lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
2019-04-18 09:12 am
Entry tags:

Minicon Schedule

I will be at MiniCON 54 this weekend. I'm not on a huge amount of programming, but I will try to be at the con probably much of Saturday. I notice in the programming that there's a lot of people I'd like to see and hang out with doing things early that day, plus [personal profile] naomikritzer will be one of the guests of honor, so.....

Here's my official schedule.
 
Friday 8:30 PM
Right of Passages Fae Style
A rite of passage is a ceremony of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. It often comes with a significant change of status. Who are the Fae? How do the Fae go about their rituals, and are we in any danger just by discussing it? Right of passages stories in which faeries feature prominently are often female-centric. Why?
Park 2
Tom Hogan, Jane Yolen, Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer


Saturday 4:00 PM
GOH Interview - Naomi Kritzer
The interview of our Guest of Honor Naomi Kritzer
Park 1
Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer


Saturday 8:30 PM
Artificial Intelligence Best Practices - What do AI's want?
'OK Google, tell me why humans should be afraid of Artificial Intelligence.' In 1951, the year of the first rudimentary chess program and neural network, Alan Turing predicted that machines would 'outstrip our feeble powers' and 'take control.' In 1965, Turing's colleague Irving Good posited that devices more intelligent than humans could design devices more intelligent than themselves, ad infinitum: 'Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.'
What can we do to minimize the chances that our robots and computers turn against humanity or enslave us for our own good? Is it possible to create a free-willed intelligence that finds humanity likeable? What will Artificial Intelligence look like and what will it want?
Park 2
Sharon Kahn (m), Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, Eleanor Arnason, Shaun Jamison


Sunday 1:00 PM
Fanfic Writing Is Writing.
Many People write Fanfic, including some pros. What's fun about writing in an established universe? What does a writer get from the experience that's different than other writing styles? When does an author decide to file off the serial numbers and send it off to the publisher?
Park 2
Katie Clapham (m), Ruth Berman, Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, Peg Kerr


lydamorehouse: (Default)
2019-04-16 08:22 am

Dreams and History

 Yesterday at work a friend texted me. "Notre Dame is burning."

I called Shawn to confirm, and she said, "What ever you do, don't look at the pictures. It's heartbreaking."

I had intended to follow Shawn's advice, but when I stopped at the McDonald's on Rice Street to pick up a quick, late lunch, they had CNN on a big screen TV (who knew McDonald's even had TVs??). I saw the devastation. At that point the fire was still burning, the spire had fallen. Then, I listened to BBC news on NPR and cried. 

Yeah, I'm one of the privileged ones who has been to see Notre Dame, not once, but twice. I went when I was 16 or so, as part of my high school French trip. My parents took Shawn and I back, some time in the 1990s. We have a picture Shawn took of one of the gargoyles hanging in our kitchen. 

My having been there is NOT why I cried.

I've cried many of the same tears thinking about the library in Alexandria. I've cried the same tears when water leaked in the roof of the Immigration History Research Center. It's not about _my_ connection to the place, it's about the place and its connection to history, to the world, to future generations--not just tourists, either. 

I had a dream last night that I woke up from that I knew was about Notre Dame. Shawn has hired a new administrative assistant at her job at the Minnesota Historical Society who starts today. Last night, I dreamt I was this new employee. In my dream, I was moving into someone else's cubicle, an archivist who'd been working on a number of projects. Of the things I was cleaning of of this space were paper wrapped paper napkins. They were napkins that had advertisements printed on them from the Pillsbury company. When I carefully opened up the package in my dream, I discovered that the napkins--which each had separate ads on the--had been water damaged, the whole package of them, hundreds of individual bits of corporate history, had been fused together. Shawn (who was also NOT-Shawn in the way of dreams) wanted me to see if I could save any of them. I woke up in a cold sweat telling her that these had to go to conservation immediately, as I was afraid of ripping them.

When I woke up, I thought this is what I feel about Notre Dame. 

Small history is as important as big history, what's even more important is that it's preserved. When things are lost, big or small, they are lost. I mourned the napkins with corporate ads on them in my dream the same way I mourn Notre Dame. It's all history. It's all valuable. And, yes, we can rebuild, but things are still lost.

And it's okay to cry over the things that are lost.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2019-04-10 12:48 pm

(no subject)

Ugh, I have not had a chance to really sit down and finish the story of our trip to Chicago. It was amazing, honestly. The only other thing we did before leaving was go to the Shedd Aquarium.

a giant crab looking out of the aquarium at the camera.

This lovely crab is not the star of the story that i'm about to tell, but I didn't actually think to take pictures of the murder in progress that we observed in the tank two doors down, as it were. There was a crab that Mason and I watched that had cornered--pincered, really--a sea urchin and was greedily munching on its tank mate. We initially thought, "Oh, maybe that's crab food?" but then Mason noticed a picture of that exact urchin on the list of tank inhabitants and we were like, "Oh. Oh MY." Mason, who, when he was four of five would tell you that he wanted to grow up to be a marine biologist, was enraptured. I mean, I was, too? We must have stood by that tank watching the carnage for a good two or three minutes and Mason was like, "Okay, I want to come back to this, so let's look at other stuff and circle back around."

When we came back, the urchin had made a break for it (somehow!) and the crab was desperately trying to fish it out of the crevasse it had snuck into.

Such drama!

Also, Mason could NOT have been more excited to see an isopod and a ratfish, both of which are denizens of the very deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. A place Mason has longed to visit since he was a toddler. Other kids dream of the moon; Mason, the deep ocean.

Isopods, I should tell you, look like deep-sea pillbugs (or sowbug or rollypolly.) We sort of attracted a lot of "??" attention when Mason was like, "OMG, ima! An isopod!" Literally, everyone in the throng around us was like, "What's so damn exciting about a sea bug?" If anyone had asked that out loud, however, I'm SURE Mason would have been happy to tell them.

The drive back was uneventful. I managed to take a "wrong" turn leaving Chicago, so we ended up heading home via Milwaukee, but that wasn't the end of the world. Even as I veered off, I thought, "Eh, 90 / 94 both lead where I'm going, what's the difference?" And, sure enough, it wasn't much. We saw some slightly different scenery, is all.

Mason was back to school Monday and I worked at White Bear Lake from 10 to 2, which was only exciting because when I went to take the recycling out--Buttercup got out. Most of the time, this is no big deal. I nab him and toss him back inside.

This time, as one other time that I remember, Buttercup FREAKED OUT. He hissed at me when I approached him and growl/whined like I might hurt him. When I picked him up he got so scared that he basically ran over my face using his claws to get away from me. The cuts were not deep, but foreheads BLEED like a m-fer and I literally had to change my shirt before work because of the fountains of blood pouring off my face.

The reason I think Buttercup was having some kind of weird post-traumatic stress (he was stray before he came to us) is because when I opened the door, he ran in ahead of me like he was so, so very glad to be home away from that scary person trying to hurt him. He wound around my legs when I came in as though to say, "Ima, there was some scary sh*t out there, I barely escaped with my life, I love you so, so much!" My only other thought is that the other time he hissed at me like this and freaked out until I opened the door for him was another time when he got out and I kind of corned him between me and a wall. This time, it was me and a fence. Makes me think something really nasty must have happened to him that's lodged in his subconscious.

Poor baby.

I'm also deeply angry that, despite all the blood, I barely look injured. If you look closely (or I point to them) you can see the various scabs, but damn it. I was mauled in the FACE! I wanted to tell people some wild lie about how I was attacked by a bobcat!! My mutant healing factor has cursed me again. I never black eyes, either, damn it.

And now, three days later, everything just itches... and I can't scratch because they're all still so new and surface.

Sigh.

Anyway, I don't have much to report in terms of reading. I'm currently reading a manga called Hinamatsuri by Ohtake Masao, about a magical girl who falls (like literally, out of the sky) into the life of a low-level yakuza thug. She's from an alternate dimension/other world where telekinesis is a thing and so she's got superpowers that come in handy from time to time, but she's also like 11? So, the yakuza guy kind of becomes a trying-to-be-tough/secretly-softy foster father for her. I'm on chapter 40 or about 83 and I'm not sure I'm going to finish it? I don't hate it--in fact there have been a lot of fairly touching scenes so far and some humor that I could appreciate, but this kind of light touch is always a tough sell for me. I love humor in manga, but I tend to really prefer humor as a side note to more serious material? 

Anyway, a friend of mine also let me know that there is a second season of "Morose Mononokean" available on Crunchyroll, so I've been watching that. It's yet another story of a high schooler who can see yokai (this is apparently a MAJOR epidemic among high schoolers in Japan,) but I really have been digging the world-building around the yokai and the Mononokean (a kind of living, temple/tea house that moves through space, and, of course, currently occupies the folded space inside the high school.)  And the relationship between the master of the Monokean (Abeno) and the aforementioned high schooler. 

So, that's me ATM. I am working again tomorrow, from 9 to 1 at Shoreview.  But, we now have to pay for the trip to Chicago, so that's how it goes.

In other news, it's April 10th and it's snowing BUCKETS outside.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2019-04-05 07:42 pm

Chicago Trip

 We were headed down to Chicago to visit the University of Chicago. Mason got some early recruitment spam thanks to having taken the PSAT early, so we signed up for the University of Chicago's open house. There was going to be a half day program (from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm) program on Friday. So, we booked our hotel for Thursday and Friday nights. Going from a list provided by the U (with U visiting discounts), we ended up booking the London House: Hilton, with a view of the Chicago River, and... it turns out, this monstrosity:

Trump Tower (Chicago)


But, I get ahead of myself.

We headed out fairly early on Thursday morning.  But, rather than eat on the road, we stopped at Grandview Cafe and fueled up before hitting the highway. This meant we had a leisurely breakfast and probably didn't leave town until almost 9:30 am.  Usually, when traveling with Shawn we would have left at LEAST an hour earlier. We also would never have done what we did for a late lunch, which was drive into Madison, Wisconsin, to State Street and have a sit down meal at Taiwan Little Bites:

interior of a restaurant

The food here was really pretty amazing. Mason lamented that Madison was too far away to make this restaurant a regular. We are going to be hard pressed to drive past Madison now on our way to Indiana and not BEG Shawn to let us detour. Though, I think it could potentially drive her nuts (much as it did Mason) that I sort of drive into Madison by feel and muscle memory (I used to go to WisCON a lot and can still find the Concourse Hotel without much trouble.)

Then, we got checked into our fancy hotel and then promptly took a taxi out to the iO theater (Kingsbury Street) to watch "Improv Shakespeare."  The venue reminded me a lot of Bryant-Lake Bowl. There was a main bar area, complete with too-loud music and a fairly decent burger menu with the stages off down weird narrow halls. I had bought the tickets ahead of time and picked them up at the will call window (which always makes me feel like a fancy urban theater-goer). Even though it was general seating, the usher showed us to TERRIBLE seats. We were in folding chairs in an added row between two sets of tabled seats. It was like if someone had a regular restaurant set-up and then just added a row of chairs right behind the seats at the tables. So, like the two ladies in front of us felt compelled to introduce themselves to us because we were basically breathing on their necks, like odd, vaguely uninvited guests. I did not like that part much, but the show was actually quite hilarious. I tend to really enjoy improv, anyway, and it is recognizably one of the hardest forms of theater. But, these guys were great. There were a few absurd moments, but there were many, many more, "How did you manage a rhyming couplet about how Burgundy is in France?" 

interior of small theater

I was a little concerned about how to get a taxi back. A friend of mine said that the bar could call me a cab, but the bar did not. Their suggestion was "walk towards the translation" and hope. It had started raining, but that's what we did.

And I hailed a cab like a f*cking BOSS.

The cab drives were both memorable. The first one was memorable for that classic big city white-knuckle, grab the roll bar, "did he just jump the concrete median? Yes, he did!" kind of ride. The drive home was far more stately and relaxed, but filled with an honest to god character who wanted to complain about the city's corruption and had the oddest vocal tick. He ended every sentence with either, "You know what I mean?" or "Yeah, I know what you mean." 

Today, Friday, we spent the largest portion of the day doing the program that they had for us at the University of Chicago's Open House. We listened to a lot of talks, got a campus tour, and generally got star-struck by the amaze that is the University of Chicago. Mason would love to go there... for all sorts of reasons, but not the least of which is that the main quad's architecture is gorgeous. I think any kid that dreamed of going to Hogwart's would be happy to go to a school that looks like this...

Gothic building at the University of Chicago

But because I screwed up and mis-read the agenda, Mason and I survived on only coffee until almost 2 pm, when we finally had lunch at a noodle shop not far from campus. 

Parking around the U is also kind of a nightmare. Possibly, I should have figured out how to take public transport in, but instead we ended up at a parking ramp that was not only expensive, but weirdly hard to figure out how to get back into as a pedestrian. We figured it out, but there might have been some yelling.

Things kind of went pear-shaped from there. I probably should have had a better plan for us, to be fair. Normally, I do. But, I wasn't able to get any good Chicago guidebooks before we left town, so we were kind of dependent on the kindness of strangers to tell us what cool things we should do and see. Everyone seemed to think we needed to see Millennium Park. Well, first of all, we might have enjoyed it more, if I had listened to the GPS and kept driving to find the right place. Instead, Mason and I ended up wandering about in some other, very uninteresting park muttering. "Where the heck is the bean?" forever. Finally, we got back in the car and found the right place. By that point, everything would have had to be on fire to impress us. So, we were very, "Meh, a bean," and annoyed by how much it cost to park in the official lot.

obligatory bean shot

Mason and I went back to the hotel after that and Mason promptly face planted on the bed. 

I am happy to say that I have a plan for when he wakes up hungry. I researched late-night food places, so I'm going to treat him to a short walk down Michigan Avenue to a fun place (Safehouse) that is open until 2 am. So, no matter when he wakes up (presumably) we can still do a fun thing... unless he sleeps through, in which case, ah well. Next time.

Tomorrow, we pack up and check out, but we've got tickets to the Shedd Aquarium (free, thanks to a friend who volunteers there) and so we're for sure going to see that before we leave town. We may try to see a few other things, that'll be completely up to Mason. I don't really care when we leave time, though I would like to be home before midnight on Saturday. But, we're not likely to do Chicago again overnight like this for a long while, so we might as well live it up.

chicago skyline with corn cob building
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
2019-04-02 10:22 am

Birthday and Car Woes

 Shawn's birthday was yesterday, a Monday.

She took the day off, in order to have a three day weekend birthday celebration. We went thrifting, shoe shopping, and out to dinner/lunch numerous times. Shawn loves to go to Taste of India, so that's where we were Sunday night in celebration. On her birthday proper, we stayed in, had a favorite home cooked meal, and watched "Into the Spider-Verse," which you probably already know, is a supremely awesome movie.

Today, I took the car to Dave's to prep it for Mason and my road trip down to Chicago. Dave called a few minutes ago with the bad news. We need new struts, which is actually going to set us back a pretty penny. On the other hand, I'd rather spend the money than have the car brake down somewhere in Wisconsin, or gods forbid on one of those insane by-ways in Chicago.  Boo. 

Shawn is also thinking very seriously this year about entering one (or two, depending on the categories) of her rugs into the State Fair's competition. Last year, when I went to support Mason's robotics team. their demonstration happened to be in the tail end of the craft barn, so I ended up wandering through all of the exhibits of knitted things, quilts, and all the usual stuff  you expect to seen in such a place. I was surprised to see a category for rag rugs and only two place winners, first and second. We found out that that's because only two people entered. If the odd stay like this, Shawn is pretty much guaranteed a third place.... I mean, of course, now the secret is out and they might be flooded in the rag rug division.  

We're keeping our eye out for when those applications are due.

The other thing that's going to have to happen this spring, probably even before we fix our bewitched tub, is the front steps. The concrete is finally crumbling beyond our ability to apply patches. Shawn sent me the name of someone to call and give us an estimate for that. 

Ah, at least work called today and asked if I could go to work at White Bear on Monday from 10-2. Believe me, with all the bills coming due, I signed the f*ck right up.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2019-03-29 04:27 pm

Manga Library at Volunteering at Anime Detour

 I volunteered to be part of a pop-up library at Anime Detour this weekend, though MELSA, the over-arching library organization to which Ramsey County Libraries belong. The gig was short two-hour shifts, and I thought why not? If nothing else, it's essentially a free past to the con.  They encouraged cosplay, so I dug out my old Aizen cosplay. The picture is blurry because the only full length mirror we have in our house is behind a door that we almost never close and even though I washed centuries of dust off the surface, the glass is still wavy with age. But, I wanted to show a full length picture because frankly, the footwear is my best part. The tabi (the two toed socks are PERFECT). The rest is borrowed or thrift store finds.

blurry picture of a dumpy lesbian in a soul reaper cosplay

Finding the convention was kind of trip. I had not gone last year when they moved venues, so finding the Hyatt on Nicollet Avenue was a lot of me cursing while making u-turns in downtown Minneapolis. I have long joked that since moving to St. Paul the directional faeries of Minneapolis have rejected me, because things I used to find with ease now completely baffle me.  So, I'm glad I left a half hour earlier than I normally would have given myself to get into downtown, because... yeah.

The pop-up library was fun. They had a tables set up with a bunch of different activities. There were, of course, manga to look through and read (but we weren't checking any out,) comfy spots to read, etc., but we were also hosting a raffle drawing and a button for a fact table. I ended up staffing the button table. The idea is, that if you write down a fact (any fact, doesn't have to be manga or anime related, it can be like, "I am attending Anime Detour") and in exchange you can pick up a fannish related button for FREE.

somehow I look fatter and dumpier in same outfit but now I am in front of a table with buttons on it

Somehow I look ten times fatter in this picture. Ah, well, such is life. You can at least see the table with the buttons on it.

I had to pick up Shawn right after my shift, so I didn't get much of a chance to wander around the con. I went into artist's alley, and glanced at stuff but decided I'd better get going, because rush hour. 

And then I couldn't remember where I parked my car.

Like, I was standing around in downtown Minneapolis thinking, "Oh my god, which one of these bazillion parking ramps is the one I went into???" I have a pretty good directional memory, so I knew approximately what street (turns out I had the right parking lot on the first guess, but I went in the wrong door so the interior looked different.) At one point I was thinking, what do I even do if I can never figure it out? Do I take the bus home and wait for them to impound it?? We only have the one car!  But, after much panicked searching, I did find it. I even SOMEHOW made it across town in time to pick up Shawn at the usual time.

So that was my day. I do it again tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, Mason is still roboting. He's got tomorrow, as well. I heard from Shawn that their team won a few rounds and seemed to generally have a good day. I won't probably head out to pick him up until after 6:30 pm. Long days for that kid. I'll have to post more of the pictures that they shared on their twitter feed.

lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
2019-03-28 08:32 am

Reporting In, Sir!

I have a bunch of things to report, for those interested.  

First, I booked a hotel room for Mason and I in downtown Chicago for our trip in early April to attend the Open House at the University of Chicago. We're headed down on Thursday, April 4, for a Friday, half day presentation.  The tentative schedule of events includes "model classes," which, I mean, *I* will totally enjoy, even if Mason does not. Because the Friday programming starts so early, I booked our hotel through until Saturday morning so that we could have a little time to generally explore Chicago, which is something Mason has been wanting to do since forever. We go there fairly often, but almost always straight to the Field Museum, and I think he'd like to see some new stuff, if at all possible. To the end, I booked us some theater tickets. Since Chicago is known for its improv comedy, I found us a show called "Improvised Shakespeare" to go see on Thursday night.

I plan to hit the library in the next few days and raid it of any and all books on traveling to Chicago that they might have, because I love playing tourist pretty much anywhere.

Continuing with Mason-related news, Mason found out this morning that he did NOT get accepted to the Yale Global Studies Youth Summer Program for this year, alas. He did get the option to go on the waiting list, but since we were always on the fence about how the in living f*ck we were going to pay for this and the fact that Mason actually really ENJOYS a program free summer, we're letting him decide whether or not he's going to request to be on the waiting list or not. I feel pretty good about this outcome, despite an initial wave of disappointment. Had he gotten in, there would have been massive panic to rearrange our summer schedule, figure out whether or not it was worth a loan, etc., etc. Moreover, Mason only heard about the program two weeks before the application deadline. The fact that he got as far as being wait listed, seems pretty darned good.

Besides, because it's Yale, one of the many schools caught up in the pay to play scandal? I can totally just mutter, "Humph, I'm sure some rich family just paid to get THEIR kid on the top of the list." ;-)

Continuing on with things Mason is up to... Today is the first day of Mason's robotics tournament at the University of Minnesota (Williams Arena).  It's a three day thing, with inspections and warm-ups today and competition tomorrow and Saturday.  Mason left for school this morning saying, "Well, today the team gets to re-learn how to tolerate each other in a 10 x 10 space for 8 hours  without restarting to actual murder," which when he puts it like that i wonder why he likes this activity at ALL.  :-)

Shawn's birthday is coming up, on the first of April. Today, in fact, I need to take some time to get my butt to the store and get her the present she's been asking for. I meant to do that yesterday, but she ended up staying home with a terrible migraine. I could pretend that I stayed home to nurse her through it, but I actually left her sleeping to go hang out with my friends Harry and [personal profile] naomikritzer at a Chinese buffet for two hours to talk Marvel movies and rock operas.

For myself, I have to remember that I signed up to work/volunteer at the MELSA pop-up manga library at Anime Detour both tomorrow (from noon - 2 pm) and Saturday (6pm - 8 pm). 

Wow, we have a lot going on.

How's you?
lydamorehouse: (Aizen)
2019-03-26 08:45 am

Apocalypses of Cats and Lesbians

I turned in my apocalypse story yesterday morning. I will let you all know what, if anything, becomes of that. It was a good story for me to write. I normally DON'T use writing as therapy, but this one was a good vehicle to work out some of my feelings about my cats' deaths. It was kind of a "the world ends, but you go on anyway" sort of apocalypse.

Now it's time to turn my attention to Unjust Cause and getting that thing in order for Wizard Tower Press.

Last night, we had a guest. Mason has several close friends on his Overwatch Team. One of them is a young person named Græ (pronounced like Gray, and might even be spelled with a 'y' also. That is their online persona, but what Mason calls them, so...), who just happened to be in town with their parents visiting Macalaster College. Mason and Græ arranged to hang out and play video games in the basement. We ordered pizza, because of course, and also Græ is a vegetarian. We got to meet Græ's parents, who I absolutely ADORED. I mean, do you ever have that experience where you start talking to someone and you think, "Oh! This is one my people!" It was like that. Græ and Mason already knew each other, so they got on like a house on fire, as well. I think Græ was here from 4 pm to almost 10 pm, and then we all stood around the living room hanging out for another half hour when it was supposed to be time to pick-up because, yeah, they were all that great.

So that was a lot of fun.

While it Mason and Græ played video games and chatted in the basement, Shawn and I went upstairs and watched "Ant-Man and Wasp," which Shawn hadn't seen before. We started watching some Hong Kong drama called "Iceman," about time traveling Chinese warriors, but Shawn found that just too silly (many wires, much weirdness) and so we switched over to the MCU. Shawn had NOT seen the first Ant-Man, but was introduced to him via "Captain America: Civil War." She really loved the character Luis, so we're going to try and hunt down that first Ant-Man, because I do think she'll like the Luis bits, if nothing else.

Speaking of the MCU, I saw "Captain Marvel" and loved it. Only really a spoiler if you are living under a cave, but I respect cave-dwellers so... )

Over the weekend, we made a double batch of fleischkeukle, which, as my parents pointed out when they called, is something we seem to be doing more often. This is true, partly because we made the decision to make smaller batches more often. Otherwise, it takes ALL DAY. It only took MOST of the day this way.

Uncooked dough meat pockets, like slightly larger pierogi lining a baking pan

People on Facebook asked me what we fill these with. Shawn's family traditionally fills them with hamburger, onions, and spices. Very simple. The dough is really only special because it's a cream-based dough. They still manage to be very delicious, IMHO, particularly when eaten, piping hot, right out of the deep-fat frier.

Same meat filled pockets only deep-fat fried to a golden brown

My D&D group got cancelled on Saturday night, for reasons of a death in the extended family of one of our members. That made me sad for a number of reasons. I really look forward to playing, if nothing else, but the situation reminded me a lot of my (still living) first lover and all those complicated feelings that I will probably carry around my whole life, much like what our member described. 

The only other news is that we moved Shawn in to her new upstairs office on Saturday, while Mason was at work. Mostly this involved carrying plants and all the delicate things not normally trusted to workplace movers. I think her new office looks very nice, very IMPORTANT, befitting a State Archivist and Director of Library and Archives. The only thing she needs more of is art for the big beige industrial walls and she'll be set.

I think that's everything I know. I mean, I could squee at you all about my fannish life, wherein I have a fan of my fan work, who happens to be an artist and who has taken it upon themselves to make a manga-esque comic book out of on of my Bleach fics. As someone who always wanted to grow up to be a comic book artist herself, it thrills me no end to see my words put to pictures in this particular way. In fact, yesterday, I finished another chapter of this work and so I made sure to send a sneak preview to my artist ahead of time in the secret hope that they will feel inspired to draw something from the upcoming action. :-) I don't expect anyone here to be all that curious, but if you are, the permalink to my reblog is: http://junko222.tumblr.com/post/183671888942/aysmiro-comic-for-junko-and-her-story-forever (a note for those who are regular manga readers, this one reads English-language style, left to right.) The story of mine that 'aysmiro' is illustrating is linked to at the bottom of the three page panel spread, too, if you're inspired to check out my work, as well.

So cool.


lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
2019-03-22 05:05 pm

Crap. Where Did The Time Go?

 Okay, wow, I forgot to post anything for a week. Gomenasai. My bad.

I did have some stories I wanted to recount, too. First of all, I worked at Shoreview Library on Saint Patrick's Day proper, last Sunday. For some reason I thought that the library opened at 10 am, and, as I was scheduled for 11 am - 3 pm, I waltzed in the door (using my beep-y lanyard thingie) and promptly set off the alarm. As it happened, my colleagues were coming in right behind me and so someone was able to put in the code to turn off the blaring. But, that was... interesting, as we say here in Minnesota.

I've always wondered what would happen if I just randomly tried to go into a library after hours with my official employee badge door opener.  Now I know!

I ended up working at Shoreview again on Monday night, which was fine. I continue to like library work and it gave me an opportunity to discover Polar Bear Love, a ridiculous manga about cross-species love. 

I spent a lot of the rest of the week playing taxi for Mason. He has been volunteering as a debate coach and there were two big tournaments at the U (Anderson Hall, West Bank) this week.  He ended up taking the light rail home last night, because his matches went late and I had Wyrdsmiths--which I couldn't skip as they were reading the apocalypse short story of mine which is due April 1. Speaking of which, that's all revised. I need to look over it several more times before I send it off, but I feel really quite good about it. I took some risks and i think they paid off. We'll see. 

Today is Friday, and so I hung out with [personal profile] naomikritzer and [personal profile] pegkerr at the coffeeshop and talked politics and water in the basement and all that sort of stuff.

And... now I can't remember what else I wanted to report, so I guess I'll close now with a promise to be better in the future.
lydamorehouse: (Aizen)
2019-03-16 09:16 am

Robotics Pictures

 Mason and his team working the robot

Team Magnatech 4229, with Mason in the olive green shirt, working on their robot in Grand Forks, North Dakota. 

We haven't heard very much from Mason while he's been off roboting, but their schedule is packed with one competition after another. Shawn has managed to watch a few of the matches on their Twitter livestream, but it always looks like unconstrained chaos to me, honestly. I can never remember our team's number (4229) and following the action is difficult. However, they were last ranked 26 or 24, which is pretty good, upper middle.  Though their feed reports problems with the controllers this morning, which means they currently can't get the robot to respond. (I swear this happens to them once a competition.)

Meanwhile, I've been humming along. I agreed to work at the library tomorrow from 11 am to 3 pm.  I may regret it for a number of reasons: 1) I might miss hearing some of Mason's stories firsthand about the trip, since he'd due back tonight at midnight, and 2) it's St. Patrick's Day official, which.. I mean, I can't imagine that libraries are a big destination on St. Patrick's Day, but who knows? 

I've got a St. Patrick's Day party myself tonight, and, since I have to be awake to pick Mason up at midnight, I can go and hang out as long as I like. 

I'm sure I have other news, but the caffeine hasn't hit yet.

Standing around watching a robot be unwrapped
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
2019-03-13 09:09 am

Oh, Hormones, You Vex Me

We got Mason off for his robotics trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Alas, not without some static, when I thought I was being helpful. But, Mason is resisting ANY form of mothering me at the moment. It's like he's a toddler again with the whole, "IMA, I CAN DO IT." Even when, what I think I'm doing isn't mothering at all, but what i would do for anyone, like grabbing him a drink from the fridge.

But, I mean, we worked it out. I even got an apologetic "You do a lot for me. I'm sorry, I should appreciate you more," text. Which is huge. He is, really, as my friend Josey put it, a good lad. If I think back to my terrible teens? I was holy terror. Pretty sure I never told my mother i appreciated the things she did for me.

To be fair to everyone, this trip kind of came up suddenly, despite being on our calendar since forever.

Hell, I feel like March kind of came up suddenly, despite the natural progression of the calendar. Is it just me? How is it already the 13th?

But, it's Wednesday, so that means reading! I actually have some things to report, holy crap. I read SEMIOSIS by Sue Burke. At first I wasn't sure about it. I loved the first chapter and then felt a little dismayed when the second chapter jumped ahead a generation. I have, in my life, been very burned by time skips *cough*BLEACH*cough* *cough*HARRY POTTER*cough* But, I pushed through and discovered that EACH chapter is a different generation, which, in the end, worked out. I ended up enjoying the whole ride. So, ultimately: would recommend.

I'm now finally on to A RECORD OF A SPACE-BORN FEW by Becky Chambers, which I am likewise ambivalent about, but I'm rolling along with it because i have long been a fan of Chamber's narrative voice. There are some people who just READ well, in my head, and Chambers is one of them.

I haven't read much in the way of manga, which is.. I'm running out of new things to pick-up at the library, I think. I read the first two volumes of a manga that the library had about a serial killing magical blade, (Durarara!! Drrr!! Saika arc by Ryohgo Narita) but I didn't even review what I read because I just kind of went 'meh.' Which is weird, I should probably go back and do some kind of review, but I don't know. I did review From Green Kitchen by Ueda Aki (which I had read on-line), but I also read My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness finally, and I didn't review that.

I guess, I need to do a little review work and catch up.

Any-WAY, what are you all reading?
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
2019-03-11 07:32 pm

Well, THAT Could Have Gone Better....

 This morning started out a little rough.

We had a kerfuffle in the car. It shouldn't even be classified in the "fight" or "argument" category, but, of course, with a teenager and two premenopausal women in the car, it FELT like a category 4 hurricane.

What was it about? Nothing. Everything. It was about Inky's death. It was about Mason growing up so fast and me forgetting that he can take care of himself and doesn't need me hovering over him making sure he eats his lunch. It was about every fight we ever had where feelings got hurt.

We worked it all out by the time I got back from Menards. Mason, who has been feeling like our arguments don't have resolutions, asked me to text him what I thought the resolution of this fight was, so I did. That was actually a GREAT idea. We should do this for every kerfuffle. If for no other reason than that it GIVES ME THE LAST WORD, BWAH HAHAHAHAHA!~!  But, seriously, I had forgotten my phone at home so I stopped to get it before heading out for cat food and that gave me a lot of time to not be hormonally charged and could take a reasoned look at what the STUPID actual issue was and sort it out and offer solutions.

We had a nice text change, Mason and I. Normally, I feel like talking things out is best, but the occasional tech support via text is a good idea. 

ANYWAY, what else has been happening?  Let's see. I think I reported that I finished my short story and got it off to my critique group on Thursday night. I've since been asked to consider submitting something to another place, a flash fiction contest, and I should try to do something for that if only because it's 300 words MAX. I SHOULD be able to pull that together by the middle of April.  If not, there's something seriously wrong with me.

I've been able to read novels again, so I'll have things to report tomorrow, if I remember to post.

Oh, I know what else we've been doing! Last night we, after school, we drove out to Famous Footwear and Target to get Mason new shoes and a swimsuit for his trip to Grand Forks, ND. He and his robotics team are going to North Dakota for a tournament. They weren't able to afford any practice tournaments last year, so they're looking forward to this one. Hopefully, this will give them the chance to work out any bugs before the big tournament at the U (or wherever it will be this year.) He leaves on a bus tomorrow afternoon and will be in LATE on Saturday. I'm sure it will be tremendous fun, in the way that those trips away from home always are for Mason. Dude LOVES travel, even if it's only across town to visit a museum.

Speaking of which, I got a couple of new books at Barnes & Noble the other day, both local tourism books. One is a book of walking tours of Minneapolis/St. Paul and the other is easy day trips from here. I'm SO READY for warmer weather so that I can go exploring my own town. Also, my Canadian is coming back for her big Yarn/Knitting conference in April so I'll have chance to show her around again. This time she wants to see museums.  I also really want to get to the cat cafe. I should see if that's still in operation. 

So, that's me.  I hope you all are doing well.
lydamorehouse: (gryffindor)
2019-03-07 08:22 am

Crime Fighting Before Breakfast (on Brand!)

 To be fair, I stopped to get a cup of coffee from Claddaugh before I spent 20 minutes on the phone telling my credit card company that, yeah, no, I did not want $99 of Proactiv sent to Jamie Sanabria in Miami, Florida. 

Thank all the gods that not only did Jamie need to provide a delivery address for their purchase, but ALSO that Proactiv had whatever the f*ck they wanted on backorder, because WE GOT THE NOTIFICATION OF DELAY. The purchase had not yet shown up on our credit card statement and without Proactiv's lovely note informing us that our shipment to Jamie was going to be late by 2 to 3 weeks, we would have had no idea that someone was using our credit card.

Thanks to stunning incompetence all around, we were spared.

And now we're getting new credit cards. Whee!

So, that was my morning. How are you?

Let's see, the last couple of days have been kind of busy, but all in a good way. I spent yesterday morning having a lovely chat [personal profile] jiawen about a recent trip she took, Tiawan in general, and life. Oh! But, I forgot to ask her the question I've been asking everyone since hanging out with [personal profile] naomikritzer on Tuesday, however!

Naomi and I were chatting, like you do, about the various interesting things seen on social media, and she left me with this lovely question: Is there a childhood event that you would consider most "on brand" to who you are today?  

This stuck with me because I felt a little stumped. I could only think of something I'd done as an adult/post-college, that I would considered on "brand."  I mean, part of what's interesting about this question is that you sort of also have to define what you think is your BRAND.

For me, I picked a story from when I worked at the Immigration History Research Center at the U of MN, where a colleague and I detected what smelled like a potential gas leak.  That rotten egg smell?  I told my boss about it and there was some discussion about what to do. When it seemed like the answer was going to be, "Meh, it's probably fine, everybody go back to work," I announced that I was walking off the job. I would be going next door to dial 9-1-1 and wait somewhere safe. I was told to sit down and get back to work. I refused and looked my boss in the eye and dared them to fire me. Three hours later, I was the only one who did not have to ride in the ambulance because along with the natural gas there was a MASSIVE CARBON MONOXIDE LEAK. There was well over 400 parts per million in the air.

When I asked Shawn and told her that I couldn't think of anything that was from my "youth," she said, "Well, promise not to be mad, but..." and reminded me of the story I told her about when, in high school, I was in Paris on the senior language class trip and I talked a friend of mine into to going into a fancy restaurant because I noticed that escargot was on the menu. We sat down, ordered, ate the escargot (salty! yum!) and then walked out. It was only later did we realize we had walked out of an eight course meal, having only eaten the appetizer. Shawn said she figured that my "brand" was "adventurous, but kind of foolhardy."

*shrugs*

Seems also accurate.

For Shawn, I could think of two incidents from when she was very, very small. Apparently, her very first full sentence as a toddler was when she was reaching for something, she stopped herself and said, "Oh hell, that's a no-no."  I find that both very adorable and very Shawn. Also, when she was fighting with her older brother Keven, she, apparently, got super mad and the WORST thing she could think to do was write "HELL" on a piece of notebook paper and slide it under Keven's locked door. (She's still mad that her much older brother narced on her.) 

Mason didn't really want to play this game, and, to be fair, he's not entirely settled on a brand.  We have stories we love to tell on him, but it's not clear yet which of those will be the most likely to represent his future self.  I'm hoping it's the story of, when, in kindergarten, the teacher was talking about compound words to get the kids using longer words, and she asked the class to think of the biggest word they knew. When they got to Mason he said, "Antidisestablishmentarianism." She told us she blinked at him and said, "What?" And Mason with a pained sigh, slowly repeated "anti-dis-establish-ment-ari-an-ism." She said, "is that a word?" He said, "It's the longest word in the English language." (in a tone that implied that he was vaguely mortified that she didn't know.)

The reason he knew, of course, is that we were heavy into a video game called "Bookworm Adventures" where you get points making super long words and he'd wanted to know what would be the longest word we could potentially spell. So, we looked up the longest word. I think there are chemical compounds that are longer, but this one I'd also heard of.  We brought in the dictionary's definition to show his teacher.

Those are my family's "on brand" moments.  What's yours? 
lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
2019-03-04 11:38 am

Plague House (Sort of)

 I just got back from picking Shawn up from work. She only did a half day today, and wouldn't have gone in at all except for the fact that some budget or other is due. Shawn has the crud that Mason had last week. So far, knock on wood, it's passed me by.  Possibly due to my mutant healing factor.

Because it's that season, Kowalski's had corned beef on sale. There's a hunk of it in the slow cooker right now, waiting for Mason and I to get back from dropping off his PSEO application at the University this afternoon.  Next up, getting a PSEO application together for Metro State. I will be sad if Mason doesn't get accepted into the U's program, but he's going to have to get math somewhere next year so we're going to put in a couple of back-up applications. I would have driven the application to the U myself already today, but Mason is VERY insistent that he wants to come along. He's been the one driving this, so I can hardly deny him the pleasure of turning everything in. Plus, he has a couple of questions he wants to ask the admission folks, so.... Anyway, the offices are open until 4:30 pm. It should be no problem getting there before then.

I'm slowly getting back into the mood for reading actual novels. I'm about half way through a book called CONDOMNAUTS by Yoss, which, I think, was up for the Philip K. Dick. It's... arty, but I'm enjoying it, anyway. I'lll tell you all more about it, if I finish it by What Are You Reading, Wednesday.

I have a literal pile of books I want to read next, so I'm well motivated to finish it up. It's a sliver of a book. If I wasn't dyslexic and used to being a much slower reader than anyone I know, I'd feel bad about it taking me this long to get through it.

I worked on my apocalypse story again today. I've established enough that I now have to figure out how I want to end it. I'm going to have to do something about an ending in the next day or so, though, because I need to be able to hand it out at Thursday's Wyrdsmith's meeting. If I'm going to get it back in enough time to do revisions, it needs to go out at this first meeting.  It's a weird story. Very sad. Eleanor is going to hate it; she hates sad stories. Right now, despite having an official title, it's in my documents file as "Sad Apocalypse."

Speaking of finally getting back to reading and writing again, I also managed a letter yesterday. I have about four pen pal letters that I haven't replied to yet. Did I tell you guys that I FINALLY got a Japanese pen pal?  Eiko. I have been very careful so far, not to mention that I'm a giant, nerd otaku. I don't want to scare her off.

She's already been somewhere to see the cherry blossoms, so I'm looking forward to sending her pictures of the massive amounts of snow piles we have.

Okay, I'm going to get up and put the potatoes in the oven. I'm making twice-baked potatoes to go along with the corned beef.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2019-03-02 07:24 pm
Entry tags:

Computer Woes

 First of all, I've had a number of people ask me: yes, Mason's got his ROG back thanks to a quick order of a replacement cord. In fact, he's currently sitting across from me voice chatting with his friend Gray as they play Portal 2 together. 

Meanwhile, this is how I'm typing.

a mac with a usb keyboard connected by a wire

It may not be clear, but my Mac is missing a few keys. It's been without an "s" and a "d" for some time, but I'd be able to tap over the empty space and still get what I needed. But, the other night a bunch of keys on that row stopped working. I could bang on them as hard as I wanted and nothing happened. So, I starting trying to clean out the gunk i figured must be underneath the keys. I was getting some good stuff out, too! But... uh, then... yeah, let's just say I should NOT be allowed to poke at my computer with any kind of implement including a frozen turkey.

The keyboard, though?  I kind of dig it. First of all, it's the keyboard I "grew up" on (I'm actually old enough to have learned to type on a TYPEWRITER). But, the clickity-clacking of this baby? I'm into it!  I might be wrong, but I feel like I type faster.

It's just kind of physically awkward.

But, for now, it's good enough.

Anyway, sorry for not keeping everyone abreast of things. Mostly, it's been snowing here and I've been shoveling... I mean, the excitement is palpable, am I right?  I honestly don't know what I've been doing with my time--oh, let's see, I finished my critiquing/mentorship with my Broad Universe Canadian. We're going to be having our last Skype session on Wednesday, coming up.  After that, I'm going to throw myself into finishing up my apocalypse story, and then get working getting the novel together for Cheryl at Wizard Tower Press. Mason and I are going to spend tonight finishing up PSEO application stuff. 

So, yeah, it's like that.

Here's a picture of my kitty playing with his favorite mousie game on the iPad. He'll actually ask for it by coming up to the iPad and pawing at it. He'll do that and then look at me, like, "Hooman, do the thing to make the mouse come?"

kitty playing with an iPad mouse game
lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
2019-02-20 09:22 am

About Last Night...

 Last night was the speculative fiction smut reading at Kieran's Pub.  I spent much of the day, yesterday, feeling very nervous about the whole thing. Nervous probably isn't the right word. I do a lot of public performance, much of it off the cuff, but I'm NOTORIOUSLY bad at reading naughty bits, out loud, in front of a crowd. I have _literally_ hired stunt readers, while rolling around in embarrassment under the table at cons during slash readings.

So...

A friend of mine who is an actor in New York volunteered to listen to my pieces and give critique to help improve my performance. They are also a Bleach fan, so we probably spent more of our time together lamenting the ending of the manga.  But, it was really neat to finally see them in person (we did a Google hangout) and put a face and a voice to text, as it were. But, knowing I was going to read to Taylor meant that I practiced both pieces several times, even before talking to them over Hangouts. 

Then, [personal profile] naomikritzer came over and, my random luck, I made an amazing "pot roast hash" out of some leftover rump roast and some veggies.  We chatted for a bit, but both of us had errands to try to get in before the snow started, so we said goodbye early and I headed out with Mason's laptop to Computer Revolution.

I totally recommend Computer Revolution in Roseville to local folks, btw. First of all, they did what we wanted the "Genius Squad" to do at Best Buy, which was test the cord with a voltmeter. The cord, they determined, was shot.  It is, of course, still possible that there is more than one problem going on with the ROG, but we have an easy place to start. Shawn ordered the cord as soon as I told her what I'd learned, since she'd already done all the research in case we might need one. I asked the guys, though, if the cord doesn't solve the issue, are there other options that don't involve replacing the motherboard as Best Buy seemed to suggest would be the only other issue (and far too expensive a prospect). They had lots of options, several of which were very potentially reasonably priced.  So, that's a huge YAY.

Mason came home a bit early from robotics, despite it being "stop build day," the day they have to literally wrap up their robot and put it away until competition, because he was feeling kind of sick. He seems to have caught a cold.  

After picking up Mason, feeding him, etc., I got dressed and headed out.

I got lost at least twice, mostly because I don't know left from right, but I managed to get there by 7:30 pm, which was perfect, as it gave me a chance to find a place to park and get in and get the lay of the land.

Kieran's pub is kind of beautiful. The Not-So-Silent Planet folks managed to have their own private section, a part of the pub that is legit called "The Poet's Room" and it has its own doors, own bar, etc. I was really sad to hear that they will be having to move the venue next season, because it could not be a more perfect place for this kind of event.  It's both public, but very intimate and private.

interior of pub with painted mural on one wall, a small stage in the corner and a few people at tables

The structure of the show was that the first 3/4th were open mic, which... with erotica was.... kind of hoot? I mean, the first person up did two pieces, the first of which was revenge porn with implied rape and I thought "OH SH*T, MY HUMOROUS STUFF IS GOING TO BOMB" but then they did a second piece which was a clever story about an app that allowed you to experience other people's fetishes.  

The whole night was like that--some of the pieces were very INTENSE, some hilarious, several of them were body horror, a number were more traditionally romantic, and then, a few were... well, HOT.

I was horrified to discover, however, that I was scheduled to be the finale. I'm NOT finale material. So. NOT.  But, I did my best. I read a sweet/sensual piece from the sequel to Precinct 13, which is the book I just sold to Wizard Tower Press.  That seemed to go over well. I only stumbled over one line at the very beginning.  

The second piece I read (the first one clocked in at 4 and a half minutes, and I was booked for twelve, so I had to read something else) was actually bit of fan fiction of mine that involves kinbaku, the Japanese art of rope bondage. As noted at the start of this, I get very flushed and flustered reading anything erotic out loud. For a while, when I first starting writing sex scenes as part of my profession as a romance writer, I had to touch type them while LOOKING AWAY FROM THE SCREEN, I was so embarrassed. So, I decided to ask for some help from the audience--audience participation, if you will. So, I asked people to shout out a word for anatomy that starts with "c" and sort of looks like a single finger when I raised one finger, and another part of anatomy that is plural and is usually connected to the first one when I raised two fingers. The audience was very enthusiastic about this. 

But what was funny? I think they were quietly getting into the story, which was kind of unexpected?  I mean, it's out of context and there's some bits that can not possibly have made any sense, but the first time they did their bit and shouted out the words for me, I tried to make a little editorial comment about how wonderfully enthusiastic they were, but the vibe I got from the audience was very "yeah, yeah, get back to the STORY!!"

Which I mean... I guess it never occurred to me that the audience might be very _into_ the story.

I still think it worked pretty well. Having other people say the stuff that I find particularly difficult to say out loud without giggling or stammering awkwardly certainly made the reading more fun for *me.*  

But the unexpected reaction was just sort of funny.

Hopefully, it all worked, I don't know. Personally, I would not have had *me* go last, but people seem to expect great things from me. (You win one second place Dick....) In all seriousness, the other guests were much more polished and professional than I was and I was super impressed with them all. [personal profile] catherineldf read an amazing bit about being a temp worker in an office full of SUPER HOT vampires, which she delivered with her usual style and grace. Laura Packer performed (and I mean PERFORMED) this spooky, mesmerizing retelling of Snow White, where Snow White is the monster of the story. Tom S. Tea read tentacle porn to DIE for.... and then I bumbled in.  Still, the show was super. I am seriously considering making Not-So-Silent Planet a regular thing next season.

And now it is snowing buckets. 

Oh, and school was cancelled for today. Whee!
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
2019-02-18 09:09 pm

I'm Not Sure I Ever Stopped Running...

Do you ever have events on your calendar that you look at for a long time and then suddenly it's THAT day?

We've had PSEO Informational Meeting on our calendar since forever, it seems. I also scheduled Mason an campus tour for this morning, but that was more of an informational session for incoming freshmen and he was anxious about his gaming computer (the ROG--it's real name "The Republic of Gaming" ASUS stopped taking a charge,) so we skipped the tour part of the tour in favor of a rush to The Genius Squad. That's part of the reason I fee like I've run around all day, but I'll tell that story next.

The Informational meeting was uplifting, honestly. I kept leaning into Mason and excitedly whispering, "You are SO ready for this" and squeezing his knee with barely restrained excitement. PSEO at the University of Minnesota would basically give Mason access to a college education while still in high school. He can fulfill his remaining high school requirements, at a much higher level. And, because one college semester counts for a full high school year, he could take any number of electives, too. I can't even tell you how excited I am on his behalf. This is really an incredible program and he's such a good fit.

Now, we just need to get him in.

One step at a time, so... first is the on-line application. He's actually already got some other things ready to be sent in, so we're going to give it our best, as they say. Cross fingers for us, please. It's a competitive program.

Meanwhile, with the computer, we dashed out to Best Buy only to be told we needed to schedule an appointment. So, I made one for 8:20 pm, just because I did NOT want to be at all rushed coming back from the PSEO meeting (which was 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, so I maybe was being a little paranoid). We went BACK out to Best Buy only to have to wait for the one guy on duty while he settled a bunch of people who all seemed to be walk-ins, which pissed off, honestly, because all we needed was for someone to be able to tell us if the problem Mason was having with his ROG was on the power cord end or the machine end. The Best Buy guy was pretty sure it's on the machine end, which was not the answer we wanted at all. Now the question is: is it the mother board or is it the power port. (Or the cord, because, honesty, the guy seemed a little frazzled and I don't entirely trust that he had a similar enough power cord to be certain.) So my job tomorrow is to take it to a local shop which might have the ability to check that power port quickly. If it turns out to be the motherboard... well, I'm not sure what we're going to do.

Mason has recently gotten into an amateur Overwatch League and his team plays competitively. Without the ROG, he's off the team. These are his friends, too. He has a very serious community he's developed with them. But, when we bought this computer we dropped a couple thousand dollars on it.

If we had a couple thousand dollars to spare, we'd have a working upstairs bathtub by now.

Mason is feeling really devastated. As he told me on the way home: it seems like every time we rush somewhere for a prognoses we hear, "it's time to say goodbye" and there's no hope. I can't blame him. Literally, with both cats, we barely even got, "we think we can fix this," but instead it was, "sorry, there's nothing we can do."

And now his beloved, irreplaceable computer seems to be suffering the same fate.

It was a day of highs and lows, that's for sure.

Speaking of other things that have been on my calendar forever, tomorrow is my erotica reading with The Not-So-Silent Plant folks. Check out the event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/347306035861095/

The details are: "The country's only recurring open mic dedicated to speculative fiction returns Feb 19 with a star-studded show devoted to the themes of love, lust, romance and passion, with invited guests Lyda Morehouse, author of the Garnet Lacy series (as Tate Hallaway) and winner of the Philip K. Dick Award's Special Citation of Excellence, Catherine Lundoff, two-time Goldie Awards winner for erotica whose stories have appeared in over 80 publications, and Twin Cities writer/performers Laura Packer and Tom S Tea!

Got some romantic or erotic speculative fiction you want to perform or know someone who's a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural horror, or tales of alternate realities? Sign up starts at 7:15 pm in the Poet's Corner of Kieran's Irish Pub. Stories, stand-up comedy routines, poems, and musical pieces are all welcome, just as long as the material is speculative fiction and under seven minutes. Sticking to the evening's theme of Love & Lust is strongly encouraged.

$5-$10 suggested donation. Hosted by Ben San Del

This is an adults-only show. "

See you there?

lydamorehouse: (ticked off Ichigo)
2019-02-15 08:17 am

Another Five Minutes, Then I'll Go

 I have to get up out of the warm blanket and go fetch some kitty food from Menard's. I just don't want to. Did I mention that my blanket it electric? And i had to squeeze my car into a parking space halfway up the block?  

Just another five minutes, then I'll get up.

So, what do I have to report? The most my family did for Valentine's Day was exchange a card or two. Mason had robotics until almost 5:30 pm, which meant I had time to start our "fake" naan recipe.  So, we had a favorite meal, something we call "Indian Butter Chicken" (because that might be what it's called on the box that contains the sauce I make), rice, and naan.  Then, because Mason is a teenager, somewhere around 7:30 pm, he says, "Uh... so, I'm supposed to bring some ingredients to Chinese tomorrow, because we're making dumplings again."  But AT LEAST he remembered to bring them with him this morning. The night before, he'd stayed up late to do some art-type project for AP Human Geology and then promptly forgot it at home. Luckily, I could text him a picture of it, so his teacher would know that it was, in fact, done on time, even if it didn't make it in on time.  

Because today is payday, we're hoping to all go out to Tavern on Grand tonight for fish.  Mason has to be at robotics again, because the wrap day (or whatever they call the day that they have to shrink wrap their robot) is coming up early next week. But, Shawn and I are thinking about hitting Roseville Library to browse the shelves and hang out until he's ready to join us.  When you think about it, that's pretty romantic. Looking for books together at the library?  HOT, am I right???

Also, I have to laugh at myself. You know how I've ALWAYS claimed that the reason I've been unable to write is because I can't write unless I have a contract?  THIS APPEARS TO _ACTUALLY_ BE TRUE, much to my chagrin.  I have an apocalypse story due the first of April, and, yesterday, I wrote almost 2,000 words on it. What the hell, brain. What the H.E.L.L.

One of my pen pals died. I recently acquired a pen pal in Duluth. Normally, I don't like to have pen pals that I don't know that close. (Like, you live in Minneapolis and we've met or we're on social media together and you want to be my pen pal? SURE!) However, this woman took Friend Books. Friendship Books are a very weird aspect of the pen pal subculture, that are fascinating, but also a burden. I've written about what they are here before, but a quick look at Wikipedia might help you understand how they work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship_book The point is, I started conversing with this person, mostly so that I had someone to whom I could pass on Friendship Books when I got a bunch of them from the two other pen pals who tend to pass them on to me.  The other day, I got a letter from her daughter. This woman had some 60 pen pals by her own reckoning, but so that might explain the brevity of this note. But, it simply said, "I know you exchanged letters with my mom. I'm sorry to tell you that she and a friend were involved in a head-on collision and died instantly."

But I can't find any information about it. No obit was included. I mean, there's no reason not to believe this, but, wow, what a shock.

Anyway, my eldest cat is staring at me. I'd better get up and fetch her food from the store or she will guilt me wit that amber-eyed stare of hers.
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
2019-02-13 06:54 pm

Buried the Lede

Indicative of my day yesterday, I started a "What are You Reading Wednesday?" post, only to discover this morning that I hadn't finished it...it was still sitting here, in a tab, in draft form, on my computer.

*sigh*

I mean, to be fair, I haven't had much to report in terms of reading lately beyond "my Broad Universe mentee's manuscript," but I did finish My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi, which I reviewed here: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/my-solo-exchange-diary-hitori-koukan-nikki-by-nagata-kabi/ Thanks to a VERY QUIET night at Maplewood on Tuesday, I also have a bunch of books being pulled for me at the Ramsey County Library from the most recent Locus Recommended Reading List. So, hopefully, I'll have a better list of things I've read soon.  

Yesterday, I was also unaccountably sad to have heard about Opportunity, the Mars rover.  I know it lasted much longer than expected and it's _just_ a robot, but I feel like maybe a person is a little bit inhuman if they don't shed a small tear at its final communication: "Battery dying. Everything is going dark."  Jesus F*cking Christ, NASA. 

Then, on top of that, this morning I turned on the radio to AM950 and heard about the horrific destruction scheduled for the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as Trump's bulldozers and border control are seizing PRIVATE PROPERTY with immanent domaine.  I'm planning, on payday, of becoming a member in order to help them fight this, legally... even though I don't have a lot of hope that they'll win. And that's it, the frogs and the butterflies and the tiny little owls are all going to die because we're all a bunch of racist pig-sh*ts.

And, Shawn says to me this morning, "Hey, happy Valentine's Day, BBC is reporting that Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage."

It's honestly this sh*t that's going to break me.

Ugh.

In happier news, Mason really enjoys judging debate tournaments. He had one last night, at Washington, and he came home almost giddy with stories of the middle schoolers he critiqued and graded. "I'm SO PROUD of them!" he says to me, beaming. 

Next Monday we go to the informational meeting for PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Opportunities, a program that allows public school students to attend university for free, particularly if there's need--like for Mason, he's exhausted high school math, as of this year. Technically, he was done with the official HS math curriculum last year, but Washington Tech has a "College In Schools" Calc I class that he's in this year.). Mason also talked to his school councilor who is really supportive (especially after his early PSAT scores) of him going full-time PSEO next year. We're still debating the merits and the drawbacks to that, but the idea that Mason could basically be in college next year is kind of amazing. I think it could potentially be really good for him. He's a funny kid. The more rigorous the class, the better his grades tend to be. If he's in any class where there's a lot of busywork that most people would find to be "low-hanging fruit," (ie easily done), he struggles to do it, because he can't see the point. We tease him that he's the only person who get A+s in Calc I, but can barely pass "Independent Living." 

In much happier news, I have a book contract on the horizon.

It's a kind of funny story about how that happened. So, as reported here, Wizard Tower Press has put out an omnibus edition of all 5 of my AngeLINK books. As I was going around posting all the various self-promotion things one does, I came across an email from a fan complaining that she could not get a copy of Song of Secrets a book that Rachel Calish and I wrote together (but which has since been removed by the publisher for various reasons) AND she wanted to know when he heck I was going to get around to publishing that sequel to Precinct 13.

Those who have been following along at home know that i have a large portion of a sequel already written. I was posting it in installments on Wattpad for a while, but then I ran out of steam and never finished it.

WELL. I thought to myself, I wonder if Cheryl Morgan, my publisher at Wizard Tower Press, would be interested in that. Plus, if Cheryl gave me a deadline (and a contract), I might actually get off my depressed BUTT and finish it.  

Turns out, Cheryl was more than willing to send me out a contract... so, I now have a deadline of September 2019 to get things into shape. Should be very doable.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK CHERYL BEFORE. Thank you, random complainer! Without you, it would NEVER have occurred to me that I could just see if Wizard Tower Press was up for a new novel by me.

So that's kind of big news. It's not official-Official yet, per se, so I'm not shouting it from the rooftop--but, dang near. I have a draft contract in hand and everything looks very much green to go.

It's crazy, but just having this in the works has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel like a _real_ writer again.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
2019-02-12 08:58 am

Some Shameless Self-Promotion

 Anglink Omnibus Edition Cover

The big thing that happened this week is that Wizard Tower Press published an omnibus collection of all 5 (only four pictured on the cover) of my AngeLINK books in e-format.  You can buy them here directly: https://www.wizardstowerbooks.com/shop/the-angelink-series/  It's in pounds sterling, but you can handle it. But, if you can't, there will be an edition that will appear on Amazon.com ASAP.  It just has to get past the Amazon police and whatnot. 

If you can buy it directly through Cheryl Morgan at Wizard Tower Press, she and I would greatly appreciate it. More money goes to us when you do.

/self-promotion

In other mundane news, it's snowing like the dickens. We already got at least four more inches over night and it's still snowing.  I started to take Mason to school, but had a premonition and turned us around. We'll see what this means when it comes time for me to head off to Maplewood to work tonight. I'm supposed to be there from 5 to 9 pm. If the plows go out, they won't even START on the side streets until 9 pm.  I have no idea if any of the side streets will even be passable at that point. Ironically, Mason is supposed to work a few hours at the Science Museum tonight, too, but... I don't know. I guess it's a game of wait and see. 

I haven't had much to report on otherwise because a large part of my time has been consumed by reading and critiquing the novel of my Broad Universe mentee. It's slow going because I am meticulous. 

I guess that's all I know. How's you?