I love Sherlock. He's my best laptop ever and he's the first computer I broke my two year replacement rule for and I love him. Like in ways that would worry me if I wasn't in fandom, where I know at least four people who also harbor tender feelings for the epic technological romance that is their relationship with their laptops.

That did not leave me with many options, and by that I mean there was one: I'd have to do my first laptop motherboard replacement. Or I could pay the people I was buying the motherboard from to do it, but Sherlock is mine. I can't build laptops yet, due to the market being ridic, but nothing in him hasn't been taken out and checked by me at least once, I've replaced his keyboard once and removed the DVD to add a second drive myself. I imagined--in theory--handing him over to unknowing, unloving hands to strip down into his component parts and have him returned to me a stranger that I didn't quite know, and realized I was crazy and that's a terrible moment of personal insight to have, so to avoid further questioning my sanity, I decided to do it myself.

my relationship with electronics is like this )

In short: it worked! So far--so far--everything seems to be working very well, and my temperatures in my laptop--due to dear God the amount of thermal paste I used--are at an all-time low. Even more surprisingly, I do mean an all-time low; I used to burn myself with my laptop if I touched it running when I got it, and now my temps are all in high-normal range, which considering it's an i7, is normal, but closer to not causing second degree burns by looking at it took hard.

Reference Guide for Laptop Graphics

Because I tracked this shit for months and searched for several days for this and it was only by accident I figured out what I was supposed to be asking:

My failure started a few months ago with random blackouts that would immediately be fixed by touchpad/mouse action. A few weeks ago, I began to experience at random intervals what looked like a screen-wide checkerboard, each square about half a centimeter and alternating ones all colors or noise-looking which I didn't realize were also called graphic artifacts. It froze my screen and required a reboot, then would be fine for a while before doing it again. On Friday, it did it again, I rebooted, checked it, worreid, then shut it down. Saturday morning, however, it booted briefly and then shutdown and refused to start. I took out the hard drive and booted it in my server and ran virus scan on it there while I disassembled Sherlock, rechecked the wiring, and then took my drive out of my server and put it in my laptop again and rebooted normally. It worked for ten minutes before checkerboard artifacts displayed and complete failure.

This can be three issues:
1.) GPU is overheated - get HWMonitor or another temperature program, get all your temperatures, save them, get your graphic card name/type/model/version, and look for the average temperature range. This can be easy or impossible to find unless you know what forum to check; manufacturers are not always right.
2.) Motherboard is dying - get a professional assessment. Most place that I have checked will do a diagnostic for free or a fee (Parts-People will do it for $30.00 for a dell laptop), because a lot, lot, lot of things can appear to be a motherboard failure.
3.) GPU is dying - see above

If your GPU is soldered to the motherboard, it's basically a de facto motherboard failure; you need a new one.

If you get a blue screen when booting that indicates hardware failure, it's actually your BFF. It's protecting your computer from the heat death that end the universe (your sanity when you realize your internet is still dependent on separate machines and not yet installed in your body, as many of us dream).
1.) DO NOT TRY TO REBOOT again--you can burn out your CPU doing that, and your CPU is generally the most expensive replacement part.
2.) If you're comfortable with this, remove your primary and secondary drives if you have a secondary drive. This is just a precaution, and they tend to be easy to get to for removal.
3.) Unplug and pull the battery - this is to make sure no power is going in and you aren't tempted to start it just in case a miracle occurred overnight (as maybe I sometimes believe in my heart of hearts). This is also precautionary; I didn't want any power even potentially going to the board and exacerbating the problem until I was ready to repair it.
4.) Get a professional assessment or if you know this is what you need to do, go get the parts.

do it yourself prep )

And then there's when stuff doesn't work.

basic troubleshooting )

And finally, your home repair necessities:

i like these things )

This has been a message from a very stressful day and I'm still waiting for my laptop to explode or collapse or make me cry or something. Will report if this occurs, though I think my ragescreams will probably be audible in space.
Finished Black Butler I and II on Netflix.

...what the everloving hell did I just watch? I'm not complaining, but I had no idea science had advanced far enough to distribute acid via cable. That's quite a feat, and also, admittedly, I don't think my life could have had meaning if I hadn't seen Sebastian grow a cotton-tail.

I really need the manga now. Like, right now yesterday.

Alois )

Is there going to be a III or are they leaving me desperately confused forever in the anime version?
Bastion: Book Five of the Collegium Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey appeared on my Kindle Tuesday morning, to my unutterable delight in all things that are Mags and his deeply uncomfortable relationship with his Companion Dallen.

Earlier Collegium reviews
Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles
Redoubt: Book Four of the Collegium Chronicles

Maybe covering some stuff below. There is like, eighty percent less action and while the crack is high, the variety for our delectation is not.

spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers )
My niece had her birthday party at Gattiland, and after doing my duty shepherding three under-six year olds for a while between games (easy, really; everything is shiny, so it's a matter of keeping them all moving in the same shiny direction), I was free to play. Which is, and I don't know if you know this, a surprising hazard.

I played skeeball.

I woke up this morning with a huge pain on my right side just between waist and hip and went through the options I was dying or seriously injured or you know, accidentally sacrificed something vital for three wishes that I'd forgotten I'd made (this is me; it could happen) until I mentioned it to Child, who gave me the most disappointed look ever.

"Turn around," he said, and rolled his eyes and turned me himself. "Where does it hurt?"

Blank, I pointed, and he poked me gamely because that's my kid. "Ouch, and what the--"

"Okay, try this," he says, getting my arm and pulling it back and nudging my shoulder. "Pretend you're skeeballing."

I did so, and crouched, seeing the game before my eyes now, lights lit up and fucking missing 10,000 again and--oh. Ouch.

"You can get skeeball injuries?" I asked, surprised. Because hey, you can. "How many games did I play?"

"A lot," he answers grimly, visibly not rubbing his side, which oh. "Skeeball hates left handed players."

Which it does, which is why his shoulder hurts too. Because apparently Child and I are the kind of people who get super competitive about skeeball to the point of injuring ourselves playing. No, we don't know how many games we played, but apparently, way too much. Which now explains why the rest of the skeeball lanes were mysteriously empty while Child and I doggedly ramped up the tension of playing like our souls were at stake.

So now you know--Skeeball Side and Skeeball Shoulder Are A Thing. Is there any exercises I should do before the next time? Get in shape, if you will.

Black Butler

Child has been trying to drag me into anime and manga as a serious thing, and in my absence, my niece is his favorite victim. Which is how I wandered into the room just as Sebastian's careless lock of black hair fell between his red eyes and fell in love, echoing my niece's cooing, and sat down. Two eps later, Child came in to gaze upon his work in satisfaction for a job well done.

You know, my fannish life was much less eclectic--and anime-filled--when it was online. Adding in an IRL fanboy in residence totally changes the rules. Any moment of any day I can and will be accosted with new fandoms, and God help me, he's trying to get me into Homestuck like an evangelical on a bender. It's surreal. Not as surreal, of course, as finding out we frequent some of the same journals and forums, but up there. There's a part of me--cruel--that kind of half-wishes he hadn't been coached into fandom so carefully and so knows the basics; he's a teen, and therefore has poor-impulse control, and he'd be fantastic in random flame war. Though his adoration of Misha Collins is worrying me on his troll potential. We shall not speak of his appalled discovery of comms that loathe Misha, as it's best left to the imagination, but I will tell you it was hilarious and only a mention now can set off a tirade to do a OTCer proud.

Black Butler--okay, yes, I should have totally jumped on this one like, yesterday, fine. God.


Note: it actually does work. Yeah, that was interesting to find out.

My text Spanish is dramatically improved, and I can report this objectively since at work I help review the Spanish and English text for SSP, and while I used to just be able to check for special characters, I can read most if not all of it now and can even--to my own shock--realize the rare times we get a translation for one thing that ends up matched to the wrong English text when a sentence from another part of the site ends up crammed into the wrong page. Which makes some hysterical reading now.

I'm as surprised as anyone on this one; college and high school did very little for me other than being able to pass the tests, and only when I was a clerk and then a caseworker did it ever actually progress to real-world usability. Now, it's not completely effortless, and I have to concentrate, but it's doable to read through a Spanish wikipedia article and get most of it. Duolingo's strongest arena is obviously going to be reading and translating, but equally surprising was the verbal--listening, not speaking--is coming across pretty well. I used to have to use the slow repeat a lot more than I do now, and I can sometimes follow the conversations at work from a few of the Spanish speakers.

i am totally into this )

Also, it's raining. I like this.

On my phone and tablet, when I'm googling for something, it's changing my search terms when I start at the google homepage, enter the terms, and hit search. Sometimes, if I remember to put a space after my last search term, it doesn't do that, but that's kind of touch and go. This is new, at least for me, and so frustrating I want to scream. This is only happening on my tablet and phone, not when on my laptop.

Anyone else have this happen and how the hell do I switch it off?
If you use Googledocs for fic, you may already know that they've added javascript functionality so you can create your own scripts for stuff that they don't have in the menus or stuff that you want to do that takes several different menu options (or a select all). You can find the manager and editor under the Tools menu.

There are some odd restrictions with their currently available classes, but below are two simple functions you can add to the custom menu dropdown that you can add to your toolbar (which trust me, was the highlight of my googledocs experience). One controls fixing your entire document's font and size (you can add any of the attributes listed here for the style), and the other fixes a selection of text.

This is a work in progress. These do not run very quickly yet, but I timed how long it takes me to do it manually and it is faster. I assume googledocs will eventually speed this up; their excel scripts run extremely fast, but no matter how much I optimize the code here, it's still noticeable in its lag.

javascript for practical use in googledocs )

Slowly but surely, googledocs is adding more classes as they go, so hopefully there will be more flexibility soon. It does recognize the most recent version of javascript that I could find and test with, and I haven't found any that doesn't work.

However, the classes available can be confusing in what they do and don't allow, one, and two, they occasionally have secret methods and properties that don't show up in the API or in the autocomplete. I have no idea why, but it's kind of like an easter egg when it happens. Such as, in the first script, in the last line, editAsText does not actually appear as a potential method on the document object, but as it worked, I used it to add some (very small) speed to execution.

Any suggestions or hey, code of your own! Would love to hear about it.
As [ profile] druidspell just posted, the Weather Gods, who are way too fucking literal here, just sent down a flood warning until 4:30 PM for north Austin. All of us at work had our phones go off at the same time and were staring at them blankly, as we are people who test the latest changes in cutting-edge technology and yet are confused by our phones squealing an ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO DIDN'T CALL IN SICK TO WORK TODAY LIKE A NORMAL PERSON ON A FRIDAY while displaying our doom on a pop-up box.

I have a liter of Mexican pepsi (made with sugar, by God), my tablet, and my phone. Provided we aren't here long enough to turn to cannibalism in a desperate bid for survival, I think we'll be okay. Though two and a half hours is really pushing it.
In response to the years of drought and lack of rain, it seems the weather, while willing to die on that no-rain hill, is compromising with what could be called a central Texas shaped steam bath. We get clouds, grey and foreboding, and humidity just short of the level required to drown in air, and some decorative sprinkles, just enough to tease, and that's it.


Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead by Robert Brockway

So my youngest sister is a Conspiracy Theorist, Untyped (read: BELIEVES ALL OF THEM EVEN THE ONES THAT DON'T EXIST YET) and has a surprising interest in biography and history with an emphasis on human lives ending in tragedy (it's--complicated) as well as the complete works of Stephen King and the Dexter novels. Which is how I ended up inadvertently reading Factory Girl and what might or might not have been a treatise on aliens and Mayans, I really don't remember, because okay: books. Are meant to be read. If I see one in the wild, especially if I definitely have something I should be doing, nothing on earth can stop me from picking it up to read it no matter the subject matter.

Given this, and the fact that if she leaves one of her many, many, Jesus many terrifying books somewhere, I will read it, I ended up thinking reading about every possible way we could die by everything is an awesome idea and why not. It's not like Cracked doesn't already do it for me in numbered lists for free just in case I get complacent; no, I had to buy a book from one of the fuckers and get this shit in depth. Which is why after reading through Current Threats and Natural Disasters, I ended up certain I'd die of space lasers during a megatsumnai caused by a supervolcano while, like a Jurassic park dinosaur based on frog DNA, I'd suddenly switch biological sex as sentient crossbred sterile plants formed an army to march on humanity for crimes against nature.

Yeah, I need like, deprogramming, I think.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - this is a book I read in my teens and want to read again straight through but haven't quite nerved myself for it yet, since the entire thing was hilarious and sad and I'm still not sure what about it hit me quite like that, and while teenage hormones no longer influence my interpretation, I remember being vaguely unhappy after reading it.

An Episode of Sparrows - another from my early teens. This is set in London in the fifties (I think?) and growing up rural, it actually freaked me out that a major plot point of the story was the girl couldn't get dirt to plant flowers except by abducting it from a public garden. Also, her mother abandoned her, but that's standard plotline; I spent the entire story terrified she'd get caught before she could get her goddamn garden going. For those who read by mood; this one has a satisfaction quotient of Awesome, so recommended for that.

So Nanotech Threats will be the next way I will be killed. That sections sounds super exciting. I may not survive this.
In other, more personally dangerous news:

Officially, all the children in my family--that would be three (3) nieces, one (1) nephew, and one (1) son--are coughing, sniffling, using the nearest object as receptacle for the contents of their stomach, or hoarsely muttering about their sore throat (or non-verbal shrieks as the age might be).

I understand that the world of germs is not actually out to get me, but okay, understand != believe, and that's five (5) mobile bacteria factories, one of whom I'm legally responsible for keeping alive through this (and probably morally required to keep the other ones going). Good God, I hate when school first starts.
Okay, in my defense, I did google first, but now I'm just not sure what to look for.

My BFF's MIL is taking a business trip to Puerto Rico at some point in the next year and she asked me if I wanted to go with them for a week or so. One, I'd love to go, and two, I'd like to speak the language well enough not to offend native speakers while I'm there. Also, I've wanted for a while to--I have no idea what they're called, but they're usually hosted in Spanish-speaking countries for a period of a week to a couple of months where you are immersed in the language as well as classes in Spanish and can opt for college credit if you want to in some programs. A coworker of mine did it several years ago, but she's unavailable for a quick email and google has a terrifying number of results.

language studies and everything )

Speaking of: at work, Mexican Independence Day was celebrated at work with all the delicious pastries in the world.


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