feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Heading off to San Francisco this week for Thanksgiving. Flying out at 5 pm and getting in super late, so I don't miss the last lecture of the semester in my Russian class. (On something really complicated and important: verbal aspect. Which the book explains poorly.)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
November 18, 5:30 AM PDT - November 19, 5:30 AM PDT.

Come breed dragons! I'm in Fire Flight, if you want to join me there.


10 Nov 2015 04:19 pm
feuervogel: (heart's desire)
I took the GRE a week ago and finally submitted my grad school application. I don't have official scores yet, but the computer told me when I was finished that I had 163 verbal and 155 math, on a scale of 130-170. (They rescaled it to make 50th percentile for math, around 152, actually in the middle, as opposed to 680, where it used to be. I am still rubbish at GRE math, but give me actual algebra problems to solve, and I am fine.) They can't give you a preliminary score on the essay part, obviously.

I have officially applied to grad school! This is terrifying. I haven't submitted my writing sample yet; I'm still working on making it not terrible. I want to get in, but I'm nervous about what will happen if I do, and scared I won't. And I won't know until probably April -_-

One of the professors I talked to while I was visiting last month said a PhD is worthwhile, because then you can teach at a university (adjuncting, not just full-prof). But I don't think I want to do that; I mean, it's a lot of work for crap pay. So I have no idea what I'd do with a PhD that I can't do with an MA.

So I've been researching what you can do with a Linguistics PhD (though German studies is also a possibility; I think I want to focus on sociolinguistics/dialects/ethnolects/language contact for my MA thesis, so ling is more appropriate probably.) And it's like, well, you can be a professor, or work for the government, or if you do computational linguistics you can work for machine translation places, or you could coordinate language education programs. (This is the most useful thing I've found thus far, and it's not that helpful.)

So anyway, friends, do any of you have experience with this sort of thing? I don't want to put myself through the torture of a PhD program if I'm not going to use the degree and if I don't need to. (I'm looking into programs both here and in Germany. Not very seriously at the moment, bookmarked for later.) I haven't completely ruled out the idea--if during my MA studies, I read a paper that's really cool and I get inspired for a PhD thesis, yay; if not, I'll have an MA and be able to teach community college here & elsewhere. I'm like 99% sure I don't want to do a PhD because of the effort etc.

Let's see... I took my car in for an alignment today because they told me my back tires were wearing unevenly, and they need to replace the control arms ($500) and at least the rear tires ($250), preferably all (another $250). I said just to do the rear tires, because this is all really expensive. Hopefully they'll have it done today so I can get my car back before I have to go to class tomorrow.

Speaking of class, Russian is going well. It's not too hard yet, but I'm waiting for the shoe to drop in second-year. First-year is all basics, like all 6 cases, verbal aspect, and verb conjugations; I don't even know what's in second semester yet.

Um, I'll be having a fandom yard sale sometime eventually, once I have time to catalog (photograph) my stuff. Which could be a while.


5 Oct 2015 04:52 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I'm doing pretty well in Russian class. I think I have a 98% in the class. We've just encountered the first weird thing--verbs of motion. The "weird" part for me isn't that they distinguish between going by foot or by car, or that they take the accusative after prepositions (German does both, though the former with less strictness than Russian). No, the weird part is that you distinguish between uni- and multi-directional movement. (Which my professor explains as determinate vs indeterminate, and I think that's better than in the book.) It makes sense, but it's not intuitive, so I have to think about it a lot.

I have a vocabulary quiz on Wednesday, and there's a lot of vocabulary this chapter. And a lot of verbs. Hooray for flash cards. We also have our oral midterm on Friday (or Monday; I plan to volunteer for Friday). We get *practice* in class on Thursday. I am surprised at how much hand-holding there is.

I'm driving down to UGA next week, and this time I'm actually going to see the department and campus with students in it. Which will probably make me go "argh, students, go away," like Chapel Hill does. I'm excited but also nervous. I want to be enthusiastic but not trying too hard, and that's ... a difficult balance to strike. This time I'm staying in a hotel practically on campus, so I can walk to various campus-adjacent things as well as to campus. I'll be leaving right after class on Wednesday, or as soon as the bus gets me to my car (2:40ish) and I pop into WSM for a sandwich or something to eat for dinner on the road. It's 5 hours plus stops & traffic (I'll hit Charlotte at 5, which will suck, so I may stop at a rest area and eat my sammich), so I'll get in pretty late. Well, 9 or so, which isn't *late*, but I typically prefer to arrive places around 7.

I haven't gotten any editing to speak of on the novel since the semester started, but I'd like to start setting parts of Tuesday & Saturday (or Sunday) aside for that. Weekends keep being busy with things I can't do during the week; Tuesdays I end up running errands a lot. (Tomorrow I need to get an oil change, and I have to learn so much vocabulary...)

That's my super exciting life right now.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Let's see. I started playing Flight Rising, this dragon breeding game with forums and mini-games and monster battles. It's fun. Look at my pretty dragons.

I started Russian 101 on Wednesday. So far we've learned the alphabet and the weird Russian pronunciation rules (regressive assimilation, vowel reduction, palatalized consonants). It's very strange being in a class with 18-year-olds. For example, yesterday, two classmates were talking before class, and one of them asked when Chernobyl happened. I answered immediately and without thinking, "1986." They both were like "whoa, you just knew that!" So I said, "Well, I was alive then..." They asked what it was like, and I don't really remember, because I was 10, you know? But there was a lot of confusion and no internet to get information from, just TV news and newspapers, and it wasn't like Russia was terribly open about what was going on over there...

So yeah. It's weird. I don't want to be aloof or standoffish, but I also have this "well, I'm a LOT older than y'all, and it's weird to try to be friends with you because it could come off really creepy." So we'll see how things go.

Dragon Con is in less than two weeks oh fuck.

Still working on revising the spy novel. I'm getting close to the part where things get exciting, but there's a bit of rewriting I need to do, not just sentence-level revision, so, ugh. Also I don't have as much time per day to write, so I'll probably do something like spend a couple hours each day on the weekends and squeeze in some during the week. We'll see.

Helsinki won the 2017 WorldCon bid, so I'm planning to go to that. As long as it doesn't conflict too badly with grad school (if I get in). Their dates would get me back to the US about a week before the semester starts, which could make, you know, course planning exciting, especially if I go to Germany for language class on a grant.

But let's not put the cart before the horse, here. I haven't finished my application yet, because I haven't taken the GRE yet and I haven't uploaded transcripts. They at least take unofficial ones at the application stage, which is great, because those are free and things I mostly have on hand.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I posted this on tumblr, so sorry if you see this multiple places.

I’m going to get this damned novel to the point where I can call it complete and send it to people (what I call a first draft). Here’s how I’m gonna do it.

For the next month, I’m going to revise, rewrite, or write at least 2 scenes a day. (A scene is the basic unit of composition in Scrivener, which is what I use. You then compile scenes into chapters. I find this much more manageable than writing in Open Office, perhaps due to the aphantasia.)

Once the semester starts and I have 4 hours of class a week, plus a good hour of travel on top of it, I’ll work for an hour before class and an hour after homework. (I’m learning Russian. There will be homework.)

I have other things on my schedule, like working out, class prep if my ad-hoc class happens, and (hopefully) making Shatterdome ATL 3 happen, so I’ll have a nice busy schedule.

If I can, and all goes well, I’ll have a finished draft by the end of the year. (90 scenes/2 scenes a day=45 days, but no guarantees on how much I can do while studying Russian.)

Today I’m rebuilding my outline (and timeline) so I can dive in tomorrow.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
The trip out to Orcas Island was arduous. I got up around 4 am to shower and get the last of my things packed and do physiotherapy before heading off to RDU for our 8:25 am flight to Atlanta. We got to the park & ride lot around 6:15, then arrived at the terminal with plenty of time to spare, considering the dearth of people lined up for security.

I slept most of the way to Atlanta, where our connecting gate was right beside our arrival gate. Yay! I rewrote my grad school statement of purpose and revised a short story on the flight to Seattle. (I also took a nap.)

We landed in Seattle at 1:25 local time, and we met up with one of the bride's friends who needed a ride to the resort. (There was a tight shuttle connection.) So we picked up the car, stopped at Taco Bell, and drove a little over 2 hours to Anacortes to get the ferry, which departed at 7:20 pm. (We waited about an hour iirc. An aunt and uncle were there, and one of the groom's childhood friends showed up, so we had a merry little party.) Then the ferry took an hour to get to the island, after which we drove to the opposite side of the horseshoe-shaped island, arriving on site around 9 pm local time. I had to drag Ben away from the people hanging out & chatting with his brother and such. We finally got to sleep around 10. That was a fucking long day.

So anyway, Doe Bay resort is nice, in a really pretty spot, and not too far from some state parks where you can do various levels of adventure walking. We had a little more time to spend at Obstruction Pass than Moran, though the view from Mt Constitution was pretty rad. We got to spend some time with one of Ben's cousins, her husband, and their (12-year-old!) daughter. And some other cousins who have no children. And aunts and uncles and friends of the happy couple and all that kind of thing.

Because of ferry timing, we couldn't stay past midday Sunday, following a brunch that lasted two hours and made me feel very hobbit-like. So we drove down to Seattle and stayed in a hotel near the airport, then had dinner with some Carolina friends who live out there now.

Our flight back east left at like 8:15 am, and various forces conspired against us getting food at anything resembling reasonable prices. The US Open was over, so the line for security was absurd, and we stood in it for the better part of an hour, so by the time we made our gate, we could pee and fill our water bottles, and that was about it. Which forced us to spend $obscene on the pay-as-you-go in-flight food. Then we had to do the same on the ground in Atlanta, because this time, our connection was 2 concourses away. Fun!

If you're in my G+ circles, you should be able to see this album.

And now I'm home until July 9, when I go off to Readercon. After that, my next travel isn't until Labor Day weekend (Dragoncon).

Hi, bye

17 Jun 2015 01:32 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Finished sorting all the things from Shatterdome ATL 2 (jaeger boogaloo) and repacking things for Ben's brother's wedding, for which we will be traveling longer than it takes to get to Europe yet not leaving the country.

The wedding is on Orcas Island, which is a 2-hour ferry from somewhere in the Seattle area, and the ferry station is a 2-3 hour drive from the airport. Then we have to get from the ferry to the resort. I seriously do not understand how anyone can live on a remote-ass place like that. I feel isolated in my semi-suburban town on the edge of a moderate metropolitan area.

So we're leaving here at 8:25 am and getting to Seattle at 1:25 pm local, then our ferry leaves at 7:20 or something. At least we'll have time to pick up some food for lunch-dinner when we get there. We only need to be at the ferry port 90 minutes beforehand.

What I have left to do today is clean the cats' water fountain and paint my nails. Then I need to pack my toiletries and other carry-on things in the morning.

Also, I registered for class at UNC this fall, where I'm taking Russian 101. Whee! I can get 2 semesters in before I start at UGA (if I'm accepted). ... I need to work on my application materials, but I'll do that after I get back from the wedding.
feuervogel: (group hug)
Tomorrow morning I'm heading off to run year two of Shatterdome Atlanta. I think we've done everything we need to do that can be done at this point. Badges need to be assembled (laminated, labeled, punched), but the labels, laminator, and badges are in 3 different places.

Last year felt pretty hectic, but part of that was not having enough staff and having a very unreliable person in charge of some important things. But all that needs to be done tomorrow is putting the badges together and putting t-shirts & posters from pre-order with the appropriate badges. Aside from, like, setting up screens and speakers and all that. Which obviously can't be done until we have the convention space. And the a/v equipment.

ALSO our hotel came up with a really cool menu for some themed drink renames. Either their graphic designer is a huge nerd or they're really bored. I'm pretty excited about that.

(Also also, if the convention is run by people who don't micromanage everything and trust the people they delegate to to get the job done, you're not frantically putting a schedule together 12 hours before the convention starts, not to speak of the program book!)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I met the grad program director, two faculty members, and the department chair. I got a tour of the department and some of the nearby campus buildings (library, fancy student union/classroom thing).

It's comforting to see that universities everywhere stick their humanities departments in aging buildings.

I liked it. The faculty were nice. They had a crapton of German books. The grad director is a medievalist and has a shelf full of Tolkien (and he said that sometimes a guy in LING offers an Old English/Tolkien class, and on occasion there's a course in Gothic).

I will have to learn a second foreign language, but I could refresh my Japanese or take something like French. I'm looking into getting a head start here, depending on what I take.

The department chair said, "You could apply for spring admission." I didn't know that was a possibility, and I'm not sure I want to? I mean, yeah, sooner started, sooner finished, but that's 6 months away. Application deadline is Sept 15. I could probably swing that, but I don't know. Do I want to start in the middle of the year? It sounds like the setup for something awkward, like not belonging to either fall admission cohort. (Then there's the question of finding an apartment January 1...) IDK. I emailed the program director and asked about that (and about the 2nd language.)

So yeah. I want to make this thing happen. Here's to making my application the best I can.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
I drove down to Athens, Georgia, this morning to visit UGA. It took about 5:45, including 2 stops (1 for lunch & pee, 1 for pee & turning on GPS). Not a bad trip, even if Maps routed me through the least scenic way at the end.

I decided to start getting my bearings by walking from my hotel to a game store practically on campus (to drop off some flyers for Shatterdome Atlanta). It was only about a mile (each way), though it was 90 degrees, sunny, and humid. So by the end, I was really sweaty. And apparently my shoes get looser as my feet get hotter, because they started sliding enough to give me blisters on 3 toes.

Even though the place I wanted to get dinner was only half a mile away, because my feet were hurting, I drove. I went to a vegetarian restaurant called The Grit, where I had pretty good food (Grit Staple (beans, rice, cheese) with a side of falafel, grasshopper cake; local beer) for $19 including tip. Not bad. I was super full at the end of it.

I found the Target after dinner and bought some band aids, then I went to the other gaming shop, which is on the south side of town. The guy there was nicer, and there was gaming actively going on. Lots and lots of dudes, but no one was a jerk, so I'll call it a win.

I drove back by getting slightly lost on campus (the sun was in my eyes, so I couldn't see the sign and turned too early), so now I'm sitting in my hotel and relaxing. I'll probably turn in early, I dunno.

Tomorrow I'm meeting the director of the graduate program at 11, then having lunch with some faculty and meeting the department head at 2, then I'll come home. So I'll be getting home around 9 pm I guess, since I'll have to stop somewhere for dinner, though I can go to like taco bell.

I'm really glad I looked at the department website yesterday to come up with any questions I might have about the program, because either I missed or they added a requirement for a second foreign language. Which means I need to learn a second foreign language. I don't know if it can be done concomitantly with graduate work, but I can't imagine it'd be easy trying to learn a language while doing everything else. So I'm going to ask about that, and see if I can start by taking a year of Turkish at UNC, assuming they actually offer it every semester. I emailed someone in the department yesterday, but I haven't gotten a response yet. So IDK.

They do offer Turkish at UGA, but see above re ZOMGWTF. So if I only had to take one year, that might be easier? La.

So anyway, that's what I'm up to. More later, probably.
feuervogel: (moo)
Some of you may recall that there was an incident on the way to Dragon Con last year.

I resolved not to go any places where Dennis will be and to inform the organizer of the reason: Dennis verbally abused me. At that point, it's up to the host to decide whether they will invite the abuser or me and Ben. In my ideal world, they disinvite the abuser and unfriend them.

I don't live in my ideal world. I couldn't even get the fourth person in the car to agree that he was abusive, though she did admit he was out of line.

So anyway, there was an invitation to a party/cookout this weekend, and I wanted to go, because a lot of people I like were invited and may be there, and I don't ever see them. I know that the host is friends with Dennis (he's parked his MPV in host's driveway on occasion), so I asked if Dennis would be there.

He said probably, so I replied
If Dennis is there, I would rather not attend. He verbally abused me on the trip to DragonCon, and I will not be in his presence. He will not apologize, and he probably doesn't think he did anything wrong.

Host's response started off "I'm sorry to hear that" and said he'd find out if Dennis would be there or not. No consideration of disinviting him. So anyway, Dennis is definitely going to be there, so Ben and I will definitely not.

I am very glad for Ben's support in all of this. He is fully on board with my plan to tell people why I will not be in the same place as Dennis.

What's most disappointing about this is that none of my friends--including the 4th person in the car (let's call her W)--have my back on this. W's preferred strategy, as discussed over gchat, is to ignore it and continue not seeing Dennis anywhere, as opposed to ~~creating draaaamaaaa~~ and telling people who interact with him that he's an abuser. (Which W wouldn't even accede to anyway.)

It's the Geek fucking Social Fallacies in action.

Yes, we are all adults here, and we can all make our decisions about who we are friends with. But if someone tells me that Mutual Acquaintance X has done a horrible thing, X is off my invite list forever. (One friend told me about an X who picked on her cat and made the cat sick. X wasn't really on my invite list to start with, but that earned him a permanent NOPE.)

What Dennis needs to receive are consequences for his actions. One of the things Ben told me that Dennis said in a rest stop bathroom was that he was "sorry" for the consequences (which were I think 'having to deal with this irrational cunt you call a wife'). Not for being an asshole, but for inconveniencing Ben.

The consequences I want to see are universal shunning. I want him to be told that he is not invited to parties because I'll be there and people want to see me. I want him to understand that being abusive has consequences, and that those consequences affect him, not the person he heaped abuse on.

Which is the part that makes me the most upset, really. I was a victim of his abuse (I know of one similar story, there are probably more), and I'm the one suffering a loss of social life.

And this is why I need better friends.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)

Uh, let's see. I rewrote the fucking novel again, and it's off at beta readers'. One already got it back to me, but I'm not looking at comments until next month. I'm Not Dealing With It right now so I can do other things.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the beginning conversation class. Some of my students are more comfortable with unknown words and global reading than others, so what I need to do is figure out how to convince them that knowing every single word isn't important, so they should look for keywords.

Another teacher suggested having them highlight all the things they do recognize, then looking up a limited number of unknown words, so they a) focus on how much they already know and b) don't get hung up on every single word.

It's about time to gauge interest in the next class, so we'll see if I have another class coming up. Though it'll get into summer and the travel season, and I'm going to have to miss half of June anyway... I don't know how that works here.

Convention planning continues apace. The Shatterdome has a full complement of artists for artists alley, but we're always looking for a few good panelists.

Uh, what else? There's a huge mess surrounding this year's Hugo awards, and I don't feel like writing about it here.

I'm still trying to make a #&%!^*%# sale of short fiction. I've gotten some helpful personal rejections (and some total forms), but apparently I'm not hitting the right editor at the right time. I'm thinking about making them into an ebook and selling them on amazon and ebooks.com and smashwords, either individually or as a collection. IDK.

My sister's baby is 2 months old. She thinks she looks like baby pictures of me. All I can tell is that it is a small human with a round, bald head. I am nervous about going home to visit, because there may be expectations of cooing and holding.
feuervogel: (food)
I stopped eating the cereal I'd been having for several years because the quality control was really inconsistent AND I was tired of their OH NO GMO stuff on the packaging. I've been having baked oatmeal for a few weeks, and, while I enjoy it (pear & ginger is awesome), I'm always hungry. Even with the substitution of Greek yogurt for regular to get more protein. (I think it's the increase in carbs. Macronutrient balance is weird.)

So I'm poking around the internet for recipes for quick breakfast things that you can prepare in advance, put in the fridge, and reheat as needed, that revolve around eggs.

calorie talk this way )

So anyway, if any of you can recommend easy egg-based *vegetarian* cook-ahead recipes, link me. (I mean, if the recipe uses sausage, I can substitute, so it's no big deal, but an egg baked in a cup made of a slice of deli ham isn't going to work.)
feuervogel: (beautiful family)
My mother is more excited about my sister's new baby (Clara Rose, born just before midnight last night) than about me getting a doctoral degree.

To be fair, she is also more excited about my sister's new baby than my sister's college degree or any of her achievements in theater.

Not that that makes it a whole lot better, really. It just makes it less about me and more about my mom only valuing baby baby baby.
feuervogel: (do not want)
It's about how John Oliver's latest segment, on drug reps, basically assumes that everyone who takes drugs is duped by their doctors, who are duped by drug reps.

You can read it here.

La la la

6 Feb 2015 02:30 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I went to the doctor yesterday for these weird pink bumps on my toes that hurt and itch sometimes. Chilblains. Caused by excessive vasoconstriction in the capillaries at the extremities. Not much you can do about it other than wear multiple pairs of socks and wait for the weather to get warmer. Can be related to Raynaud's, which I've suspected I have for a while now.

Since I've been feeling a bit off and have had more migraines recently, I brought that up, as well as this feeling of swelling on the front of my neck. She said if it's still bothering me next week, I should call & she'll refer me for an ultrasound. She also had me give some blood for a thyroid test, since my last one was 10 months ago.

(I haven't been feeling up for exercising, which I don't like. I like exercising. I felt too fatigued this morning to do my lifting, and I wasn't happy.)

I've got 3 stories on submission (20, 7, and 1 days) right now, and a fourth I intend to get out soon, once I remember where the next place I wanted to send it was. (I also want to give it a read-over in a few days to see if the revisions I just made work or are clunky.)

I finished the last exam in my certificate course, which means I should be getting my certificate in the next month or so. I don't know if I need to do anything else, like say "hi, I finished everything, do I need to do anything else?" I read the syllabus-like thing, and it didn't really help.

I've almost finished reading this book about Berlin 1961, and, somewhat annoyingly, it's given me ideas that would make my novel better but require more extensive rewriting than I did during NaNo. -_- But now that I've finished the course, I can spend several hours every day reworking it. (And I also have a white board where I can make notes and outline things that happen off screen.)

This weekend should involve hanging out with people I haven't seen in entirely too long, games, pizza, beer, and cupcakes, so I'm pretty excited about that. (There was a red velvet cupcake mix at the store, which I couldn't pass up. It included a frosting packet! Not that cream cheese frosting is particularly difficult, mind you.)

I think for my next baking trick I'm going to make chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate M&Ms instead. Though I might hunt down an oatmeal chip recipe for that for texture purposes...

Um, still teaching & planning to apply to grad school, which means I need to revise the paper I wrote in Marburg and contact people about writing LORs and prepare for the GRE ugh.
feuervogel: (happy)
I got your calendar yesterday. It's gorgeous. Thank you so much!
feuervogel: (writing)
After 3.5 months. I was among the final round of rejections, because people started reporting acceptances immediately afterward. Which is kind of bittersweet. They said I should send it to their regular magazine, which is a token market. I'll do that, if I can't sell it for more money elsewhere.

So it's back out, currently at the Queers Destroy SF issue of Lightspeed (because it's a different editorial team, and they said they'd read stories LS already rejected). After that, there's one more pro market left.

So if anyone knows about a market that wants a political story about disability and class starring a bisexual dock worker in space, let me know.


15 Jan 2015 01:37 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
I started teaching a German 2 class. The school requires 3 students to start a class. I had 3 students (1 continuing from German 1, two new). This week, the continuing student dropped out. One of the new students is moving to Germany in April. There are not enough students to continue on to German 3. So my 2-hour a week job will go to 0 hours in the beginning of March. *sigh*

Makes me feel less guilty about planning to apply to grad school, though.

I got a nice personal rejection on the castle story, which I revised a bit and planned to send in to F&SF during the guest editor issue, but I finally got my VP application story back from an editor who will remain nameless--after 14 months. So I re-read it, tweaked a couple things, and sent it in.

I am waiting on tenterhooks for a response from an anthology I sent another story to. From talk on Codex, the editors are making their final decisions. I don't want to get my hopes up, because I'm pretty much out of pro markets for this story :/ but the submission call was like they wrote it for my story. So. *barfs nervously*

Planning for Shatterdome Atlanta 2015 continues apace. We have a guest. We're discussing other potential guest ideas. We need folks to buy badges!
feuervogel: (beautiful family)
My mom's family has a get-together every year around Christmas. This time it was combined with a baby shower for my sister, who's due in February.

Ben and I drove up on Friday and stayed with my aunt and uncle who were hosting the party. They were having friends over that night, so we hung out with their friends and drank fancy tequila and played pinball. This one was my favorite.

Saturday we went out to play Ingress a bit (get some unique hacks, at any rate, and captured a couple). It was a lovely nostalgic walk from the house I lived in from ages 10-16 to downtown. We walked past the creek I played in, the covered bridge, my high school, even my elementary school. My home town has a lot more fancy stuff than it used to, more ethnic restaurants and even an Islamic center, but I couldn't live there again, ever.

Mom came to her brother's house that afternoon, and I showed her pictures from Berlin, then we ate dinner and sat around talking a while, playing more pinball and Scattergories. And drinking. (Except mom, she doesn't drink.) Mom got kinda mad when I was doing well, "She's thinking outside the box!" Um, that's kind of how you win at Scattergories...

(She wouldn't accept Slavic Studies as a college major starting with S (because she'd never heard of it), but she didn't protest Proto-Indo-European as a language starting with P. It was the first one that popped into my head, I swear.)

My sister's shower was more about mom than my sister. She's wanted a grandchild since I got married almost 15 years ago, and now my sister is finally doing her duty as a grandchild dispenser. There were a loooot of presents, and mom made my aunt make cupcakes and set up more snacks downstairs where the shower was (which nobody ate because there was ample food from the potluck...) and there were games (which my sister hadn't even wanted really). My sister looked uncomfortable at the quantity of presents.

My sister liked the blanket I crocheted her, so I'm happy with that. Grandma made the baby a quilt. A bunch of people chipped in to get some sort of cloth diaper system (apparently they're "systems" now), which was about 10 packages.

There was a lot of gender normativity flying around, plus all the squeeing over baby booties (I don't get it). Stuff with adorable baby animals on, OK. She got a onesie with a penguin or something, which is pretty cute. But booties? idgi.

After everyone left, we helped clean up then watched a bunch of HGTV shows (which mostly made me want to punch the people buying the houses).

My uncle turned his grandfather's home movies into DVDs (by aiming a digital camera at the screen while running the projector), so we watched some of that (this was before the party). One of them was the European vacation he took around the time my grandpa's brother was stationed in Germany again (according to grandpa, this was around 1975 because Jack left in 76.) My uncle didn't know where all he went, and there aren't really labels or anything, so we're watching and trying to guess where they are. Switzerland because of a flag, then the Alps, then some more stuff, and then there's the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche. So I told him I needed a copy of it, and he said he'd make me one.

He also told me that his grandfather/my great-grandfather went back to Germany in the late 30s to visit family and was detained on his way out, for reasons that are unclear. One of his relatives (a cousin, possibly) smoothed things over and got him released. He was apparently an officer in the SS. (This isn't terribly surprising.)
feuervogel: (beautiful family)
I wrote a post about emotional performativity on tumblr, inspired by interactions with Ben's parents this weekend.
feuervogel: (never too late)
Tattoo idea: "It's never too late while you're breathing." In either a cursive font or a book-type font. It's a quote from somewhere in the Vorkosigan series (I forget where, though it was quite likely Cordelia who said it to Miles), and it's been rather motivational for me the last few years.

I don't know where I'd put it, though. I still want to get a phoenix on my left forearm. I also want to get crossed German and Hertha flags on my right ankle. (There's a dragon on my left ankle.)

Thoughts? I need to sleep now. Getting up by 7:30 to finish packing, check out of the hotel and leave for an 11:10 train. More on World Fantasy later (on my Real Blog; I will link.)


2 Oct 2014 04:45 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Apparently the HS student who I was supposed to be teaching canceled, possibly permanently, while his mother shops around for a teacher. Never mind that they said they were looking for someone who would be able to teach him the next two years and wanted consistency. If I named the town they live in, any local would say, "Oh, of course." Well, private lesson 1 was interested in meeting twice a week, so we could do that instead.

I've finished reading the material for the second to last module in my certificate course. Since I'm traveling next weekend, I won't be starting the exam until after I get back, which gives me more time to make lesson plans for my classes that are actually meeting as well. I also am missing a DVD for the other module I need to do, and I hope it arrives soon.

I submitted a story to an anthology. I'm still waiting to hear back on a piece I sent to an editor last November. The slush reader said he's looking into it. (It's in the editor's inbox, somewhere. You have to ask him about it.) So I have three stories out right now.

If all works out, and I can get this nonfiction book read in time, I might try to get a reasonable first draft of ACARP together. (It still needs a title; I do not like naming things, I am bad at it; I don't understand how people name their cars and houses and stuffed animals and things.) I was planning to do that after I finish the certificate, so we'll see.

Also, convention planning continues apace.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Thanks, everyone, for your input on the blanket situation! My mom says I can go ahead and pick something out, because blankets are always needed. She can send me a pattern she used for my cousin's baby if I want. I'm going to hit Joann's tomorrow and take coupons.

I had my first German class today. I don't have a book to give the student yet, but a teaching copy arrived, so that'll help me anyway. He asked about meeting twice a week, and I was like um. Because I start a regular class in early October, and there's also a high school student who's going to be taking private classes (possibly for TWO YEARS). So with all that and finishing the certification, I don't really have time. But once I finish the certificate, maybe. He's really motivated, at least. I pointed him at Duolingo for practice, since it's popular and has both web and mobile versions, but the early exercises are beyond the "Hello my name is" we did today.
feuervogel: (writing)
I got another rejection on a story. This makes 0 for 7, but the second personal rejection. With feedback that would really have been useful before I exhausted all the pro SF markets. *sigh*

I revised the castle story and sent it out to another anthology. I think it fits the criteria marvelously, but I have no idea what the editor will think.

I not only have a German 1 class starting in October, but I also have a private lesson starting Monday. And no textbook (it's on order and hasn't arrived yet).

I made an appointment with my GP tomorrow morning to talk about my knee grinding when I go down stairs and the persistent tingling. (Sciatica? Something else?) I don't know whether I need to go to an orthopedist or if going back to PT will help. The PT I saw was fairly dismissive of my statements that my right hip didn't move as well as my left. ("Your left hip is just really loose, and you're comparing the two." Yes, I do have loose joints, but that doesn't preclude my right hip from having a problem.) So IDK, if I get a dispensation from an orthopod, maybe the PT will listen. Or a different PT.

I don't want to give up running, because I like it. I don't have money to join a gym (and the Y is more expensive than the gym ffs, fucking Chapel Hill), and my elliptical makes a distressing metallic grinding sound when I use it. I'd take up swimming, but the gym is too expensive. Unless I want to drive 20+ minutes each way to use a pool. (Spoiler: I don't.)

feuervogel: (beautiful family)
My sister is pregnant. I want to crochet her (baby) a blanket.

I emailed my mom to ask if that's something she'd like, and mom replies that I should email sis a picture of the pattern and let her decide if she wants it and pick a color.

Isn't that the opposite of a gift? I'd planned to go to the store and pick out a pattern from a book and some yarn, or get yarn that has a pattern on the label. I want to make something very neutral gendered: no pink or blue, no patterns (hearts or flowers). I saw a book of afghan crochet (the kind of crochet that's like single-hook knitting) baby blankets, and I liked one of the patterns in it.

Honestly, now I don't even want to bother.

Anyway, internets, am I wrong for being upset that I should let a gift be dictated?
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Aside from being verbally assaulted upon getting into the car, Dragon Con was great.

We got down Thursday, I got my voucher to reserve my room for next year, getting our badges took about 2 minutes, and we met Laura A for dinner at Truva. One not-so-shiny thing: We were unpacking our stuff, and Ben goes, "...Where is our bag of shoes?" In our bedroom, of course. So we ended up getting a ride out to a store to buy new Doc Martens Friday morning.

Friday I went to the Science of Pacific Rim panel (which was standing room only) and handed out Shatterdome ATL fliers to people as they left. Then food and back to our room to get into costumes for the meetup. The meetup went well.

As we were heading back to our room, there were some costume malfunctions, so we re-hot-glued everything. We will possibly take off all the straps and contact-cement them down for future versions, or I'll find a hi-temp hot glue gun.

Saturday we went to the dealers room during the parade (best idea). We didn't pick up much, just some posters and a couple Gundam model kits. After lunch, we got back into our costumes and went to the Marriott to stand around and look pretty.

Sunday I went to the Late Show and stayed for the Evanna Lynch & Scarlett Byrne panel. Evanna is seriously Luna Lovegood in reality, it is adorable. Then I read as part of Broad Universe, then tried to promote the Helsinki in 2017 WorldCon bid. Having to explain what WorldCon is makes it kinda hard to get interest. I dropped off some candy and badge ribbons at the SFWA table before trekking to the Westin for a panel that ended up being mostly about Angel rather than Agents of SHIELD.

As is traditional, we got takeout (sushi this time) and drank heavily while watching the Masquerade on DCTV in our room.

Monday we headed out a bit after noon. Ben and I went through the comic artist alley briefly first. Since Asshole was driving and making it difficult to have a conversation with the front seat passenger over the road noise and music, Ben and I spent a couple hours talking Shatterdome stuff (mostly things I need to do but like bouncing off other people first).

We got home just as our catsitter was leaving.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I don't know his actual last name, but Dennis Tengu attacked me before we left for Dragon Con on Thursday.

When Dennis and [a friend] arrived at my house, and Ben and I loaded the car, Dennis threw my luggage at me then proceeded to unleash a torrent of vitriol and swearing at me for no reason. He refused to say why he did that when I asked for an explanation. I had no idea why, and I said it wasn't like I'd even seen him in five years to give some sort of offense. He responded, "There's a reason for that." (I only ever saw him at COUP-related events, and I stopped going about 5 years ago.)

When we stopped at a rest area, he apparently told Ben (when Ben told him that his torrent of vitriol was completely uncalled for) that he did it to preemptively win the argument over who got to sit in the front seat. (Never mind that I get motion sick.) I can't remember what [friend] said he told her, but it was a little different than what he told Ben. (Possibly that he didn't want me to talk to him at all.)

Both Ben and [friend] told him that his actions were uncalled for. He showed no remorse and refuses to apologize or even say a word to me.

Dennis apparently does not consider me a human being who is worthy of respectful treatment. He is a sick, vile person; he has sociopathic tendencies. His actions fit an abuser's profile: he knows how to act around people who he wants to see him in a positive light, so that when he is horrific to someone, they don't believe that person or they defend him. They call it "drama" to stick up for you and make sure his actions have consequences [ie LOSING FRIENDS].


feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)

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