rax: (vulpix is not pleased)
Hi all! Today I am leaving Seattle to go up to Vancouver for the Pokemon World Championships. I mostly won't be answering texts or my phone, since it will cost me money, though I'll try to keep people posted about how I'm doing. I'll post updates to Twitter (@raxvulpine) --- which I otherwise don't use --- and here when I can. The main reason to follow Twitter would be to see if I'm going to be in a featured match --- some matches will be streamed on www.twitch.tv/pokemon and if I know I'm going to get featured I will let people know. You can also see standings once the event starts Saturday at http://www.pokemonworldchampionships.com/2013/standings/ ; I am in the TCG, Masters Division.

I also got some positive press going into the event, being picked as part of a fantasy draft:

For the first time, a female player was chosen in our draft! After qualifying through the last chance tournament at US Nationals, Rachel Dillon from Arizona will be playing in this year’s World Championships (and for the Black Ballistas). Historically the Pokémon TCG has been a male dominated game, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. Rachel did knock Jason Klaczynski out of the last chance tournament, so she’s a great player who’s on a roll.

So that's pretty awesome, although pronouns argh. Expect a post about gender, Pokemon, and competitive gaming in general when I get back.
rax: (mijumaru plays the tuba all up in here)
Today I earned an invite to the 2013 Pokemon World Championships in Vancouver (Aug 9-11).

So I'll be in NorCal Oct 11-16, staying in the Mission, I won't have time to see everybody I'd like to but would love to see some folks and say hi. (Drop me a line!)

On Saturday and perhaps Sunday, I'll need to get down to the Santa Clara fairgrounds (344 Tully Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95111) for Pokemon Regionals, where I'll be competing. Gmaps tells me the only way to get there is to leave the previous night, because Caltrain doesn't run (early enough) on weekends, but a helpful Pokécquaintance suggested BART to Fremont, VTA 181, VTA 73 to get there. It's like a two and a half hour trip, but whatever, I can live with that. (I have rediscovered reading novels! It is boss!) If I have to do it two days in a row that will suck (winners advance to play on Sunday) but I can probably cajole a hotel floor out of someone on Saturday night if I am winning.

My question to y'all who actually live there is: Is there something I am missing, either something better that neither the person nor Google knows, or is there something Google knows that I don't that means the VTA route won't work? I can't find any reason for that, but when multiple sources disagree I get nervous and look for expertise.

Also, if you're in northern CA and think this sounds amusing, you're welcome to come along, I'll even provide you a deck to play and teach you the basics. :::;D

rax: (vulpix is not pleased)
If you don't care about pkmncollectors, you can ignore this post. LJ's fuckage is the impetus for making a new feedback system, but really pkmncollectors needed one anyway. I feel nervous about writing this myself (god I am so fucking rusty it is embarrassing) but I have done things like this many years ago and also Krinn said she would help and she is way better at this stuff sooooo... this should be possible. Basically we want ebay feedback, but not on ebay, and tied to openID. Here's what I think it needs to be able to do. 

  • "this is the pkmncollectors feedback system, blah blah text"
  • form: enter openid username, get list of feedback for them on new page
  • form: go to "insert feedback" page using openID login
  • provide the total number of positive, negative, and neutral feedbacks at a glance
  • display a table of all of the feedback that exists for that user
  • your openID should already be determined
  • you enter a username
  • radio buttons: positive, neutral, negative
  • comments section (optional)
  • link to transaction (optional)
  • it says "yup, your feedback worked!"
  • maybe just do the feedback display for that user so you can confirm it yourself with your very own eyes and/or screenreader and/or perl script
  • feedback giver openID
  • feedback receiver openID
  • positive/neutral/negative status
  • edited to add once I started working: buy/sell/trade!
  • comments for transaction
  • link to transaction
  • edited to add once I started working: date!
  • for now, just run this on autumnfox.akrasiac.org
  • probably this can be done in sqlite, it's like one table, oh look python and sqlite are already friends
  • have someone make sure I wasn't a complete idiot about security
  • like every language has openID modules but probably I only care about python and/or apache
  • banned users
  • what if someone is lj user rax but twitter user rax also uses pkmncollectors?
  • some way to delete feedback without having database access (maybe a separate beefier mod interface)
  • spin off onto its own VM or just onto sunyshore
  • pretty pictures of plush pokemon
  • other stuff

Life update

Nov. 9th, 2011 09:11 am
rax: (N hearts you! This is dangerous.)
I am not just a machine that does tasklists, I promise. Of course this post is also a list, but it's not a tasklist, so at least it's something?
  • School: Is going better, overall, at least for me. I'm excited about my final projects even if they weren't what I initially hoped to be doing, and I'm seeing people on campus I can build alliances with. I'm also getting excited about theory again, which is never a bad thing. Occasionally I say things that make me sound a little crazy: "Yes, but I want to be interpellated as an animal by the state," but I'm actually being challeged in really productive ways by one professor and I appreciate that a lot.
  • Work: Remains... workly? Distance is beting harder these past couple of weeks than normal but after this weekend I will be less of a stressball and have some plans for trying to work on that. I'm getting some longer-term stuff done and that always feels a little more distancing because I am not talking to people about it every day. That doesn't mean it's not important.
  • Pokémon: I'll be in Providence playing competitive Pokémon this weekend. A: This is awesome. B: How is this my life. I don't actually think I'll do very well, because I've been putting my free time into school, work, and relationships rather than obsessively testing things in a card game. I am OK with this. It should still be fun.
  • Relationships: I got to see Ruth recently, which was great and amazingly stress-reducing and involved a lot of exciting cookery. (Getting together with people I am involved with or attracted to almost always results in our producing lots of food. I ... do not know what to make of this? Except mmmmm, seitan.) It looks like I will get to see her more often in a few months, which is even more exciting! Also, we're coming up on three years. Holy crap. Also, I got to have Rik over for like eleven days which just... wow. At first having both Rik and Krinn here was super confusing, but once I figured it out, that was really nice. It's amazing to feel so supported and to spend time with people who I love dearly. Also Rik made me a cake when I turned 27 again. <3 Clearly I need to trick everyone into moving to the same city in five years. The distance is hard, and having Rik leave Monday and then tomorrow leaving Krinn (who is amazing and wonderful to live with and I am sad when she leaves for work in the morning which is not to say that I'm unhappy that she has a job but that I would like to be sufficiently spoiled as to have someone to lean on at all times) to go to Boston is currently feeling way harder than I expected it to. It's kind of a crash. But Boston is Boston, so I think I will be OK.
  • Real estate: Pending extreme fuckery, the house in Bloomington will be sold as of tomorrow. That was an expensive mistake. Live and learn? Or maybe "make sure your advisor is happy somewhere before you buy real estate there?" I don't know. I'm not sure what the moral of this story was other than "ha ha sometimes you get fucked over by things that have nothing to do with you." I already knew that lesson, life. Why the repeats? Lucky for me, I am in a good enough state that getting fucked over only makes me sad, not in any sort of serious danger. Go team Nokia bought my startup I guess. When it's all over and done with, I am ritually washing my hands of Indiana.
  • Pronouns: I'll be writing another post about this soon, but my preferred pronoun is now "they." I'd appreciate it if you used that pronoun when referring to me. If you could hold your questions until the pronoun post, which I hope to write right after this one if work stays quiet, I'd appreciate it.
  • Overall: I am happier in Tucson than I was in Bloomington; I feel safer in Tuscon than I did in Bloomington; I am glad that I moved here. I still need to develop more of a local social group, but I feel better equipped to do that here and I've made some progress. I have friends. Who are not students. This rocks. Living in multiple time zones is still weird --- half of my clocks are set to Eastern time for work and half are set to local --- but it's producing interesting shifts in my thinking that I don't know how to express yet. I'm a huge stressball right now but I foresee things getting better; I have all of my hard assignments done except final papers and those are fun because I get to pick the topic and write about the stuff I've been thinking all semester, and I have some vacation days to actually use and have my time in California in December be calming. And some projects for fun that I am working on that are silly but fulfilling. So: Yay!
rax: (I have the technology. I can evolve you.)
  • Realized this morning while talking to Krinn that I am simultaneously very stressed and not depressed at all, which is unusual for me. It's kind of amazing, because I am not depressed, fuck yes. But in the past when I've been super stressed the depression was kind of a coping mechanism around not caring that much because, you know, nothing really matters. (Anyone can see.) And so why bother engaging with the stress? Right now, I care, dammit. I want to do well in my classes. I want to do well in my job. I want to support my friends and loved ones. And daaaaaang that's a lot of work. I will take it over the alternative, although I really want to reduce the stress, because I can feel it weighing on me (and I'm grinding my teeth in my sleep a lot, ugh --- this is something that has happened intermittently to me since I was small, and tends to go away when I get my stress levels back down to manageable, although apparently it has been pretty consistent lately; at one point I tried a mouthguard and it stopped the grinding but also caused me to wake up all the time, which was not worth it). 
  • Grad school: Classes are getting better, which is pretty great, and I am enjoying the majority of my readings a fair bit, even though occasionally I look at something like Descartes and think "While I understand that I should have read this in order to get a PhD in something humanitiesy, this is so fucking dumb." [0] I've also been spending time meeting faculty from other departments and traversing the academy in order to find people to work with on my research. I'm not quite sure where this process will end up yet but if nothing else the conversations are really exciting and fun. I actually found someone in academia who knew what a furry was! That was pretty awesome. There is also stupid departmental drama but it does not merit my or your attention to discuss further. [1] Overall I am feeling more excited and motivated, which was good, because I was at a really low point like a month ago.
  • Work: Has been slow this week, which is nice because I had a paper due yesterday. This working 6-2 or 6:30-2:30 thing is a little crazy, but ultimately works out. In general work is pretty awesome. I need to figure out when I next go and visit them; sometimes the phone can be a little tough. On the plus side, I am actually helping customers do real work of value, which is a hard feeling to beat. And I have metrics! And I do well at them! Oh, if only gender studies had metrics.
  • Pokemon: This is sort of my main leisure-time activity? I played in some tournaments, came away with one Championship Point (if you get enough, you get an invite to the World Championships), and most importantly had a lot of fun. I got a little down at one event where I made a stupid mistake and lost a chance at a very high place because of it, but what can you do? ... If you are me the answer is apparently "play a bunch of games of speed chess afterward to calm your nerves." One of the people I played with said "It's cool, dude, this is just for fun" and my response was "This is how I have fun." He gave me a look, which was fair, but I wasn't joking. I will be going to a Regionals tournament, which should be much bigger and allow me to meet lots of new people. It's sort of like meeting new people through chess, except everyone isn't either a middle-aged man or a nine-year-old prodigy. [2]
  • Tucson: Making friends is slow but proceeds apace; feeling enmeshed in the community will take some more work, which I hope to put in over time. But oh my god the climate, the geography, the materiality of this place are so perfect for me. I love the mountains. I love the sky. I love the air, I love the bike lanes, I love the plant life, I even love the terrifying peccaries who show up in packs and hold my house under siege. (Seriously. Pigs the size of small wolves.) I wish I had more time to engage with it all. I need to prioritize engaging with it all. I, just, it's mid-October and the high today is 93. HOW DID I EVER LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE.
  • House in Bloomington: Is pending a sale with a signed offer. I am not counting my chickens until they hit puberty, but this is promising. I will be losing a ton of money but I am just, barely, by a finger, in the range of acceptable losses.
  • Friends and loved ones: A lot of people very dear to me are going through some really bad shit right now, and that is part of why I am so stressed. There's not so much I can do about it, but I do what I can; if there's something I can do for you that I don't realize, please drop me a line. I don't have a lot of temporal resources, but I have many other kinds. And I care. <3
  • In conclusion: I'm a stressball (oh god am I a stressball, fur flying everywhere) but I am nonetheless happy. Reducing stress levels is probably important longterm, but I prefer this situation to a whole lot of recent alternatives.

[0] Terrifying thought: Do other people think this about the authors I like??
[1] It is based on real issues and has real effects on people I care about, and thus is worth mentioning, but the way to deal with that is not to rehash it all on LJ.
[2] This is sort of an unfair characterization --- in particular there were a couple of awesome women who were also very strong players in the Boston chess scene --- but it's how it feels at large events especially. And I'm being nice to Pokemon; while there are a lot more women in the game overall, the top levels are still mostly male, and a lot of the online community is awfully... representative of structural gender inequalities and biases. So far though tournaments and leagues have been super pleasant, and the only person I've seen do something obviously sexist was a twelve-year-old who shat a brick when I called him on it.
rax: (Kotone is getting shit done.)
Here is my weekend schedule for the rest of the year:
  • OCT 7-9: saturday organizing pokemon tournament, sunday playing in one
  • OCT 14-16: paper due, maybe a pokemon tournament if I have time
  • OCT 21-23: visit Ruth! <3
  • OCT 28-30: Rik in town! <3
  • NOV 4-6: Rik still in town! <3 <3 <3
  • NOV 11-13: either pokemon regionals in LA or maybe Anna visit? need to collapse this waveform --- or bonus secret plan! EDIT: Doing bonus secret plan
  • NOV 18-20: currently empty, waffling about flying to Boston EDIT: doing homework
  • NOV 25-27: in Wisconsin for thanksgiving
  • DEC 2-4: work on final papers EDIT: and pkmncollectors meetup!
  • DEC 9-11: probably not catgirl goth rave, work on last final paper if not done EDIT: Anna visiting!
  • DEC 16-18: probably catgirl goth rave, need to pin this down EDIT: Catgirl Goth Rave for sure
  • DEC 23-25: Christmas with Krinn's family
  • DEC 30-JAN 1: no idea yet, tempted to come back home because I will have been in SF for so long EDIT: definitely coming back home, have to judge the Tucson Pokemon City Championships!
There will probably be some Pokemon city championships in there too, but of course those aren't scheduled yet because THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL. It's almost like they know that I will probably adjust my schedule to go and grumble about it no matter what they do. ;) ...I may, though, have too much of a life to be the very best like no one ever was.

EDIT: Bonus secret plan: NOV 11-13 also has a Pokemon Regional in Rhode Island. I could get everything except the seeing Anna step done if I did that. Hmmmmmm.

rax: (Twilight finds this reading confounding.)
So I got my copy of the Silicon Dawn Tarot today. (You should all go buy one.) Because I'm having angst over this lately, I decided to ask it about graduate school --- how it was going, why am I here, what am I getting out of it. I realized that rather than traditional tarot spreads, most of which other than three-card draw I've never really liked, I should use an arrangement of cards that meant something to me personally, a means of organizing information that felt natural to me.

Thus, the Pokemon Spread was born.
cut for huge image and tons of text )

rax: (mudkip lieks you too <3)
Here's some stuff I am enjoying right now.
  • Salads. Man, until recently, I was not such a big fan of salad. And if I haven't had a large meal in a day yet, I will still sort of look at the salad and say "That's nice, where is my tofu or seitan." But getting fresh vegetables, finding accessories you actually like, picking a good dressing? These things make salad better. Also I think Krinn just has a magic touch or something, because it doesn't turn out that good when I make it. (Except that one I made in a wrap a couple of weeks ago. That was pretty astounding. I think I just got lucky, though.)
  • Camper Van Beethoven's New Roman Times. This comes to me by way of [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four via Rik, I'm pretty sure, and while Pitchfork thought it was kind of heavy-handed I don't agree with them for the most part. (Ok maybe the Might Makes Right track is a bit too heavy-handed.) It's really musically interesting in places (I would like to find more of what they call "math rock") and there's more subtlety to it than is apparent at first listen, both lyrically and musically. The main beef I have with is is that it's really best appreciated having Rik or someone else who really knows the album in the car with you on like hour 20 of a road trip explaining all of the references and the coherent story behind everything, and you're listening to everything he says and really taking it in because what else are you going to do as you drive through a town named Yellow in freaking Texas? And by the end you are like "Oh man all of this is so clever" but if someone had just handed you the album you would be like "What in the hells are they talking about why is the Unabomber working for Texas what what what." So this is a cautious recommendation, unless you like concept albums or can make Rik explain it to you, in which case oh my god go check this out right now. (They're playing in Arizona on the 13th. I am somewhat tempted.)
  • Jennifer Chung's debut novel Terroryaki!. Full disclosure: The author is a good friend of mine. This novel was the winner of last year's Three-Day Novel Contest, which by the way starts tomorrow if any of you have more free time than me. There are moments where you can tell that the first draft was written in three days, but despite this and even in part because of this it is a hilarious read, and an absolutely wonderful airplane antidote to spending hours and hours reading Marx and Marxists. It's fluffy, sure, but if it's a fluff sandwich, it's made with real bread, not the bleached-out stuff that rips all over when you try to sink your teeth in it. The main characters feel like real people, and make real decisions, and I found myself rooting for them and hoping for good things to happen to them, rather than for everyone's life to descend back into the misery that is the stuff of post/modern existence. And then, because it was fluff and not, like, Dubliners, everyone wasn't miserable at the end! And I smiled a lot and was energized to go read more Marxists! (Wendy Brown's States of Injury, while I don't agree with everything she says? Actually really good.) So if you're into that sort of thing, check it out. (Especially if you know Jen --- the characters very much aren't her but sometimes you can hear her voice coming through and it's awesome.)
  • [livejournal.com profile] pkmncollectors . I know, I know, this is a terrible habit --- and it is. But not only is pkmncollectors a great place to get playable cards at lower than market price, but it's a really friendly community and I've enjoyed all of my interactions with folks there. I... may start collecting Shaymins, and not (just) the cards. They're so cute! And someone was selling a mini-collection I could start from at absolutely super cheap! And... oh dear. Yeah. The community's really great, though, and I enjoy helping people there with card pricing the same way I enjoy helping people make fair trades at league.
  • Biking! Sure, it's 110F out or something, but you know what? I don't care. Tucson is an awesome town to bike in, and biking is awesome. I'm usually out three or four times a week --- as it cools down a little more and I get back in shape I will do some longer rides, too. Have I mentioned here yet that like half the roads in Tucson have bike lanes and don't have parking to the right of the bike lane? I am going to be so horribly spoiled when I move somewhere else. I mean sure I've seen a couple of nutty drivers but even biking on the roads people said were "super crowded and dangerous" feels lackadaisical compared to Boston or Bloomington. (Which everyone said was such a great bike town, and I guess it sort of was, but it wasn't really a bike commuting town so much as a bike racing town, which is less my thing. I don't want to go 100 miles or go ultra-stupid-fast around a track. I want to get to work without having to burn fossil fuels or sit on a bus full of strangers. Bonus points if I get exercise.)
  • Seattle. It's kind of too cold there (I only say this because I am acclimating to a desert) but beyond that it has good transit, it's a vegan paradise, it has Rik, it has a number of other friends, many of whom I think would be closer friends if I lived there... It's a place I feel like I could live. And might, when I'm done with graduate school. I would complain about the hills all the time because some of them are unpleasant just to walk up and I can't imagine they would be comfortable on a bike, and things are kind of spread out and I would have to do a lot of bike-bus chaining rather than being a five mile ride from everything like in Boston or at least a ten mile mostly flat ride from everything like here... but man the stuff would be worth going to, and I would already have something like one and a half or two social groups to spend time with on day one, and at least there's not much snow. Although if I lived in Seattle, where would I fly to when I wanted to go have fun for a weekend?
Hopefully y'all also have good things going on! I'd love to hear about them!
OK. So.
  • Moved to Arizona. Oh god it's warm, and I'm not biking much yet because I need to find a store and get them to put cleats on my shoes because my old right bike shoe is doing something terrible to my knee and oh god that needs to stop right now. But it's beautiful and the fruit trees (avocado!!!) and little lizards everywhere and cacti don't trigger my plant phobia and maybe it was just that I hated grass? The dirt here doesn't read as dirt, it's amazing. There are, like the song says, little fluffy clouds everywhere. It's weird --- driving with Krinn from SF to LA, arriving in Los Angeles suddenly felt like home. I lived there, what, nine months? And only sort of liked it? But rolling through downtown on the highway with the mountains looming felt really right, and it was really freaky that Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant was back in its old location but there's a mall there now instead of a wasteland, and leaving LA I cried a little and am still not quite sure why. Tucson triggers a bunch of the same feelings for me on a purely geographic level, plus it's more bikable and less expensive. As much as it's not San Francisco or Seattle, I think I am going to enjoy living here for a while.
  • Moved in with Krinn. So far, so good. She's awesome and we cook food for each other and between her and the desert I am eating a lot more salad. (Although today's dinner was a bunch of natto on rice with soy sauce, because we'd had salad between lunch and dinner because we were hungry, and dammit I wanted natto.) It's weird adjusting to sharing living space so closely again --- I switch between "my" and "our" a lot on things and we're still tripping over each other a little bit. Though part of that is the boxes. Also it is nice to have a Race for the Galaxy partner who pushes me to perform at my best. Also, have I mentioned that Krinn is wonderful, and wonderful for me? I'm pretty sure I have, but just in case. It's going to take me a long time not to be leery of long-term commitments but I can see this working out for quite a while, and I hope we make it work, and make it awesome, and, just, meow.
  • Pokemon. Surprisingly, the TCG has sort of become my main hobby. Did I mention here that I went to Nationals and came out with a winning record? I'm not, like, good good but I've been one of the better players at most leagues I've attended. Also, I passed the Professor test --- yes, the Pokemon Organized Play allows you to test into "Professor" status --- so now I can help organize league play, run tournaments, and that kind of thing. There are two leagues in Tucson, and I'm already helping out! The main organizers will all be at the World Championships next week, so I'm in charge. Eeeeeeeek! [0] It's a cool way to interact with folks who aren't graduate students or software engineers, which I need more of in my life, and in particular to do something involving kids that does not involve having to deal with them for more than a few hours a week. Since I think people here might have good suggestions: If I wanted to commission art for a custom playmat, most likely of a Vulpix and an Oshawott doing something adorable, who should I ask? [1]
  • Graduate school. Dealing with administrivia is kinda frustrating me right now, and it looks like I may not get to take the classes that are my first choice. But I like the people I've met from the department so far, and I am really excited about getting back into DEEP THOUGHT. At the moment I'm sort of looking at my time and saying "Augh this is going to be my fifth year of graduate school? And I need twelve more classes before I can even take quals?" The transfer rules here are frustrating. But what can you do, other than take the classes, tailor the projects in the classes toward your dissertation, and get a head start on research? Not much. So that's what I'm going to do.
  • Work. Actually still pretty awesome. I've been working like 6:30-2:30 or something, since I have to have 7:30 meetings most days, which is a little annoying. But it means that the afternoon starts and I can do things during business hours and if I need to take an hour off from work in the morning to do some household thing or whatever, it's really easy to make up the time. It also means my class schedule and my work schedule will fit together with minimal difficulty. So that's pretty awesome. I kind of want to go back to the office --- when I'm there I miss the flexibility of working at home and being able to take cat breaks or work from a couch, but I also really enjoy easy access to ask folks questions. I'm getting better, still, about just calling when I really want to talk to someone. They can always just not answer the phone. I should also meet up with the other work-from-home coworker in Seattle when I'm there in August. Or September. Which leads me to:
  • Travel. My only planned travel right now is August to Seattle and September to Seattle! The September trip is technically for Rainfurrest but realistically it's a trip to Seattle and Rainfurrest happens to also be there. In this fall I'd like to also hit Boston, Texas, maybe SF, probably Seattle again [2]. Oh and I'm still waiting to hear back from a conference in LA, cross your fingers for me. Is there anywhere else I should go before January? (Rhode Island, but that'll get combined with Boston.)
  • Catgirl Goth Rave: I'm thinking San Francisco again, ideally after my semester is over, so sometime in December. Would love to see you all there.
  • Oh, I still own a house in Indiana. Anyone want to buy it? Please? I'm probably going to end up taking a decent loss on it. That's sort of OK because I could really use that taxwise this year, but it's not like it's a win. It's just a mitigated loss. Ah well. My new house is so much cooler anyway.

footnotes )
rax: (I have the technology. i can evolve you.)
  • Woke up this morning with Selene curled up on my chest and Leo curled up mixed in with my legs and blankets. I guess it could have been better, but I'm hard pressed to ask for more than that. Particularly because when I got up and hopped in the shower and came back, Selene was lazily grooming in a sunbeam, and I ended up just sitting and watching her for ten minutes while Leo sat on my lap. I don't know what I would do without cats. 
  • My next reading assignment that I haven't done yet --- barring things that get sent out last-minute, as I expect two to do --- is due on April 6th. By Tuesday I would like that to be April 13th, but that's probably unrealistic. Regardless, I am back to "ahead of where I absolutely have to be," which gives me leeway to put lots of effort into the books I most care about and/or get work done ahead of time on my final projects. This is very important to me, particularly because my girlfriend and her wife will be in town the weekend before one of my final paper drafts is due, and so I really want to have free time then, but also just because RACHELS LOVE WORK.
  • Related to this, I haven't finished the main plot of Pokemon Black yet, because I keep doing homework instead. I'm pretty sure this is a good thing, but it means I keep not being able to read my friends' posts about it, which is frustrating. If you are curious where I am: pokemon babbling, an attempt at no spoilers )
  • I'll be in San Francisco next weekend, doing Fisher-Price My First Fieldwork (tm). Relatedly, if you can think of anyone in the Bay Area, particularly who I don't know, who is into animal costuming and role-playing and might be interested in talking to me about it for 15-60 minutes, please drop me an email so I can send an official form to you [to send to them] to see if they are interested. I'll have somewhat limited time and mobility, but I have no problem spending hours on public transit to get data. DELICIOUS DATA. Also I have to fill out IRB forms to continue my research after the semester is over how did I end up doing fieldwork already I wasn't even going to do fieldwork this is so very what. (And awesome.)
  • I don't think very much else is going on. (Well, there's that conference.) Other than I think I might have a new friend, who is really good at Scrabble. I might have to start learning the two-letter words. :) And even though it's still cold out, the sun is here and it's really pretty and there are birds. So I guess a bunch of things are going on, but I am choosing my narrative to be about these things, because I need to get grading done now.
rax: (hungry vulpix wants vegan sushi!)
  • I'm in a cafe in Seattle sitting with Rik and trying to figure out how to get a paper I've written under 8000 words so that I can submit it to a journal. It was 11000 when I started; I've got it down to around 8900 and am starting to cut things I think are really important. :/ On the one hand, this is super frustrating; on the other hand, having this much important stuff to cut makes me more and more confident that I can turn "Rachel Who Studies Furries Using Weird Philosophy" into a valid and valuable dissertation.
  • Seattle has mostly been gray and rainy (surprise!) but there was some sun this afternoon and we walked around a bit and it was really nice. It is super easy to find vegan food here, which is great, although I am apparently now nightshade-sensitive enough that I cannot eat one french fry. Waugh. On the plus side, the fettucini alfredo at Pizza Pi is nothing short of a revelation; I had assumed I would never have an alfredo of quality again when I went vegan and had reluctantly accepted this. I was wrong.
  • It is sad that my life is not as closely intertwined with anyone's as I am used to it being and expected it to be; on the other hand, the latticework of intersections with people dear to me, sustained across travel and texting and Skype, is really really awesome. Being with Rik, and with my other friends in Seattle, has been really awesome for me. I had my requisite "oh god I let my guard down now everything ever will explode" breakdown this morning but I think I am better for it, and making a ton of progress on getting this paper improved. My ideal version would be around 9500 words, but I think I have trimmed a lot of ... unnecessary prose.
  • Sadly I haven't gotten IRB approval for my ethnography yet, so I haven't been able to do any interviews here. I am hoping I will wake up to it tomorrow morning but at this point I am not expecting to be able to do work on it until after spring break. Fiddlesticks and frippery.
  • I am still only four gyms into Pokemon Black --- I have been busy seeing people I care about and working on worky things --- but I'm having a blast with it. I cannot wait to get to trade things --- I haven't had net that I could use with the DS. (Although the cafe I am in right now might --- I may check tomorrow if it's dreary out and we are spending a lot of cafe time.)
  • Random life-process thing: I was freaking out about my tasklist a whole lot and then I did time estimates. I am freaking out less now. It's still not great, but it is way better than the average week. I should remember this for when I am feeling crazy stressed --- and you might consider it if you have a similar life tracking mechanism to me. It's something I used to do but got out of the habit of.
  • I am in a two-story cafe where I can see down into the bottom story, and I am watching a couple play chess. I have this great birds-eye view. 1. d4 Nc6 2. Bf4 d5 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. b4?? Bxf4 6. e3 Bd6 I am deeply pleased that Black, and not White, is the girl with black and purple hair. <3 Oh look, now the game doesn't hold her attention enough that she has started texting. Heeeeee.
  • Seriously, she's just toying with him at this point. Okay, back to work.
rax: (Rarity would rather be alphabetizing.)
  • I pre-ordered Pokemon Black and White through Amazon, so I won't get them until tomorrow evening. I really really should get all of my homework for this week done before they get here, because I know when they get here I am just going to start playing them (unless maybe I have a social thing on Tuesday?) and keep playing them until I get to Seattle, basically. I have three main things I have to get done, and some ancillary things I really should, but I feel like I am thinking through mush. Ugggggh. Is it unreasonable to take a nap at 9 AM on a Sunday? I might try that. 
  • My laptop is fixed! All I really lost was the one album and my notes from class on Wednesday. That's pretty amazing. And just in time, too, my wrists were already getting sore using my spare. Hooray for Applecare!
  • I'm going to be in Ohio for work tonight and tomorrow; I'm hoping that if I can't restart my brain here, the drive will at least kick it into gear and I can get some homework done at the hotel before I go to sleep. There won't be anything to distract me, at least! Though I always miss my cats when I have to sleep in hotels.
  • Speaking of cats, both cats now spend at least a little time on every floor of the house. This is amazing! I was in the basement watching ponies and Leo was on my lap and Selene was sitting on the floor and I was kind of speechless. Basically, CATS. <3
  • So looking forward to travel --- so looking forward to Pokemon --- so looking forward to the work I'm going to do on final projects this semester, even --- it's really, really hard to keep my brain focused on today and what I need to be doing right now. Usually I can just flip over to my tasklist and say "Oh OK, I can get to those things I am excited about if I just do these things," and that works. This weekend --- and to a lesser extent last weekend, come to think of it --- not so much. I can do the minor things, but stuff like "read a bunch of essays and write a paper," there's this whiny voice in my brain that goes "whyyyyyyyy?" Shut up, whiny voice. You get to play Pokemon in like two days. For some reason it's easier to do the things that aren't directly homework, so I am doing all of those first. Hopefully this won't lead to me having a completely clean house and alphabetized spices and neatly filed paperwork but desperately working on a paper Tuesday night at 11. ...although who am I kidding, my spices are already alphabetized. ^^;; But I could alphabetize the overflow spices in the kitchen island!
  • Another thing I am looking forward to: Spending like all of my non-scheduled time in the Boston area just sitting in the Diesel. Because oh my god. Diiiiiiieselllllllllllllllllllll.
  • ...yeah this post is an accurate representation of my brain right now.
rax: (Rarity would rather be alphabetizing.)
  • I am enplagued. I woke up yesterday morning and felt kind of woozy but thought it might just be because I was hanging around with smokers on Friday? But then it got worse and worse and when I felt too out of it to play Pokémon at 9:30 PM I knew I was doomed. I slept for like ten hours although I had bizarro fever dreams? And woke up and was like maybe this will work and stood up and was super lightheaded and was like "...Nope!" I took some medicine and a long hot shower and am drinking tea and hopefully I will have enough brain to get through some of my homework, but my weekend tasklist is... not gonna get done. Eit.
  • The whole fever thing explains why I somehow felt obligated to spend an hour yesterday looking for and uploading My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic icons for my LJ/DW. ^^;; Don't get me wrong, the fever isn't why I like the show, I like it because it's smart and fun and full of little references to older ponies and other animated works and different bits of itself, and because the characters are real people I'd really like to hang out with (if I were a pony or some such) although they would occasionally drive me insane, and because it's exciting to think that as a culture we are producing television shows for kids that are actually good. WIth the big caveat that reasonable depictions of masculinity are few and far between, I strongly recommend it. Anyway, expect to see ponies next to "rax" in comments about half the time instead of Pokémon characters now. and yes I bought more LJ icons in order to do this don't judge me
  • The class that didn't have a set syllabus before now has a set syllabus. Hooray! ...and the final project proposal is due Wednesday. I've done some work on it, and I really hope my brain wakes all the way up before then so I can finish.
  • For those of you excited about the Rachel's Cats Show, Leo has started spending some time up in the kitchen and dining room, but Selene hasn't stopped; he comes up when she's asleep on my bed, and she chases him off when she wants to sit on my lap while I'm working. I'm gonna go ahead and call this progress. Also, and less awesomely, Leo appears to be able to open the garage door, and wreak havoc in the garage. I may have to get a different latch or something; I still don't know what he knocked down this most recent time.
  • I was gonna call a bunch of people today but I kind of have no voice? So that probably won't happen.
  • If I'm still sick by Tuesday and Wednesday, should I go to school? Opinions on this seem to be mixed across professors and departments. I don't want to get other people sick, but I also don't want to miss class discussion, since honestly that's most of the point of being in these classes. If I don't feel up for even walking to the class from the bus stop (which is how I feel today) it's pretty clear I shouldn't leave the house. Rrf. We'll see how I'm doing in two days I guess.
  • ...wow I am tempted to go back to bed already.
rax: (catgirl makeup)
  • Further Confusion is super rad, although oh my god my sleep schedule. But it has been wonderful to see many of my West Coast friends, especially the Seattle folks I missed last trip. And there is Race for the Galaxy! And there are tons of furries! It's pretty boss.
  • One disappointment: They canceled the pokemon panel, and I am missing the IU pokemon event to be here (SO SAD ABOUT THIS), so I have not gotten to dork out about Pokemon much at all. Luckily, I ran into a smashingly androgynous Silver cosplayer --- no one else recognized the costume, and we dorked out at each other for a while, and they fed Rik when Rik was hungry, and it was great. I'm a teeny bit tempted to do a Dawn cosplay now (since I could basically make my hair work if I just parted it to hide the pink) but I don't know if people at furry conventions would get it, and I don't know if I care enough to actually go to an anime convention just to have an excuse to dress as a Pokemon character. besides if I wanted to mack on people dressed as Silver I'd really need to do Kotone
  • I am actually getting reading done here! Not as much as I would at home but, hopefully, enough. This week's reading in one class is about non-academic feminism! It is reminding me why I prefer academic feminism. :( Although there are some really great things being said, this whole "second wave and third wave taking jabs at each other every chance they get" thing is just draining to read.
  • Also, Jessica Valenti's Full Frontal Feminism, published in 2007, which claims to make a significant effort toward intersectionality, and even has a chapter all about men? Does not contain the word trans a single time [0], lukewarm at best towards queerness, and handles race with gloves. I need to read it a second time in a different mood to see if there are things I like about it; in the mood I approached it in, I was just like ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh. But maybe I was looking for too much? Or at least letting my ugh get in the way of the things that are presumably good about the book such that we were assigned to buy and read it.
  • Restaurants are for other people, but between a normal grocery store and a Vietnamese grocery store I am getting to eat more than trail mix, and that is good. Orange juice. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

[0] And yes, it's a pet issue, I know, but come on. I'd keep a running count of the number of times "genderqueer" showed up, but it would be too depressing. Trans is in the national consciousness, the way so many authors pretend it doesn't exist is just maddening. There really is no excuse. 2007.


Dec. 25th, 2010 06:28 pm
rax: (kotone/silver hug awwwwwwwwh)
  • Catgirl Goth Rave was amazing. It wasn't super mad crazy packed, but that was good, because it felt like the right size for the venue. Go team Catgirl Goth Rave. So many people helped put it together and we had five different DJs and everything was wonderful and I did bring enough ears. I had sooooooooooooooooo much fun. I miss dancing while in a catgirl costume. Maybe I should do it more! Also I got to see a ton of friends I haven't seen in a long time, some for like six years, and I got to spend lots and lots of time with Rik and Krinn and that was super mega awesome good. It is nice to know that my friends are still my friends even when I am not around them all the time. I mean, I know, but it's nice to be reminded
  • I am actually relaxing! Mostly! Although I do keep talking about and reading about gender theory as you will see from the majority of this post. ^^;;
  • For example, I started reading a blog called Vegan Ideal at [personal profile] befitting 's recommendation and ran into this post about the use of the word "tranny" on Glee. That led me to this great post by Quinnae Moongazer on the topic [0] as well as this other post by Tobi Hill-Meyer following up on Kate Bornstein's apology and then apology-revocation. She keeps doing this. It's really rather frustrating. It makes me want to say this:
  • Dear Kate Bornstein, you are not my aunt. I have aunts, both in my chosen family and in my family of origin; you are in neither. Your attempt to put yourself into my family structure and the family structures of other trans and genderqueer persons is creepy and weird, and saying things like this: "And yes, you may call me Auntie Kate. I will positively burst into tears if you don’t." makes me feel queasy as to the possibility of real discourse with you. In order for us to be chosen family, we must both consent to that choice; I do not. In order for us to be family of origin, you're going to have to marry into my family somehow. This solution does not scale.  Also, "I pulled down my blog post saying I’m not gonna use the word tranny any more. I tried, and it didn’t work." ?? Try harder. [1] Oh and there was that whole anthology call for proposals. Yeah, I just. (On the other hand, all of the comments over on questioning transphobia accusing her of being a Scientologist and thus not worth listening to what the hell?)
  • Yeah so maybe I'm only sort of relaxing. But I keep playing Pokemon Mystery Dungeon! It is SUPREMELY ADORABLE. Spoilers )
  • Actually I am going to claim that I have been relaxing on the grounds that I have watched multiple movies in less than a week. Multiple movies!! That never happens. The last one I didn't even have a laptop out while I was watching it. It was How To Train Your Dragon, if you're curious, which is ripe for somatechnical theoretical intervention surrounding authenticity and prosthesis and animality and and and and and. If I were cool like [personal profile] chagrined  I could do an academic fanvid but I am not. The folks I am staying with are allowing me to work on an outline but have forbidden me from actually writing a non-required academic paper while on vacation. This is probably OK. ... I may start working on it when I leave here though ^^;;;;;;;;;
  • My dear friend Bea has written a great review of the new My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic show. You should read it, but summary: It's probably awesome. I need to watch it, but it is on normal television and not on DVD yet. Either I will figure it out online (it pops up on YouTube periodically) or I will be patient or I dunno. But oh my god it sounds so good.
  • Yes, I spend most of my time thinking about gender theory inside baseball and the rest of it with Pokemon and My Little Pony. I believe the appropriate Internet invocation is this:
  • Squirtle suggests that you should DEAL WITH IT.
  • <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 to everyone!

[0] She also has an interesting post about transphobia in academic theory that I have only read briefly because I only have so much care but it looks good and I intend to revisit it.
[1] While I'm nitpicking: "I'm old school, pal. I was taught butch and femme in the late 90s." ??? The late 90s are not old school for butch and femme identities. Just no.

rax: (catgirl makeup)
  • So excited about catgirl goth rave. There are logistical issues; I will conquer them. Conversation included "Well, there's nothing you can do about weather." "Want to bet?" MUAHAHAHAHAHA. I am so psyched for this party. I seriously brought 45 pairs of cat ears with me in a suitcase. (This fact caused the people at the warehouse the party is at to be like "We like you already." :)
  • The non-academic (though still intelligent, incisive, &c.) test reader for my transsomatechnics paper has said that "THIS PAPER MAKES D&G SEEM LIKE THEY MAKE SENSE." I'm still nervous that it's terrible but I think it is probably OK to hand in if I poke at the ending a bit more. I am certainly not going to fail. Someone else who started reading it for me but didn't finish said it had them laughing uproariously which I think is good? I dunno. I just futzed with the introduction some and am still not happy with the conclusion but I don't know if I'm going to get happy with the conclusion by tomorrow and maybe I should just let it go for now. We'll see.
  • This week I did a good thing: I convinced my company to add sexual orientation to their harassment policy and gender identity and expression to bot the harassment policy and the equal employment statement. I mean, it wasn't hard, but it wasn't in there, and I asked, and I backed it up, and found wording that they like. Hooray for using the things I am learning in school to make a difference, even if it's a really small one, in the world. (And thanks to the friend who took me aside and was just like "Rachel, you need to ask for this.") So that's awesome and makes me feel good about my continued employment with them.
  • I spent much of yesterday in transit --- it takes like three hours to get from my house to the airport if I'm not driving, and then I had two longish flights, and then I had to take a train from the San Francisco airport to SoMa. Most of that time, when I wasn't dozing off, I was playing Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky. (This is your faults, yonho and bossgoji!) It is ADORABLE. Playing as a pokemon rather than as a trainer, and talking to the pokemon, and oh god. I am playing it for the plot more than for the mechanics; it's clearly a love letter to roguelikes but the actual gameplay is kinda angbandy, which is not super my thing. Although it's actually somewhat hard, which I appreciate; spoilers I guess? Just in case? ) In the meantime, I am going to keep playing this, because oh my god it is so adorable. I am a mudkip and my best friend is a Vulpix. We sleep on bales of hay in a room together. Why is this not actually my liiiiiiiiiiiife
  • It looks like I'm going to read a bunch of the books for next semester in advance? I got an email with a list of them and at first I misread it and thought I had to read them all by the first day of class and I was like "Five books? Over Christmas break? I am filled with rage!!!!" and planned out how I would get them all done and get notes taken on them during that time. It turns out those are the five major books for the class instead, and she was just offering us the chance to get a head start, and here I am having already started two of them. I... guess I might as well just continue? Maybe the other classes will also send out their reading lists and then I can get sufficiently ahead that my crazy travel plans will not hose my schoolwork as much as I worry they might. Or maybe I will get distracted and not get that much done. But if I only do half of the reading for the class before it even starts, I will probably be OK.
  • I complain, because working this hard does wear me down, but I really do love what I do. Otherwise I would not be able to do this much of it. And my transsomatechnics paper, while it was a grind that took me almost fifty hours to draft 27 pages, is only 27 pages because it has to be 25-30; my initial outline has two entire sections I cut out of it, and I also trimmed out an entire five-page digression from the conclusion. I love reading and talking and thinking and writing about this stuff, and I hope it is someday useful to someone else. If I can find people to let me do a dissertation on this, I think I can do one and make it good.
  • My brain is convinced I am on vacation. Weirdly, I have no problem doing work for my job while on vacation, which I have been doing all morning, and no problem doing work for school on vacation. But when I'm on vacation and people try to pin me down to a schedule, I bristle, and it's a little unreasonable of me. How else am I going to actually see people? I'm hoping this calms down after a few days. I guess I am still stressed about Catgirl Goth Rave and jetlagged and wasn't able to eat normally yesterday and and and and.
  • The phone charging cable I brought with me... just doesn't work. I will definitely fix this by tomorrow. It could cause me some issues tonight. My current anti-planning attitude is "good I should just let the battery die and people who wish to contact me should have to find me in person" but that's uh not at all reasonable Rachel and you need to get over that. And find a micro USB cable. Preferably not for stupid expensive.
  • The Brainwash, my favorite pinball laundromat, has Attack from Mars!!! It has been years and years but I used to be Good at that table --- in ten games, I was able to score two replays, and you can get on the high score list right now with only like seven billion. I think I can hit seven billion with some practice; I was on the scoreboard the last time the Brainwash had Attack from Mars. I have a win condition for my trip now. I CAN DO THIS. I need to read up on strategies though, and accept that I'm going to burn like $40 re-learning all of the shots. Also my ball control has gone to shit. I'm not reliably able to stop on the flipper right now, which ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. Practice is good. Good lord my non-social time this trip is going to include a lot of games. Also my social time! I brought Race for the Galaxy.
  • I'm a smidge overbouncy. I think this iced tea is caffeinated... did I mention here that I more or less gave up caffeine in August when I gave up alcohol? I drink tea occasionally. That's about it.


Nov. 27th, 2010 08:57 am
rax: (Horo apple)
  • We had a ten-person Thanksgiving dinner at my house! It was not entirely vegan, as one of the housemates made meaty stuffing and chicken pot pie, but the other, like, twelve courses were vegan. (There might have been a pie that was only vegetarian actually. But generally speaking.) I made pancakes for everyone to eat while we were cooking and then made four vegan pizzas with homemade fake meat. I had originally been planning a bunch of stuffed squash but the fire ruined all of my squash and then [personal profile] hao  mentioned vegan pizza and I was like WANT. Thank goodness I have a bread machine! After dinner we all played Rock Band and I even graded some more student papers and in general it was pretty awesome. The kitchen is... almost clean?
  • Incidentally, my fake meat recipe is really simple: Take dried TVP/TSP (textured vegetable/soy protein, you can probably get it in the bulk foods aisle of your hippie grocery) and soak it in a mixture of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and water for an hour or two. (You don't need to soak it that long probably but I like to get it nice and moist because I am going to cook so much moisture out of it.) Fry it in olive oil with a ton of basil and oregano for only a few minutes --- you want a few of the smaller pieces to get crisped but mostly you are searing the oily spices onto the outside of the TSP --- and then put that over pizza, or just pick at it while you are waiting for the oven to be free so that you can make the pizzas. Usually I use Field Roast sausages but they have a tiny amount of potato in them and lately that has been enough to set me off. :( But this is an awesome replacement, and cheaper.
  • It's not just me who is very particular and has My Plate and My Fork and My Glass For Drinking Water With and hates when they are not available. Apparently this is something my mom does too, except her coping mechanisms for this are so completely different from mine that neither of us noticed that the other one had this quirk. Unless she noticed that I had it and was just being coy, I'm not sure. :) This comes up a lot more than it used to for me in part because I am STRESSZILLA but also in part because previously I had eight of "my fork" and so on, but now I have a unique fork, plate, bowl-for-cereal, and water glass. :( It's on my long term tasklist to track down more of the fork and maybe buy more of the water glass; the bowl is a lost cause because it's a handmade gift someone made for me ten years ago, and the plate has a chip so even though I know where I could buy more there is no point, I could never duplicate the chip. I am very lucky that my housemates and local friends are very chill about this.
  • It's bad enough lately that I travel with my fork. It's a good thing I'm checking luggage to California this upcoming trip; I'm not sure what I'll do for Further Confusion. Hopefully "be less stressed so that I do not need to bring a fork from home." If it gets to the point where I want to bring it to restaurants (currently I do not have this desire) I may start seeing a shrink about it. Otherwise I am satisfied with my coping mechanisms.
  • Got to spend part of yesterday with my uncle and aunt and their five Siamese cats. *swoon* I shouldn't get like ten cats, right? ...Right? Especially since Selene actually came to bed with me last night and stayed there the whole time, even managing to adjust as I rolled around. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
  • The kitchen is usable again! The cabinets are repaired! This week they are repainting (because some of the smoke will not come out) and finishing up cleaning and maybe wallpapering the backsplash depending on how long it takes the new wallpaper to get in stock and then I will get a new range hood and then it will be DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE. I am very glad of this. Cooking is nice. Also I still need to fill out insurance paperwork. ;.; At least this didn't happen when I had no wiggle room on final papers, but it still hurts, a lot. Ow.
  • I have a small stack of Reward Games showing up in the next couple of weeks: "Finish your final papers and you too can play Pokemon Mystery Dungeon/Final Fantasy The Four Heroes Of Light/Pokemon White/Dragon Warrior IX!" If it weren't for JRPGs I would get so much more doneprobably I dunno watch television or something else that wasn't real work, it's not like I can actually be productive every hour I am not sleeping. Oh wait I know what I would do if I weren't playing JRPGs! Roguelike games. Right then. These are cuter.
  • For my mother's benefit (primarily, anyway) I was thinking about wishlist items and everything I came up with was a kitchen appliance or a power tool. Who am I and what have I done with the Rachel who always orders food and refuses to operate a screwdriver? And how do I make sure she doesn't escape because this is awesome?
  • Oh and just to be explicit, it is OK to call me again.

rax: (Kotone is getting shit done.)
Weekly post of week is early this week because my call with Ruth is postponed and my brain is not in Productive Kitty land --- yet doing this counts as a tasklist item. That's right Internet, you are on my tasklist. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
  • I caught them all. Well, I caught all 493 pokemon available in the generation IV games, anyway, which leaves me basically done with SoulSilver. (I haven't caught Mewtwo yet, but I got traded one by someone who did, and I don't like Mewtwo anyway? I guess I should catch mine so that I can trade one of them away for a shiny or something.) I got to only needing 20 last night and said... to hell with this, and did a bunch of trades on pokewifi, and finished the last two this morning before leaving for class. It's sort of anticlimactic, but I'm glad I did it. I definitely won't do it with every game or maybe every generation, but I plan to keep up a stable so I can breed myself fun things for Gen V...
  • I still have that LeafGreen nuzlocke run, my Pearl game, and Japanese White for when I want to play more Pokemon. ...so I still don't need to buy any more video games! That's good. :) Not sure which one I want to work on most seriously next...
  • I had a makeup class today, so I went to school and back in reasonably close to full goth catgirl regalia. I really enjoy the way a non-revealing catgirl costume, worn without anxiety, and eye contact both attracts and repels people's gaze. My favorites are the people who completely take it in stride and tell me I've got it going on, and the ones who look, and then look away, and then look, and then look away, and try unsuccessfully to hide that they are staring. I am glad I don't attract that kind of attention every day any more, but it's nice to have a way to do it, and a moderately socially supported time (halloween!) to do so. Of course, I don't intend to go to any parties, because I have work to do. But I do plan to wear cat ears all weekend BECAUSE I CAN.
  • How hard would it be to find a place to stay at Further Confusion at this point? I hate sanity and enjoy mad travel plans.
  • Was without power for most of Tuesday, which led to a bunch of hilarious misadventures involving Oolong not being able to fly to Boston and Rik still having to leave on what was apparently the only flight leaving the airport on time all day. Still, this meant he got to see Of Montreal and Janelle Monae the next evening, so I am OK with this. :)
  • Definitely four people coming in for Catgirl Goth Rave from well out of town --- with another dozen people considering it fairly seriously. December 18th, San Francisco. You know you want to!
  • Got my first couple of grades back on papers so far this semester --- both As. Arguably, I am writing home about this despite its being nothing to write home about, since it's grad school, and you're supposed to get As on everything or you are sort of screwing up. Still, when you don't get grades on anything until the last week of October, it's nice for the comments on the papers you get back to end with "Great work!" and "Excellent job." I know intellectually that I can write at a graduate level, because I already did it for three years, but lately I've been trying to draft bits of a final paper and it's coming out feeling terrible, and it's nice to have someone highlight all the things in an essay I did well and say "this is really good!" While UMB was problematic in a bunch of ways, they were very good at positive feedback.
  • Also yes, it is October and I am working on my final papers.
  • Also also, it is October and it is a damn good thing that the NBA's rules for which games you can't watch online (in short: any of the ones you would want to see if you don't have a television, which is the main reason I would want the service) are so restrictive, or I would purchase their service, and drop out of grad school. Well, I didn't drop out of grad school last time I had cable, but I did find myself suddenly spending hours just watching television, and I so do not have time for that. ...on the other hand it's free until November 3rd. And so far this game is an embarrassment. Enough that I think it's time to do more readings instead.
rax: (eevee love hug smiling)
  • I have my first paper of this PhD program due Monday. I took good notes, have a good concept, and am downright proud of my outline. I'm having trouble with the draft, though, because I've been reading so much abstruse crap [0] and haven't done any academic writing at all since my MA thesis. I keep having to take complicated sentences and pare them down to be less full of clauses. I suppose it is good that I take the time to do this rather than just hand in an essay with sentences whose diagrams are fractal. I'm glad I have this assignment to warm up on before I write final papers; it should help me do better with those. (I may also need to pull some prose I really like and re-read it right before I start.)
  • I am weak but I am strong: I have a copy of Pokemon White, despite knowing basically no Japanese. (The script has been translated, and my new housemate reads Japanese decently, so this is only dumb, not stupid.) However! I will not allow myself to start the game until I am done with all of the work I need to hand in this week. And am actually sticking to that, after powering the game on to make sure it works and to get the Japanese event item. (I don't intend to talk about spoilers, but if I think I might, I will cut-tag them; I know a couple of people here care.) I guess this means I will preorder Black in English once it's reasonable to pre-order it. If you were wondering "Will Pokemon be one of those things Rachel gets into for a month or two and then completely forgets about, or is it going to stick around for NetHack levels of time?," I think you have your answer.
  • I probably won't play White much until I finish my current pokedex, either. I'm 32 away from completion! If I can get to 15 or so away I bet I can trade some of my good stuff on pokewifi or something and get to zero. We will see!
  • I don't know if it's the weather or the cats getting along better or what, but recently, Selene sleeps on my chest and Oolong sleeps on my feet. It's a little bittersweet because Oolong is leaving soon and of course they'd finally learn to share a bed two weeks before they're separated, but fundamentally it is amazing, because Selene is coming to bed with me again, and it's been what, at least two years? Aside from the very first time sleeping at this house, where they had just been in the car for 40 hours and Selene curled up on my chest and Oolong curled up under my tented knees and I had no blanket or mattress and my stuffed lion was my pillow. So that's sort of a special case.
  • Furry porn is everywhere. (image link completely safe for work)
  • Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming! He gets here Wednesday!
  • I've bought tickets for my trip to California --- I'll be there from Dec 15 to Jan 2. This means the return trip will earn qualifying miles/segments toward status in 2011. Yes, I am becoming one of those. I looked at my travel plans for next year and it was worth it.
  • When I first started grading student work, I was really slow about it, and nervous. What if I gave someone the wrong grade? What was the rubric I could use to determine the "right" answer for what a grade was? While we do have rubrics for evaluating student work, realistically, the thing I've been discovering, especially working on their midterm exams, is that there is no right answer. Grading student writing --- unlike, say, a multiple choice test or a chemistry problem set [1] --- is fundamentally a subjective exercise. I need to look at it, make a judgement call based on the professor's statements of what she's looking for and what the student has written down, and move on. I will not be perfect, and that is fine; if I make a mistake, students can ask us to correct them, and a decent amount of the time the mistake will be in the student's favor anyway. (I tend to err on the side of too nice.)
  • I now own a rake! And a push-broom! And a snow shovel! Soon I need to run the fireplace plot. This homeowner thing is still bizarre. At some point I expect it will normalize, but it is taking a while. In the meantime I periodically walk around and go "MUAHAHAH THIS IS MY HOUSE. IT IS MINE. IT IS FULL OF SPACE."
  • Is there any reason other than the price tag I should not get a tame fox. They will curl up on your lap and use a litter box and tend to imprint on cats if cats are around. Seriously. Finally available in the US. Tame fox. TAME. FOX. ... I guess it implicitly supports their research which was originally for the fur trade, though. AAARRRRGH MORAL DILEMMA. Help?

[0] The content is not crap. The writing style, in my opinion, often is. Some of the blame falls on being translated from French and German, but even that doesn't excuse, say, Heidegger.

[1] Chemistry problem sets have some room for subjectivity when giving partial credit. But it's not the same as an essay.

October 2016

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