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From your internets, stealing your snails

Today I discovered what lurks in [personal profile] norabombay's building's laundry room: really, not much of anything, but it's chilly. Also, stairs. Ow. I also discovered coffee or something that had been sticky before it dried splashed on the corner of my lovely black wool trenchcoat. Alas! It did wash right out, though, and I hung it up to dry over the bathroom radiator. (Mmm, radiators. So lovely.)

Nora got home from work and we got ready to go out on the town. I got dolled up in my performative femininity (for me, this involves eyeshadow and glitter; skirts are just standard) and Nora described the way that Tucker will get in arguments with people over electric blankets. (Tucktuck wants the electric blanket ON, tyvm, and will let you know this.)

There was a parking spot within a block and a half of the restaurant (Tapas Barcelona). It would have been a pleasant little walk if it hadn't been so chilly out; it was ~23 and kept dropping.

[personal profile] domtheknight and daydreamer were there! Hooray! We started out at one of the tall tables, but that wasn't working out so well; a short table cleared up and we wound up there instead. Dom told hilarious tales of how [personal profile] zarhooie had ordered the snails the last time they were there, and no one else wanted to share them, so Kat ate all the snails. Octopus was right out, as several people did not eat tentacles as a rule.

When the sangria arrived, we toasted: to the Internet! All such gatherings should be greeted with this toast, I am determined.

Hilarity and good fun was had by all. The especial favorite of Dom and Susan is the bacon-wrapped dates (Datiles Con Tocino), and lo, they were good (even the sauce). Other dishes included: Patatas Alioli, Tortilla (omelet, not corn pancake), Salmon Ahumado, something with meat and little bow-tie noodles (one of the specials), Mejillones Plancha, Queso De Cabra Con Tomate. So good.

I pulled out my phone to see that Kat had called. As I was preparing to text back saying that we were having dinner and what was up, Dom's phone rang. One of the professors from Kat's old college had died horribly. Kat told me that I should finish dinner and have fun, and also have the snails because they were delicious.

Thus, I ordered snails (Cabrillas Barcelona). The rest of the table told me that I was eating all of them. I took my serving, and then Dom decided to try the tomato-sauced bread under the snail (also delicious). I reached out with my fork and snagged the snail off the top of the piece of bread. Susan elected to try the baked potato beside the bread under the snail, this being as close to snail as she was getting that night. I wound up eating at least three of the snails. General hilarity.

Dessert: they didn't have one of the things we contemplated, so we wound up with Pitisu Con Helado and Tarrina De Chocolate. Om nom nom.

We stayed pretty late gossiping. Good times. I had a bit of a moment identifying which long black wool trenchcoat on the hooks near the table was mine. Fortunately I remembered the label name. I directly produced my Sharpie and added my sigil and initials.

Nora gave Dom and Susan a lift home. We took the scenic route after that.

Kat didn't answer when I called, so I am pretty sure that she fell asleep. Nora went through her closets for things that she doesn't/can't wear, and played fashion show upon me. There is now this pile of assorted clothing on the other chair that may well take up quite a bit of the spare room in my suitcase, which is going to make it that much easier to handle on the way back. There is this badass brown linen jacket, which goes with a pair of pants that probably won't work for me, but they go with me anyway on the grounds that the set should stay together. Hooray fannish pass-clothes-along time!


Tomorrow's plans are still being hammered out but involve sleeping in, and dinner (if that turns out to work with the other people involved, as it's a bit last-minute). (Other random friendly Chicago locals, feel free to holler; this totally isn't the Do All The Things time, so I'm not going to try for ALL the things, and I will have to come out here again, but I'm still open to suggestions.)

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So Wednesday night [personal profile] norabombay and I did pizza at the Lincolnwood Lou Malnati's, with some detours to see the sights and get gas.

I was introduced to the Chicago deep-dish pizza. Tasty! It's not my favorite ever, but it's certainly nothing for me to turn my nose up at. There was also fried cheese and a lovely salad. Oh, and one cannot forget the zucchini bits. (Korman fans, insert giggling here.)

We did more zipping around to see sights, this being downtown Chicago and all the lights, a very lovely clocktower that I did not get a photo of, the Bean in passing, the aquarium and planetarium, the view across the lake (a bit on the chilly side), Boys' Town, and lights, lights, lights. Also the grocery store, for provisions and libations.

Nora's external hard drive was refusing to talk to the X-Box, and all sorts of woe came of that, and then there were the incompatible media problems. The not-talking-to problem was at length fixed with plugging the proper cable in the proper place (as it had been borrowed at some past point).

Touristry.Collapse )
Chickies!Collapse )
Trains and planesCollapse )
Space!!!Collapse )
Evening, and fannish pursuits: Community.Collapse )

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Chicago

So, uh, I'm in Chicago until Monday morning-ish, and I am open to meetup ideas! Hi! :D

(There was an earlier entry on this topic, but due to mobile + woe, it didn't successfully cross-post.)

Words, words, words.

People who are freely allowed to call me "sweetheart": friends (+) to whom this mode of address comes naturally.

People from whom I will accept "sweetheart" cheerfully enough: people from whom it seems to come naturally, in a situation where they haven't really had the opportunity to learn my name, and "miss", "ma'am", and the like seem a little too distant. (Baltimore folks, never fear, "hon" is in this category, situationally.)

Situations where I totally don't accept it: condescendingly, or from someone who has critically underestimated my skill level.

Situations where I will grit my teeth and bear it: when the vaguely touristy-looking fellow with his Aged Parent (and he himself looks old enough to be in my parents' generation) has out of the kindness of his heart done clumsily and brutally what I was capable of doing with elegance and precision, but technically rescuing me from a tight spot, so my thanks are socially obligatory. When I'm flustered, furthermore, I become an inarticulate motherfucker, so it's sort of hard for me to succinctly express "I just put a new battery in him and one of the thingies may have popped loose", which was in fact the case.

"Here, sweetheart, give me something to hammer on it with. The vice-grips will do!"

*facepalm*

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If you come across this on Google later, I'm assuming you have a 2005 Dodge Neon sedan (or similar) and you are trying to remove the battery, perhaps to replace it. This was my experience, but if you don't know what you're doing, please get professional help if you can, and if you think anything is unsafe, don't do it. General electricity safety involves not allowing the possibility for a shock to cross your heart, so I was doing all of this one hand at a time.

You have disconnected the battery leads (negative first), including the rather large plate with the jagged teeth that secures the positive terminal. You have carefully stuffed a rag between the negative terminal and anything that might contact it. You have tugged the handle.

And the fucker won't budge, will it.

Behind the battery, as you stand in front of the car, take your flashlight and look: there's going to be a hexagonal bolt in the middle of a little metal plate. That bolt must be loosened to allow the plate to move, as that plate clamps the battery. The socket that fortunately fit the bleeding bolt in my car was 1/2".

There is just about enough space to access the bolt with a ratchet if you slide it in from the left, although if you have a ratchet that will allow you to turn it directly down, I envy you deeply at this point.

2005 Dodge Neon Battery Clamp, illustration of the location and how to get at it with a ratcheting socket wrench

Loosen the bolt until the plate can move a little, freeing your battery.

Haul the battery out, after removing the jagged-toothed plate from the positive terminal yet again, the sly fucker.

Place new battery. Tighten bolt on the plate-clamp thing. Remove positive terminal cover. Attach the positive lead and tighten the bolt. Remove negative terminal cover. Attach negative lead. Test.

Good luck.

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NaNoWriMo 2011 Scorecard

Years participating in NaNoWriMo: 2003-present
Years won NaNoWriMo: 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011
Deadline: 11:59:59 2011-11-30, 50,000 words
Actual: 11:51~, 50,002 words (hyphenated words counting as one, BOOYA!)
Scrivener word count: counts hyphenated words as separate
NaNo word count: counts hyphenated words as one
Plot: first draft complete, in major disorder, with some elided/missing/unfinished scenes
Bonus: PORN (uncounted after validation, some written after midnight)
Initial title: Cracked Phoenix: When Lilith Attacks
Current (working) title: Cracked Phoenix: Grey Law
Starting concept: Amber and Raven's relationship: IT'S COMPLICATED. Also, gods.
Current concept: The Founding of the Neutral Denny's (also Amber and Raven's relationship, Raven's search for a name, Max's search for a career (last minute plot point what), Max and Raven's virginity-related quest, numerous explosions, Raven's deity-related problems, and a group of out-of-control magic users)
Intentional Oglaf references: 1 (Max's experiments with the Red Book get entertaining a la cumsprite)
Bechdel Test: Pass
Racial diversity: needs mega work in subsequent drafts
Unexpected character-based connections to other books in the series: 2
Books that previously had no hard character-based connection gaining one: 1
Characters who casually use ASL to emphasize what they're saying: 1 (partially deaf brother is offstage)
Characters modeled after author: 0
Characters vaguely resembling author's cousin: 1
Single-paragraph joke characters who stuck around and made it into the boss battle team: 1
Actively sympathetic Satanist characters: 1 (the ~1998 Powerbook-wielding Satanist web developer who dresses like Steve Jobs but with black jeans needs to be a stock character, ok?)
Satanist bad guys: 0
Triads: 2 (surprise!! (both of them))
Triads that will persist into Circle of Fire era: < 2 (One I knew about not making it, the other there's no data either way)
Characters who will likely get set up with a Nice Jewish Girl someday after their triad dissolves: 1
Nudity: gratuitous
Unexpected major character deaths: 1
People ejected from funeral: 9+
Condom use: Yes
STD testing: Yes
Intentional inclusions of degree programs mentioned on MythBusters: 1 Crossposted. comment count unavailable comments. Sign in with OpenID (use your LJ URL), confirm an email address, and leave a comment.

First lines

I expect that this one will be all over my reading list by morning, and I hit a really depressing bit of the book before crashing out last night and then waking up OMG STARVING at 1:30 in the morning.

This is on shuffle from my top rated, which coincidentally also contains my top played. First lines. Songs with no lyrics, lyrics not in English, and lyrics that give away the title in the first line have been skipped. (In the interests of me not having to sift through a truly ridiculous volume of music, there may be some repetitions of artist.)

Guess the title & artist (or an artist who's done it, since some have been covered). Comments are screened, but may be unscreened once they've all been guessed by somebody. Googling the lyrics is cheating; Googling to figure out if you were right after making your guesses is fair play.

1. When the world is a monster bad to swallow you whole, kick the clay that holds the teeth in, throw your trolls out the door
2. Bust out the thought before its drip became insistent
3. Let's start in style let's dance for a while Heaven can wait we're only watching the skies
4. The time to rise has been engaged you're better best to rearrange
5. How do you document real life when real life's getting more like fiction each day?
6. In the town where I was born lived a man who sailed the sea
7. Please baby can't you see my mind's a burning hell
8. As you brush your shoes and stand before your mirror
9. As I raise my head to broadcast my objection
10. Smashing through the boundaries storming through the burning fields
11. I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad. I got sunshine in a bag
12. I returned a bag of groceries accidentally taken off the shelf before the expiration date
13. Oh baby you're young but that's okay, what's give or take nine years anyway
14. I met her in a club down in old Soho
15. Sundown all around walking through the summer's end
16. Dusk is dawn is day where did it go? I've been laughing fast and slow
17. Baby, don't understand why we can't just hold on to each other's hands?
18. How'd you do? I see you've met my faithful handyman
19. First the tide rushes in, plants a kiss on the shore, then rolls out to sea
20. Edith Sitwell giving readings 14 Moscow Road

Bonus 1: The internet is not - the internet is not a big truck. The internet is not something that you just dump something on.
Bonus 2: I thought about the Army; Dad said 'Son you're fucking high'

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I'm home. O goodness what a day.

First, the good:

[personal profile] jd and [personal profile] ryan were doing dinner; I brought cider and some dessert makings. I tried some scary thing on the Wii involving Wario and very short micro-games. After determining my feelings on the matter (about like I'd thought) I retreated to my computer.

The internet was enjoying some turkey-fisting (particularly in [twitter.com profile] jenphalian's vicinity), lots of pies, lots of togetherness (sometimes too much), and it was very pleasant to be in person with some of my dearest people, online with more, cozily warm, with various cooking hilarity taking place. There was a roast, cranberry bread, rolls,

[personal profile] jld arrived, at length, and there was assorted partying, and then dinner. The roast was tasty. We watched Xanadu, which ... may not have aged well in its 31 years in some respects. The neon-edged effects on the Muses looked like they took a hell of a lot of work to make, and "partner" has a hell of a lot of different connotations in LA in 1980 than in SF in 2011.

Midway through that part of the party, Ryan left to go attempt some Black Friday. The party continued with great glee. Jed was introduced to the hilariously wrong glory that is My Drunk Kitchen. Trivial Pursuit ensued. Now, while all of the parts of this used version were intact, the deck was from 1980. Thus some of the statistics and current events referenced were really not so current. Hilarity ensued. One question that was on a card that was drawn for Jed, although a different color: "What creature makes its home in an apiary?" After a while Jed commenced answering questions that he knew he had no idea of with "Batman". This was, of course, hysterically funny.

I put together the planned dessert slightly shy of midnight and then headed out to my car to go pick up [personal profile] tiferet for our planned Black Friday shenanigans.

Vash didn't start. Woe!Collapse )

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more little things that bug me: not allowed

(This is apropos of seeing something similar happen not-to-me and remembering that it makes my skin itch.)

There are two ways the situation tends to go.

Something lousy happens, either by me doing something really stupid, doing it accidentally, or sometimes without any doing on my part (getting a bad cold).

I express my unhappiness with the situation. Usually when it's a direct result of my actions, I lead off with "I fucked up, you guys. Oh wow did I fuck up." Sometimes I'm looking for advice. A lot of times I'm just looking for comfort.

When it's something that I did, sometimes the response is "Don't do that, then."

When it's something that's happened to me without anything that I actually contributed to the situation, sometimes the response is "You're not allowed [to get sick, or whatever]!"

Neither of those are practical suggestions that could help me deal with the situation that I am currently in.

"Don't do that" was either advice I could have used beforehand, or was exactly what I was trying to do. If I could have used the warning beforehand, this statement will hurt me. If I knew that I needed to not do that beforehand, this statement will make me even more angry than I already am, not just at myself but now at you too. Either way, it is not comforting, and tells me that the next time I am in distress, you are not a person I should reveal that to.

"You're not allowed" says, to the irrational four-year-old parts of my brain that don't listen to the rest of the Collective, that not only are we miserable, but we are now in trouble for something that is not actually our fault. The irrational miserable parts don't understand it when someone says words that don't agree with what is actually meant. The irrational parts conclude that you cannot tell the difference between things that happened to me and things that I did on purpose, and you will blame me and I will be in trouble. The next time I am in distress that was not of my own making, I cannot trust you to help me without getting me in trouble.

Humans are complicated. This is why I'm not an actual extrovert. It's too much work. I hate humans.

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Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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