In case anyone missed this:

Satanic Temple seeks Hobby Lobby-style exemption from anti-abortion laws

Thank you, yahoo news; I can state with perfect honesty that I didn't see this coming.
I finally figured out how to make Amazon stop reccing me music I don't like--buy it.

Wait, let me finish: once you do, you listen to that shit until you love it or your ears bleed and you dark master asks for your attendance at the throne of Hell. It works. He lets you use DW!

Not that it went that far: I listened to it straight through and either I was wrong or I am a master-class self-Stockholmer and I should be paid to teach other people how to do it.

Anyway, music for the week: it's all Stockholm, all the time here.

Pompeii by Bastille. I get the framing device isn't actually the destruction of Pompeii via volcano, but if you imagine a whole bunch of toga'ed Romans line dancing to this while ash rains down from above--and talking about being an optimist about the volcano about to bury them--close your eyes!--it's kind of amazing.

This is part of my Bounce playlist, which includes Katy Perry's Roar, Fun's We Are Young, Fefe Dobson's Don't Let It Go to Your Head, and Good Time by Owl City. I don't ask why anymore. I put this on repeat, I start feeling the vague desire to dance in the parking lot at work. And by vague, I mean the east parking lot out of sight of the windows, like a one-woman Dancing Plague, which as well all know ended really well for Strasbourg.

Today all the SSNs in our testing database vanished; right this moment, a Dancing Plague would be doing me a favor.
A general apology--I was answering a comment in AO3 and checked my related works link because it's there and awesome, and there were several items that weren't approved. I approved them all and I apologize for the weirdness to those who were wondering what the hell.

Also! Because this is so cool I share these things:

Adjustment, War Games, and Domestically Inclined, translated by Loquor into Chinese. My Star Trek reboot series in Chinese; it's amazing.

Being monolingual--my Spanish isn't nearly good enough to even qualify for half a point there--translation is miraculous to me in general.

While working in Duolingo on my Spanish, I translated part of the Minecraft player's guide into English, which now qualifies me to upgrade the art of translation to magic. It has to be; there's no other explanation, and boy, I feel like a loser feeling all exhausted after translating some really simple paragraphs of a Spanish article on hockey. God I hope it was hockey, now that I'm thinking about it.

...I'm going to go check now. Just in case.
Watching the dashcon tag on tumblr and the FFA threads is now a lifestyle choice. And now ONTD has picked it up.

In case anyone wants to catch up (vaguely in chronological order of posting):
First FFA Thread on Dashcon
Second FFA Thread on Dashcon
ONTD on Dashcon
Dashcon Tag on Tumblr

Personal favorite quote from FFA:
From browsing the tag, the people at Dashcon have entered into this peculiar headspace wherein one more normally finds hostages and cult victims: the backlash has been so severe that anyone who even had a good moment and lacks certain critical self-check features is now in "extreme Con defense mode."

Starts with $17,000 and goes down from there. Also, a ball wading pool and bouncy castle.

ETA: From anonymous commenter: Dashcon owner about Dashcon, posted in January - I can't tell if anonymous is defense or prosecution here, but it's an interesting link.
Currently reading Top Ten Most Venomous Snakes, where in an unsurprising turn of events, Australia holds five slots including one and two. Because Australia.

(Africa wins as Most Terrifying Snake I Have Ever Obsessively Read About My God Twenty Minutes????? WTF Evolution WHY?)

My only real comfort here is that, should I be near one of these snakes at any time, I don't have to worry about dying within twenty minutes or less (thanks, Black Mamba!); I will have a heart attack right there and die. So you know, there's that.
So today at work was Foodapalooza, or Fourth of July (minus two), which as usual was a gut busting success where the food coma started at 10:30 AM and proceeded for the rest of the day.

Generally, participation is always high when we do these, because one, everyone likes to eat, and two, we have a lot of dietary restrictions (kosher, vegetarian, vegan, and no beef) so meat dishes are discreet from vegetables whenever possible. This also means we have not just variety but massive amounts of each variety because the universe loves us when it comes to food.

Which is how I ended up eating my weight in fried chicken, a chickpea dish (whole chickpea, not hummus) I would kill people to get to, lemon rice, chicken enchiladas, a tangy lentil mix that looked like refried beans and tasted like what I'm sure Heaven serves in the buffet line, a two gallon crock pot of cheese dip, and a huge massive tupperware dish of a spicy rice and vegetable dish I didn't get the name of but will bear more offspring to find again. That was Round One, by the way: we won't speak of rounds two, three, four, or the Holy Shit Dessert Are You Kidding Well Okay Sure course, and the Drink and Dip Annex where the sodas tea, chips, and dip were stored.

Like I said, participation is high, and we had stealth people from different units helping us get this done. We just feel as a group that it's an insult to leave a single item of food in a dish, you know? We don't let that happen.

In other news, Duolingo is adding Irish to it's roster of languages soon as well as Dutch. The only reason I'm mentioning this is for the Dutch; the day I found out about it, I was talking to a coworker who--completely randomly--told me she wanted to learn Dutch because she and her husband were retiring to the Netherlands when they were ready to retire. She was interested to find out this.

The universe is strange, and I'm in food post-coma; lethargic and vaguely wanting cookies. It happens.
Google Now on my phone just gave me an update card on how much I walked in June, based on my device's location. In so many ways I find this upsetting and weird, not least of which is the realization I don't walk much. Though that's still below "GOOGLE IS WATCHING ME WALK?"

....level with me, anyone else starting to wonder if The Matrix was actually a documentary and the next two movies in the series were released just to make us dismiss the entire convoluted plotline and not realize that is our lives?

I'd say this was bad, but then I just realized--

1.) I can fly and do kung fu.
2.) A full length leather coat is in my immediate future.
3.) There's a very good chance Laurence Fishburne will show up soon.

Dear Robot overlords,


(also: seriously, watching me walk? Why?)

The Coming Gay Marriage Witch Hunt - this really is nothing new at all, but hilarious quote from worried homophobe:
Same-sex marriage is, of course, not the first issue to divide Americans. Slavery, segregation, and abortion led to civil war, vigilante violence, and massive protest movements.

But opponents of same-sex marriage say that even in those instances there was d├ętente after passions cooled. One-time segregationists remained in the upper echelons of American public life through the 1990s. This time, opponents of same-sex marriage fear that supporters will not be happy until their side has been run out of polite society and forced to retract their previously held views.

I want to go on the record here, correct my interpretation if I'm reading this wrong: segregation/racism was a much better social movement because racists got to keep their social and political power for, count it, over a fucking century (according to the article). In polite society.

Jesus Christ, this is a crisis; people may not be invited to fucking tea because they're obnoxious. Let me weep.

Something struck me about this that's bothered me: it's the much touted right to be heard. It appears most often when people speaking Bullshit-esque are pouting about the language barrier that prevents people from caring what they have to say.

Much like the rights of trees who fall in the forest to make a sound, there is no fundamental right to be heard, because that would necessitate violating my God-given right to not have to listen. Free speech your ass out among the leaves, sunshine; I'm not hanging around the forest to listen.

I've spent the last two weeks learning Medicaid policy for the aged and disabled in which a sample case I worked allowed a man to enter a nursing home facility and receive Medicaid without even having to make a copay despite the fact his resources were upward of two hundred thousand dollars, while a woman who receives less than 1100 in RSDI total has to pay nine hundred dollars a month for the same thing.

When rich politicians talk about cutting welfare, they talk about welfare queens and single mothers and eighteen thousand kids each, but for some reason, they're very silent, very silent indeed, when it comes to the legal basis of how the wealthy can hide their money using special clauses in policy created specifically for them so when they need nursing home care or community care, they don't have to pay a thing toward it while a man or woman who have worked their asses off all their lives sometimes get denied the help they desperately need at the most vulnerable and fragile point of their lives.

Is this polite society?

You know, sorry, I ran out of tears; see, I'm worrying about actual real things, like my kid having the ability to get married and not be killed for being who he is, my mother being safe and well in her old age if God forbid she becomes fragile or ill, the current nightmare that is the job market, paying down my student loan and my credit report, and unnumbered elderly, disabled, and poor people who get denied help.

I don't understand the priorities of a life lived that can possibly, by any stretch of hte imagination, give a flying fuck about what a woman does with her own body to the point of trying to outlaw their access to it, about what people who you will probably never meet who may or may not be of the same sex entering into a legal union, how the color of someone's skin, their ethnicity, their country of origin, or their sex has any bearing whatsofuckingever on what kind of person they are, much less care so much that PACs and societies are created to combat it.

But all of that--all of that--makes more sense than an article where a homophobe is deeply, sincerely worried they won't get invited to the best parties.

Find a fucking forest and talk until you go hoarse, I don't give a shit; you want to be heard, say something worth breath.

Note: This has been a very enlightening two weeks of my life.
For reasons that don't need to be explored at this juncture, I am in need of someone who really likes academic communication theory--or possibly metacognition theory and cognitive neuroscience--who can tell me what this is and where to find it.

It's a theory that the act of writing is sometimes more than simply the expression of a thought in textual form, but the equivalent of the brain outsourcing some of the thinking process. There are thoughts that cannot be thought or even exist without the intervention of the written word. Writing isn't just organization, memory storage, or even clarification of thoughts that are already there; the act of writing is a requirement for the thought to even exist.

I remember reading about it in college (I don't remember the discipline it came out of, but I think its birth was out of cognitive theory and how the brain works), but there was an implication that once the ability to communicate with the written word is acquired, it (theoretically) increases the capacity for abstract thought because (possibly?) it's a way for the brain to communicate with itself that it can't accomplish without it.

I found some articles that hit on some of it, but the focus in most of them is the use of writing to expand existing thought and make connections between disparate ideas that are already there but require refinement, or the development of critical thinking skills, but not idea that the brain uses writing itself in the creation of thought process.

...Christ, I swear this is not the result of a mescaline and tequila night, though admittedly, I'd love the excuse.
As my nieces got Frozen, I've involuntarily watched it about three times due to the fact that, as kids do, that goddamn movie was on repeat on the bluray player for like a week. Which is why against my will, Let It Go ended up on my playlist so I can massacre a C above high C when automemorization kicks in. Luckily, only the neighbors have been the victims of my need to express my freedom to create ice sculptures (in my mind) in the far north while actually living in Texas at ninety-one degrees in the shade. Because that's how I roll these days.

Other news: my other repeat-one song of the month:
UNKLE ft Moby - In a State/God Moving over the Faces of the Waters - it was part of a documentary vid on youtube and I hunted it down to get a clean copy, which this one is, for downloading-related purposes.

Training tomorrow. This is my idea of decompressing: sitting outside while surfing youtube and Wikipedia. If I end up reading about the cat genome project again something's gonna give.
Doing two months of MEPD training in two weeks means after the first week I have no idea what my name is anymore, but I can figure out eligibility for MSP programs with a pencil and a determined expression (and uh, a client).

This training isn't for caseworkers, but for the help desk staff who answer questions from caseworkers and other staff about problems they find with the eligibility program. Testing was offered slots in the class, so me and a coworker both signed up, and it's been deeply fascinating. Policy is fascinating, no lie; I had no idea there were so many kinds of burial resources, and not kidding, that section on resources was insane.

MEPD, in case anyone is curious, is Medicaid for the aged and disabled. Usually people think nursing homes (institutionalization), but that's only one type: among them are MSP (Medicare Share program) which pays the monthly premium on Medicares Part A and/or Part B, CAD, which is a program that gives home health care to clients if they don't qualify for MSP and the function of which is to delay or prevent institutionalization of clients but instead let them stay in their homes, CBA, all the SSI's, and several community based programs. Generally, nursing home care is the care of last resort if possible; the goal is to make it easier for clients to remain in their own homes. Interesting note: the elderly, even the very elderly, do much better at home than nursing homes, even very nice ones, and a lot of programs are geared to extend their time at home as much as humanly possible.

This is where I do my random reminder that if you live in Texas and want a job that I guarantee you will change lives every day you go to work and help people for whom you will be sometimes their last resort, consider applying for a Medicaid Eligibility Specialist or Texas Works Advisor position with HHSC.

Openings are here.

Generally, a college degree isn't necessary until you get to the higher manager and directorships. Starting with a clerical position can and will get you a heads-up within six months to caseworker (also, clerk is fun, no lie), and Worker III, which is just below supervisor, can be done in as little as two years and supervisor in three. And inter-agency hiring is legion; from there, there's pretty much an entire world of jobs with the state to make at least this part of the world a little better. Many jobs with HHSC prefer or require caseworker/eligibility specialist experience.

Training is two to three months; you go to class, eight hours a day, five days a week, where workers and specialists are guided through policy by trainers who were once caseworkers themselves--you don't memorize it, promise, we're not that cruel--and how to use the eligibility programs. By the time you're done with training, you will be able to take a pencil and a worksheet and calculate benefits for any program you've been trained in within ten minutes. Within one month on the job, you can read an application and know before you even start if they're likely to qualify and what they qualify for. I trained 10 years ago; I can still do it on a glance, though I need the income limits charts somewhere nearby. After one week of MEPD training, I can do it for CAS, MSP, and several of the waiver and post-SSI programs, though without the full two months, I wouldn't since it's slightly more complicated than that.

It's not a hard job, but it's one you have to learn. You'll be taught not only policy and how to use the programs we use to determine eligibility, but how to interview, how to look up and access information, what kind of questions to ask, and most importantly, the first thing I learned: my job is to approve people for benefits and get them the help they need. My training was to make sure I could do that the best I could.

After training, you'll be assigned to an office where you'll be given--and this will drive you crazy--two (or four) cases a day for two weeks, after which you go up to three or four (or six) for two weeks, and so on until you get to what's considered a full load. If you're like me, you'll start sneaking up to the front desk and stealing walk-ins within two days and secretly working them while your supervisor sighs and pretends not to notice. If you're in a call center, your supervisor won't ask questions; we're that overloaded.

Throughout your time on the job, you will be send to periodic training for changes in policy, in budgeting, federal law, et al.

We have high turnover; the caseload can be ridiculous, and working with the poor, the disabled, and the elderly can be difficult when you can't get them the help you know they need. However, this job is one of those I can say with certainty that you being there will assure more people get benefits the first time they apply. People get overloaded, there's too much to do and too little time to get it done; that's a problem. More people doing the job--you doing it--means that many more people get their benefits faster.

A lot of jobs will say you will be helping people. This one, you will literally be watching it happen as you do it. My caseload was between 10 and 18 people each day with an extra thirty or forty children's Medicaid I'd certify each month; during Katrina, I saw more than that. My approvals outnumbered my denials by a huge margin; every day, the world was made better by ten to eighteen people getting what they needed to live their lives.

That's 2,400 to 4,300 people a year whose lives you could be changing. You want to change the world, this is a very good way to start doing it.
Child just started pasta on fire.


On fire.

Parenthood: totally worth it.
Very shallow barely spoiler under the cut:

seriously, shallow )
Apparently, Polar Vortices (I had to look up the plural, yes) cause amnesia, because I don't remember being allergic to everything, ever. I think I'm allergic to water.

...this is going to be a very long summer, with much sneezing and eucalyptus oil, per a coworker who swears this will cure all things. When I can smell it--once, twice between sneezes--it does have a pleasant fragrance.
Richard III had scoliosis, not a hunched back

There are other discrepancies between Shakespeare's descriptions and the skeleton besides the back problem, Mitchell said.

The real Richard does not appear to have had a limp or a withered arm, as Shakespeare had described. His trunk and abdomen would have appeared short compared with his arms and legs, Mitchell said. His right shoulder would have been slightly higher than the left.

You. Don't. Say?

Dear Henry Tudor,

History is written by the victors future.

Also? You were a dick, and no one liked you.

Bite me,


You're forgiven.

The Six Most Horrifying Sex Scenes in Fan Fiction Part 4 - which okay, let's not pretend here, this was hilarious. However, it isn't link worthy except for the author's aside in Number 5: Teen Wolf Has Amputee Sex With Characters from War and Peace

Once again, this scenario leaves us with numerous questions we suspect we'll never have the answer to, such as who is the audience for this? Is there a large segment of the erotic fan fiction consumer base that A) has read War and Peace, B) watches the MTV version of Teen Wolf, and C) has a male pregnancy fetish?

That's the fangirl equivalent of asking 'what is the sound of one hand clapping'? Or possibly a corollary of Rule 34(d): if it exists, porn will be written for it, and three quarters of your audience will spontaneously realize they're totally into it upon reading. Yes, there's an audience, adorable Cracked writer; we invent those, too.

Like sure, you're not into explicit cannibal serial killer pornfests, but what if one is a god, one is a mythical monster, one is the main character from a made for tv movie about a real serial killer who are all played by the same actor as half the participants? Sign me up, and give me a minute to Venn diagram this. Sure, you're not into almost hilariously feminized bottoming, but what if it's an universe with biologically enforced gender stereotypes and they all have wings and claws and self-lubing asses and get knocked up like a lot? With quintuplets? With elf ears? Someone just read this paragraph and is going 'okay, but where the fuck can I get all of this in one story? Is there elf ear penetration? Fuck you, this is teasing." Yes, it is: why hasn't someone written me this? Slaughterhouse 5 AU would be perfect.

Audience; done. We can do it before there's a story. Thus ends the lesson.

Cracked is in so many ways awesome, but every once in a while they stumble, dewy naivety and wide-eyed innocent upon fandom and come back, shaken, saying 'have you seen...' and the answer is 'yes, there's a tag for it on AO3; do you need a link?' Cracked, you're not horrifying me; you're giving me a reading list.

Anyone who read The Godfather - the most enduring, healthy, and happy relationship in the entire goddamn book is between Lucy, the girl who made Sonny's Cock an actual supporting character (and for whom I spent serious time learning about pelvic floors to explain this particular plot point) and Jules, the former surgeon turned Las Vegas abortion doctor.

very minor digression on Dr. Jules )

Here's why this book remains one of my favorites and a maybe every three year full re-read; in a novel about gangsters, murder, the evils of the heroin trade, the bizarre and invisible double standards that they couldn't even acknowledge ruled everyone's lives, the ups and downs of the olive oil monopoly, all deathly serious and honestly not a little unsettling--we get Lucy, who any other sane writer would have left periphery at best but Mario Puzzo, whatever, that shit is for amateurs; gangsters, murder, heroin, corrupt cops, American values versus Old World values, big shit, and of equal weight...Lucy and her sex life aka Sonny's Cock.

No other writer on earth could just throw an entire subplot like that into the mix and make it work so effortlessly it's not until long after you read it that you realize, a little surprised: wait, what?

And you go check and realize, yeah, it went from pasta murder to Lucy dreaming of dead Sonny's cock, again, and your investment in Michael's goddamn broken-ass nose is like nothing compared to desperately hoping Lucy finds a Sonny Cock Mark II that makes her happy. Michael, get the fucking surgery and go to Italy and screw sheep or whatever, that's gross, now tell me more about Lucy's life and that hotass doctor in Las Vegas.

Okay, maybe this is just me, fine.

Mario has literally no ability to be sentimental (blank prose murders almost an afterthought, spare lines describing spousal abuse and torture, and most clinical pedophilic off-screen rape I've ever read with nothing, not one thing, that wasn't horrifying), and while I never got the impression he disapproved of a single thing they did (seriously, no; the horsehead thing was about as close to glee as Mario ever got, just on the basis of how many words he spent in description), sometimes there was almost a documentary feel to it, like a naturalist describing his world as he understands it, not as he wishes it (or wishes it not) to be.

Romance is a word without meaning, I'm pretty sure humor is something he heard about once at a party that he never did quite understand, and his sex scenes have all the sizzle of a medical journal article on the mechanics of coitus in the human heterosexual pairbond and that includes surprisingly graphic cameos of Sonny's Cock at Work and Play. I don't deny this, and I get why people say he's not a great writer, and I almost get why some people think he's not a good one, but if you accept what he's doing as a very, very specific and very deliberate style, one that works for you or never will, he really does know exactly what he's doing with every word on the page.

And then he blindsided me like whoa; Lucy and Jules's first time.

Stop me if you don't want to be spoiled, but seriously, it's worth reading; if you've made it that far into the novel, you've either acclimatized by sheer blunt force or fell right into his style from the first page, and what you will read next will be Puzzo writing a romantic comedy and holy goddamn shit, someone told him what it meant to have a sense of humor and for a few pages, he knew what to do with it.

Lucy--who has yet to inform Jules of her somewhat non-standard vagina (as she has no idea what the hell is going on down there but Sonny's Cock was fucking amazing in mitigating it)--freaks out when Jules first achieves penetration at which time the issue is difficult to hide, and we are maybe two steps from screaming trauma and thinking Jules would look fantastic in his component parts because fuck you, Lucy need some goddamn love (and sex) and you have your doubts about Jules (and Jules Cock) being up to the task.

Foolish reader: never doubt the man who can calmly compare cancer to melons and give you a visual to haunt your nightmares in twenty words or less.

Jules jumps--shifts? Maybe retrenches would be the most accurate description--to Orgasm Plan B without missing a beat, and not only orgasms for everyone (you will feel so happy for Lucy, you have no idea; I almost cried), but epic cuddling even A/B/O knotting can only dream of achieving. Romantic (I had no fucking clue Puzzo could spell it), sexy (Puzzo style sexy; who knew that was even possible?), funny (it's like for a moment, he achieved humor enlightenment and someone showed him something by Disney) and sentimental full-contact post-coital cuddling without anyone experiencing a traumatic locked bathroom screaming session.

Sexist? Yes: this is goddamn Mario Puzzo writing about the mafia; magic in a JK Rowling book about Harry Potter would be less expected. But. Jules. I'm gonna have to admit; any guy who while having sex with me discovered my Terrible Secret Sex Deformity, switches mid-stroke and gets me off, then indulges in massive cuddling while gigglingly telling me about my totally normal medical condition that is so so totally normal not even a thing before round two and hunts me down a surgeon while telling me he wants to marry me and also kind of finds the entire thing hilarious--the rest of it I could resist, maybe, but the last part, I can't.

(Post-Coital Cuddling Includes Medical Explanation-I finally got a very clear explanation of Lucy's Problem in five paragraphs that took Encyclopedia Brittanica several articles to get.)

Someone who can laugh at himself as easily and unselfconsciously and sincerely at the same time as he's laughing at me, because he gets the best and funniest jokes are always the ones that are shared; I couldn't say no to that, unicorns are too goddamn rare.

The Godfather; Totally Serious Fucking Mafia Shit. And also, The Totally Fascinating Adventures of an Italian girl With a Terrible Sex Secret who finds epic love with an abortion doctor in goddamn Vegas and lives happily (and post-surgically orgasmically) ever after.

I've read Romance novels less romantic than this.

...I'd actually offer up one third of my liver free and clear to see Mario Puzzo take on the Regency, just to read how he'd describe an evening of hijinks at Almack's. On a guess, it would not be entirely unlike an alien writing a report to his superiors about humanity's odd fascination with a being known as 'Sheldon' on a bizarre human entertainment known as a 'television show' that despite its title has nothing whatsoever to do with the big bang but has an unsettling focus on graphic t-shirts and things called 'superheroes' and it's still debatable whether or not they're supposed to be real, as the 'characters' don't seem to know either.

Tell me I'm wrong. Go ahead, just try.
Question for the masses: does anyone know what in Firefox would cause Dreamwidth's expand function not to work in threads?

It works just fine when I'm at work, where I have Firefox installed. At home and at work, I'm using the same version of Firefox, Adblock and NoScript are installed and disabled, and yet, Expand works there and doesn't when I'm on my laptop. I've done everything short of bursting into tears--and trust me, it's a close thing--to work out the difference.

Anyone have any idea? Seriously, this is annoying.

Also, and not ashamed--I am totally playing Farmville 2: Country Escapes now that it's on Android and I don't have to access Facebook. I would hate myself, but there are acrobatic pigs and sheep who bellyflop in sync. Who the hell resists that? If anyone else is playing, I'm signed in through Google+, not Facebook, and seriously, acrobatic pigs. In sync.

ETA: Tentative solution that so far is working: disabled Greasemonkey, disabled "LJ Thread Expander" enabled Greasemonkey again, and problem solved. So far. Will update if that changes.
Five Complaints About Modern Teens (That Are Statistically BS) - John Cheese - Because Cracked.

When I was a kid, I promised myself I'd remember certain things I loathed beyond words--much like all my peer group--that I would not do to my kid. Weirdly, these are things I have heard people on the radio claim are wonderful and kids today blah.

1.) Five hour road trips playing I-Spy and the License Plate Game - my hell on earth was those goddamn road trips to the beach when those were the pinnacle of entertainment. I didn't need to tell my child-self to remember this; I have the emotional scars of hours of mind-numbing boredom.

This kind of blows my mind; there is an entire television and movie tropes about the hell of a long road trip with nothing to do but hideous car games that no one sane would play at any time else, and you know why? THEY ARE BORING. Yet commentators in media often talk about the horror of car DVD players and phones and computers and iPads when there could be family bonding--you know, rampant sibling rivalry, parental hostility, and by the time everyone arrives at the beach at least one person is crying and another isn't speaking to anyone else. Now that's vacation.

No, I-Spy and the License Plate Game and the other countless car games were not fun. They didn't promote bonding. They were torture, I'll be honest.

2.) Intrinsic Value of Backbreaking Labor Before the Age of Reason - luckily, no one in my family has ever tried to make this case; it's still a little close to the bone. I grew up in farm country, but these days, there's machinery to do the work because weirdly enough, doing more with less exhaustion at the end of the day is a good thing.

My grandmother was second youngest in her family and her parents were too old by the time she came of age for her to take a turn on the family farm. Probably for that reason, she never ever extolled the virtues of coming home from school to put in time until bed working on the farm; she barely escaped that. She got to do the groovy factory thing circa WWII and make an inadvisable marriage before leaving her husband and meeting my grandfather (these things may have overlapped) and left the farm lifestyle forever. Thank God, she probably said; I know I do.

Growing up, the goal was always to be in a position where your kids didn't have to kill themselves working. Growing up, having to do a ton of manual labor didn't make you a better person. It probably made you a very tired person.

3.) The Great Outdoors Is a Magical Wonderland - I get this argument on one level, but on another, it bothers me. I spent huge amounts of time outside; Child spends a lot of time outside. However, it's always paired with the 'and now kids these days play video games alone in their room instead of playing with their friends' and okay, you can't have it both ways.

Grew up rural--Great Outdoors, Fresh Air, Constant Threat of Rattlesnakes on the Porch, Roof, or Drawer, Water Moccasin Mating Ball Oh My God That Vision Will Be With Me Until I Die, Cows Do Not Like People....okay, I forgot where I was going with this, but I did the Country Outdoors Thing. You know what's noticeable about living in the country? The lack of people to play with.

But couldn't you ride your bike--you did have a bike right? Yes, of course--down to Jimmy and Lisa's to play? Sure, I'll bike three miles to my buddy's house on county roads up and down to see a friend. Hint: exercise bike does not accurately portray the time that takes, and how much you can play after biking up hill and down dale to see your buddies knowing you gotta get back home. In Texas. In rattlesnake country where only the dogs outnumbered the rattlesnakes as roadkill specials.

Roadkill--hey, you ever been on a county road and hit the accelerator on teh straightaway because awesome? See many kids on bikes? No? Guess why? I see that shit on the road in front of my house every goddamn day--I didn't get on the roads if I could help it, and going off-road both raises the difficulty of biking and also the raised possibility of hitting a rattlesnake or copperhead. As we didn't live in teh age of cellphones, getting one of those on the ankle a mile or two from home would kind of be how it wold feel to die or get really damn close.

Great Outdoors are fine, but I bet you didn't know people dump their unwanted dogs in the country as well as cats. If they aren't roadkill, they go feral and join with the coyotes and that, too, was a thing we had to worry about.

You know a feature of rural life? Boredom. I read a lot, and I re-read a lot, and I wrote my own stories and my family had a standing order for notebook paper and blue pens--I couldn't write in black, it bothered me--every time we went to the grocery store. I played outside. I took long walks, but only on our land, because I am just the kind of loser who didn't want rattlesnake bites or step on a rusty nail and get tetanus. Weak, I know. Unlike that cousin of mine who got lockjaw or Mom got a nail through her foot--yes, I said 'through', it was a deep puncture--and the fun of dealing with that. The watering hole of television fame? You could see the snakes in it. Seriously, All of the Nightmares. Also, no one sane plays in a goddamn pond unless it has a source keeping it running or it goes stagnant.

Outdoors - lots of fun, but on a guess, Kids These Days are statistically spending the same amount of time outside as a generation ago, allowing for the urban/rural difference.

5.) Kids These Days, All They Do Is Play on the Computer, Video Games, Read, Play Outdoors...Wait, I Think That Is Several Generations - yeah, okay, I love this one. In Anne of Green Gables, Diana's mom complained her daughter was spending too much time reading and needed to get outside more. Laura Ingalls was a tomboy who spent too much time playing outside instead of learning how to be a wife and grown-up inside. My generation, The Kids These Days With Their Computer Games Didn't Read. My mom's generation, they were all high, which apparently Baby Boomers keep forgetting about. Probably the drugs.

One of the more bizarre side-effects of the effort at nationwide literacy is that there's a real disconnect on how new it is, reading at all, much less extensive reading for pleasure. That was very much a privilege of the upper class and very upper middle and in the US, that wasn't necessarily class deigned by income but by upbringing. Reading, especially reading for higher education or pleasure, was a class marker, as was what you read. Even when education caught up, reading is a skill like any other, and it needs practice, and not everyone had time to practice.

Being active on the web is about the pinnacle of literacy right now, and in several dialects at that. It's not just passive reading, but active engagement with others; it's social activities via the written word, and it, too, is a skill, which I think is highly overlooked because most of us do it so much and so constantly we don't think of it as a skill.

6.) Totally Random Thing - I read a book years ago, one of those deeply conflicted post Civil War novels that had a lot of things happen over a lifetime and several generations and was depressing as fuck; seriously, not even tragic depressing, just mundane depressing, rather like real life, thanks. One of the female protagonists was observing her teenage daughter in a group of her peers, and paging through the magazines the girls were reading these days, she was horrified, because in her day, girls sewed Union flags and did activist things for the Civil War and Early Feminism, and Kids These Days. I was about sixteen or seventeen.

I burst out laughing. Which I'm sure the author probably didn't intend.

Kids These Days (Much Like Kids Those Days) - different book, but I've read this plot before.
So I got my merit bonus at work in lump sum instead of a raise, which trust me, not a problem. So I told Child his share and what he wanted to do with it.

Child: I want to go see Fall Out boy in concert.
Me: You can't go alone.
Child: I'm not a child, it's a concert (imagine teenage arguments here. You know what they sound like.)
Me: I could go with you.
Child: Okay, we'll get up front. Maybe I can touch Pete Wentz! Can he be my new daddy if I catch him?
Me: ....well played. Let me think about it.
Child: I thought you'd see it my way.

I'm not actually worried about Child, per se, but it's a concert and this is new to him. If one of his friends go with him and he keeps his phone on, I don't have a problem with it. His second choice is hideously expensive shoes, which is weird, because Child isn't a clothing person at all.

Well, I take that back; he's picked up an inexplicable thing for suits that I can't explain, matched with a truly unearthly number of ties. I buy my kid random ties. I mean, this being Child, I'd feel a lot better about it if he was using them for evil, but no, he wears them without irony with really nice button up shirts, and it comes out of nowhere. Days of Child in school uniforms or maybe gym shorts and graphic t-shirts, then suddenly he wants to go shopping and browsing the tailor-this portion of Dillards or Nordstroms with a dissatisfied expression on having to (not) buy off the rack, because Child also doesn't understand what suits are used for.

Child: Why don't you dress up for work?
Me: I'm state and tech. Analysts aren't supposed to wear things that even match, so I'm one up there. It shows we're committed to the job and have no human attachments to interfere. They'd prefer I shower less, to be honest. Really show my commitment to my work and assure I'm not tempted to get a life.
Child:'re kidding.
Me: When's the last time you saw me wear makeup?
Child: You used to wear make up?
Me: I rest my case.

Child was actually very hazy on my days at the Ombudsman, which if anyone heres' been reading long enough, was a period of about two years I had to shop regularly for dress clothes as I had none, because no denim at all, no t-shirts, all business casual all the time, and because we were only three steps down from the Commissioner, that shit was taken seriously. I pulled out a few of my old slacks which he stared at in awe, then looked at me, dressed for work in a black tank top, batman t-shirt, black hoodie, skinny jeans, and my black chunk heels, and eyeliner, because that's not makeup, that's eyeliner.

Child: What people wear suits?
Me: You're gonna choose your job by the clothes?
Child: I like suits.
Me: I've heard worse.

Sometimes, I really like him.
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 )


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