Me and Amazon have had something of a relationship issue dating back from when Amazon turned parts of its clothing department into a valid reason to scream "WITCH". This would be when the static expressionless woman in an Nine West A-Line summer dress tosses you a soullessly saucy smile before prancing woodenly in place (sometimes jerkily because why the fuck make this in any way not wrong?) in a way that my ancestors--who left Germany because the Lutheran church was too Catholic-lite for them (and ethnic minority something, but mostly, the religion thing)--would convert to Catholicism to become witchhunters and burn me and my computer at the stake while screaming in Latin, German, and Wendish and I would die without even being able to google the Wendish because it's sort-of deadish. (Guess: 'Satan' probably in there somewhere. Possibly also disappointment that I still don't like sauerkraut.)

(My Great-great grandmother was like the stereotype of German women of mock-fear but a real person and fucking terrifying three digit years and a black and white picture away; two hundred fucking pounds of solid muscle, and her breasts could beat your skull in while she disjointed you like a shriekingly plucked chicken without getting blood on her freshly scrubbed floor. Her expression was stern yet kindly sociopathic, like maybe today she's not considering how one of her great-great granddaughters isn't entirely sure of the point of mopping (and is a witch who makes pictures dance) and so no burning her yet. (Yet.)

Here's the thing: I keep forgetting about it.

(Amazon, not great-great grandmother. It just bothers me how there are no records of hundreds of disjointed human bodies being found in the greater hill country (with heads quite battered), or even dozens of missing person reports, because how did she hide them so well? Just gets to me sometimes, that's all.)

I forget the dancing uncanny valley Amazon thinks will make me buy clothing from them and usually shriek (maybe she strangled them first? She didn't look merciful but anything's possible) while watching them twirl-skip-jerk-finish twirl in place with a sassy flip of a pixelated skirt.

Or worse: I don't forget.

I watch and wait and it's fine--no future creepypasta based on a true story here (has Unresolved Mysteries on reddit looked into this hill country cover-up? Why is no one asking questions about this?)--and I start to scroll and suddenly from the corner of my eye there's movement of platform heels and cue 'shriek' because what the fuck Amazon? You waited until I was just far enough down the page to trust and cue a bad remake of the shoes that make you dance forever while advertising DKNY?

Autoplay may indeed be of the devil (and my great-great grandmother's crimes will never be known at this rate) because there really is no other explanation why it exists. It's bothering me that everyone--and I do mean everyone--is picking up the crazy for autoplay and not just tumblrites who want to convey their pain with repeat-one Imagine Dragons singles; what happened to variety in your personal angst? Get a fucking playlist of it already.

CNN picked up this charming habit, even on articles I picked specifically for text, which isn't easy (picking, or awareness of this family secret no one else seems to know about) since they redesigned their site to be impossible to navigate and added autoplay streaming video on the off-chance you persisted in your desire to use them, and it has the added benefit of having to patiently wait for the video to start so you can stop it. If you forget--I still do--a Midwestern monotone will abruptly fill your headphones while reading (invariably about murder involving refrigerators or c-sections, because why not?) and make you jump suspiciously because you really are kind of two days away from turning in those tests you said were almost done and you're at work where technically, you should be doing them. Or so I've been told.

I feel like there needs to be an overall theme to this entry other than I hate autoplay and my great-great grandmother kind of still scares me, but there's really not. This is the inevitable result of mixing genealogy, shopping, and robitussin DM (half-dose) because you're kind of over this entire 'not sick enough to miss work' thing.
For I am an aunt again!

My middle sister and her husband welcome M, an 11 lb, 8 oz, 22 inch boy (no, you read that right), delivered in the most common epidural way and holy shit, that's a lot of baby.

because seriously )

...that, by the way, is over one and a half Child at birth weight.

Heaviest baby ever born: 15.5 lbs, by Caesarean
So just seeing how this sounds:

Vacation with entire extended immediate family including: mother, both sisters, sister's husband, sister's MIL, sister's three kids, other sister's kid, mother's parents, me, and Child.

In one house on the beach.

Okay, that does in fact look terrifying when seen in print. I was wondering. There will be the gulf and a confection store that makes their own fudge. I'm clinging very hard to that right now.

Wait, there's more:

Child in his infinite wisdom at some point in the past--who knows when--broke a tooth but couldn't be assed to tell me or care until Friday evening, when the entire left side of his face rounded out not unlike a ripe tomato. At first--not knowing the tooth sitch because who hides tooth pain? How?--I thought it was an unexpected reaction to a topical anesthetic we keep for those times you bite the inside of your cheek or poke yourself in the gum with a pencil which no, isn't something that happens to me because I have much better hand/eye coordination than that and will fight any comment to the contrary to the death if necessary or whatever. It became very clear, however, that it wasn't and he reluctantly admitted maybe there was a tooth that was bothering him maybe a little, which you don't say, ye who has lost any vestige of facial symmetry.

Saturday morning was spent frantically googling for a dentist open on Saturdays who took walk-ins or emergencies or both. Found one, who didn't have a time open and then listening to me start to dissolve into tears--seriously, over-ripened tomato Child, but not that color, it was unsettling--offered to fit him and for that will love her until the day I die. Fortunately--and this is literal--Child was still in pain and the appointment was in less than an hour, and even so, it was a bad ten minutes getting him dressed and to the vehicle while he protested--with asymmetry growing by the moment--that it didn't hurt that much and he was fine (I actually stopped to stare at him disbelievingly, wondering if the infection reached his brain already).

We shall not speak of what we discovered of Child's unbelievable lack of interest in what goes on in his own mouth (I whine when I poke my gum with a pencil, fine, judge away), but anyway, surprise, he broke a tooth and it got infected and how. So we left with antibiotics, painkillers, and a very serious speech that if he starts having vision problems to go to the ER immediately, which was one of those surreal moments where I stare at Child and Child acts totally shocked about how nature and infection work.

brief Child digression, for parents who haven't had to deal with this )

short family digression, related )

After this adventurous weekend, I wonder why there aren't more dentists who decide to specialize in 'emergency' and 'weekends' only because seriously, they could probably make a killing doing nothing else. Every weekend dentist I found (very not many) wasn't just packed, but stacking them up in the waiting room. I didn't even bother with trying to negotiate my (annoying) insurance and paid cash, I was that desperate and from the looks of those waiting with me and Child, that wasn't unique. And why isn't there a Dental ER somewhere?

Note: Child still looks asymmetrical but much better, and is hilariously following almost exactly the dentist's prediction on how long it would take for the swelling to go down and the pain to taper off.
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.
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? )
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.
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.
The snake of a thousand evils returned yesterday morning while I innocently--and I do mean innocently--drank my coffee and contemplated healthy thoughts of Clark/Lex bondage and Supernatural season five (my son is rewatching) and Buffy season six (my sister is watching), and maybe I was praying too, so you see how I didn't deserve to stare at a snake draped over a flower stand less than eight feet away staring at me mockingly.

After achieving what may have been teleportation (I don't remember what happened but I was inside like really fast), I've come to the conclusion that snakes, like small children, cats, and dogs, are most attracted to those that hate and fear them, which is why I win for most snake sighting ever in my family. I'm not actually kidding here.

From specific traumatic moments to general
1.) Rattlesnake hanging from roof - me
2.) Rattlesnake sleeping in drawer - me
3.) Rattlesnake on porch in staring match with cat - me
4.) Rattlesnake pursing me and Lindy across the front yard - me
5.) Huge mating ball of water moccasins over side of low bridge holy fuck nightmare fuel to this day - me
6.) Garter snake that looked like shoelace - me
7.) Snake in front yard, leaped onto folding chair with girlish scream - me
8.) Snakes in tank behind house in the country - MANY TIMES
10.) Rattlesnakes in general - LIKE A LOT
11.) Snakes in lake behind house in the country - MY CHILDHOOD LIKE A LOT

I'm not counting every time I have to go to the reptile pet stores because I try to repress those memories. I just learned there that reptiles have a smell and I react to it much like any animal and want to cry and hide in the bunny pit.

This is the funny thing; like claustrophobia, snake fear was something that developed rapidly and with no actual defining event that hit me during puberty. I know this is starting to sound like repressed memory where it ends up I recall being the virgin sacrifice during a satanistic orgy at daycare or something and EXPLANATION (maybe it involved being placed in a coffin during the proceedings?) but no one remembers this now--I liked snakes. I wanted one as a kid. I wanted specifically a python, because during the competitive summer reading program at the library someone brought a giant awesome python (to encourage reading?) and I fell in love.

I do not believe I'm repressing a satanistic orgy memory or anything, but I also think Snakes on a Plane's most terrifying possible sequel would be Snakes in An Elevator In The Tallest Building in the World With No Air Conditioning. Just knowing it appeared in theatres would assure I never left my bedroom again. In my life.


Oddly enough, two people have been converted to The Wonder and Bank Account Destruction that is Keurig. Ever since I got my first one, I never looked back, and I routinely stare hungrily at newer models with more water capacity and more buttons. My sister and a coworker both just fell madly, deeply, and financially destructively in love, and so I ruthlessly ordered more coffee from Amazon just to give them samples and watch as they, like me, lose any hope of keeping a savings account when they taste:
1.) Gloria Jean's Macadamia Cookie
2.) Gloria Jean's Mudslide
3.) Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut
4.) Donut House Light Roast
5.) Green Mountain Nantucket Blend

They will sell their souls at 59 to 81 cents a pod. This is joy.
Urgh, I missed posting about this earlier, but blame work and uh, life. But!

My newest niece was born on Thursday, weighing in at ten pounds and eleven ounces, is ridic adorable, has more hair than I thought possible, and cheeks so fluffy they almost demand pinching. She is obviously perfect in all ways, sweet beyond the hopes of mortal men, and brings my total number of nieces to three, making a total of four offspring born to my sisters.

pic below cut )

Also, randomly, Child dyed his hair purple. As a parent, my greatest disappointment is that he's so very bad at it that there are pink blotches throughout, as all my lectures on the use and abuse of unnatural hair colors have fallen on deaf (and now purple-stained) ears. OTOH, wearing a purple shirt, he's a never ending source of hilarity. So there's that.
My least favorite time to write anything is when I really have something to say. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true, and this is why; when I do have something to say, that rarely if ever coincides with any desire to talk about it, which sets up a conundrum in that everything else piles up behind it. As many a apocryphal mother has said, you can only eat one bite at a time, except that would end with choking and a tragic yet easily preventable death when you have too many bites and don't get with the program, while this just ends in not being able to talk about anything at all. Or at least, nothing that makes much sense. It does lead to a lot of uploading old Smallville fic to AO3, so if you're curious, almost everything is there now.

TW: abuse, alcoholism, etc in part two.

this is what I'm not talking about, part 1 )

this is what I'm not talking about, part 2 )
Birthday shopping for my mother is always faintly stressful, as she is of that class of people that say "anything!" and honest to God, means it. Which does mean everything; she will love socks as she loves kindles as she loves badly glued panoramas. It's annoying.

I've been wanting to get her an ereader or a tablet thing for a while, but the expense froze me; not on my side, on hers. It's one thing, in her head, to pay largish amounts of money for birthday computers or birthday vacuums (don't ask) for her (or birthday origami paper, which possibly was the best gift I ever got her; it almost hurts that all of it was on sale because amazon at the time had no idea that they had the only gold-backed origami paper in the known universe. *sighs*). But even the small birthday camcorder a few years ago made her uneasy. Computers and vacuums (and apparently, origami paper) justify their expense. Small camcorders, even very inexpensive ones that are hardy, are looked upon with suspicion for their apparent fragility and their potential for breakage. This is why her cell phone is like, five thousand years old. It's not that she wont' love it; it's that she will never use it for fear of breakage.

Then I found this:

A tablet thing

It has many, many, many key features to argue in its favor. The most important of which is for the next month to disapprovingly talk about the horrific expense of tablets and casually have amazon open to the current iPad price. Then, subtly, show her a Motorola galaxy and shake my head. Finally, the coup de grace, talk about how I could not survive without my Kindle and loudly talk about how I take my library everywhere. As she knows the cost of the Kindle (as she bought teh first one for me), why, this will look like a bargain!

It'll come early enough that I'll have time to learn to use it myself and load it with things she likes before I hand it over. There's a workaround to getting a kindle app on there, thank God, so we are not at the mercy of Barnes and Noble.

The only thing that annoys me is that this one has gone down four dollars since I bought it. You may wonder about why I don't cancel it and buy again. I tried that. Within ten minutes it went back up and I knew I was beat.

I'll report on it after I have a chance to play with it, but I do like the reviews, especially those who have iPads who give an honest assessment of its strengths and weaknesses, since the main functionality for her is probably going to be as an ereader and some light surfing and playing games. She's not going to want to watch movies on it or television; she hates small screens for that, so from what I can tell, it's ideal for the stuff she does like to do. I'm hoping the app store for this has some crossword puzzles and logic games since she's an addict for those. It's Android, but apparently some of the android games on the regular android store do not work well, but other reviews said they worked just fine, so--*hands*. And if it utterly sucks, I have time to return it and find something better. I'm kind of devoted now to the tablet idea now.
My grandfather is a professional photographer (theoretically retired, but not so much) and has been Mac-entranced for the last few years (my grandparents, svmadelyn, V, betraying me, but fine, whatever, Apple-lovers). Anyway, he has been playing with Final Cut Pro but after I showed him some friends' vids, he's staring at it in betrayal.

Anyway, does anyone have a good layman link for a Final Cut tutorial or a well-written technical version with good examples? I read the documentation, and he got farther than I did reading it, but he's coming from a photographer's background, not video, so I'm thinking, tentatively, his reading is coming from that perspective and slowing him down in translation.

He's very good at complex slideshows (like I said, retired, but not so much) and is fine with most photography software, so I'm hoping getting different types of tutorials and perspectives will get one that hits right for him.

Any help at any level would be appreciated. I'm assembling links and sending them in a group to see which ones he clicks with, so I'd love any suggestions.
The benefits of working with my mom usually outweigh the times I don't understand why I thought it was a good idea to breathe that morning.

you are killing my imaginary people )
The best and worst things about vacations are family. Which is universal, true: vacations aren't vacations if there isn't one drag-down-knock-out before bonding over crab legs, and I'll be honest, our record is far higher than that.

The more people around the better, as far as I'm concerned. Sure, the potential for explosions rises exponentially with the number of people related by blood or marriage in a given space, but it inverses for the amount of time it takes to get to the cool-off period, and the more people, the more food and the more people to cook it and eat it, which also escalates our meals until breakfast involves three separate meats and five kinds of eggs while everyone argues over the best way to cook the potatoes and someone offers pancakes and sourdough toast. You can't be mad while eating your weight in food; the human condition isn't meant for that kind of stress.

i don't think republicans would approve of our kind of family )
Child loves his toys. He breaks his toys. That's why when I get him things that make my credit card sad, the first thing I do is set them up and figure out how to use them myself before his little fingers go near them. Because it sucks when they break, but it's so much worse when I lose my temper and get angry at him for breaking something, and he's barely twelve. So I learned to stop doing that. Unfortunately, being philosophical about the hand eye coordination, attention span, and development curve of a child is like, hard or something for people who are related to him.

vent )

And in other news, Dr. Who! We have it slated for this afternoon viewing. Potentially with some sort of chip-related snack food and dip. Delicious.
My youngest sister just came in and stared at me for a moment.

"Are Sherlock Holmes and Watson supposed to be coded gay?"

I think I might have cried a little. Her email has enough links now to satisfy that burning question, I think. In detail.
Things I Am Not Doing

I do not, per se, resent the UK, so much as Harrods, for having Maxwell, the 2009 Christmas Bear right there, and then charging shipping higher than the price of four bears.

Yes, fine, I am an obsessive Christmas bear person, and I am only ashamed of this when it's not the season of craziness. In scarier news, somehow, it is still more expensive to buy it from ebay. Yes, I did check (in several countries of ebays). I am that kind of a person. [ profile] svmadelyn promised to find me an appropriate bear in Chicago, but I am just saying, Harrods, why do you hate me? Why?

(He has a friend, Rufus! And a Christmas Westie! A Christmas Westie. Oh my God, that is just cruel.)


Things I Am Doing

Christmas update )

Things I Have Done

Trekfic went to beta last night (and all three four betas do not hate me despite the fact I do not think they signed up for what they ended up with). With the exception of the epilogue, which doesn't do more than wrap up, it's complete. I seriously, seriously cannot believe it's done. I also sent my character notes, because it will make them laugh.

....seriously. Five months. But honestly, I didn't know if I'd ever finish. So you know, that's kind of awesome.


Still do not have one, but oddly, today, I do not mind.

ETA: Okay, the thing is, it did not occur to me to just ask someone on my flist. I mean, I even asked two people on AIM if they knew anyone going to London. For reasons beyond my understanding, I didn't think to, you know, check with the native residents. I--blame Trek. I am going with that. *blank* Thank you, [ profile] syllic and [ profile] clo.

*facepalm* God. This is Spock's fault, I can feel it.

ETA 2:

And someone sent me a pony. *falls over* My lesson for the day? People here are rather awesome.

ETA 3:

Two links from comments that I really feel need to be shared.

[ profile] feanna shared this. Just--okay, seriously. Check out the dancing bear. And click on teh cellphone. FURTHER INFORMATION FROM FEANNA: The bear is dancing the Macarena here.

[ profile] ladyholder shared Clash of the Titans trailer. This looks epic. *glee*
So while my mom is semi-retired, she's had the leisure to learn how to use GuildWar Forums (it was a learning experience for us both; I've never been a regular user of forums, so yeah. Wow.). Most pressing was image hosting, which we used imageshack for, but I decided that she might enjoy having her own domain for image and file hosting and maybe make a website.

...look, she's retired, and she has time on her hands until she goes back to work in December. She'll enjoy having something to putter with. My son can also use it for computer class for simple webpages as well, which he is supposed to do. So I haven't gone webhost shopping in a while--any recommendations that are fairly simple to set up and use cpanel for the interface?

So to zen myself out, I utilized my phone for evil, and by that, I mean, adorable.

cuteness below cut )
Fangirl moment of the day (God knows, no one in RL could possibly appreciate this):

Today, my niece was on youtube, and I heard music and looked over to see Digimon still-motion vids going on. I hesitated, wondering if she was looking for the eps, then remembered we had those bookmarked.

So I took a second, as one does. Because she's seven. And yet... "So you like vids?"

She looks at me soberly. She has this--look. It's--a look, okay?

"Show set to music?"

"Oh! Uh huh." And then rewinds to get to the part she missed.

"So do you ever think about making your own?"

I got the look again. I'm thinking potentially, yes, she does.

*stretches, satisfied* This one I don't even own, people. Child can be excused for indoctrination, but he lives with me. Let me just say, my life is awesome.
My nephew and sister were released yesterday.

Here's the thing about me and newborns, and I extend this opinion to my own--newborns are hideous.

Many moons ago, though the memory is pretty much never going to fade no matter how hard I try, I was presented with the fruits of my labor, which I will never discuss because the humiliation level was so catastrophic I cannot deal with it. The doctor held up my son, luckly nowhere near the mirror I was supposed to use so I could watch the miracle of birth (these people were nuts), and I stared at him and thought, dear God.

Verbatim: "Is his head going to stay like that?"

(It didn't. Eventually it took on a normal shape, but I was wary for a while. I'd seen this movie. It did not end well. I think the aliens won.)

Because at that point, I didn't think I could deal. It was the night after X-Files (either Never Again or the one directly before--very important TV) and I was still worried about Scully. I was also fairly stoned between whatever they gave me in the IV as I was apparently Not a Very Calm Patient and traumatized by the verbal narration of what was going on during labor (again, these people were nuts) and the endorphin rush of realizing I got to have all the coffee I wanted, along with blessed, blessed hydrocodone in quantities that still give me pleasant memories.

So I was basically having some vague alien-related flashbacks and thinking of Coneheads and you get I was stoned, right? Right. Very terrifying. But honest.

Newborns? Not pretty.

Fastforward to 2008.

I mean, I say this in a loving and finding it charming way, but there's just no way around the fact they simply do not look human. My Nephew (currently nicknamed Littlest Alien Overlord) is marvelous in every way, but I keep looking into his eyes and thinking, this is what X-Files warned me about. Also, he studies things. I mean, a lot. I am sure there is some really reasonable reason why he stares at everything (everything), struggles to walk (I am not freaking joking, the little legs got leverage on my sister's stomach and lifted his rear up right there and looks at us all with vague disappointment, like he was sure humans were far more interesting than we turned out to be. I hate to tell him, we are not. Conquest, LAO, will not be a challenge.

Luckily, as his aunt, I will be spared during the invasion. Pretty sure. Almost sure.
Nephew has been delivered!

Er, exact stats unknown, but seven pounds aroundbout. And possibly with a largish head. There are officially two babies in my life that I do not own but get to dress up however I want if their parents aren't around. My life? Complete.

Could only be better with a pony, really. Will report when more is known. Will not shop I am stronger than that. Mostly.
My youngest sister is theoretically in labor, so at any time, there *should* be Nephew, to add to Niece, Baby Niece, and Former Stepnephew and Former Stepniece to the Pantheon of Children I Can Play With And Not Have to Give Birth To. This continues to be a satisfactory way to acquire babies and not have to pay for them. Though weirdly, I am still called into diaper changing duty, but that is because I'm just that freaking good at it. You think I'm joking--I'm totally not.

People underestimate the power of laziness. The thing is, the lazy are efficient. We mark the problem, look at the least labor intensive and/or fastest solution, and get down to it. We know these things. Even the most horrific diaper monstrosity can be completed in under thirty seconds if you know how to set up your workstation.

Welcome to Jenn's Realm of Useless Information.

Changing a Baby: Get In, Get Out, Do Not Pass Out

a.) attach child to surface

I use floors because of a.) laziness and b.) convenience. You cannot always find a baby changing station. But have blanket, will travel; you will always, always have a floor. Gravity? Not your friend. They can slither all they want--place babywipe container on belly for anchoring when they reach the creep and crawl stage and use one knee to block lateral movement. You are set.

On changing table, basic same procedure, but keep eye on Child at Wriggling Stage. They have cosmic teleportation powers of falling. Almost a mutation, even. Which is why God created floors. Probably for me.

b.) prepare wipies and diaper

This is the least considered but ultimately most useful. By this time, you should know instinctively whether this is one of the three stages of baby mess.

1.) ick
2.) oh my
3.) nuclear disaster

Use your own judgement. I use a two wipie, four wipie, eight wipie (not kidding) pattern in general, but usually have double that ready for use. I am *free* with the wipies. My motto? There are never too many wipies.

Shake them out and pile them--do not leave folded. That will slow down your time. Piles are friendly.

Stretch out diaper pre-removal; if it is a boy, later, you will understand The Magic of the Pee Mid-Air. The little bastards do it deliberately. Girls are more subtle. You won't know until your knee is moist. We won't discuss it. Just, no.

Stretch the diaper, lie it beside child to mirror current butt placement. Breathe. No, really, if this is a stage three, oxygen deprivation is an issue.

c. lift, pull, switch

Tricky, but doable.

Unlatch velcro. Double check baby mess stage. Take a second if you are new at this. Grasp ankles firmly, lift child until butt clears floor. Wipe quickly with diaper (God help you if this is stage three). Push Dark Diaper of Darkness away. Don't, in the name of God, look at it until you are at least a journeyman. Hell, why would you anyway? Place other diaper under child, grab wipie, clean lower suface of child, lower child onto diaper.

This should take no more than five seconds. Even nuclear.

Do not let go of ankles. You have two hands. Keep those legs up and clear.

Pull upper edge over child so Gleeful Evil Open Air Peeing does not hit you in face. No, I'm not talking about this, like, ever. Hold three seconds, then commence with cleaning.

Continue to hold ankles.

Babies are easier to dust than furniture. Yes, it looks like End Days, but it is not. Visualization exercises might help the apprentice level--this is not horror. This is vivid yellow paint. Vivid--do you really want the mess color spectrum? No, you do not. Just go with it.

Wipe thoroughly. Quickly. If child is unusually--oh, let's say plump--check crevasses. Powder, lotion, baby ointment, whatever (I never used anything except the diaper rash stuff myself since Child was blissfully free of most skin irritations unless he was ill, but other people have, so that's your window for doing so). Crease of thigh and leg--Very Important. Like, a breeding ground of ick and darkness.

d. closing

Lower child completely into diaper. Velcro closed, hold child above head, yell in triumph. Also, breathe, you may be getting dizzy. Lower child in case you are about to pass out.

See why I like the floor?

Thirty seconds. Done.

e. dispose of the evidence.

Wrap all wipies and diaper into a tiny compact ball and hide it somewhere. Fine, trash it. But also fun to place in middle of table, because if you have a baby, you know this: it might be days until they realize it's there and if your sister made you do like, seven changes that day? That's called revenge. You might even stack some into a kind of modern art sculpture and be completely surprised they don't want to use it for a conversational piece at parties. Suburban Family in Decline. Not that I've ever tried that. Or almost pulled it off.

And that concludes Useless Information.

Speaking of, I was banned from further baby clothes buying even though Macy's has their forty percent/forty percent going on and I'm sorry, but Ralph Lauren overalls are totally worth it.
So to celebrate Child's All A's (and one B in math), and for my niece's near-end of kindergarten, I decided to take them to see Prince Caspian. Now, I had a condition on this for Child, that he had to read the book first. I told him this on Wednesday, when he was a few pages in.

He finished it last night.


Okay, seriously. It is *pulling teeth* to get him to read fiction. He's all about the books on robotics, weather, and dinosaurs. I'm kinda amazed.

And I cannot believe I'm voluntarily taking two children below the age of twelve to a movie theatre on a Friday night. I am packing the Nintendo DSs and wipies for the pre-movie sitting, since getting there early is the only way we'll get seats. Oh yes. This will be very exciting.

*deep breath* At least Caspian is pretty. *holds firm*
In between marveling at the going rate of purebred dogs ($9000? Are you kidding?), I discovered that my mother, sisters, grandmother, great aunt, and sister's mother in law and sister's MIL's girlfriend and possibly her family are planning a garage sale in our yard in about a month. And possibly a friend of mine. No, the yard is not that big. No, I have no idea how this is going to work. I mean, from what I've seen? This is a lot of stuff. But OTOH, the existence of spandex does prove that a great deal can in fact be fit into a small, small space.

Normally, this would lead to a fit of horror and discovering an important meeting in a mall somewhere, since nothing disturbs me quite as much as one on one customer service (both the giving and receiving). This is because I once worked retail and quickly realized this was not my true calling. It's also because I'll be required to help.

However, that wasn't my first reaction. My first reaction was office supplies. Colored pens and index cards and separately colored prices to show who has what, but then it hit me--oh, it hit me. After counting up the participants, I realized that this would be a fantastic reason to buy a bar code scanner to keep track of an items' original owner when it is purchased! Would this not be awesome?

I also had a fairly long fantasy of how I'd develop a multipage Excel spreadsheet to track going price and final price per item as well as what sold fastest and what sold the slowest. Last night, I started looking at the extra space on my domain and pondering the fact that I could totally write something up to use to keep track of money and items in HTML and work on uploading all scans to give everyone a complete list of a.) what was sold b.) what the price was and c.) who originally owned it. My favorite part was going to be the happy days I spent barcoding everything and then putting it into categories (toys, shoes, clothes, get-rid-of-this-at-any-cost, candles, books, wtf-people-would-buy-this, etc).

For reasons beyond my understanding, they totally nixed the bar code scanner idea, and I really want this.

True fact about my mother (and family): in all the years she has known me, she has yet to pick up one sure thing. I will participate in eight hours of something I hate if I get one hour of something I really, really love. If I get to bar code everything, I will totally sit there all day and gleefully work the yard selling stuff because that means I get to play with the scanner! And between times, I will get to make obscure bar graphs tracking absolutely pointless information regarding what was sold that is not only useless but that no one but me will ever a.) care about or b.) even know exists. I just--how is this not obvious? I even showed her my obsessive tagging to try and illustrate how important this is for my mental health and happiness. No go.

I was also forbidden to run out and buy one myself, which is just salt in the wound.

People confuse me. It is a bar code scanner! It's like taking away my new pony. Before I even got it.
I often think of Best Buy as less of a store than an endless source of money-spending. In some ways, it's worse than Frye's; Frye's has so much that you can get overstimulated and conceivably leave clutching a usb drive and your tattered dignity.

Not so much Best Buy, no.

The Story

I'd been meaning to get Mom a gaming keyboard, since the wireless set she has now is a.) old, and b.) keeps slowing randomly and slowing her hunt for--some thing. I have no idea what. She's started working in groups with other players in Guild Wars, and apparently, the response time is really bad, though she was sure she was just old and therefore on a slow and inevitable decline toward senility or something. I stared at her blankly and remembered this is the woman who has conquered every Zelda game ever and checked her keyboard and mouse. They both worked okay, but sticky keys and basic wear and tear on a wireless desktop; I figured in any case, it was time for a replacement and to, you know, kind of psych her into thinking it was the keyboard and not her. So I said, with thoughtful, considered tones, "You need a gaming keyboard. That's the problem." She looked at me with a kind of vaguely cynical hope. But this is me; I made her a Guild Wars junkie. I am totally that kind of manipulative daughter.

Nintendo is my crack )

right, and the keyboard and mouse )

And that was my day.
And niece born! At noonish, and nineish pounds (I haven't been to the hospital yet, and my father is distressingly bad at keeping details) sister sent text message from hospital, 9lbs 2oz. I believe it. My sister was huge. Niece II, nine pounds. This is so awesome.


One hour, something minutes, I shall see Niece II and fall in love all over again. Disabling comments because I don't know when I'll be home to answer. Will have stats then! And may spam [ profile] svmadelyn with pics by phone.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments on my last post! We are deeply excited. This is totally like having one of my own, except I don't have to live with her, feed her, or do anything but tell her she's very smart and will one day help Child take over the world. And give her to her mother when she's messy. It's totally the same thing.

Will not drop by Dillards and get just one more dress. Will not. will not.
Sister being labor-induced in like, a couple of hours. I am so tired I cannot see straight. But baby! It's like a disease, really. I am so going to collapse and die in the waiting room or something.

Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby. Tiny little thing that screams a lot. See, I am trying to remember the negatives, but not so much with that working too well.

I am zen. In that way that is not so much, no.
The true horror of someone in the family having a baby is when you are innocently at work and think, I wonder if my sister registered anywhere. Then you find out she did and typically, forgot to tell anyone. Then you print it out and feel bad and feel like you need to tell people so they can buy her something. And then you go to the store and think, you'll get a couple of things.

...then you realize you bought two of three pages worth of items listed and had some kind of fugue in infant wear, because there is no other explanation for the pile of pink dresses and onesies you are wrapping on the floor along with baby miscellea that, despite the fact you had one of these, you have no idea what half of it does.

Seriously, the duck spout thing is just--what the hell? And this thing for food that looks like a pacifier covered in a mesh sponge filter?

Please tell me a baby doesn't need a Thai silk pink dress with matching accessories?

Oh my God I want.

Yeah. This is going to go well.

Did I mention I like babies a lot? I have a horrible, horrible feeling that if she doesn't go into labor soon, there will be a tragedy with my credit card. Cards.

But seriously, that dress is awesome.

ETA: I am not looking at Burberry baby clothes. Seriously. They make baby clothes?

God, that's cute.

ETA 2: Organic baby clothes????? I just--helpless--what?

I've been thinking on privilege in the more general sense of my life since the meme, because quantifying my existence into mathematics is something I do for fun. I can add up my life in a series of value statements on what I've contributed to the world as opposed to what I've taken without return; how I've speeded or slowed entropy, if you will. And that's Spock speaking, by the way, but the succinctness fascinates me. Bread upon the water--if it should be returned, are we talking seven fold or will I receive a floating bill for services rendered?

A lot of my personal weirdness comes from too much Star Trek, I suspect. Somewhere in the back of my head is a balance that I keep adding or subtracting from, like a miniQuicken that tells me if I've surpassed my harm with good. Though I suspect both are debatable depending on who I ask.

At the new job, I'm recognized on sight. There's wide smiles and hand-shaking and hopes I'll enjoy the work. They laugh at whatever stupid joke I make to get through the moment, and they come back later, with encouraging smiles and how I'll be such a success.

The thing is, they don't know my name. They know my mom's.

my privilege shares my name )
On Saturday, my mother's brother and my aunt celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. In a lot of ways, they are as ordinarily as any couple that makes it through a quarter of a century with two kids. They're friendly and kind and remarkably fun; my uncle has a wicked sense of humor and my aunt is gracious and witty and funny. And corrects my Spanish a lot.

Their lives are ordinary except in all the ways they aren't.

My aunt was born in Venezuela and came to American, I think to attend college. She and my uncle met soon after he got out of the army and fell in love. They agreed to get married.

That's when things get complex.

They tell the story a thousand times better than I ever can, evoking the humor of a wedding that started with bad omens that only got worse, navigating immigration and flight schedules and maybe some kind of mild unpleasantness going on with the Venezuelan government. Eventually, my uncle and my grandmother went to Venezuela so they could marry, when my aunt promply got sick and ended up hospitalized.

Being on visa, they were restricted on how long they could stay, and for that matter, the restriction on the marriage. My uncle offered to go back to America and come later for teh wedding. My aunt, being--herself--decided that wasn't quite good enough. She got herself released from the hospital, carted to her wedding, where she got through her vows, got her husband, and immediately returned to the hospital after the wedding so she would avoid making her husband a widower.

From what my uncle suggests, the fever helped his courtship along a lot.

The picture of them when they finishd their vows, by the way, is beautiful. I think it amuses her to know she would be throwing up about a minute later.

A year later, my aunt's visa (I'm unclear on teh details of how this happened), expired or was revoked while she was visiting family in Venezuela. Their first anniversay was spent apart, sending documents not through the mail, which was dangerous, but through people coming and going to Venezuela so she could come home. Eventually, she got back.

Five years ago, my uncle was diagnosed with stomach cancer, a hazard of being a firefighter. He lost--his stomach and some other internal organs (I am unclear on the actual losses farther: I think part of his pancreas, his spleen, and part of his liver). A few operations, chemo, radiation, and three and a half years later, he was emaciated to the point of starvation, unable to eat or hold down food, and thought he was going to die. Finally, his doctors gave him access to a pain management clinic to teach him how to use his pain medications and how to schedule his life.

He gained forty pounds. I watched him grinning and raise his glass to his wife when he told stories about the time he locked her out of the house in a fight, relented, went outside to get her, and she went in behind him adn locked him out. He told us about how early in their marriage, they only had one car and she'd walk a mile to the bus stop for work every day. My aunt hosted my baby shower and brought me gifts from Venezuela and made fun of how I conjugated my Spanish verbs.

They had two extraordinary daughters, one of whom is *sighs* nineteen and in her senior year at the University of Texas at Austin and is freaking quadrilingual. (Not that I'm bitter.) The youngest will probably turn out the same.

They're ordinary in all the ways I think one day I want to be ordinary with someone who makes me want to.

Twenty-five years. I am hoping we'll all be there for fifty.
Survived the beach. Actually, it turned out almost creepily fun and good, like some kind of television miniseries on family bonding. My sister's fiance was new to the entire Our Family of Multiple Personalities experience but fit in nicely. I do miss her first husband, though, and a part of me really wished he could have come.

I do get that would be worth years of therapy, but still.

Anyway. My dad a couple of years ago was down at Port A with my mom to go on the gambling boat thing and they were looking for some place to stay. We have this one motelish place we always use for like, three freaking generations and dad was practically married to it. Every year, that's where we went.

However, when I began regular travel and booking of hotels I started looking up things like condos and etc to stay at, and when I raved about the place [ profile] hwmitzy booked us in South Padre, they got interested. Anyway, short version they stumbled across a quiet place that turned out to be a lot better than it looked; very plain exterior, but awesome rooms, a huge porch, and on the first floor with a view of the beach. Dad was hooked. The room we got was expandable from one to two to three to I think four bedrooms with a neat series of locking doors. We ended up with the two bedroom, since we'd been kind of hard line on a first floor and beach view, so me and my youngest sister got futons in teh living room. I am not complaining--I had a fantastic time.

Anyway, short version--fun. Just too much.

And I am set for travel until August. I am remembering a time in my life where I never travelled. It's surreal to think of it.


While continuing the obsessive tagging in main source of relaxation and entertainment, sadly enough--I remembered I'd left a few stories off that werne't archived on my website. They were part of Unspoken: A Round Robin, which was this accidental thing in X-Men Movieverse. I'd written a story for a friend who gave me very specific parameters to write in, and then kind of left the story in my WIP folder since it didn't really go anywhere--basically just an intro to a radically different AU. After posting, two people asked to continue the storyline--[ profile] minisinoo and [ profile] andariel. And then a lot of people jumped in.

At the time, it was a really cool surprise. Everyone picked up different characters, brought in non-movie characters and alternate storylines, and there ended up being fifty-seven stories in the series, a *lot* of which were written in the space of a few weeks. We had a lot of lurkers come out to post a story or two, make suggestions, etc. Being a small list, it was pretty high output there for a while.

*g* And it was fun.

I forgot how much I missed shared universe. That was a serious level of fun there.

And yes, random moment of the day. I am *so close* to being done editing and God, I am terrified.
Jul. 5th, 2007 01:19 am


So [ profile] kkpixie did the *awesome* and gave me a copy of Somewhere I Have Never Travelled series in *hardcover*. You have to understand that my excitement sometimes gets the better of my good sense, so while sharing memories of my trip with my mother, I took it out and showed it to her.

She took it away to read it.

Being thirty-one does not change a few key things. One of them is I do not want my mother reading my slash. My mom is fairly open-minded in general and etc. But I'm not sure how that translates into reading her daughter's porn.

I have no idea how to get it back. I need alcohol. Now.

*lies down*

Pre-beach shopping fugue today. Bought a camcorder. It's all unclear, but my memory is hazy up until I walked out of the store clutching a shopping bag of accessories and a box under my arm.

I think I deserve drugs now, kthx.
Jan. 27th, 2007 08:54 pm

happy day!


Only the most awesome building set in existence. Which was Child's birthday present to me, after I carefully picked it out and hugged it to my chest and refused to let go of it by the time we got to the check-out at Toys R Us, where I cleverly said I needed to go to buy Child a gift card.

Trying to explain the magic of Knex is impossible. Also, I think it's K'nex. But whatever.

It's like the coolest toy since Lincoln Logs and for those who have followed this lj for the last almost-five years? I am an addict of those and Tinker Toys.

I got the 425 Super Value Tub, which is made of so much awesome I can't even describe it. You can build like anything out of these suckers, so I got the building guide out and skipped to level three to make the freakishly awesome Space Ship Ride and then the Eggbeater Ride and then went to level two for the Ferris Wheel. Tomorrow, the Tilt O'Whirl and the super awesome and should-be-four-star Grandfather Clock. I'm also stealing the ones I got Child last year, since he never really got into it, which if I find most of the pieces will give me something around eight hundred pieces of sheer joy., btw, for parents out there who want something to play with. I mean, honestly? Children cannot appreciate the awesome like they should. Give them Playstations. Leave me the things that build like, entire amusement parks and robots, 'kay? Also, official knex website is cheaper. I am staring in lust at the Musical Rides combo pack. Musical rides combo pack!

Well, not as much. I don't like the event-specific pieces as much as the huge boxes of general ones. Oooh, this one lets you get your name on the case!

Huh. They are also the sellers of Lincoln Logs. I am so unsurprised.

Okay, anyway, got lovely gift cards from family and friends, a really awesoem breakfast brunch, and lunch tomorrow with a friend, where with any luck she'll want to try that Hawaiian fusion restaurant thing that keeps making me curious.

This has seriously been an awesome birthday.

super boring family stuff here )
Okay, so my night is complete.

I am running a fever, am irritable as *shit*, and right now in the living room, Sister's Ex-Husband and Sister's Current Soon To Be Live-In Boyfriend are chatting awkwardly about football!

Both of them! Here! At the same time!

...oh God, they are wishing each other a good night and having fun with the clubbing and what have you. Oh my God.

Seriously, how did this become my life?????
I hurt everywhere, even in muscles that didn't exist before yesterday. I'd like to thank the inventor of the jet ski for the fact I am in the kinds of pain usually associated with major surgery. Also, I had a shitty night.

This is what I get for going out for one of those "normal life" things that everyone's always making noise about. Screw that. Me and laptop are OTP.

Right. A long, sordid tale of jetski crashing, bad porn, and how it turns out that I can multitask like no one's business.

i hurt. seriously )
May. 1st, 2006 09:42 pm


One of the things I never used to believe existed were men out there so desperate to sleep with you that they would bribe you with gifts in hopes that your panties would be loosened in gratitude. No, I'm not talking about me here; I have long come to terms with my lack of femme fatale vibes--or any vibes of any kind, actually, I think I register as a cabbage on the sex appeal o'meter or something--but my sister, who is dating while on separation from her husband, who is also dating.

I work hard to know very little about Sister and Brother in Law--however, this one time, overinformation was good. In the last three months, the hope of getting seriously laid has led several men to contribute expensive and insane amounts of chocolate not only to her but to her daughter and my son; some kind of ion flat iron that was imported from somewhere and apparently does magical things with straightening hair, along with matching hair care products; dinner at restaurants so pretentious I don't even want to pronounce them; and finally, the real reason I have a strong urge to set my sister on a street corner, a Cuisinart coffee maker.

Oh. My. God.

No one told me. I've been using GE and Mr. Freaking *Coffee* and *this* was out there? Twelve cups of nirvana seeped through a water filter and into a brown paper basket filter, so good that I actually lost the ability to form sentences. Mellow edged perfection cooked up in less than ten full minutes, with multiple functions, wrapped in black plastic and silver edging, saying, "Jenn, Jenn, drink me." Oh my GOD. This is--you know, I'd say better than sex, but it's been a while, so maybe sex has gotten better than the last time I tried it out.

Oh my GOD why do I drink anything *else*?

Suffice to say, I have the coffee maker and she's getting it back over my cold dead body. She can pick up another engineer if she needs another one.

I'm goinng to take a moment with my creme brulee coffee and smile that the universe sometimes sucks so much less than I usually think it does.
Today is the day I drew my lines on how much I actually want to know about any blood relation's sex life.

I am a big, fun proponent of repress, deny, and in teh name of God, don't tell me, but my sister and her soon to be ex-husband have no problem sharing things that belong strictly in places that I do not frequent--namely, places I am not in hearing distance of. Antarctica, for example. The Pegasus galaxy. Wherever the X-Files grey men came from. Neverland. It's a disconcerting situation all around when one realizes that one is a prude, despite what has to be coming on five hundred thousand words of porn and porn-related plot.

And I'm not a prude. Except when I am, apparently.

oh dear god the tmi conversations in the car, in the kitchen, in the living room, in my head )
In which I think, I live in an episode of Maury Povich. But not a good one. Like, one of the really trashy ones, where you kind of sit there and wonder when everyone is going to start attacking each other to liven it up.

because drama is my life )
Domestic Bliss

The sock situation has reached critical. I washed every sock in the house. There are fifteen matches and one hundred billion socks sitting in a pile, basically the apparel equivalent of abandoned by their spouses.

Strangely, it was the white ones.

We have a matched blue set that I bought around the time my son was born. We have, and this just scares me, my cheerleader socks, circa 1991. I ran across an inordinate number of trouser socks that I have never seen before in my life. I found, amongst other useless treasures, my APO frat pin, a set of keys that go to nothing that resembles a lock, and my basketball shoes from late 1992. They still fit. This was kind of a bright spot in the day, and really, that should tell you something.

More imponderables. And is that a word, or does it need an 'n'?

1.) Some sadist left my niece's talking doll beneath a pile of laundry. Every time you step, a spooky baby voice says it's hungry. Just *imagine* the ways that freaks you out around nine at night. And ask me how long it took to find out that it was a doll.

I'm telling you, X-Files fucked me up for life. I no longer automatically think, what is a reasonable explanation? I immediately think, that is a flesh eating monster that is going to kill me and eat me. Come on, remmeber that freaksome doll episode?

2.) There is some strange law that states, all my hose will have runs. All of them. Even ones I've never worn. Even ones that I don't own, that appear by magic beneath my hands when searching out those deserting whores of socks. And no matter how many are thrown away, there will always be a million of them. It's almost a reverse of the sock issue, which makes me suspicious that socks actually have some kind of life cycle that leads to runned hose. Maybe they eventually mature into unrun hose or something, but I'm not waiting to find out whether or not my laundry is sentient. They could mature into something that will kill me in my sleep, like, say, that talking doll, and who the *hell* thought this was a good idea to invent?

The sad part is, I bought that one for her. Like I didn't learn all I needed to know from television about evil toys. Grrrr. Stupid impulse buying.

3.) Thou shall never find matching sheets. This is a given. I've pretty much reconciled myself to a life with sheets that will never match. And never in complementary colors. Oh no, not my bed. We're talking flowery and neon green geometrics. This could explain why my bed sees so little action. Frankly, if I saw that in someone's house, I'd question their sanity and more importantly, their good taste and ability to color coordinate. I mean, you can live with insanity, just lock up the sharp objects and sleep lightly and armed. But there's no hope when their color sense is working against you.

4.) Underwear. I have no idea where it's coming from. His, not mine. It's a weird breeding thing with cotton and spandex going on somewhere, because I didn't buy that many, but we have two drawers full and I'm still stumbling over it when I go through laundry. It's frightening. I mean, convenient, but dear God.

I watched my niece today, one of those times that reminds me why I have kept a tubal ligation on the table as a possibility should ever a situation arise in my life that might lead to further progeny.

Because Children Are Strange and Evil, and Then There Were Breathing Masks
babysitting )

I should drown my sorrows in chocolate or something. Or porn. *shudders* Maybe not.
After a variety of threats from Nezsa and her mother, I agreed to have my hair done by the chick who does hers. Which was fine. I felt vaguely like I was at work, since no one spoke English, but I also see this is a really *good* reason to be self-absorbed, conceited, and unsociable--I really don't care what people are saying.

Okay, that's a lie, I still do listen. But I care in a vague, did-you-just-call-me-a-puta-way. Which I'm sure she didn't.

Or you know, could be paranoid here. This would not surprise me.

Anyway, my hair is redder, and they started highlight work in a very interesting shade of blonde. I'm getting the rest done sometime before sister's wedding next month.

Also, I tried on my bridesmaid's dress.

This really deserves its own entry, but what the hell, I'm here and the dress is here and that thing was designed by a sadist who loved pastels.

sadistic dresses )

Places to Go

Cavelorn talks the psychology of horror. I'd like to thank whoever originally led me to that for the wonderful Ring memories this prompted, because I cannot imagine anything more fun than not sleeping tonight, waiting to be killed by a fingernailless little girl climbing out of my television all wet from the well.

I did like, however, the emphasis she put on the way they *look* at you. And on indirectness in horror. It's pretty easy to gross me out, but it's a special place that scares me badly without blood, guts, or anything really extraordinary in sight. I'm trying to think of examples that she doesn't use and can't think of a one.

But you know, happy Ring memories. Whoo hoo. Let me just unplug the tv now. And throw it out the window.
Start with the usual.


Expectations 11 by [ profile] hwmitzy. The much stalked, much whined at, much put upon Beth (did I mention I'm holding her cat hostage for more of this fic? Er, forget I said that) FINALLY released the fic we've all been waiting for, the birth of the Kent-Luthor triplets! Much drooling. Much joy. Much jenn-excitement. HAPPY!


The Seventh Day by melo. A bittersweet glimpse at a future Superman. Hurts. Muchly.

Breathing Room by Nitelite. A post-Prodigal Lex fic. I like Lex's voice in this, introspective and not quite bitter so much as thoughtful.

Smallville Who's Who, A Music Video by the endlessly talented [ profile] ivyblossom. Okay, this is one of those times I say, do this RIGHT now. Because this is funny. And cool. And I love Ivy. Love her much. *giggling*

Places to Go

Style in fiction seems to be the discussion topic of interest. Which, by the way? Love to read these.

[ profile] thamiris starts us off here with some great insights into both what she reads for and how she writes.

[ profile] lexluvsclark continues here with some text comparisons and lyricism in fiction, which is very interesting.

Up to the last one I read...

[ profile] corinna_5 chimes in with more thoughts on style here.

Art Things:

Kat sent me the loveliest cover today for In the Absence. *happy sigh* Lucex. Lux (who thought of that one again?). Lexus. Hee. Sorry. I always giggle.

Love Kat. She's so GOOD at this. I spend quality time staring at it moodily. Yes, Lucas apparently does really do things for me. *sighs*

cover for ita )

Other Things

Reality Television is taking a turn for scariness with the teaser for the new show, which for the life of me, I think I've blocked the name due to trauma.

It's like we're resurrecting the Dark Ages. First we had the Alaska girls with their dowries (DOWRIES?), then all these bizarre versions of Cindarella sans evil family, now we get the Classic Arranged Marriage as chosen by television viewers.

Thing is? I wouldn't trust the television viewers in general to choose my socks in the morning.

I'm scared to death I am going to watch this show, just for the car accident fascination of watching people actually put their marital fate into what amounts to being a huge blender of bizarrity. I have a better idea. Put on a blindfold, go outside, and the next person you run into? Marry him/her/it. Trust me, your chances are about the same for happiness.

Okay, I may be watching. This is like watching civilization crumble. Unattractively. *g*

Nah, I'm not quite that cynical.

I've been throwing this story together. Non-fanfic--it's for a friend, one of those family stories that gets told over dinner at reunions and stuff? Surprise surprise, my family actually has GOOD ones. Okay, some are highly unverifiable, but also bizarre.

For example, my favorite of the group:

The Great Uncle Who Went To Calfornia with His Family and Returned WITHOUT Family, Moved Into Trailer (possibly a Trailer Park) With Another Woman, and Never Mentioned the California Family Again, Ever, Except Maybe to Sister, Deceased. That's verifiable, since currently living relatives can remember that, yet he is dead, and apparently, the secret went with him.

Then there's The Legend of the Lost Silver Mine of Robert Grabs in Arizona (Arkansas, Colorado, take your pick). Great, great grandfather's brother, if I squint. It's the best one but also the one I least believe. Genetically, my father's mother's side has Money Issues. Or, an inability to really get the CONCEPT of money. Luckily, they usually marry accountants or people who have no money themselves. It's genetic.

Then there's the really GOOD stories, the ones we were all told to go play in my cousin's room before they'd tell. I still can't get those out often. You know, half-sentences and semi-mysteries and that drives me crazy.


Darn them for privacy!


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