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I fail spectacularly at journal titles...
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9th-Feb-2016 03:04 pm - Blah blah.
Bourdain Monster
Me: [Asking client informed questions about retinal pathologies so I can write them into the script, credibly.]
Boss (post-call): Wow. I'm super impressed by your knowledge of those things! You make us sound really good.
Me: Um. I read the document they gave us?
Boss: But you used all the terms correctly! And knew how they were connected or not connected!
Me: Um. She sent us a document outlining all of this.
Boss: Yes! But you synthesized the information! And spit it back out in a way that shows you understood it!
Me: Um. She sent us a document. Did you not see the document?

I can read! Go me!

This happens a lot. I don't know why people are impressed by the ability to just *read* the damned material. But apparently they are. Or maybe it's the understanding that's impressive. I don't know. It's not that hard. I may not know a thing, but I can learn a thing very quickly.

This is also what I like about my job; I get to learn an incredibly wide variety of things. Not necessarily with the greatest depth, but enough to explain them to a broader audience.
3rd-Feb-2016 09:32 am - Similar
Monkey kisses
I really like Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma, etc.), but his writing style is very much the same from book to book.

So is his content, mostly.

It's fine. He's an easy read. It's digestible--like so much pop-psychology and the ever-intriguing, rarely-accurate, definitely-untestable, barely-supported anthropological psychology. It's fun, despite its flaws, but should be taken with a grain of salt.

But his books are all the same.

I feel like someone should tell him this.
But it's not like he's not successful. So go with whatever works, I guess.
14th-Jan-2016 09:47 am - Truly Madly Deeply
Unbearable Lightness of Being Hat
Every now and then movie execs don't know exactly how to market a movie. Apparently this was the case with The Princess Bride; is it comedy? Is it drama? Is it romance? Is it...for kids? Not for kids? (Carey Elwes talks about some of the issues with marketing in As You Wish.)

The movies almost always suffer for it--and they're almost always amazing, nuanced movies (thus making them difficult to categorize). Princess Bride was a "flop" that was only redeemed through word of mouth and the wonderful world of VHS home movies.

Alan Rickman dying actually makes me a little sad. He was one of my "I'll watch anything he's in because I like watching him" actors. There aren't many.

I suppose I should watch Die Hard at some point now?

But there are better Rickman movies.

Everyone knows him from Harry Potter, naturally. Galaxy Quest is wonderful and if you're a Trek fan and you haven't watched it, you should. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is another. The 90s Robin Hood with Kevin Costner wasn't a great-great movie, but I loved it as a kid, and Alan Rickman was wonderful in it.

Dogma. Perfume. Sense and Sensibility.

Not Love Actually, though. Alan Rickman was good because I like Alan Rickman...but I didn't like Love Actually.

(You will notice that I HAVE seen things. Despite assertions to the contrary.)

One of my favorites, however, is Truly, Madly, Deeply. Which is a deeply melancholy little piece about the manifestation of grief. And it was marketed like this:
TrulyMadlyDeeplyMoviePoster

As a madcap romp! As a romantic comedy! So many exclamation points!

Which I guess it *could* be. If you squint. But it's really not.

Even the title is kind of misleading, though I'm not sure what else they might have called it. It's no wonder that many people haven't heard of it. But it's a tiny little gem and some of Alan Rickman's best work. I think it may be time to re-watch it. I haven't since college. Maybe I don't feel the same way about it, but I think it will hold up.
31st-Dec-2015 11:40 am - Book List 2015
Wild Thing
My reading list this year was shameful. Less than half of what I usually read.
It’s almost like I had a baby or something and that cut into my reading time. Babies don’t care about book lists. They care about being fed and stuff. :/
I could list countless baby/kid books on here (I think I’ve memorized “The Cremation of Sam McGee” pretty thoroughly), but I won’t. Just adult books. For real adults. Which I pretend to be.

  1. A Fire Upon the Deep — Vernor Vinge

  2. As You Wish: The Making of the Princess Bride— Carey Elwes

  3. So Anyway — John Cleese

  4. The Signal and the Noise — Nate Silver

  5. Dauntless (Lost Fleet #1)— Jack Campbell

  6. Fearless (Lost Fleet #2) — Jack Campbell

  7. Courageous (Lost Fleet #3) — Jack Campbell

  8. Son of the Morning Star: Custer and Little Bighorn — Evan S. Connell

  9. Brain Rules for Baby — John Medina

  10. Ready Player One — Ernest Cline

  11. American Gods — Neil Gaiman (re-read)

  12. Ancillary Justice — Anne Leckey

  13. To Kill a Mockingbird (re-read) — Harper Lee

  14. Go Set a Watchman — Harper Lee

  15. Valiant (Lost Fleet #4) — Jack Campbell

  16. Ayshus on the Inside —Richard Gist

  17. The Homicide Trinity — Rex Stout

  18. And Then There Were None — Agatha Christie

  19. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Horatio Hornblower #1) — C.S. Forester (Not done yet, but I’m counting it…)

Thank you book club. Without which the list would have very likely been more sparsely populated.
22nd-Dec-2015 11:17 am - Doing
Monkey kisses
Hey Live Journal! Is there anything I can do for you? Anything simple that would brighten your day a little bit?

(I'm trying to re-focus to get out of The Funk.)
5th-Dec-2015 10:58 pm - Contagion
Jesus Understood
The baby's cold is becoming my cold.
I cannot possibly imagine how this happened considering the things she loves best are:
1. Chasing the cats around the kitchen while holding a jar of sprinkles.
2. Putting her snotty, mucusy self all over me.

She's the cautionary tale for a "stop the spread of disease" poster. The Goofus to the Gallant.

*Wipe nose, stealthily stick fingers in mom's eye while her head is turned for a minute.*
*Pretend to want a hug and then rub face into mouth*
*Reach up while nursing and put snotty fingers in mom's nose/mouth*
*Look up lovingly, smile, and sneeze into mom's eyes with no warning*

She's not sleeping well tonight. So far it's required only one intervention, but she's waking up quite frequently, fussing a bit, and going back to sleep.

This, after I came home on Thursday to Samantha (the nanny) sick with a cold and looking like hell. "You could have called in!" I said, with sympathy and not much admonishment. "Oh, well, it was the last day of the week for us and the baby is so mellow. I knew I could tough it out and we'd just have a chill day."

Not the point, you infectious thing, you.

There are germs everywhere. Hand washing is of no consequence when I'm having to hold and nurse and wipe and change a mobile snot-tornado. It doesn't even make a dent.

Say nice things about me after I've drowned in the rising levels of mucus.
23rd-Nov-2015 10:58 am - Car shopping
Monkey kisses
I hate car shopping. Even though D is willing to do a bulk of it for me. The problem right now is that I *need* to get a car. I don't have the luxury of just idly browsing indefinitely, even if my in-laws ARE very generous about loaning out the shop car.

The problem is also that we have a budget. I want to spend what I got back from my totaled car--which is several thousand more than we paid for it--and maybe a *bit* more...but I don't want a car payment right now. Not with paying the nanny more than my mortgage each month. And I like just owning the car outright. Sure, we could technically afford a car payment...but I really, really, really don't want one.

And I also want something that I really *like*--not that I'm just making-do with.

D found a good Cadillac SRX for a reasonable price, but it's just not quite right. It's a color that I don't love (white) and it doesn't have third-row seating and a few other features are off. Also, it rides higher than I'd like, and gets pretty low MPG--low-teens/city. That's an area I don't want to go backward in.

It would be fine. But I don't love it. It would do. But...

So I'm sure I'm frustrating D with what look like (and probably are) minor or petty complaints.

We looked at another SRX (I'm not sure where he got stuck on the SRX in his search, but he did), and it looked clean but when we got there it had a bubbled rust spot on the body. The poor sales guy. I wouldn't even spend the time to drive it (we had Nadia with, so it's an effort to test-drive stuff) because the rust is a hard no. Everything gets rust in MN, but it doesn't mean that I want to start out my "new" car life with rust.

With time, there are lots of options available. Feeling pressed for time makes this more stressful than it needs to be. It's the old matrix of work. There are three elements: Cheap, fast, and good. You can only ever have two at a time.

So we could get a great car, quickly...but not cheaply.
We can get a cheap car quickly...but it won't be as good.
Or we could get a good car, cheaply...but it won't be quick. That's where we're at right now.
2nd-Nov-2015 12:48 pm - 2017
Fred and Ginger Dance
There are fairly serious rumors of a new Star Trek TV series coming in 2017.

I can't help but be a little bit excited. There is a lot of promise there.

On the other hand, the TV landscape has changed dramatically since the last Star Trek series (Enterprise) was on TV. A lot of things are bigger and better; darker, more complex--in both tone and in visual clutter.

I've watched and re-watched all of ST:TOS. (I'm considering doing it again at some point--probably when the baby is ready for TOS.) It's a product of its time. For what it was, when it was, it was revolutionary.

I just re-watched all of ST:TNG. It's also a product of its time. For what it was, when it was, it was a quality show.

I started watching ST:DS9 for the first time. I completed the first season. It's good, so far. I like it in that way that I like Star Trek. But it still feels a bit murky. Perhaps it's because it's not a re-watch from nostalgia, but I don't feel like I'm lost in the world. Yet. And, again, it feels like it's a product of its time. There was a very clear look and feel to those late-90s-early-00s shows.

That's not necessarily a criticism--that these shows are a product of their times. What TV is truly timeless, save for that made to self-consciously be inside a time capsule?

I plan to go through ST:Voyager (never seen) and also--maybe against my better judgement--ST:Enterprise (never seen). I've always liked Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap!!!), even though I've been warned that Enterprise is not a strong entry into the Star Trek universe.

I have trepidation about a new Star Trek TV series in 2017. It will, inevitably, be a product of its time...and I'm not *quite* sure that Star Trek holds up in the current format; complex, dramatic, thematic, sweeping, action-packed, blue-washed TV.

I liked the new movies...but I cannot honestly say I would have liked them as much if they weren't representing the cast-and-crew of the Original Series. If it had been just random Star Trekkie people who weren't Captain Kirk and Mister Spock...would it have been as good?

I don't think so. It's NewStarWars, in a way--in look, if not tone. And that's not a compliment.


ETA: Oh. It's a STREAMING show. That will try to entice people to buy into CBS's streaming service after a CBS-aired pilot. BOOHISS. Less excited.
29th-Oct-2015 12:57 pm - Switching off
Monkey kisses
I went to a historical seance reenactment with a friend on Friday. He made a comment how it was a bummer that d and I couldn't go out much together without it being babysitting-expensive (he had invited d out, too).

It's true. People are going to start to think d doesn't exist anymore if he keeps staying home with the baby while I go out solo.

Then again, I've always been okay with us both doing our own stuff. It's nice to do stuff together, but it's also nice to have our own "things".
16th-Oct-2015 09:16 pm - Why I don't drink and internet
Kirk--fuck it
I've had a half-glass of wine for dinner (so far! D is making food!) and I'm reminded of why I don't drink and internet:

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 8.51.51 PM
I didn't post it. I was tempted! But no-wine me wouldn't have wanted the confrontation.
16th-Oct-2015 12:20 pm - Conversion Therapy
Gay sex for god.
Can we just call "conversion therapy" for LGBT youth what it is? Child abuse.

I'm so sick of the varnished vernacular on things like this. Actually, I'm mostly envious of the "other side" consistently getting to own the vernacular and being really good at it. So I want to name some of the things myself.

Let's just call it what it is, man.

So instead of saying, "There's a push to end conversion therapy" which might get tepid support, we say, "there's a push to end this form of child abuse."
10th-Oct-2015 10:28 pm - Zoobilee Zoo
Monkey kisses
I heard a reference to Zoobilee Zoo on @Midnight.

It pinged something in my brain; it sounded so familiar. So I looked it up.

Dang. Ever have something you've 100% forgotten about come back to you in a weird, dream-like nostalgia flood?

Yeah. Zoobilee Zoo. With Ben Vereen. I used to watch it, I think. Every single thing about it is absolutely familiar, and yet--until I looked up the reference--I could not have told you a single thing about it. It had been locked away completely with a million other irrelevant childhood impressions.

ZOOBILEE ZOO. Dude. It's really eerie and trippy setting it again when it was so lost from my consciousness.
1st-Oct-2015 08:47 pm - Lost cause
Monkey kisses
Listening to D trying to explain why "all lives matter" is an awful response to "black lives matter" to his mother (I think, though it could be his dad...but probably not).

They're not bad people, you guys. They actually try. It's just that they're very...isolated and naive and even ignorant about some things. Lack of exposure is the culprit. His sister in law thought she was in the middle of a shootout while on the way to our place because two people were loudly talking and "it's not because they're black, but..."

Oh. He's moved on to school shootings and gun control. Goodie.

Mostly his mom agrees, she just needs things pointed out to her sometimes and she does shift her perspective on frequent occasion.
24th-Sep-2015 11:01 am - Wrong way.
Attack Bunny-Me
Me: [Make a bunch of new LJ friends on a friending meme.]
Me: [Immediately become a (temporary) LJ recluse.]

I'm doing this wrong!
11th-Sep-2015 10:32 am - Child-like
Wild Thing
So in trying out the friending meme on LJ I have some new friends. Which is awesome.

The friending meme protocol has been something like, "Hey, you sound interesting...want to give the friends thing a go?" "Yes! Hello New Friend!"

It reminds me of small children playing together--not in an insulting way, but in a simple, innocent way devoid of hangups and reservations. Hey, you and I both like coloring. Want to try being friends? YES!

It's a bit intimidating, to tell the truth. But also exhilarating.

And Live Journal, man. I can't think of another place where people actually become real friends; and frequently take the step of knowing about someone's personal life online to meeting in real life and becoming real friends.

It makes my heart swell like a big ol' cheeseball.
9th-Sep-2015 01:11 pm - Lietuva
Attack Bunny-Me
Lithuanian is a dying language. Most Lithuanians speak Russian. The younger generation is quite fluent in English, generally.

Online translation is very happy to support the death. It does an uncommonly bad job of translating Lithuanian. Which is fine, unless you're trying to figure out your friends' facebook statuses and you don't want to continually badger them to translate for you.

For instance:

Klausi savęs ar jau sensti? Atsakymas: jei 23 metų kolegos paprašai kreiptis "tu" ir jis, vieną kartą pabandęs, pasako "oi nu ne, neišeina, jūs stipriai vyresnė". Šūdžius.

Translation:
Issues of self or sensti? Answer: If the 23-year old fellow paprašai go, "you" and he, once pabandęs, tells "Oh nu not go, you strongly age". Šūdžius.


Absolutely no idea. That's one of the statuses with MORE words translated accurately.

I suppose I could learn more Lithuanian. At present I can say: [a drinking toast], "maybe beer?", a little, a lot, sausage, [several snack food items], vodka, water, and a few other things (probably please and thank you and such, if pressed to remember them). You can tell what the focus was while traveling back in ought-nine.

But then again, what am I ever going to do with Lithuanian? My connection is tenuous at best. Maybe I'll visit again some day, but there are other places I'd want to visit first. Duolingo isn't offering it (not that I've been keeping up with the other stuff on Duolingo anyway).
9th-Sep-2015 11:17 am - Friending Meme
Monkey kisses
There is a friending meme going around (I got it from tediousandbrief who got it from silviarambles.)

Why the heck not?
But the thing about these friending memes...which I've never done before...is they make me go back and examine my content. How *would* I sum up my journal? Do I write about my kid too much? Am I interesting enough? Do I ramble about politics too much?

But then I remember that people who want to read my stuff will read my stuff and people who don't, won't. I can say that over the years--almost 10 of them now--I've met some really great friends FOR REALZIES via Live Journal. I don't think I've experienced that in quite the same way anywhere else. It's a unique vehicle for that.

The meme:



Wuxi, pool party
Picture by Wuxi on Flickr
Feeling like you're drifting all alone in the once-fun-but-now-too-quiet pool of Livejournal? Not to worry! silviarambles is running a friending meme!

Friending Meme for LJ Survivors - 2015 Re-edition


Please remember that friending frenzies work only if you spread the word, so, even if you're not looking for more friends, would you mind doing me a big favour and pimping the meme on your own journals?

Thanks!
7th-Sep-2015 12:39 am - 50 Shades
Baaa means no.
D and I tipsy-watched 50 Shades of Grey last night.

For a movie with lots o' sex scenes, it was tremendously dull. And unintentionally hilarious at points. We had watched Pitch Perfect 2 before that. Pitch Perfect 2 was a better movie.
6th-Sep-2015 10:03 am - State Fair Eats
Julia Child Happy Pounding
We went to the fair on Friday--which made it seem like a Saturday which, with the extra weekend day on Monday, makes this weekend nice and long.

It was a decent, if very different, State Fair experience this year. Pushing around a stroller is cumbersome. The baby was great, though. She got out to eat, but otherwise was totally content just being in the stroller and watching things.

What we ate (and drank) between 3 people:
(Not necessarily in this order)

Blue cheese corn fritters (YUM)
Breakfast burrito (just D)
Raspberry wine slushy (just sister and myself)
Beer sampler (just D)
Frozen apple cider pops
Cheese curds (of course)
Frontenac Gris (wine--just sister and self)
Pronto pup (just D)
Bacon SPAM burgers (YES YES YES)
Sweet corn ice cream (meh. SUPER sweet)
Deep fried pickles (classic)
Tiny Tim Donuts (just for mom)
Sweet Martha's Cookies (to bring home to make the best s'mores ever)
Macaroni and cheese "cupcake" (good!)
Caramel apple beer (just D)
Wine sampler--white (just D)
Roasted corn

It feels like I'm missing something? Though I don't know how I could be. Splitting food is definitely the way to go for maximum trying.

The baby just had milk. Outside the wine pavilion while I was sipping a wine slushy and being silently judged. She also nursed in the Ergo all sitting-up and freestyle when the state fair mascot came over to say hi to her. Hello mascot! Here is my boob!
27th-Aug-2015 07:38 pm - Dentist.
Attack Bunny-Me
I hadn't been to the dentist in an embarrassingly long time. Not as embarrassingly long as I had initially thought, though.

My fears of a mouth full of cavities were unsubstantiated.

The bad: The dentist recommends four crowns on my back lower molars to prevent me from losing those teeth. To say this is not cheap is an understatement.

Still kinda bad: My insurance doesn't kick in coverage for things like crowns for 4 months, yet.

Not so bad: It's not urgent. I sort of knew that something like this would be inevitable some day. It's not my fault; the teeth are worn down due to orthodontic misalignment.

The kinda cool: I have free prescription toothpaste because I'm in an 8-week study now. I must look like a willing test subject. I always get roped into these things. Or, I should say, three of my teeth have been roped into this. Figuratively speaking.

I brush with high-flouride sensitivity toothpaste 2x a day. Then I fill out 4 surveys at intervals. Along the way they pay me $125. *shrug*
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