lydamorehouse: (Default)
Though not by too many days!

Hello, hello! How's things? I don't have a huge amount to report. Friday was the day of forgetting things. I was just leaving the coffee shop when I got a text from Mason. He forgot his iPad at home. So, I headed home, picked it up, and then went back to school. As I was half way to school, he wanted to know if I could also grab earbuds? But I didn't get that in time to double back. I left his iPad with the school but then remembered we might have earbuds in the car, so I quick texted Mason to come back and grab them. He'd already headed back, but was able to turn around. That was all before 8 am!

Then, when I was getting ready to go to the coffee shop, I got a call from some guy trying to sell us on a paint job that made me unreasonably angry for various reasons, and I was so wound up about that that I brought my cord to the coffee shop, but forgot my laptop. I think that worked out okay, however, because it meant I was less distracted during the conversation we had about a story that [personal profile] naomikritzer was writing, which opened up a lot of interesting questions to me (none of which she was actually writing about, but hey) like: what's it like to know you're related to a criminal or a murderer (which I am) and any number of similarly fascinating philosophical questions.

What else... oh! Shawn finally watched "Infinity War" and we all saw "Solo." We ended up doing two movies because "Infinity War" was such a downer AND I had earlier tilted during a game of "Trivial Pursuit" that spilled over into another little snip. "Solo" was just what the doctor order. Y'all think it sucked, but I thought it was fine--entertaining, even.

Saturday Mason worked and I had my first session of a new Star Trek RPG game with a bunch of friends: [personal profile] jiawen [personal profile] bcholmes John T., and Sabs. MUCH FUN. As I've said earlier, I haven't role-played for some time and I had so much fun I ended up writing fan fic (in the form of my character's personal log) about our adventure.

Sunday we spent the day hanging out. Mason had an in-person D&D game, Shawn made a disastrous pie (it was a cannoli pie). Shawn notes that the "Idea" of the pie was good, but the flavor didn't suit us (me less than her). I did a lot of stamping, which I enjoyed.

This morning I woke and chatted a bit more with [personal profile] jiawen about life and the super, blood, wolf moon eclipse. Most of which I missed, because I CAN NOT with the late nights now that I'm old. (Shut up. 11 pm is late for me, okay??) Anyway, chatting with [personal profile] jiawen always fun, we can talk about anything for hours.

Then I did a lot of cooking. I tried to make cheesy puffy ball bread things, but they collapse. They were tasty though!

my sad cheese things

Very much like eggy popovers, which was fine since we ate them with lunch (spaghetti) with a hot marinara sauce dip.

Then we decided to have a big chicken roast, so I started roasting the bird around 1:30 pm, made mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, corn, cheddar bay biscuits (from a box), and chicken gravy. I managed the timing pretty darn perfectly, if I do say so myself, and the meal was a huge success.

So. LOTS of food today.

I managed to mostly keep up with my spells over the intervening days. I will give you a series of quick updates under the cut. I will note that I did spend the day after the DOWN THE DRAIN money spell, undoing it, and decided that was enough of a spell-of-the-day for that day, since it was supposed to be a day to get rid of something.

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan 18 & 19) )


Spell-a-Day (Jan 20) )
lydamorehouse: (writer??)
 gingerbread people "trapped" inside glass jar

I see that the last thing I reported was that gingerbread cookies were on the agenda for Thursday night. I am happy to report, they were made. We have successfully captured the gingerbread people (including the rare cyclops ninja)  and trapped them inside this cookie jar.  Resistance is futile.

As you can see, we had too much fun decorating these. Initially, I thought I'd stay out of the kitchen and let Maria and Shawn catch up. Maria is a former colleague of Shawn's. She used to work at the Minnesota History Center, but has now moved on to records management, maybe? (I wasn't entirely paying attention early on), at Thrivenet, formerly Lutheran Brotherhood.  BUT, when it was clear that what they wanted to do was drink wine and chat, I let them settle into that and did the rolling and baking. At this point, it's second nature to me, so I could join in the chat while getting things together.

When the cookies were cooled, everyone did the decorating.  

I had bought the "googly' eyes from Micheal's along with a bunch of other odd edible bits, including lips and mustaches--they all came in a packet for a couple of bucks. I also bought a few frosting tubes because I was there and decided that I was feeling too lazy to do the frosting from scratch on top of everything else.

They're quite whimsical, so I'm very happy with them.

Tasty, too.

I got together with the usual crew on Friday afternoon, except for Eleanor, who was off getting her hair cut. [personal profile] pegkerr brought along her holiday cards to label and stamp. It's interesting to note that Peg's family has always done a Christmas family newsletter. She and I had both come across recent articles talking about how fewer people are writing these sorts of things any more and how this is a concern for historians, as sources of 'mundane' life.  The article I had read was from the Smithsonian and was called "The History of Our Love-Hate Relationship with the Christmas Letter".

I happen to enjoy a well written holiday letter, myself. But, given that I still enjoy the long form of blogging, that's probably not a surprise.

But, otherwise, we were all fairly low-key on Friday. [personal profile] naomikritzer is still, in many ways, recovering from her trip to Taiwan and China. And, I think we were all suffering from a lack of sunshine (though it's been more sunny here starting on Friday. Previously it had been gray with gray sauce.). These dark nights have been tough on me. I'm already an early to bed sort and when it's dark at 5:30 pm, I think, "Okay, great! Time for bed!" Except, yeah, it's like 5:30 pm.

Saturday was a busy day for our family. I took Mason into his job at the Science Museum at 10 am. I was able to say "hello"/"goodbye" on a hangout with [personal profile] jiawen , but then had to take off to go to Mason's work's "open house" that they had scheduled from noon to 2 pm. The Science Museum is not normally more than 10 minutes from our house, but we have gotten in the habit (thank goodness) of leaving a bit earlier because it always seems that there is something happening at the Xcel Center. Saturday seemed to be no exception. There was a Minnesota Wild (our hockey team) game happening and we ended up having to pay $20 for parking. (Outrage! Except, that Shawn pointed out that we could think of it as a donation to the Science Museum, which we happily support in all of its endeavors.)  

The open house was cool.

The program that Mason works for is called KAYSC, which stands for the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center. They're a nifty little organization that focuses on bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills to high schoolers in underserved communities. Mason goes to one of their target high schools, which is how he ended up able to apply. Washington Technical has a predominantly Asian-American student body, with Caucasian students making up only 6%. At KAYSC, Mason gets an opportunity to get paid to learn STEM and project management skills, with a focus on using the sciences to served local communities--something the KAYSC people call "STEM Justice," which is a term I adore. Honest to gods, I would have killed to have a job like this when I was Mason's age. Heck, I'd love one like this _now_.  

At the open house, we got to see some of the areas of interest that the students had identified for themselves. They had set-up various presentations (some static/interactive displays, a couple of video programs, and one tour). I wanted to do the tour, because they were going to talk about gentrification, but we also didn't want to miss the big team reveal at the end of the open house, where Mason would find out which project leader he would be assigned to. They have four "tracks." There's an environmental sciences and sustainability one, which is where Mason ended up, a Engineering and Design, a Biological Sciences and Public Health, and a Media and Technology one. There were some really well put together displays, including Mason's which focused on stereotypes in storytelling.  I was also really impressed with a team that had micro greens growing and talked about ways in which low-income houses could cheaply incorporate more nutrient rich foods.  Another group has a display about the problems GLBTQIA+ students have in high school.  

So you can see the sorts of things they focus on.
 
Mason seems very happy with the assignment. Engineering and Design had been his first pick, but Environmental Science was his second. Given that he has an engineering track at his high school, I imagine they factored that into their decision where he might learn the most.  Because, getting serious, this job is 100% about getting paid to learn, which is why it is SO awesome and probably the best first job any high schooler could hope for. 

But, the event was high energy and full of people moving around and OMG, even this extrovert needed a NAP after that. 

Mason, meanwhile, had us stop at home to pick up some gaming stuff and headed over to his friend's house to play D&D with his robotics crew. He was there, with them, until almost 10 pm. 

Shawn and I came back and collapsed into a heap, but we got back up to make homemade pizza for dinner. Shawn had a work holiday party at a house on Summit Avenue (fancy!) which I bowed out of for a bunch of reasons, but not the least of which was that I am staring up some RPGing of my own. 

I had such a lovely time doing a Star Trek: Discovery one-shot with [personal profile] jiawen and [personal profile] bcholmes at CONfabulous this last year, that we decided to try to make it a regular thing. We spent Saturday night rolling up our characters, and I'm already very happy to watch everyone's character histories comes through my e-mail feed. We're doing this online, as our players are scattered across the globe. I'm looking forward to the campaign beginning in earnest. It's been some time since I had a regular gaming group... probably college, which is going on 30 years ago. Though to be fair, I did keep up with some folks a few years after that, so let's call it 25 years ago?

Even so, that's a long time ago.

I had gone cold-turkey from gaming about the time I started concentrating on novel writing as a career because, for me, I felt it used a lot of the same mental muscles. I felt I could EITHER use those muscles to write _or_ RPG. I'm not sure I was right about that, however--I know a lot of pro writers who could do both.

But, that was the choice I made. 

I'm excited to get back into it, regardless. I also love that in the twenty-five or so intervening years the demographics have flipped. The STRONG majority of us are women (4/5ths). There's only one guy gaming with us. That's amazing. I can't wait to find out what that's like. In the past I was always the only woman or one of a very few... I met my wife gaming, but we drifted together partly _because_ there weren't many women in that campaign... though I think there was at LEAST one other. (To be fair, it was actually love at first sight, since when she asked me to draw her character and said that they should have blonde hair and brown eyes, I told her I thought that was an unusual combination, and she said, 'that's what I am,' and I looked up and literally said, "Oh. You have the most beautiful eyes I have EVER seen." So, you know....)

Anyway. I'm not sure exactly what happened on Sunday, except that Mason and I got into a hormone fueled bickering session that ended with us marathoning several hours of the new Super Smash Bros, Ultimate game on the Switch in order to work it out (which we did. Gaming as therapy is real in the house of hormones, which is what we call our house as Mason is in puberty and Shawn and I are both in various stages of menopause.)

So, that's me. How's by you?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 I'm staying home from con this morning because I'm wiped out. Two nights in a row, I stayed out way past my bedtime. And, I mean: until 2 AM.

On Friday night, I showed up at con (which was at Crowne Plaza near the airport) around 10 pm (for those of you who know me, this is already past my bedtime, but I had napped earlier in the evening because we were all tired from having gone to the KAYSC parent orientation/dinner, which I'll write about in a moment.)  I brought my laptop because [personal profile] jiawen and her friend BC wanted to join a Star Trek: Discovery RPG game that John T. was running at the con.  Initially, I thought I'd mostly sit out the game and only act as technical services. But, of course that's no fun. 

I had an amazing time. John ran a good campaign--very doable in a short period and the pre-made characters all had really well-developed backstories that were easy to find a theme/personality to play.  Our players were all into it, too. I probably could have played all night.

In fact, it made me miss role-playing. I told Shawn that I'd really like to get a local group together again.

Saturday morning, I brought [personal profile] jiawen  back for a panel she wanted to see on game design, which was possibly the only dud of the con. To the presenter's credit, it is VERY HARD to hold forth on a panel when you're the only panelist.  Without a moderator to guide the conversation, it can be easy to ramble.  I know, because I feared this for my Queer Eye for the Yaoi Guy panel and it was only mitigated by the fact that I talked Don K in to staying at the panel table and acting as an impromptu moderator.  So, I mean, possibly the panel just needed more panelists.  Rachel and I hung out (she was Google hangout-ing in from Taiwan) chatting before and after, which was lovely.  She had maybe wanted to see another panel, but I begged off because I really felt like I needed a nap before coming back for the 5:30 pm panel I needed to moderate and, of course, the dreaded slash "midnight" reading at 10 pm.

The yaoi panel went... okay.  People always tell me that I make a good panelist and normally I agree with them because who doesn't want to believe they did well? But, I really felt scattered and all over the place, despite having actually organized my thoughts in a blog on Mangakast. So, if you're curious about the topic, you can feel free to read my far more cogent thoughts there.

One person in the audience gave me a mission. I'm going to see if I can find any yaoi with actual "coming out" stories as part of any plot/romance.

Then, I hung around the con chatting with John T. and I ended up following him to his panel about sex in RPG gaming and even though there was only one other person there (Rae) we had a really interesting discussion about all sorts of interpersonal issues in RPG table top gaming. I invited Rae to dinner with John and I and we were joined by Jason S. and Joe A. and, then later, by Kate J. 

Thank all the gods for Kate because she made the slash reading into a HUGE success.

As many of you know, I have a lot of trouble reading the sexy bits OUT LOUD. I have, in the past, employed audience participation and, like in this case, a stunt reader who takes over for me when things get rough. I would love to do this again at the next Gaylaxicon or ConFABulous, but NOT ALONE. I'm pretty sure the audience is getting super tired of *my* porn.

But, then I ended up chatting with Kate until 2 AM again.  Not that I think I made much sense after 1 AM, but Kate is such an interesting person that I could probably have talked to her all night, too.

Now I am brain dead.

The KAYSC dinner was great, though entirely less informative than I'd hoped. Shawn and I had hoped to get a behind the scenes tour of the Science Museum out of it, but the dinner was actually at a community center.  But, the food was good, catered by Boca Chica. The presentation as good, though slightly less informative than we wanted. Our take away was that, in a lot of ways, the actual projects that the kids do are kind of actually secondary to the learning to do them.  Which is fine? I mean, seriously? Getting paid for what amounts to research training?  Yeah, that's possibly the best job, ever.  

It's been an amazing weekend. 

Now I go sleep.

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: (Renji talking smack)
 We went to Whole Foods yesterday, thinking to have a nice lunch after soap shopping. It was a disappointment.

I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but Mason had been looking forward to samosas and chicken marsala, both of which he's had before at the Whole Foods deli and really enjoyed. They didn't have any samosas and their chicken marsala was watery and the chunks of chicken were so big that they didn't absorb very much flavor.  It was kind of a bust. (My sushi was good, but...)

We did manage to find some fun soaps, however. There was even a scent called "dirty hippy." Mason was surprised when I guessed that it was basically patchouli.  He didn't buy it, but I could see he was tempted just because of the name. 

Since we were out driving around, we decided to head out to the Ramsey County Library to pick up the books that had come in for me. I requested the first four volumes of Pandora Hearts, which is an anime I started watching.  I figured I might actually be able to plow through it a little faster if I read it.  I'm not very good at binge watching, alas.  Binge reading? Yes. Watching, not so much for some reason. At any rate, I picked them all up and also found a few more on the shelves, so now I have the first seven to read.

From there, Mason talked me into stopping at Game Stop and picking up "Street Fighter" because we've been looking for a game that we can play together. I really like racing him in Mario Carts, but I think he feels bad for me because I'm SO TERRIBLE at it. He'll come in #1 and I'll be dead last. The point is, even though *I* found that fun, he really wanted something we'd be more equally matched in. "Street Fighter" totally works, because a button masher like me can totally win.  In fact, I easily won half of the time.  I think we've found our game.

Because Mason really craved samosas, we managed to talk Shawn into going out to the Indian place for dinner last night. (We like "Taste of India" in Maplewood.) Mason tried vindaloo chicken, Shawn had her usual chicken marsala, and I had curried veggies.  By chance at the restaurant, we ran into our friends Sean Murphy and Katherine Carlson who were coming back from Mankato, after having, unsuccessfully, tried to get into see the Viking's training camp.  They'd also stopped at "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store" on the way back, though Katherine thought the amount of candy on display was almost "obscene." I'm not sure I disagree, but, for me, that's half of the fun of that place. (I'm guessing they managed more virtue than we did. We left with a huge bagful, which was pretty obscene all by itself, after all.)  So we kind of chatted over the booths for a while, but we'd gotten there earlier, so we left after a few minutes.  Still, it was neat to see them. It's been a while, and Sean is one of my very best friends. (I was reminded, seeing him, that we still haven't made it to "Spider-Man: Homecoming.")  

I think I fell into a food coma after that.  I read a little bit in bed, but next thing I knew it was morning.  :-)

Tonight: Twins Game! We should have good weather for it. I will take a lot of pictures.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
This line from the SF Chronicle's review of the "GI Joe: Rise of Cobra" film makes me sooooooo happy: "Stuff blows up. Lots of it. Most of the actors are hot-looking, and those who aren't do cool things with swords."

I am _so_ the target audience for this film.

Speaking of films, Shawn and I watched "The Burrowers." It's a horror Western. Yes, a strange combination, but, as it proved, a strangely powerful one. Given the quality of previews (which ranged from direct to video humor stuff to really, deeply creepy horror films,) I wasn't sure quite what to expect. It was horrible and gruesome in the traditional way of horror films, but it was also one of those that made me, at the end, think that maybe the true monster of the film was white society during the Indian Wars. (One of the characters actually proudly boasts of being at New Ulm during the Dakota Uprising.) It's weirdly sickening in a way you're not expecting. If you LIKE horror, I'd recommend this. (If you don't... for god/dess's sake, don't start with this one!)

Oh, and for die-hard "Highlander" fans: Clancy Brown is in "The Burrowers."

This morning started out with the whole family at the eye doctor. Mason has been adjusting his glasses a lot, and at his yearly physical had some trouble reading the eye chart with his glasses on.... so, no surprise, his perscription has changed. Alas, he and mama had some disagreements about which glasses looked best on him. Mason is a lot like me. If he had his druthers, he'd wear glasses festooned with a lot of BLING. And they'd be hot pink.

Mama is a bit more conservative to say the least.

We all ended up a bit bent out of shape after that, however. Now Mason is in the other room watching the Loony Tunes DVD while I catch up on my interneting. Our big plan for the day is to go to the beach. I'm really hoping that today I can wear him out a bit better. Yesterday, I'd hoped to coax him out on a big adventure so that I could get some writing done after bed time. But, ultimately, I'm learning that it seems to be nearly impossible to actually exhuast that child. Me? I'm out after two hours of hard core sprinting. Him? He's just getting revved up. So, needless to say, while I opened up my computer last night, I did not get a lot done.

Fingers crossed for tonight.

Yesterday, I ended up buying Mason a couple of AD&D manuals at HPB. What happened was that at the doctor's office someone had left behind a couple of "Dork Tower" comic books in the children's area of the waiting room. Mason read them. He thought they were cool, but didn't get all the D&D referrences. So, I said, well, I'm sure I have some books that explain it at home. I did, although the only ones left are my GURPS manuals. I apparently decided to clean the house of D&D stuff in a fit of... I don't know quite what, but it probably happened after that life-changing "Call of Cthululu" game. I was so MAD at becoming agoraphobic after five minutes of game play, after I's spent weaks researching a historically accurate personal history for my character.... I quite gaming cold turkey. And then discovered I had more energy for writing, which pretty much torpedoed any future gaming.

Anyway, I may start up a game (or at least run a module) for Mason. He is reading every entry (as I knew he would) in the monster manual, and telling me all about the "army" of monsters he's going to have when he's DM. He still doesn't know anything at all about how to play, but he's so THERE. I also bought the Player's Handbook and the DM Guide. So, we're set for a return to the world of RPGs.

I think this is a good thing for Mason, especially if I can find him a peer group to play with. (Any of you know any other precocious six year olds ready for D&D??)

Anyway, enough about me. How are you?

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