jinian: (c'est la vie)
Harvard stopped paying me on May 31, and my new job didn't start until the following Monday, so I took the chance to finally go to NYC with grad friend A the way we'd been talking about for months! It was perfect weather, sunny and cool, and we had an excellent time.

Thursday
We agreed that getting there early wasn't worth getting up super early, so we met at the bus station at 9. It's nice to be comfortable enough with someone that you can just read and listen to music together for a few hours.

First New York meal: a corned beef reuben at the Starlight Diner. It's near the bus wasteland, and we needed food. A had gyros, and both our dishes were good but extremely large! I ate the other half of mine for dinner.

First activity: the Met! They were having a Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons fashion exhibit, which was amazing. We only had an hour and a half, story of my life when it comes to the Met, but honestly that's about all my joints can take of museum time without being able to sit and rest a lot. The fashion exhibit was glorious and made me even more disappointed in the basic bitches who went to the Met gala without even touching on the theme. There were plenty of ways to look sexy and interesting while still being avant-garde in Kawakubo's collections.

A kept trying to stop and look at paintings. No, if we don't go directly to the thing we want, we will be looking at everything else forever. We look at permanent-collection paintings after the limited exhibit!

She did have a brilliant idea afterward, though. We needed to eat New York cheesecake. Two Little Red Hens had good reviews and was reasonably nearby, and turned out to have excellent cheesecake, plus somehow 100% perfect lemonade. We didn't try the cupcakes, but they looked good too.

We checked out our hostel after that, which was a weird one -- there had been a deal on hotels.com, so we'd booked a king-size private room. In a hostel. Well, it did turn out to be a private room with its own bathroom, and rather nice though entirely without appliances, but the mattress was very clearly a full size. Good thing neither of us is a wild sleeper.

A went out for a walk to admire the sunset, I rested and took aspirin and read a Courtney Milan novel. (Books on my phone, so much easier to carry around all day.)

Friday
In the morning, A's tamagotchi woke me up at 7. Thanks for that. More reading time! A got up at 8 and we headed off to find breakfast at Bagels & Co. I had a sesame bagel with cream cheese and fresh orange juice, and it became very clear why they charge so much for cream cheese: sheer volume. We also each got a rainbow-colored egg bagel (pride-related?) to take home; mine is in the freezer awaiting suitable toppings.

We had thought of going up to NYBG, but it's pretty far really and A can probably get sent there for work at some point, so we stayed in Manhattan instead. First stop: the Natural History Museum. We looked at very many dinosaur and mammal remains, and near the cool drawings of animals whole/muscled/bones-only we met a security guard. He complimented my spaceship shirt (based on this design) and asked if I was a pilot. No, I said, a scientist. He asked where we were based, and when we said Harvard he asked if we knew Neil deGrasse Tyson. We do not! But he does. He, in fact, gets into a Michael Jackson dance-off with him every year. Sadly, it didn't happen while we were there.

Next we took a walk along the High Line, which was much longer than last time I was in New York, absolutely hipster-saturated but a really lovely aerial park. We got pretty hungry during this but failed to find actual food in the area, so we headed off toward the Strand. My phone had run out of data (Twitter autoplay, RIP) so A was navigating, and she found that at our bus transfer point there was a Sushirrito. This is apparently a Bay Area chain, and it was highly amusing and delicious. They have a machine that makes the nori-and-rice wrapping, which is really clever, then the humans apply fish or whatever (A had chicken katsu, I had yellowtail), plus veggies and other good things. They are very tasty but less well thought out than burritos as to what happens at the ends of the cylinder.

We went to the Strand, which was actually the first time I'd been. A good bookstore. I got The Star-Touched Queen and a souvenir magnet. We left in good order with just enough time to get the obligatory Jamba Juice, which has considerately moved to be more convenient, at Penn Station, and dash to the bus.

The last adventure was at the Burger King at the bus rest stop in CT. A got not only chicken fries, which cost twice as much as chicken nuggets for being long and skinny and better spiced, but also... mac n' Cheetos. The latter is horrifying and hilarious, it's Cheeto-shaped deep-fried Kraft dinner, I do not understand who came up with this.

I made it home by midnight and then my knee hurt for four days, but oh well, it was a very good trip. :)
jinian: (Winry kicks ass)
1. My assistant, whom I have gotten hooked on Hidden Sweets in Harvard Square, went there last week and texted to inform me that the beloved grapefruit gummi candy of song and story has been discontinued, and that HS was already out. After partially recovering from my shock, I went to the internet and ordered a 3-lb bag of them, which has now arrived. Next step: confirm their correct identity by eating a precious single one. Then I can set up a safe-deposit box.

2. I felt really good today. I've been managing energetic or physical well-being or motivated lately, but today I felt like me, pretty much all day. It was wonderful. It's been way too long.

3. Now I just need something to do with this ridiculous upswing of libido. (Total Prince immersion maybe not helping here.)

4. Completed the writing style guide for the Brightshine Jubilee storybook finally! Now I have something to refer bitches to when they try to start with me about whether "archeologist" is misspelled. I'm really excited about this project, even though it's making me stressed about Flight Rising overall. C came up with it and plans to typeset the whole thing, and I wound up lead writer because I got stuck managing the "omg we can't possibly have a pirate theme pirates are evil" drama into "okay we're having seafaring adventures and here is how it ties to the site canon." And of course since I'm the only person involved with the project who can herd cats, that's where all my energy is going. Please can you do the thing you said would be done a week ago, M, thx. But! Style guide is done, all the pages have been claimed by artists and writers, all I should need to do now is a little light whip-cracking and then final edits.

5. Currently reading Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney. I had trouble getting into it at first because her style is a little overdone, but by chapter 2 I was on board. She swings from childhood attention-getting antics to reminiscences of queer-liberal-musician callout culture in 90s Olympia, says she can't call herself a musician and then comes out with deeply considered ideas about the nature of performance. I never lived in Olympia or Redmond, but I'm from nearby enough that I have my own ideas about them, so reading about them is a mix of familiarity and prejudice-confirmation (i'm sorry but evergreen college) that has me grinning over the book constantly.
jinian: (zoomy sakura)
I woke up in a good mood on Friday (sushi aftereffects?) and then had therapy. Therapist is onto me, as I have complained to Twitter already -- she refuses to hear only about the things that are going well now and directs me back to how the one terrible thing is getting its miasma everywhere. So that was hard but probably a good idea.

Saturday I had pottery as usual, and while the kiln is getting a lot slower since it's the end of the quarter I did get my Hallucigenia bowl back! It's ridiculous and great. I glazed the trilobite-stenciled bowl and another one, so hopefully those will be done by next week, and threw a couple more bowls that I was very happy with. One quite big, with lovely thin walls that really wanted to buckle downward, and my teacher was finally not being monopolized by Miss Working-On-Commission for the entire period and showed me how to save it and a less accident-prone way to do shaping. Always nice when I get instruction from my instructor!

Then [personal profile] genarti picked me up for our small hiking trip. It wasn't warm at all, but dry and clear was good enough for us. We drove out to Rocky Woods Reservation, which turns out to be adorable and very well maintained, with nice flexible trail options that don't doom you to an hours-long loop if you don't want to commit. There was an orienteering event that we both agreed we probably would've wanted to join in if we hadn't come at the end, but instead we had quite good sandwiches and a giant pickle from an aggressively quaint deli in the nearby small town. (How quaint were they? So quaint they had three kinds of store-brand soda bottled for them, bearing labels printed with an image of their storefront, complete with printed sign pointing to it in case you forgot who and how cute they were.)

Hiking with Beth is great. We climbed rocky hills! We saw a beautiful vista! We got distracted by trees and rocks! And also a weird nut (diagnosis after rock-based dissection efforts: one of these bare trees is a young walnut). And part of the trail being paved with compressed shredded roof shingles.

Then we joined a bunch of people downtown to watch Mermaid, which was hilarious if disturbing in parts. The cops! The shoes! The ceiling fan! The slingshot! The cranky assassin auntie! The badass magical grandma! (We could all have done without the teppanyaki scene.) We got food at a good Vietnamese place, which I'm about to have leftover clay pot rice from, and went by a bakery on our way home too.

Then I came home to find that pretty much everything we needed for our Flight Rising event was done to my satisfaction, and got a lot of very nice sleeping done. This morning (now that the push has started and we have some dragon data to play with) I made spreadsheet wizardries happen, took another nap, and have had time to just relax. I'm reading the weirder novels of Andrea Host, and can definitely recommend The Pyramids of London for wacky steampunk vampires and gods. Very eventful days are fun, but my health is still not great, and lying down a lot today has also been excellent. I also watched a bunch of Leverage, and I'm working on a music mix for a friend.
jinian: (c'est la vie)
I had a nice date tonight, despite still having the last bits of the terrible cold I got on the airplane and having to duck out of the theater for a protracted coughing fit in the hallway, and arrived home to find an awesome Christmas present from one of the people I missed seeing in Seattle. (A set of four botanical fern-motif mugs and a Riot Grrl memoir, it's like they've met me before.) Carol is a beautiful movie which appreciates Cate Blanchett's loveliness of age as it should.

books

Dec. 1st, 2015 10:52 pm
jinian: Tiny Fakir from Princess Tutu, reading (reading fakir)
Well, maybe it does take being knocked on my ass by illness to make me post. Or to make me read slowly enough to think about books as I go, or something. My thoughts are too long for Twitter reviews, so here are longer and less coherent musings for you.

Commitment Hour, James Alan Gardner. So this is what a gender exploration novel looks like with essentialism turned to MAXIMUM. Post-diaspora Earth, different areas with different tech levels, rural town in which every child swaps sexes every year until commitment at 21, when they choose male, female, or "neut" (actually a perfect functional hermaphroditism, i.e. the most impressive technology in the book including star travel). Guess which of those the Patriarch who set up their society hated worst. There are interesting moments here, but I got really tired of the main character being a thorough ass and frequently being "possessed" by their opposite-sex "soul" when they needed to briefly not be. The ending is the weirdest thing I've read in a long time, and I'm not just talking about the murder spree.

A College of Magics, Caroline Stevermer. I always remember how much I enjoy this book, but I always forget how sad it makes me. Jane is wonderful; Faris is fine; her adversarial relationship with her uncle is fantastic. The school hijinks are fun and charming; the magic of Greenlaw is frustratingly mysterious but still works for sense-of-wonder; the other magic of the world is never adequately explained. Slut-shaming the villain does not endear anyone else to me, including the author. And Faris gets adventure and competence and heights of magic, but her unbelievable romance is not worth what she gave up to get to it, and I feel like Stevermer workshopped creepy body-swap concepts with Andrea Host.
It turns out I like fitting book reviews into 140 characters a lot more than I like writing them long-form. Here are some.











jinian: (attack zero)
THERE IS NO BOOKSTORE

I WOULD HAVE PRIORITIZED THIS OVER ADDING TOURISTS
Sheri Tepper has a new book which is basically Heinlein's Number of the Beast. I am appalled and must read it ASAP.

(also WTF wasn't Mavin asleep for a hundred years)

Obviously I texted [personal profile] skygiants immediately upon finding this monstrosity in the store, then capslocked at Twitter, then got on the library hold list.
jinian: (lost sakura)
1. Accomplished much sewing today with happy sunbeamish cats.

2. Last night my new textbook for my new job came: feeling like I am doing what I should, having good enough health to do it with, and enjoying the material. And I aced the pretest. :)

3. Another shipment came too, including some heavier lotion that I like the smell of and some probiotics to try to get my tummy all the way in gear.

4. Some fun nerdiness with spreadsheets occurred.

5. Good meeting yesterday with my boss and fellow postdoc where I had an analysis they wanted before they asked for it!
Having dreams about things like uprooting tree trunks that would otherwise grow back trees and accidentally exalting hatchling pixeldragons that I should really have done more with. Yes, thanks, subconscious, I am aware that I will be shutting off uterine possibilities.

Came down with a mild cold today, ugh. Rested rather than working, even though we're time limited on the demo equipment, because I really must get well before Monday. It might not be as mild as I thought, though, since I also failed completely to parse a knitting pattern for something I've made before. Probably it's what Dad had while I was there, in which case it's not a really bad bug, just makes you tired mostly.

Roommate is still not home, which is a little nice and a little weird. I assume he's still at his wife's, and alive and all, though it's been two days longer than expected. Anyway, I am sticking to my chore routine even though he won't be bothered if the kitchen's not cleaned daily, because it turns out I like it clean too. (Mostly I pride myself on being able to work in tight spaces, so not cleaning is a weird way to make there be tight spaces so that pride can occur; my brain is weird.) Also I don't bother putting on pants when I have to use the bathroom in the night.

Foxglove Summer was pretty great and I remain happy that the U Bookstore SF section drives to Canada occasionally or whatever they do to get my UK editions.

No idea wtf my uterus is up to. I had the PMS backache on schedule, and then... no bleeding. Perhaps I have scared it into submission? I am not going to argue if I don't have another period before the surgery, but it's a bit strange. That and I'm worried it's actually gathering its strength for one last round of epic misery, ha.

things

Nov. 29th, 2014 10:44 pm
jinian: (c'est la vie)
Really stellar Kaidonovsky cosplay

Holy cow, best Hogwarts founders fancasting possible

Some hints on rocking androgynous looks with a curvy build

Flawless Christmas-sweater victory

And then there was this...

Dad: So do you do all the cooking for the group of you in your apartment?

Me: What? WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT?

Mom: *snickering quietly in the background*

Dad: ...

Me: We are all grown adults and we cook for ourselves.
Having a return of serious digestive badness since the whole IUD debacle, so I'm feeling very low on energy and brain. Still, I have some things to say!

Changes in anime art styles over the last several decades are something I had noticed but not qualified this way.

It took tumblr like five minutes after the movie announcement to write a Captain Marvel post-credits scene that causes me to squeal in incoherent delight.

Hilarious send-up of Jonathan Franzen from Twitter.

I have some TOUGH DECISIONS to make about further #scishirt options for this week. XKCD was required, so I wore that yesterday. Today is the shirt Wim brought me from Meguro Parasitological Museum. I guess I'm going to have to go with sentimental value -- Plant Disease, FHL evo-devo course, and Monterey Bay Aquarium -- rather than any of my cool conference shirts or ones that just have plants/animals.

Last night when I was trying to eat food, I had truly amazing applesauce from [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. Wonderful stuff.
jinian: (birdsquee)
1. Made plans to hang out with [personal profile] gaudior and also hopefully remediate the current state of litterbox doom.

2. Sent a personal comment to the FCC about the cable company merger. (Surprising no one: having worked in telecom, I am agin it.)

3. Preordered Ancillary Sword! Tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow!
jinian: (bold bananas)
YES THANK YOU. Why I Lose My Mind Every Time We Have the Name Conversation

I are competent adult. I navigates annoying health care system. Slowly, but it happen. (Finally decided to try Mirena, but it turns out not to be as easy as just saying so. I have to enroll in some different program to see a gyno at all, and of course I have to go chat with them before they'll even make an appointment to actually do the thing, never mind that I already talked it over thoroughly with my GP.)

Anne Ursu is amazing. (We knew this.) The Great YA Debate

So I saw this giant isopod iphone case on Twitter, and I sent it to Wim of course, and he responded with... the MOST AMAZING giant isopod iphone case. I just. WOW. [N.B.: If you think you may not want to see this, you are really, really right.]
jinian: (bold bananas)
1. Go to the library to get a book for my fun research project.

2. See the library's chocolate jar, which is the only reason many people visit the library.

3. MMM KIT KAT.

4. After browsing someone's dissertation but reining in my tendency to sidetrack myself, get the book I wanted and another one I bet I'll need later.

5. Realize that I should eat actual food.

6. Go toast half a bagel and nom some sugar snap peas.
jinian: (chiyo)
The previous post linked at the beginning of this one isn't bad, but this one's great. On what men think women want from women.

Exciting results from collaborators at work! Going to have to send them a lot more samples.

http://quietbabylon.com/2014/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-making/

Among other wonders, SailorPtah has made "fetch" happen. (Crossover between Night Vale and His Dark Materials.) I couldn't get the smile off my face.

Emma Watson did okay. Yeah, men in general need to step up and be better feminist allies, but it's not actually about them, and I don't think they've failed to realize that their moms are generally women. I think it's hard for men to see how fucked things still are because they don't experience it. That's what we need to fix, but it's a catch-22 in multiple ways.
jinian: (bachelor's button bud)
Accomplished some things at work!
- Found out what food my food-ignoring fish had been eating before I got him, so hopefully he will condescend to eat the same kind again
- Ran a gel (confusing result and not sure what to do, but I saw it)
- Talked to facilities about installing a necessary cabinet for my work
- Researched and ordered a new analytical balance
- Enhanced my mind by reading papers
- Initiated minor interaction to support reportedly lonely new student

Praised for my hard work on grantwriting!
I had a bonus assignment over the weekend (which annoyingly coincided with J's visit, but I kinda need the money and it only took about three hours), and my boss praised me a bunch for it and wants me to co-write some other papers for co-authorships. Woot! He tends to praise high, but "brilliant" is always nice to hear. :) And I'm smug about my making the grant subtly more progressive in its phrasing -- you wouldn't think you could get a lot of politics into a grant, but between referring to Tibet vs. "the Tibetan region" and pointing out that North American plants had been newly discovered by Western botany during the historical period, not (as implied) by all humans, I am pleased with myself.

I got a loooooot of books unpacked.

Such good vids that I finally made time to watch! Pacific Rim ones but also very well done Katniss.
jinian: chibi Hana from 7 Seeds working hard! (hana stivver)
1. Smut Peddler 2014 is ouuuuuuuut! ♥ I may have read some of it at work and then been physically and socially uncomfortable as a result.

2. Racing game reunion today! Got to swap gossip with some people I haven't talked to in a quite a while, though we were still missing a few. Must make time to hang out there occasionally.

3. Hair re-pinked! (Bleaching pretty patchy, though. Need much better mirror skills if I am to bleach the back of my own head.)

4. The large bookshelf is attached to the wall, because I am smart and persistent. I figured out how to put it together, which was a learning process but totally worked, and then worked out a scheme to get the new stabilizing boards screwed into drywall anchors. Didn't work the first time because my screws were too short to account for the space between the wall and the shelf, oops, so I got two other sizes today and the one I thought would work did. Small one will be easy-peasy, and then books can be unpacked.

5. I get to see [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and J tomorrow.
jinian: (mokona world)
Mostly things are being very very stressful right now, because I am learning that one should NEVER EVER use U-Haul's U-Box service. For one thing, everyone I have spoken to there assured me that it is 100% impossible to change the payment method on an order after the order is placed, which... is a thing that businesses can do...? Not U-Haul, though! Also I have spent multiple hours on the phone talking to over a dozen people, getting nothing but runaround and confusion from people who were mostly rather nice but entirely unable to help me, because they almost to a one mentioned needing more training. Once I had found, through sheer luck, the one department that is able to change orders in the computer system, they proved to be unable to change them usefully -- my stuff's guaranteed-delivery-by date is now LATER than before. Aaaand last night when I called in having never gotten a confirmation for the promised pod pickup last Friday, I discovered that no such pickup had occurred, it was scheduled for this coming Wednesday. Ask [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and [personal profile] gaudior how happy I was then. I talked to the location manager, who said he would try to expedite it, but basically I am planning to move to my new apartment without my stuff being there (however frustrating that may be, and it SO IS) because NONE OF WHAT I WAS PROMISED IS TRUE. There will be some fucking refunds over this, I tell you what.

But! On Saturday for almost the whole day I was able to ignore that clusterfuck, and here are some good things.

1. When I was heading out to do errands, I found adorable free art on the sidewalk! I almost went past it to do my shopping, but decided I'd better grab it and take it home right away. There is a leopard and a giraffe, who must be like the giraffe first-grade teacher because she's leading three little giraffes, and they're all in a very flat-looking jungle. It's great.

2. Subsequently I went back out again and did my errands like an adult.

3. Nap.

4. For the first time here, I had a good interaction at the video store. Having watched The Fortune Cookie last night and found it dark and upsetting more than funny, I have to retroactively question the guy's judgement, but it was awfully nice to talk to an employee at that store who had the slightest interest in talking to customers. Plus, they had a display of Star Trek novels for $2.50, which included Uhura's Song in great shape, and when I bought it I think I managed to promote Hellspark to him effectively!

5. I had a lovely walk home from Porter in the still-humid-but-cool dusk, including a stop at the yogurt shop (where I resisted feeling like a jerk and told them how to cook their mochi a little longer to stop it being chalky, because it's been that way twice now and I want to eat it if it's good!) and walking a way I hadn't gone before to tie my mental map of the area together. There was a big pavilion set up outside Harvard Yard where they often put them for events, but no event right then, so a little kid was riding their bike around in it, which cheered me up even more.

6. Joss Whedon's 2012 film of Much Ado About Nothing is not perfect, but it's mostly very good, and there were several points that I've never seen done so well before. Unfortunately the person I was watching it with hasn't seen/read it a million times and didn't have subtitles, which made it a lot harder to follow. Sorry, J. I may watch it again myself before I take it back, though. :)

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