lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I had the coolest dream last night.  Or, rather, in the way of dreams, I had the coolest snippet of a dream that I remember.  

Do you ever have dreams where you're suddenly much more agile or strong, physically, than you are in real life?  I have these occasionally, and they're always incredibly memorable.  A lot of times I'm a thief, escaping somewhere or breaking into some upper story apartment, and I have this ability to be super agile and climb ANYTHING, almost like Spider-Man.  But, every once and a while I have super-strength. I still remember one about being a vampire at a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles, for my non-American friends, a genuinely frustratingly slow place) and just tossing furniture around, because I could.  

Last night I dreamed I was an anime character (Renji Abarai) who was challenged by some other guy (Ichigo? Dream set piece villain? ??) and I was maybe drunk, but I get up and go into this stance, and punch the guy hard enough to stagger him back with my right, and then left hook him hard enough he goes THROUGH THE WALL.


I love dreams like that. They're so empowering. And, while they're technically violent, they're usually not... angry or scary?  You know? This one very much felt like a demonstration of my abilities, rather than me responding to a threat.  One of the things good dream interpreters will ask you is: "Well, what was the main feeling of this dream?" The main feeling was: DAMN, IT IS GOOD TO BE BIG AND STRONG.

Then I woke up all small and fat and... ah well.

How about you? Any dreams like this?
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 Death by a thousand cuts?  Eh, probably not, but today didn't exactly start out as smoothly as I'd planned.  

We're getting geared up for a trip to visit the in-laws in Indiana and I had wanted to get the car checked over before we took it on the road.  I dropped everyone off as usual at work/school, and headed for Dave's Auto.  I asked them when they might have time for me, but, alas, it was not today. In fact, probably not until Wednesday, which I agreed to, forgetting that I had to work. It occurred to me half-way home, and when I reached for my cell phone to call them back to cancel, I realized that I'd forgotten my phone at home.  I gave up and got myself a conciliatory coffee at Cladaugh and then made my way back home.  

Having had planned to spend my day dealing with the car, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do, but--you know, it's not like there's a shortage of things to be done, so I'm currently sitting at the laundromat waiting on a final load of rag rugs to finish washing.  Then, I'm going to dash over to the Super Valu or whatever the gas station is across the way and vacuum out the car in prep for the trip.  

We're not even entirely sure we're going to do this trip, after all.  Yesterday wen we were pulling out the air-conditioner to take back up to the attic for the season, Shawn's back went out again. She's in the delicate phase, where she FEELS like she can do all the things, but one wrong move will set her all the way back. She did the ONE WRONG MOVE.  If she's not feeling better by tonight, we will likely cancel the trip because 10 hours in a car is _not good_ for the back.

Mason and I were sort of looking forward to the road trip, because ROAD TRIP! Plus, I was going to make a special effort this time to find postcards of Indiana to send to my various pen pals.  But, we might still be on--even though it will mean leaving without having a chance to have the car looked over. Fingers crossed for things to turn out for whatever is best.

Okay, I think that's my buzzer.  
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
I volunteered this morning at Quatrefoil Library, like I do, from time to time.  As I was leaving, I ran into an older lesbian (the library shares its space with a 55+ queer-friendly and low-income housing) who saw me leaving the library and assumed I worked there. She wanted to know if the board position had been filed. I told her I thought it had, but they can always use more volunteers, so she should check with the staff when the library was open. I 'leaned in' a little to say that Q Library specifically needs more lesbians.  She leaned in deeper to say, "More *identified* lesbians."  I pulled back and give her the ?? stare.  She says, "Oh, I talked to some woman there not long ago and she was all, 'oh, I dunno, asexual, I guess?'"  I'm standing there with my mouth open because I'm thinking, "And?" and this woman thinks I'm aghast for a different reason and continues with, "I know, right? What did we fight for, eh? So these kids can be 'oh I don't know!'"  She's super affronted and horrified and kind of goes on in this manner for a while.  I just go, "Um." And make my excuses and leave, but in the car, I'm thinking about this exchange and I'm reminded, too, about some other older feminists in my life and conversations I've had with them and I WISH I had had the wherewithal to say, "Look, I'm sorry, but GLBTQIA+ is not some club *you* founded. It's an IDENTITY. You don't get to decide who is a member or not.  That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works. Ace and Questioning are absolutely part of the queer spectrum!"

But, I didn't.

I hate that. I also hate the assumption that because I'm (white and) older now, I'm down with whatever they-think-they're-still-the-radicals-but-they-actually-are-the-empitome-of-conservative agenda these other older, white women have.  The moment you say, "we fought for" in past tense, sisters, you're not radical.  Radical is walking in the now, present-tense--knowing what your twenty-something and under comrades are fighting for today and supporting THAT (or at LEAST shutting up and listening.)

I hate this especially now. We need -all- our allies, even the ones that don't fit into whatever image you have for queerness.  You'd think the older lesbians would remember that. You'd think they'd remember what it was like when we were all outsiders, all under attack.
lydamorehouse: (I love homos)
 ...was yesterday.  

Yesterday, while I was taking a few bags of things to GoodWill, like you do, I ran into our gay neighbors down the block. (These folks are not to be confused with our now-former gay next-door neighbors, Lee and Chip, who is now just Lee, moved out years ago, but is still our tax consultant.) The new gay neighbors down the block are also an older white couple, whose names (OF COURSE!) I instantly forgot, but are comprised of a hairdresser and a lawyer.  I met the hairdresser on 11/9, when I was out raking and he randomly asked me, "How are you?" in that "I'm just fulfilling the social contract by acknowledging my neighbor" way, but I responded with a full on rant about Trump, which then caused him to lament honestly as well, us both to come out to each other, and form a 'we should get to know each other' kind of Minnesota friendship*.

That was a while ago now, but yesterday they were both walking together as I came out of my house with my donation bags, and we got to talking. I made a remark about the fact that it was National Coming Out Day, and I find out that the lawyer used to DATE one of the co-founders of NCOD. How cool is that?

His bit of information made me go look up National Coming Out Day on Wikipedia, and I discovered that I came out as a lesbian one year before the official establishment of National Coming Out Day in 1988.  Also a cool bit of information, wouldn't you agree?

In other news, Mason is off to see Romeo & Juliet at the Guthrie today.  He's basically missing most of his school day, getting to go to his two favorites: first period math and "510" debate.  He's also staying late tonight because it's the robotics team's recruitment potluck tonight, for which I made two dozen cookies (none of which were my best. I think I should always bake in the early afternoon when it's certain I've had sufficient caffeine for the job.)  Last night we went to Kohl's to buy him dress pants for homecoming, as well as some new school clothes, which he's been needing for a while. (Damn those growth spurts.)

For myself, I'm off to work at Shoreview Library in about fifteen minutes.

Anyway, here and queer in case you somehow missed the memo.  :-)

* Minnesota Nice is actually not what most people would consider "nice."  We tend to keep ourselves to ourselves, as the British might say, and so there's this whole category of friends to whom you cheerfully and 'sincerely' say, "We should do dinner sometime!" but really mean, "I like you enough to offer potential future closeness, but that will actually never happen, BUT *I think* I like you enough to say you would make a good dinner companion!" 
lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
I'm baking a LOT of cookies this morning. Mason's Robotics League is having a recruitment potluck and Mason signed us up for cookies, so I'm on batch two of chocolate chip cookies. I keep having weird mishaps. When I first started, I accidentally put in a teaspoon of ANISE instead of vanilla. I had to toss that batch before I even finished making it. The second batch I made, I completely forgot salt and baking soda. Weirdly, they seem fine? I'm going to keep that batch and see if anyone can really tell the difference. I would have thought they'd be flatter? But they seem fine.

Also, in the mail, yesterday, I got my AARP card! Whoot!

But, today is reading Wednesday, so let me see what I've been reading. It's been a food-focused week. I've been thinking a lot about how Americans celebrate food versus how other countries, but specifically Japan (at least in its manga culture), do. It started with me reading Sweetness & Ligtning / Amaama to Inazuma (Volumes 1-7) by Gido Amagakure. The story follows a newly single dad (he's a widower) who learns to cook for his pre-school daughter. By chance, he runs into one of his students (he's a high school math teacher) who is the daughter of a famous cook, who is secretly not good at cooking, either. Together they teach each other to make yummy food. There's a lot of family bonding, great-looking food, and ACTUAL RECIPES at the end of each chapter.

There are actually a lot of manga like this. What Did You Eat Yesterday? / Kinō Nani Tabeta? by Fumi Yoshinaga, which is probably easiest described as a story of a gay couple whose love language is cooking. It, too, has actual recipes in it.

But, in both of these, there's a whole lot of exclamations of "Wow! SO GOOD!" and "Ahhhh!" Plus, scenes of shopping, preparing, and cleaning up. The WHOLE experience of cooking and eating. And, I thought about that a lot when I read these two articles. The first one I came across on Mary Anne Mohanraj's Facebook Page: "Grocery Industry Confronts a New Problem: Only 10% of Americans Love Cooking." This started a whole conversation of why cooking is actually a whole lot of work, much of which goes unappreciated, which was then echoed in an article that Shawn found for me from the Atlantic: "'Easy' Cooking Isn' Easy: A Thanksgiving Lament."

And that made me think about a bunch of things, including American cooking shows--most of which involve professional chefs or "home cooks" who "elevate" their cooking to standards that most people find impossible and WAY MORE WORK than anyone wants to do. Which also led Shawn to forward this "how is this not a parody" video of a woman making peanut butter 'slices,' making easy work FAR MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT EVER NEEDED TO BE. "Video Makes Peanut Butter Sandwiches Complicated, And Moms Have a Hilarious Field Day."

I also read a few non-food related things. I read the first fifteen chapters of Wolf in the House (a Korean manhwa yaoi) by Park Ji-Yeon, Not Simple by Ono Natsume, and Kasumi by Surt Lim / Hirofumi Sugimoto (Vol. 1).

How about you?
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
Over the weekend, I went to see "Blade Runner 2049" by myself at 10:15 pm on Saturday night. I hate seeing movies by myself. I actually ended up at the wrong theater--I'd pre-purchased tickets for Inver Grove Heights, but apparently, despite living here for decades, I don't actually know the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and I ended up in Oakdale. I guess I just thought "Oh, yeah, that nice theatre with the comfy recliners" and I drove to the wrong one on automatic pilot. "Blade Runner 2049" wasn't even showing there, so I had to decide whether to race across town to try to get to the place I'd paid for, or, to head off to somewhere closer in order to not miss any of it. I opted for not missing anything, because some months ago, I agreed to talk to the folks over at Just Enough Trope about the movie. So I ended up at a super late show, in IMAX. I'm not a big fan of the IMAX experience. I'm old, so I often find it too loud and the screen is so big that sometimes I feel like it's impossible to take everything in properly.

But, I saw it and we recorded my part of the podcast on Sunday afternoon.

I'm listening to the podcast right now, for the first time, and I don't sound too stupid.  They edited me a little, but not a lot, so you get me in my most rambling, interrupting myself glory. The podcast itself is surprisingly long. I talked to them for about an hour, and almost all of that is there. But, the conversation is interesting (at least I thought so both at the time and listening now.)  We get into some interesting things about cyberpunk and the questions of humanity that it often plays with.  If you get a chance, check it out and see what you think of it. On the Just Enough Trope page, they list the time stamp for when my interview/conversation starts, so you can just jump to that. Though I listened to the front matter, just to hear the context.

Other news is that late last night, Mason announced that he is going to homecoming with A DATE.  He won't tell us who (because he's a little sh*t), but we have some guesses.  We do know that it's a young woman, so take that for what it is. Adorably, he calls her his "lady friend."  We are going to be doing some shopping in preparation.  Mason still has a few nice dress shirts, but he'd like to get some dress pants that aren't high water (damn those growth spurts!) and check out shirts and ties, just because. We're going to re-dye his hair either tonight or tomorrow.  It's kind of exciting.  It made me remember my first high school dance.  I already think Mason will have a better time than I did at the first one, since he's actually going with someone he likes, as opposed to me, who just longed balefully in the direction of Rich Steffans.  (Kind of pathetic in retrospect. No offense to Rich, but I obsessed on him and literally NEVER talked to him, so he must have been so baffled by my odd behavior.)

I did later go to most of the dances with dates--yes, I dated boys, some I quite liked, in fact.  

Anyway, I'm excited for Mason.  

II spent yesterday doing some more fussing-because:POLTICS.  Shawn confessed over the weekend that she's always hated the bins we have for recycling in the pantry and wanted another solution to them. I suggested reducing the number (we had four) and moving one of them to the bottom of the landing, since we have alley pick up of mixed recycling now and that's on my way out to the back.  We left one in the pantry for guests, but moved it into a more out of the way place. I painted both of the ones we decided to keep. Shawn had wanted brown, and I hunted around in the basement, certain that we had a brown--only it turns out what we had was a dark brick red. They turned out really nice, actually, though when they were still wet I was pretty terrified that I'd be saying, "Um, so..... I know you wanted brown, but how do you feel about pink???"  I took the remaining bins out to the garage where they'll function as storage.  Into the spot they used to occupy we pulled down Shawn's grandfather's spool table from the attic.  It's got a bottom shelf, so we're using it as a bookshelf for our overflow cookbooks, which had been piled around Shawn's comfy chair in the living room. (Our personal home decorating aesthetic is built around this New York Times article: 

At any rate it looks nice, though it has made it starkly obvious that on my list of home improvements, we're going to have to move "repaint the pantry" further up on the list.  :-)

Maybe I should go listen to the news and see if it makes me anxious enough to tackle another project!  ;-)
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
Wednesday and yesterday, I finished painting the window trim of half of our house... well, less than that, really. I was able to do both the second and first floors in the back, because we have a walk-out flat roof back there.  I could only reach the bottom half of the side of the house that faces University Avenue/our neighbors, James and Katherine. Given the forecasted rain and the temperature drop that MAY be it for this year.  I'm hopeful for a few more decent days so that, maybe, I can also do the side that faces Shields. I'm loathe to paint the front if we can't do the top as well, though it looks surprisingly nice on James and Katherine's side.

We're going with a deep, glossy black.  

It kind of classes the place up.   

Today I spent some time weeding out all the jeans that don't fit any more from my closet.  While I was in there, I looked through a bunch of shirts and pulled those out, too. They're all in a pile waiting for Shawn to decide if any of the material is rug worthy or not.

Then, I changed a few kitty litters (a constant job in a house of five cats) and then mopped the kitchen floor.

This is what I do when the world is falling apart.  

The news cycle is killing me, I swear. It's actually really hard to keep from spiraling into despair between the hurricanes, the mass shootings, and now that fuck Sessions announcing that transgender people are no longer covered by anti-discrimination laws.  As I was writing to my Canadian friend today, I just don't understand what's happened to this world. When did it become a viable political stance to say, "Yeah, actually, those people? You can go ahead and screw them over. As Americans. who have a proud history of defending the weak and sheltering the injured. we give literally no shits about THEM"? How is this ever okay? I mean, yes, I KNOW people have always been like this and that America has actually been a land of racism and discrimination of all varieties for a long, long, LONG time, but didn't we used to at least PRETEND we were all equal under the law?


Goddamn it. What else needs cleaning?
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
 Yesterday was a... bad work day.  Sunday is always a weird day to have to go into work, but I also managed to get it into my head that I worked from noon to 5 pm, when, in fact, as I discovered when I flipped over the calendar page, I worked from 11 am to 5 pm.  When did I discover this?  11:15 am. 

That was the first hassle of the day. 

To be fair, I didn't really sweat it. I felt like an idiot hopping into the car already late, but I knew there was no way I could race there (Shoreview) in a decent amount of time.  I was going to end up working noon to 5, and so that's what I put down on my timesheet when I arrived. My colleagues were unimpressed, but not terribly angry. Subs routinely space out and totally forget entire shifts. I, at least, managed to make it there for five out of the six hours.  Not great, but not actually AWFUL.

The real hassle?  I managed to fall off a stool while shelving in the kids' section.

For reasons known only to the Shoreview Library furniture buying person, there are these intentionally tipsy bouncy chairs strewn throughout the children's area. I guess they're fun when you're five?  When you're fifty and you're expecting your butt to connect to something solid, they are MUCH LESS FUN.  I went sprawling (in front of everyone, too,) and managed to deeply bruise my butt and my hip and my shoulder. And, because I am fifty and not five, I'm still suffering today.

Thank god(s) for ibuprofen.

And, an hour ago, my boss called. They're in desperate straits, can I please, please pretty please work for a few hours in New Brighton? OMG I wanted to say no, but I've been saying no a lot lately, and it was time for a 'yes.' I still managed to negotiate for a slightly shorter shift, but only because of the pain in my butt.
lydamorehouse: (Renji talking smack)
 On social media the other day, I came across someone asking their friends a sort of ubiquitous question, which is: "What book changed your life?"

I've been thinking about that, as you do, over the last few days.  There are a lot of books I've loved throughout my life, but life-changing? That's a pretty tall order, don't you think?  A short story made me gay. Or rather, "A World Well Lost" by Theodore Sturgeon made me consider the fact that maybe gay was another possibility and then, you know, nature did the rest.  But, a life-changing book?

Today, I decided my answer would be Beard on Bread by James Beard. I can say for a fact that after reading that book, my life profoundly changed.  Before I read Beard on Bread, all my yeast breads sucked so much that my family used to call them "Lyda's lead bread." That book was magical. I don't even know that it had anything all that profound to say, but once I read it, I totally understood how yeast was supposed to work (and how to tell if it wasn't working.)

So there you go. My life-changer.  How about you? Do you have a book that changed your life?

Nerd Day

Sep. 29th, 2017 12:52 pm
lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
 Today, as I'm sure many of you know, the Nintendo dropped the SNES.  I spent a good portion of my morning attempting to get one, always arriving as the cashier said, "Sorry, my last one just walked out the door." The worst part being that I could have stood in line at GameStop, which opened later, BUT I had a press showing of Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman to get to at 10 am at the Lagoon Theatre, which I got to go to as part of my gig as a comic book reviewer for Twin Cities Geeks.

I can't talk about the movie until my review goes up, but I can tell you about my movie-going experience.  

At first, I didn't think I was going to make it. OMG. Lately traffic HATES ME, PERSONALLY. In between darting into various Target Superstores and Gamestops between here and Uptown, I managed to screw up my exit. Instead of taking 94 to Hennepin like I'd planned, I was thinking so hard about the SNES that I ended up on 35 W, which local folk will know, is under deep, deep construction.  The exit at 36th was blocked so I had to drive WAY OUT of my way at get off at 46th.  I managed work my way back, fighting Uptown traffic now, to park in the parking ramp behind the Lagoon (which ended up costing about as much as a ticket) and then it looked like no one was going to let me in to the actual theater. It was dark. The doors were locked.  But, eventually someone came and opened the door.  He still looked dubious about letting me in, but, apparently, the magic words were, "Press screening at 10?"

I checked in with the "woman with the clipboard" as instructed and was directed to theatre 5.  I haven't been to the Lagoon in forever. The theaters are small and dim. The seats are old and squeaky.

But it was just me and two other people...

...and that was really f*cking cool.

When I used to review movies for focusPOINT back in the late Cretaceous, I had a really hard time not loving everything I saw. I might be one of the only professional, paid reviewers on the planet who gave a positive review to the Matthew Broderick remake of Godzilla. Probably the thing most people remember about that movie, besides how (nearly) universally it was panned, was its poorly executed "Size Matters" ad campaign.

Anyway, part of the problem, I realized later when I found myself gushing about the Avengers remake (another film all my sensible colleagues panned, and I don't mean the Marvel one, obviously, I mean the one based on the TV series) is that it's just SO SUPER COOL to be the first to see a movie, ANY MOVIE, and it's free, right? So you don't have this whole "Jeez, I paid how much for THAT???!!" thing going on in your head, like, ever.

Plus, did I mention how super-secret you feel, getting in to somewhere no one else does? Way ahead of the official release date?  And, I realize there are people who do this for the Star Tribune, the New York Times or whatever and they've seen it all, and they're all so jaded, but even after a year of doing it for focusPOINT, I was like 'STILL AWESOME, SO, SO AWESOME. I LOVED THIS FILM, I LOVE ALL FILMS!!!"

Yeah, so, I'll have to remember to temper that impulse when I finally sit down to write my actual review.  

I drove home still attempting to find the SNES, but, at this point it was after noon, so all hope was lost.  At one Target they looked up to see who might have SNESs and I called around. The Roseville electronics department just answered the phone without even a hello, only saying, "We are sold out of the Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems." As sad as that was to hear, it still cracked me up.

Such a classic nerd day, though, don't you think?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 This week, I read a lot of manga.  I stormed through My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi, reading volumes 2-8 in a matter of days.  That almost catches me up to everything currently out in official tankōbon, and the library let me know that volume 9 is awaiting me in the hold section. Last I checked this one is being actively scanlated and the pirate sites have up to chapter 158 or so. I have yet to decide if I'm a mega-fan.  I've been very burned by JUMP products (do not speak to me of Bleach or Naruto's endings. Other people blame the creators, but I blame the publishers. It's a writer thing.) 

I also ripped through the available chapters online (1-15) of its spin-off Vigilante My Hero Academia: Illegals / Vigilante Boku no Hero Academia: Illegals by Furuhashi Hideyuki / Beeten Court.  

Speaking of spin-offs, I also read Gangsta: Cursed (vols. 1-2)  by Kohske / Syuhei Kamu, which kind of sucked, but made me remember just how much I LOVED the original by Kohske-sensei.  I've reviewed all of these over at my manga reading blog, MangaKast, if you're interested to know what I thought of them.

I also got a chance to beta-read [personal profile] naomikritzer 's novel, currently titled Everyone Loves Cat Pictures.

Whew, I think that's it. I have one more manga upstairs, Not so Simple by Natsume Ono in my TBR pile, and I also watched the first episode of Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, which I think I'm going to continue as the anime I watch while doing dishes. 

You?  How'd you do this week?
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Mason's friend Rosemary had never been to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival before, so, despite the 90 F / 32.2 C degree temperatures, we decided to take her on Sunday.  Likely filed under "things you didn't know about Lyda" is the fact that, back in the late 1980s, I used to work as a performer out at the Ren Fest. I wore a big, red, curly wig, a costume sewn by my mother, and went by the stage name "Nut Meg."  (You can't actually see my face very well in this photo. I may have to find another one. But this is me, in either 1987 or 1988--I believe those are the only two years I worked as a performer out there.)

old photo from 1987 of Lyda in costume out at the MN Ren Fest

But, at any rate, because I used to work out there, I made two teenagers get up early so that we could arrive in time for 'opening gate.'  One of the things Rosemary, who is a HUGE fan of the Minnesota State Fair, wanted to know is, why did Mason and I like Ren Fest better?  Her point, which is a valid one, is that they're a lot the same: crowded, expensive, food oriented, and full of stuff you don't really need to buy, but that is fun to look at.  For me, the answer is the entertainers.  The shows--but particularly things like opening gate--are these dorky, improv experiences.  Opening gate is a free show and, technically, so are all the others (though the performers pass hats because at lot of them do make their living doing the Ren Fest circuit.)  There isn't anything quite like that at the State Fair. 

Plus, my people are there.

In fact, Mason summed up the difference pretty succinctly:  "It's nerdier."  

And, that's really it.  I would probably like the State Fair, if it was the nerd fest Ren Fair is.  Don't believe me? While we were waiting for the opening gate show to start (I always miscalculate how long it will take me to get from St. Paul to Shakopee.) I noticed this guy:

Ren Fair Deadpool

Ren Fair Deadpool is exactly the kind of person who would never cosplay at the State Fair. What does State Fair Deadpool even look like?  (Okay, probably now that I've asked, someone has done this and knows EXACTLY what Minnesota State Fair Deadpool would look like.) But, the point is, Ren Fest is like a science fiction/fantasy  convention with a middle ages theme, outdoors, that lasts for several weekends, plus great food.  I literally don't know why anyone would go to the State Fair, when you can have the State Fair x Nerds = Ren Fest.

Plus, what was the thing that Mason and Rosemary loved the most?  "Zilch." Zilch is this performer who tells fractured fairy tales in Spoonerisms.  This is such a nerd thing, I can't even.  There's so much to see, too.  We also watched Fandazzi do their fire dancing:

A woman in Renaissance costuming dancing with a fire rope--or a rope on fire, however you'd like to imagine it.

It's kind of hard not to have a good time out at Festival, IMHO.  I mean, it was so hot I was SWELTERING, but I really wanted to stay until 4:30 pm so the kids could see Zilch do his version of Romeo & Juliet, since they're both studying that in English this year. But, I just couldn't make it. How I used to pull full day performances out there, I have no idea. This may be why I only lasted a few years. (Actually, I know it's why.  Working Fest was the only time in my life that I had a doctor hand me a prescription with one word on it: "Sleep.")

Also, for the first time since the 1980s, I actually sat through the entire jousting show. That's actually a kind of amazing thing.... they really do run at each other in full gallop and break their lances. It's very clear that some of it is staged, but, even knowing that, doesn't diminish the excitement of it.  

Alas, I only got a still shot:

the jousting show, wth one of the "knights" on the ground spoiling for a fight.

Anyway, that was my weekend. How are you?
lydamorehouse: (yaoi)
I have written here, in the past, about how I have suspected that some of my International Pen Friends, who have sent me "rejection" letters, after a few back-and-forths, might have done so because I chose to come out to them as a lesbian. I have no ACTUAL proof, of course.  No one has ever written to say, "I'm sorry I can't write to you any more; you are a disgusting queer."  Mostly, they say, "Oh, jeez, look at the time. I committed to writing to you, but suddenly I can't because.... uh, BUSY.  HONEST." Yet, these letters (I've gotten two) would IMMEDIATELY follow my telling them that, yeah, actually "Shawn" is a lady, and my wife.

Now, I should be clear, I've had a number of success stories. My pen pal in Netherlands who loves "F.R.I.E.N.D.S." has a lesbian daughter, so coming out to her was a no-brainer. Both of my Australians could care less. Another one of my German pen friends is clearly a LITTLE prickly about it, but my sense is she's kind of prickly about a LOT of things. :-)

But, here's a new piece in the puzzle of "What is up with the conservative streak in pen friends?"  

A couple of entries ago, I explained FBs (Friend Books).  Several days ago a random person in Maryland who found my name on a FB, sent me a pile of them.  Most of them were half-way full and this Maryland correspondent had included her name in all of them, like you do.  However.  One of them was from that someone I shall call "Cass," who started one for herself.  She had a long entry on her front cover about the various things she was interested in and things she'd be willing to swap, all very typical stuff.  Then she adds, "I am bi, open-minded pen pals only, please." 

No one had added their name.

Not one soul.

Not even the person who sent it to me, who had put her name in literally every other FB.

Despite a plea from Cass that the FB be "passed quickly." 

I know I live in the era of Trump, when people boldly and proudly wear their bigotry on their sleeves. Yet, pen palling, by its nature, seemed to me to be the sort of hobby that would naturally attract people who were interested in other people. It's a hobby that requires you to talk to strangers. The entire POINT of pen friends is to reach out, sometimes across international borders, with a hand out in friendship.  

Of course I wrote to Cass. I sent her a picture of my family, a short introductory note that suggested that we could be pals, and sent her a pile of FBs to "swap," hoping that somewhere in all of them, she would find someone else who would write back.  I added my name to the FB that she started and sent it on to a friend who I know is open-minded, even though she isn't part of the pen palling community.  

But, I don't entirely understand it.  I mean, yes, pen palling is an old-fashioned kind of hobby. I guess maybe that 'old-fashionedness' lends itself to certain stereotype of a stay-at-home mom, who is lonely... but I still don't see how that lends itself to "eew, gay!" Also what are these people worried about? That we're going to write long letters detailing our sex lives?  No, I'm just as boring a pen pal as anyone else. I talk about my failed garden projects and my cats.  Do you suppose other pen pals are worried about being hit on?  Even though I explain I am MARRIED with kids.

It's weird and baffling, and it makes me sad.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Did I read anything this week?  I'm actually not sure. I _do_ have a pile of things that I'm planning on reading, however.  Does that count?

What did I do INSTEAD of reading? I wish I knew. Part of this, I think, is getting back into the "Back to School" mode.  Mason was sick with a cold late last week (he missed school on Friday), and then Shawn promptly caught it.  So I've been doing a lot of nursemaiding.  

Ugh. Work just called. They wanted me to go into New Brighton's' branch tonight and work 5 to 8.  I probably should have said yes, but I work both tomorrow and Friday.  

Also? It's MasterChef's finale tonight.

I know this sounds stupid, but ever since Mason was very small we have, as a family, been fans of MasterChef.  It's the one network TV show we actually tune in for.  All three of us gather in the TV room upstairs and adjust the rabbit ears so that we can watch the show.  It's not even all that great. Most people would probably prefer The Great British Baking Show or Iron Chef.  Not us. We're faithful to Gordon Ramsey and his disappointed looks and rants about things that are "rawr." 

For once, too, the contestants left standing at the end are all weirdos.  There's one white guy, but he's fully tattooed, bleach blond, and heroin-addict skinny... and a super-odd, with very Italian-American from Brooklyn accent.  Currently, I'm rooting for Jason, an Asian-American guy who comes with a male partner, kind of BECAUSE he's gay (though he is one of the most cheerful people they've had on).  The other contestant is Eboni, a black woman from Chicago.  We like them all.  This is one of the few times where we won't be disappointed with whoever wins.

Skipping work for TV, though?  Probably I'm going to hell.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Today, in the mail, I got a thick envelope from someone I didn't know in Revere, MA. Most of my pen pals from the International Pen Friends (IPF) are, well, international... so I was curious what this thick envelope might contain. I opened it up and out came a veritable ton of what are called "Friendship Books" (FBs.)

I couldn't figure out how I'd been gifted with this "bounty," until I discovered that one of the FBs was started for me, by one of my German pen pals.

Friendship Books are hard to explain. Wikipedia has an article about them, but it doesn't entirely do them justice. The ones I've seen are small, a quarter of a sheet of paper in size. They're handmade, often very crudely--nothing more than colored paper, side-stapled together.  On the front is a person's name and address.  This little booklet is then sent on to pen pals, each of them writing their name and address in it, and passing it along to one of THEIR pen pals, almost like a chain letter, except the idea is to fill the booklet up with people interested in receiving new pen pals. Once the book is filled, it's sent back to the person whose name is on the front/top.


There's all these unspoken rules.  Sometimes people send FBs just to see how far they'll go around the world before they come back, so, if you're using the FB to find more pen pals, you have to examine each entry carefully. Some people will just sign their name and something like, "Waving from Cleveland Ohio, and passing on!" 

There are all these codes involved: SNNP (Sorry No New Pen Pals) or NPW (New Pen Pals Wanted) or LLW (Long Letter Writer) or AS (Answers Some), as opposed to AA (Answers All).  They will often include date of birth, because a lot of pen pal seekers want to converse only with people their age. They'll also list the languages they're comfortable writing in--which has been frustrating for me. I've been trying to land a Japanese pen pal, but the ONE I spotted in a FB only wanted pen pals in Korean.  (You may be scratching your head, but international pen pals often use correspondence as a way to practice/keep up on their English/foreign language skills.)  I also actually saw someone who listed, and I kid you not, Esperanto as one of the languages they'd correspond in.  People will include lists of interests: puppies! Unicorns! Heavy Metal music! (or, another one I saw from a different Japanese FBer "I love Jesus!")

But, so I got this huge pile and for the first time went through several of them looking for the words "FB and slam swappers needed" which meant that they were willing to accept FBs, because, honestly, I kind of hate the pressure of having a bunch laying around that I haven't sent out yet.  This is the other way in which these remind me of chain letters, honestly. I have this weird sense of "AH, I should do something with this immediately!"  Anyway, I managed to unload a bunch of them that way.

I have to admit to enjoying reading through these things, strange as they are.  When I was showing these to my friend Naomi today, I read one of the longer ones in which this person wanted to swap: "FBs, postcards, teabags, magnets, bookmarks, pocket letters, ATC, flip books, washi." And, suddenly we were like, "What are pocket letters??"

So we Googled it and found that pocket letters are a crafter's answer to pen palling. You thought this was about writing to people? NOPE. This is a f*cking art form!  Pocket letters are where you fill up a nine-pocket trading card protector with cute things, like stickers, tea bags, pictures, or whatever you like and then send them to someone who will send something similar to you. You collect them in a three-ring binder, kind of like scrapbooking for strangers.

It seems kind of cool.  I may have to try it.

I feel like if I go deep enough into this pen palling culture, I'll be ready to write an exposé for Vanity Fair or Teen Vogue.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I just found out that AO3 has a Trick or Treat Fic Exchange

Every year I participate in one way or another in Yuletide, which is an annual fan fic gift exchange that was, according to Fanlore, started in 2003.  I've only been doing it for, maybe two or three years, being, as always a latecomer to fandom.

I often forget to sign-up on time, so the past couple of years I've enjoyed being what they call a "pinch hitter." Yuletide is very strict about gifts. If you're supposed to be getting one, they do NOT want you to wake up on Christmas morning with an empty in-box.  But, life happens. Sometimes someone who promised a fic literally gets in a car accident or finals week crushes them.  So, there's a hoard of volunteers, myself included, who take up the slack. A gifter is supposed to default by a certain day and the pinch hit lists start showing up in my in-box. But, batches come all the way up to the night before.  It's kind of an amazing process. I also use the pinch hit list to write what are called "treats" where you can just go ahead an write something to someone's request as an extra.  I have done this in the past for very weird fandoms, like the person who really, really wanted a Munchkin Cthulu fic (although that may actually have been assigned).

Point is, I love pinch hitting. I often write fic fast enough that getting an assignment for 2,000+ words the night before is no big deal. 

The Trick or Treat Exchange also looks fun. The requirement is tiny, 300 word minimum?  The other thing that seems to be fun about the Trick or Treat Exchange is that, unlike Yuletide, there is no popularity restriction.  (Yuletide focuses on fandoms that have less than 1000 works of fic posted on Archive of Our Own.)  So, for instance, I saw that Bleach was listed for the Trick or Treat Exchange (thanks to me, Bleach has WAY TOO MANY fics otherwise... and, I'm kidding, of course. It wasn't just me, I'm sure Bleach had over a thousand fics years and years before I joined.).  The point is, for the Trick or Treat Exchange, I could potentially ask for or write a Bleach fic.

So I am tempted. The exchange i currently open and I am considering.  I'll have to read the rules carefully to see if it's something I'm really up for.

I'm pretty sure the fans of my never ending fic soap opera would be furious to find me off writing treats for other people, when they've been so patiently waiting for an update.  


Happy Friday everyone.  

lydamorehouse: (Default)
QSF Renewal-Print

QSF has a new book out, the latest in our series of flash fiction anthologies: (noun)

1) Resuming an activity after an interruption, or
2) Extending a contract, subscription or license, or
3) Replacing or repairing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken, or
4) Rebirth after death.

Four definitions to spark inspiration, a limitless number of stories to be conceived. Only 110 made the cut.

Thrilling to hopeful, Renewal features 300-word speculative fiction ficlets about sexual and gender minorities to entice readers.

Welcome to Renewal.

Mischief Corner Books (info only) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

Renewal Banner


Because these stories are only 300 words each, we’re not supplying long excerpts, but here are the first lines of several of the stories. Enjoy!

“Griselda pulled the weeds from between the rows of Valerianella locusta plants in the garden, careful not to disturb the buds that would grow into the babies that were her only real income-producing crop.” —The Witches’ Garden, by Rie Sheridan Rose

“I didn’t know how truly the world was in trouble until I went journeying to look for Anisette’s bluebonnets.” —Bluebonnets, by Emily Horner

“The ship’s drive malfunctioned at the worst possible time.” —The Return, by Andrea Speed

“Before we continue, there’s a rather macabre fact about me I should share.” —Rejuvenation, by Christine Wright

“When I died they buried me at the bottom of the garden and returned to the fields.” —Below the Hill, by Matthew Bright

“The world is ending and I can’t look away from your eyes.” —Sunrise, by Brigitte Winter

““Losing one’s superpowers to your arch nemesis sucks donkey nuts, I tell ya. And trust me when I say I suck a lot of them.” —Rainbow Powers, by Dustin Karpovich

“The day I was born again was damp, rainy—a good day for rebirth, all things considered.” —The Birthing Pod, by Michelle Browne

“Intwir's twelve eyes roved over the container, taking in the cracked outer lock and the elasticated fabric stretched tightly over its exterior.” —In a Bind, by S R Jones

“‘You’ve reached Androgyne HelpLine. Press one to start service. Press two to interrupt or cancel service. Press three—’” —Auto-Renew, by Ginger Streusel

“The doctor tells me that my wife is dying, but I already know.” —I Will Be Your Shelter, by Carey Ford Compton

“‘San Francisco was the first to go dark, followed by Los Angeles.’” —When Light Left, by Lex Chase

“My fingers lingered on the synthetic skin, trailing soft patterns across my work.” —Miss You, by Stephanie Shaffer

Included Authors

'Nathan Burgoine
A.M. Leibowitz
A.M. Soto
Abby Bartle
Aidee Ladnier
Alexis Woods
Andi Deacon
Andrea Felber Seligman
Andrea Speed
Andrea Stanet
Anne McPherson
Bey Deckard
Brigitte Winter
Carey Ford Compton
Carol Holland March
Carrie Pack
Catherine Lundoff
CB Lee
Christine Wright
Colton Aalto
Daniel Mitton
Dustin Blottenberger
Dustin Karpovich
E R Zhang
E.J. Russell
E.W. Murks
Ell Schulman
Ellery Jude
Eloreen Moon
Elsa M León
Emily Horner
Eric Alan Westfall
F.T. Lukens
Fenrir Cerebellion
Foster Bridget Cassidy
Ginger Streusel
Hannah Henry
Irene Preston
J. Alan Veerkamp
J. P. Egry
J. Summerset
J.S. Fields
Jaap Boekestein
Jackie Keswick
Jana Denardo
Jeff Baker
Jenn Burke
Joe Baumann
John Moralee
Jon Keys
Jude Dunn
K.C. Faelan
Kelly Haworth
Kiterie Aine
Kristen Lee
L M Somerton
L. Brian Carroll
L.M. Brown
L.V. Lloyd
Laurie Treacy
Leigh M. Lorien
Lex Chase
Lia Harding
Lin Kelly
Lloyd A. Meeker
Lyda Morehouse
M.D. Grimm
Martha J. Allard
Mary E. Lowd
Matt Doyle
Matthew Bright
Mia Koutras
Michelle Browne
Milo Owen
Mindy Leana Shuman
Naomi Tajedler
Natsuya Uesugi
Nephy Hart
Nicole Dennis
Ofelia Gränd
Patricia Scott
Paul Stevens
PW Covington
R R Angell
R.L. Merrill
Rebecca Cohen
Redfern Jon Barrett
Reni Kieffer
Richard Amos
RL Mosswood
Robyn Walker
Rory Ni Coileain
Rose Blackthorn
Ross Common
S R Jones
Sacchi Green
Sarah Einstein
Shilo Quetchenbach
Siri Paulson
Soren Summers
Stephanie Shaffer
Steve Fuson
Tam Ames
Terry Poole
Tray Ellis
Vivien Dean
Wendy Rathbone
Xenia Melzer
Zen DiPietro
Zev de Valera
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I'm beginning to realize why I previously never participated in these. Okay, the honest truth is that I didn't entirely realize they existed, but, the other part is that, because I hang out with science fiction/fantasy fans who tend to be voracious in their reading habits, I always feel woefully under read.  

Once again, which is, as I have noted in the past, very typical of me, I did read a graphic novel.  I read volume 5 of Ten Count

I have on my TBR pile a couple of manga that I have actually been dreading reading.  My beloved manga Gangsta. had a spin-off called Gangsta.: Cursed.  I read the first few chapters when they appeared online, but I gave up on them because the format they were being pirated in was hard to read and, more importantly, they were so, so violent and bloody.  The mangaka wrote them, but she did not illustrate them.  Since they don't follow a character I much cared for, I let them go. But the library had the complete two volume run, so I thought: "Okay, I should be a completist and finally read these."  

And yet there they sit.

I will probably bite the bullet and read them next however.

Mason also really wants me to read Scarlet, which is the sequel to Cinder, which I listened to the audio book of years ago and liked. He's a big fan of the series, so I agreed to try to pick it up.  That's probably the big book I'll be reading next.  Since I work at the library today, I will probably troll Locus Magazine for more recommendations.

How about you?
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Yesterday was a fun mail day.  

One of the very best parts of being a member of the International Pen Friends (IPF) is that, occasionally, the postal carrier delivers FIVE personal letters, all addressed to you.  Two of them were from my regular Canadian pen friend. She's an actual friend who became a pen pal, and her letters are always a delight. We didn't actually know each other terribly well when we started corresponding, but we knew each other from exchanges in Bleach fandom.  She's a lot like my friend in Seattle, who I knew passably before we started corresponding (she was a writing student of mine) and we've become closer thanks to years of letter writing.  I got my Seattle pen friend by asking Facebook for volunteers. 

Of the other letters that arrived were:

1.  A letter from Malta.  MALTA, you guys.  The other nifty thing about my Maltese correspondent is that she got my name not from IPF, but from one of the various FBs that I've participated in.  I had genuinely never HEARD of Friendship Books until one of my German pen pals, Petra, introduced me to them. I still think they're kind of weird. Just slips of paper or homemade booklets with people's addresses in them and odd codes. Seriously, SNNP (sorry no new pen pals) and NPW (new pen pals wanted) that are passed in the mail a little like a chain letter, without the pressure, because you can always return it to the original sender. 

But, Malta, that's cool. I hope my reply entices another from her.

2. I seem to have finally snagged a correspondent from the UK.  You would not think this would be SO hard.  English/UK addresses easily make up a third of what's on offer for an English-speaker like myself on any given IPF list.  Yet, despite faithfully writing to all of them, I have only ever gotten one previous reply from anyone in England and that was a "rejection." Somehow, I seem to have passed muster with someone there finally. Fingers crossed this winning streak continues. Interestingly, in my grand experiment of "should I come out right away or not?" in the introduction letter I sent this one (Kate) I decidedly did NOT. So, I should probably return to my strategy of, "wait until they know you pretty well before you reveal that you're a big, old butch lesbian." I already took a chance revealing to Kate that I'm an otaku.  Let's see if I can weather that storm!

3. The last one was also a new IPF member, this one from France. I have a couple of other French correspondents, but they seem to have slowed down.  The thing about IPF is that it's like any kind of blind matching site.  Even when you're willing to try anyone, some people click better than others.  This is why I sprang for a half-year renewal because I wanted another list so that I could keep throwing out feelers.  

Anyway, I know all of this stuff is likely only really fascinating to me.  I have always been interested in other people's lives and this is a fun way for me to explore that.  I was writing to my Maltese pen pal last night explaining how I got into pen palling.  I have discovered that many of the people who are in IPF have been members since they were teenagers. It's a hobby that they've kept all their lives, unlike me. I hunted up IPF because I remembered being assigned a pen pal in 4th grade or thereabouts. There was a time in the 1970s when pen palling was kind of the 'it' hobby, particularly among teenage girls. At least, that's how it seemed to me back then, at any rate.  I wasn't into it then, though the idea intrigued me. I was a fairly terrible correspondent, too, when I did have the opportunity, probably because I imagined that somehow I would have an instant foreign friend, with whom I could share the secrets of my soul, etc., etc.  In 1970, I would have killed for a French pen pal. Instead I got someone from Japan. Ironically, I found that annoying at the time. Japan? Who's even heard of it?  Why is this girl sending me all this crap with a weird kitty on it??

Ah, things that are wasted on the young, eh?

I wrote a lot of letters to friends and family when I was in college.  To be fair, that was how we communicated before the internet, but I have always liked the feel of pen on paper.  There is something, too, about sharing your thoughts with just one person at a time.  Obviously, you can still do that with private messaging and e-mail, but a letter is more sensual--in that it appeals to all the senses.  

Plus, shit shows up in the mail.  I love when shit shows up in the mail.  Did I mention I got 5 letters yesterday??? FIVE!
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
With Labor Day and our very brief trip back to LaCrosse, I completely forgot to post anything.... and I'm not entirely sure which day of the week this is. Thursday? Yeah, that seems right. I guess I missed Wednesday Reading, but the only thing I managed this week was all 48 chapters of Kiss Him, Not Me / Watashi ga Motete Dōsunda by Junko (no relation, despite the fact that Junko is my fan pen name) a shoujo, reverse-harem manga that I actually really enjoyed.  Normally, I'm not a fan of either sub-genre, but this was very well done. Though I spent a lot of time having deep introspection about how much of an otaku I am, and whether or not that's actually a GOOD thing.  (The heroine is an otaku who is into yaoi and shipping her male friends with each other.)


But, so for the rest. I went back to LaCrosse only for a day because my parents are in the process of moving their house and so didn't have a huge amount of time for our usual Labor Day visit. We stayed at an AmericInn, which was possibly okay--we had a kind of crappy room, right off the pool with a vending machine just outside our door (thus a high traffic area), PLUS we were the very first room off one of the entry doors, which meant when people went out for a smoke it was right outside our window. That sucked and felt deeply unfair, since thanks to our big Yellowstone trip, we're VIP AmericInn members.  Probably we should have hassled the front desk for a better room, but we were only there for one night and didn't want to bother.  

It took us forever to get to LaCrosse for some reason. We left right at the usual time (around 8:30), but didn't roll in until nearly 12:30.  LaCrosse is not that far away. We did make an extended stop at Lark Toys to play a round of mini-golf, but I would not have thought that we were there THAT long (but apparently we were.)  We went to Rudy's for lunch, which is another last-of-summer tradition, which was nice.  Rudy's is one of those old-fashioned drive-ins and still has waitresses on roller skates to bring out your food. The food is decent, but it's an experience more than anything. From there we went antique shopping in the quaint section of the North Side called Old Towne North. There's not actually THAT many stores here, but the Sweet Shop (which really does have awesome ice-cream and a fountain soda dispenser) is there, too.  It is a neat little part of town. My only disappointment is that they've never quite been able to keep a coffee shop going there, though it should be an ideal location.  

Then we went to see my folk's new place and said good-bye to the old. Dinner was at the Pizza Hut that I swear has not changed since I was in high school (1980-1985.) I was pretty exhausted from the road, so I didn't even notice all the foot traffic in the hallway outside our hotel room and promptly crashed ridiculously early.  At some point, when we visit LaCrosse again, I would actually like to experience some of its nightlife, of which there is a TON.  

On Saturday morning we had breakfast at the Hungry Peddler. My folks joined us there. The Hungry Peddler is a big nostalgia trip for me, since my dad and I used to go there a lot when I was younger.  Then my family and I attempted to do a tourist thing in LaCrosse and find the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I have linked to a blog of someone who had a wonderful time there.  We did not. I kind of think that they could sense we were pagans trespassing, and so we only really saw the interpretative center and couldn't figure out how the heck to get up to the actual shrine.  We left disappointed.

Then we drove back in record time.  In fact, we zipped back to St. Paul so fast that I managed to miss seeing my friend Paul who was headed down to LaCrosse for a funeral.  I did managed to catch up with Paul on Tuesday, which was nice. Paul is probably one of my oldest remaining friends... that I actually make time to see. I mean, I have a ton of old high school pals that I'm in touch with on Facebook and other social media, but Paul is someone I will actually seek out to hang out with in person.

We hung out with Rosemary and her mom on Sunday because Mason wasn't sure if he was going to end up with ANY classes with his BFF, but it turns out they have Foundations (Washington's answer to homeroom) and debate together.  Mason came back from his first day of school absolutely bouncing.... literally. At one point I had to tell him to stop, I was afraid he was going to shake plates off the shelves in the kitchen.  But, he LOVES high school--as I knew he would. Things start to get interesting and challenging now and he's been kind of waiting his whole life for classes like that.  (Luckily, he's had a few, having been advanced into a couple of high school classes while he was in middle school.) He did not have to change school, which was nice, especially, as I said, he's already been doing some high school classes.  

So, that's me. I'm sure I forgot some of the things we did, but I will try to be better about posting here.

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