Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Nostalgia

This be ye olde house in Vermont. Miss the house, but all that snow... man, I don't really miss shoveling that driveway, gotta say.
My coworkers are missing. Again.

That is all.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Geek license renewal

KC threatened to take away my geek license when I told him that I didn't have a) a DVD player or b) a digital camera. Well, I now have a DVD player, courtesy of my brother. It's sooo cute. It's long, flat, silver and very Star Trekkish looking. So far, I've gotten it out of the box and put the batteries in the remote control. Go me.

I'm not quite sure where my DVD player is going to go -- currently, it's on the floor and that's probably where it'll stay. My old TV cart that I got rid of had room in the cart for both the VHS and DVD and a dozen tapes because the back of the cart was missing. This cart has a slot for the VCR and that's it. I thought about putting it into the cabinet below, but that won't work because there's no way to connect the wires through the back (unless I suddenly become very handy, purchase a drill, make some holes -- you get the idea. Mostly though, the cabinet of my cart is home to JAG tapes, Babylon 5 and Sports Night; but I digress).

So I got all excited about hooking up the DVD player yesterday. Then I read the instructions which say specifically not to hook up through the VCR. Instead, since my television is an older model with only a coaxial antenna thingy on the back, I have to buy a gadget called the RF Modulator to attach to the back of the television so I can get the DVD player to work. Bjorn suggested purchasing a new television. However, since a new television is not in the budget, I've gone shopping for the elusive RF modulator, which apparently can cost anywhere from $15 to $150, depending on what you need it for. For $150, I can get another 19" television set, so I'm inclined to go cheap and hope for the best. However, the sheer quantity of RF modulators available is making my head spin. So I've sent an SoS to the person responsible for my current quandry; he knows what's what when it comes to television-type stuff so perhaps he'll have a good recommendation for me. One would hope.

I'll keep you posted as I geek my way through strange new (digital) worlds.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

I think this holiday doodle is sooooooooooooo cute!
It's amazing...

How everything comes down to the very last minute. I thought, "Wow! Five days off! Whatever will I do with all of that time?" Quite a bit, as it turned out. A few lunch dates, a few parties here and there, a couple of trips to the store and my vacation is nearly over. I have one last lunch date with Sarah today and then it'll be heading back to the Big City to the East, hopefully before 3 pm. The skies look vaguely threatening and I absolutely abhor driving in the torrential downpours this state is famous for. When I came back from the beach in September, that was probably the most miserable 6 hour drive of my life -- zero visibility, unfamiliar roads. So hopefully that will not be the case today.

I'm sure Virtual Life will pick up again tomorrow as people return to work. In fact, I'm amazed it's been as active as it has been in certain areas. Email, though, has been dead, but apparently spammers don't observe any kind of holiday. My spam has been more over the last five days. I'm inclined to do a study of just how much spam a person gets in relation to 'real' mail. This morning, I got one real mail and 30 spam. There's only one conclusion -- spammers love unprofitable me more than real people do.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

The Da Vinci Code

Link of the day: The Da Vinci Code Game

It's been a long time since I've read a book that's grabbed me by the neck and refused, absolutely refused, to let me go. "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown is hands down one of the best books I've read this year, if not the best (I'm debating between this and "Life of Pi"). "The Da Vinci Code" is the "it" book this year, and there was even a special on ABC (hosted by Elizabeth Vargas) about some of the ideas in the book. After my recent experience with Mary Magdalene fanfiction, I was apprehensive on taking up another book on the subject.

But...

From the first page to the last, "The Da Vinci Code" refuses to let go. If you're a fan of mystery thrillers, this is a good one. The sum of all the action takes place in less than 24 hours and this novel has some of the best pacing I've seen in fiction. Nothing drags and the action moves along very, very quickly. Just when you think you've gotten to the absolute climax of a moment, bam! Here comes something else to mess things up yet again.

"The Da Vinci Code" stars Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbologist, who is studying the sacred feminine. He interprets literature, art and architecture to derive clues about the truth about the Bible. His (literal) partner-in-crime is Sophie Neveu, a French cryptologist. Drawn together by the murder of the curator of the Louvre, Sophie and Robert embark on their own journey to discover the truth behind one of the most fascinating quests in history. They are joined along the way by Leigh Teabing, a Royal British historian, and Remy, Teabing's manservant. Bezu Fache, an ambitious and powerful officer in the French Judicial Police, is hot on their heels. Throw in a secret Catholic society, an albino monk, and a top-secret French brotherhood whose members include Leonardo Da Vinci and Isaac Newton, and you've got the makings of the next mall-movie blockbuster.

What saves this book from being the next John Grisham though is its intelligence. Along with a well-paced mystery thriller, the book does a superb job of interweaving architecture, literature, religion and suspense. The author has done an amazing research job, pulling out obscure facts from various artistic disciplines, and no doubt, there are many who will disagree with his interpretation of those facts -- especially the religious angles (there's no doubt that Brown's view on Jesus Christ is revisionist). The religious emphasis is on the sacred feminine in the Bible and lest you think Brown is making this stuff up, he backs up all of his theories with historical/Biblical fact.

Every detail -- from architectural descriptions to those of the famous "Last Supper" -- is artfully written and history well-explained. Despite the mass quantity of information (Brown doesn't shirk his responsbility as an author and make the reader do the work), Brown always manages to shake things up so it doesn't feel like an info dump. On a slightly negative note, the book spends so much time on explanation that you don't really get a feel for the characters. Teabing is the most colorful and most developed, while Sophie and Robert are mostly there to provide information and brainstorm the clues provided along the way by the murdered man. Both Sophie and Robert are competent people, but you never really get to know them.

All in all, a compelling read all the way through. If you've always been wondering what exactly it is Mona Lisa has been smiling about all of these years, this book holds a potential answer to that question.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Happy Holidays to all! Just a quick note to wish you all safe and happy travels, if indeed you are heading out. And if not, even so, have a safe holiday at home.
There's a blog called snarkfest which basically laughs at television. My kinda blog.
Tis the season

potentially offensive entry to follow

The airwaves are alive with the sound of Christmas carols. I admit, I like Christmas carols as much as the next person. O Holy Night is probably one of my favorites -- mostly because when I was learning how to play it on the piano, I really enjoyed the part that begins with "Fall on your knees." There was a cool fingering technique going on there so it was fun. But in sum, I generally enjoy Christmas carols (in small doses -- those stations that go 24-7 right after Thanksgiving? No thank you).

But. It's the inexplicable popularity of The Christmas Shoes that gets me. This maudlin, depressing, "no shirt, no shoes, no service policy" of a song has inspired not only a book, but also a television movie starring Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams.

For me, songs like "O Holy Night" or "Come All Ye Faithful" or "Joy to the World" are more about the Christmas spirit than this tear-jerker of a song. I know I'm supposed to be moved by the image of a dirty little boy counting out pennies to buy his dying mother a new pair of shoes "just in case she meets Jesus tonight" but the logician in me wonders why not a bowl of soup? How about some medicine? Maybe a doctor? Why new shoes of all things?

Then you've got the guy who helps the boy out. I don't know what his story is, but obviously he hasn't got the Christmas spirit until he finds himself guilted into giving the little boy the rest of the money to buy a pair of shoes for his Momma. Frankly, I'd take this guy a lot more seriously if he offered more assistance than just buying a pair of shoes, which according to the boy's sob story, are basically useless to this poor family (other than the joy of making Momma look beautiful for Jesus, I guess).

My other question is, how did this boy get to the store? Did he walk? Did someone drive him? And why didn't the nice man who gave him money to buy the shoes give the child a ride home? And I don't buy that the guy now knows what Christmas is all about. He assuaged his guilt a little by handing over a few bucks, but really, what did he learn? That in order to meet Jesus, you have to have new shoes? That's not Christmas spirit; that's just materialism rearing its ugly head once again.

Monday, December 22, 2003

KC has jumped on the blog bandwagon and started his own journal here.
X-Files rambling

Because of my headache yesterday, most of the day (when not baking) was spent in bed or playing Literati. I tried to do some editing, but couldn't think quite enough to get through it. I've finally succombed and taken medication because I hardly slept last night because of the headache. I really don't like this medication -- it makes my hands shake and basically, I feel like I'm crawling out of my skin. But I digress.

Part of yesterday's activities involved watching The X-Files. I taped Saturday night's episode, "Eve", a season one ep which I watched while baking, and then watched last night's, a season eight ep called "The Gift." I haven't seen most of season one and I queried RJ about "Eve" on Saturday so I admit to going into the viewing a bit biased based on what RJ said about it. In retrospect, I would have never been an XF fan if I'd tuned in during season one; season 4 and 5 is where it's at, baby, and let's throw season 6 in there for good measure.

I had seen a season 5 episode earlier in the week when I still had SCIFI network and it was interesting to contrast it with "Eve" (I don't have time to look up the ep title, but it was the one with the black oil, Cassandra Spender, the alien abductions and burning bodies. Alex Krycek and Marita K were both in this episode and Mulder didn't believe, but Scully did. It was a two-parter).

In "Eve", Scully was actively trying to debunk Mulder's theories about ET abductions. She was very business-like and while not quite humoring Mulder, she was pretty darn close to it. Scully in this ep was also kickass, taking charge when it came to protocol. Maybe my vision of Scully is forever tainted by the travesty that was season 9 characterization, but this was a Scully-view I'd never seen before. She was fiesty, not quite tempered by Mulder yet, and you get the feeling that she's really just biding her time until she could get off the XF. There was no real interaction with Mulder other than case discussion. They verbally sparred, but absolutely no chemistry, mho. Possibly the one thing that I've seen all along (and think is so cute) is the way Mulder steps aside to let Scully go out the door first and he always has his hand on her back.

The writing in "Eve" wasn't as clever or as tight or even as suspenseful as later episodes. In fact, I was so incredibly disappointed by the cop-out in the middle of the ep, when it turns out that there is indeed human intervention, rather than ET. For me, the XF was all about not explaining anything and letting the viewer decide what happened. So "Eve" in general was a disappointment. The acting was so-so -- you get the feeling David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were both still trying to figure out who Mulder and Scully are -- and put that with a not-so-good script and it was a non-remarkable 43 minutes of television.

But things can only get better from there, and honestly, once the XF writers hit their stride, it became one of the most clever and intelligent shows on television. Scary and spooky and memorable, yes, but still very intelligent, and mostly because whatever lack of chemistry GA and DD demonstrated in "Eve", by later seasons, they had so developed it. I remember one Chris Carter saying that 1013 writers like to write for Mulder, but they were secretly in love with Scully. It always amuses me to watch just how Scully develops over nine seasons, how she goes from steadfast and straightforward to wavering and finally, a true believer. We won't even talk about how her hair goes from red-brown to very, very red by the end (g) and oh yes, on an equally shallow note, her wardrobe gets better and better by the season.

As I said, I really like season 4 episodes onward and the black oil ep is a prime example because it really highlighted their friendship, I think. Scully is more mild-tempered, and gotta say, Gillian Anderson's acting really hits a high point during those middle seasons (no, non-stop crying in season 9 doesn't count as good acting, mho!). Even David Duchovny, who is a strong actor in his own right and probably started out much more skilled than GA, is more nuanced. What I've always liked about mytharc eps is that it's about Mulder and Scully. I have NO idea what actually happens in mytharc episodes or what they mean, but I watch because the Mulder and Scully dynamic is always the most passionate part of the episode. It's when they are most honest with each other and especially during the cancer arc, most open about their feelings.

"The Gift" featured Doggett. I'm one of the few people who actually really likes Doggett. He's got an intensity that rivals Mulder and Scully and I like his dedication to finding Mulder. So you put Doggett on a case like "The Gift" and he has no choice in the end but to believe, like Scully ended up doing in the black oil ep mentioned above. I thought in general "The Gift" wasn't the most wonderful episode ever, but Robert Patrick proved he could carry an episode all on his own (with some assistance from Mitch Pileggi). IIRC, DD carried a couple of cases on his own when GA was out on pregnancy leave and GA did a fabulous job on "Never Again" and "All Things". But even so, it was quite the risk given that RP was a new character to the show, some of us were still mourning DD's non-appearance in season 8 (well, he was featured in this ep) and there was hardly any Scully at all if you don't count the brief flashbacks Doggett has in the beginning of the episode.

I'll probably skip next Saturday's ep because it's another first season ep "Fire," but Sunday is season eight again and it features a monster in the Boston subway system. There you go, jemima -- yet another danger you must be aware of when riding the T. A monster trolling the tunnels. But you obviously knew that already.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

jemima isn't taking my flouncing seriously.

I'm hurt.

But on the other hand, I had samosas tonight. Good ones, with just the right amount of spice and lots of potatoes and peas. And the lady fried them on the spot just for me, so they hadn't been sitting out, getting soft under the heating lights. It doesn't get much better than that.

I'm still flouncing. Seriously.

Watch me go... I'm going, I'm going, I'm gone...
jemima has already backed out of our joint resolution to retire on January 1. She says I'll back out first, but I have every intention of keeping this particular retirement. I've been delaying the inevitable for long enough. This will be my last year as ASC Awards coordinator, last year participating in the Awards, and generally. I really don't intend to keep writing fic. If I hadn't already committed to Awards this year, I probably wouldn't participate at all, except maybe to cast a vote or two here and there.

The retirement decision was fairly easy to make. I realized it when I was staring at my WiPs and had absolutely NO desire to work on any of them, but it wasn't that I didn't want to write, I just didn't want to write these characters any more; the plot bunnies and enthusiasm have been alive for other projects and other ideas. It's been fun, but time to move on.

Friday, December 19, 2003

DWS has left the building

Ah, for those keeping vigil with me or for themselves, it all came to an ego-crushing blow late last night when the SNW 7 winners were announced. As a friend said, it was unnecessarily cruel of Marco Palmieri to have posted that note so early and to deprive those of us with delusions of grandeur of the joy and anticipation and hope of getting in. Fie on you, Marco, fie, I say!

But I got validation from Siu-Ling, whom I've finally caught on Y!M last night, and even though she doesn't like Trek at all (is downright resentful of Trek, btw, from our college days) and has never read my writing, she says I was robbed and my greatness unappreciated. Another friend suggested that when the rejection letters do finally arrive (and I'll have 3 -- 5, if you count the 2 from last year), that they ought to be used as wallpaper of some kind. After all, if that woman on "Trading Spaces" can wallpaper with moss and newspaper, rejection letter wallpaper can only be the next big thing.

Though, in all seriousness, congratulations to the winners. I see some familiar names on the list, including Jeff Jacques whose fic I've enjoyed for many years now when he still actively posted to ASC. I see an ASC name or two, but since I'm not sure if the authors wish to remain anonymous or not, I'll just congratulate them from afar. If they read this blog, then yes, I'm talkin' to you -- good on you for making it in (g).

As I told a friend last night, I was more disappointed in not making it than I thought I would be. Last year, I didn't expect anything and I got my hopes up a little with the reaction to "Blink" this year. But in general, I never put a whole lot of stock into my chances. Which could be a confidence problem, I suppose, but I also was realistic about the quality of my submissions this year. I've said it before that my stories for last year were of much higher quality than the ones I submitted this year. I wrote this year's story in about 10 days, coming on the heels of a move and a new job, and also late at night. It had its moments, and then it had many more non-moments.

But I'll be honest. I was looking for validation. I wanted something to say, "Hey, this fanfiction thing isn't stupid and you aren't crazy for writing about characters created by other people." I wanted something to say that seven years of doing this thing was meaningful and not a waste of time. I judge my time in fandom by the way my writing has improved and by the friendships I've made. Those are intangible assets, ones that non-fannish people can never -- and won't -- understand. Getting in SNW was my form of validation, a way I could say, "Look, I worked at this and this is what I got for my efforts."

So I didn't get in this year. There's always next year. I don't anticipate writing any more Trek in 2004 (no, I'm not making any promises, I'm just sayin' (g)). Once I get my plate cleared of WiPs, I really have no plot bunnies or motivation to continue on in this particular fandom; if you've lost the enthusiasm for the source material and the characters, it shows in the writing and I think that was the basic and fundamental problem with Riley -- I forced the whole story out and it never did quite have heart or oomph in it. But if the muse does strike, there is always next year. After all, you miss 100 percent of the opportunities you never take and this is an awesome opportunity.

As it is, my goal for this coming year is try to enter at least one contest every quarter. I've got some good material coming out of my writing class and with motivation of the writing group, I think I can buckle down and have the discipline to keep submitting. I've got a list of literary fiction contests for original fic and I'm just going to go down the list and try to send something in, using my friend Jodi in DC as inspiration; she got a poem in a literary magazine a year ago after relentlessly submitting. She had dedication and perserverance and I'm definitely motivated by her example.

Yeah, rejection letters suck. It reminds me of when I was looking for a job in '97 and '98 and the pile of rejection letters kept building. I had a shoe box full. My favorite rejection letter though was from Very Big Insurance Company -- sent two weeks before they made an offer.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

In which I whinge... a lot

Link of the day: snopes.com -- go here before passing on that 'warning' letter you get in your inbox. Chances are, it's a hoax.

I'm feeling vaguely belligerent and I think I'm going to have to write letters. Or rather, I wrote one, and I am trying to figure out what to say on the other. On the first letter, I wrote to my radio station. This morning, they read a version of this letter on the air. So of course, as a one-woman crusade to stop the proliferation of bad information, I had to send them an email. Or rather, my alter-ego sent them an email :-).

I'm also thinking about writing to my cable company but I don't know what to say. See, my miffedness with them is sparked with the end of my free preview yesterday. Granted, I knew it would end eventually, but the X-Files ep "Leonard Betts" was on yesterday and "Memento Mori" today. I guess the logical, non-immature response would be to call the cable company and sign up for the package so I could see X-Files to my little heart's content. But I never said I was going to be mature about this.

My true unhappiness comes from the fact that I signed up for a package that included the local stations and a few other stations like ABC Family and TBS. My cable company has taken that package away and has replaced it with "More Television Stations You Can Ever Watch" at over triple the cost. In other words, if I want more than just 3 local stations, then I've got to pay through the nose. Which makes me wonder why I didn't just get an antenna in the first place.

I'm not a huge television watcher and rarely does my VCR come into play to help cope with the viewing schedules as the only time it really gets used is if I'm not going to be home for some reason. "JAG" is usually what gets taped since for some reason, it's Fridays I'm usually out on.

But I digress.

I haven't figured out what I want from the cable company yet. Oh wait, yes I do -- the original package I ordered 4 months ago at the cost I ordered it at. The problem is calling them is a pain in the butt. It once took me over a week to get someone on the phone to talk about a billing issue. A few times, I've called in, I'm told to call back and the phone hangs up. Every time it rains, the reception cuts out (it's actually satellite television, not cable). One night, we didn't have reception for an entire night and on one Thursday, it froze all of the local stations but not the other 3 gazillion stations. Another time, I got a wide message splashed across the bottom of my screen, effectively blocking off most of the picture; when I called for help, there was no one available to assist because it was the weekend.

So this is my irrational grievance and basically what I want to write: Dear DirectTV Company, Your customer service sucks, your packages are not customized for your customers, and you deliver a product that's not much better than over-the-air service or cable. In addition, you charge an installation fee which cable companies do not. The only advantage I could see with staying with your company is getting the five extra channels along with local service. I am contemplating cancelling my service. I would like you to reconsider -- some of us do not watch enough television to justify 100 channels or spending over $30 a month -- taking away the smaller Entertainment Plus package. Sincerely yours, Seema.

Hmmm, what do you think? At any rate, thanks to Yahoo, I've discovered the X-Files comes on the CBS affiliate here late on Saturday and Sunday nights. So I am not completely berefit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Let it snow

Just to prove there's no easy way out of anything, I've been talking about redesigning my site for some time now. The little button Liz Barr made (go see Liz's site and check the buttons at the bottom of the page) for my site has Gargemel (sp?) on it so it made me think, "Oooh, smurf theme!" Which might lead people to think this was a page about smurfs, and it's not. There will be an occasional comments about smurfs, but I'm not necessarily referring to little blue people.

But. I digress.

So I thought I'd dress up the site for winter by making it snow, a la the Canadian Gas Association. Bah. To quote Sarah (the one from Big City to the Northwest), everything got dorked up. Pretty snowflakes, bad for tables. It took me nearly 45 minutes to get my index back to normal.

So my site is still bland. Still boring. And I'm open for suggestions. CSS implementation, after struggling with tables this evening, cannot come too quickly.

DWS still hasn't called; according to thread, the happy news won't be delivered until after the new year. In the meantime, my delusions and I are doing just fine, thank you for asking.
Non Perciptation Statement.

Public service message brought to you by KC. So now you know and you can take cover.
I am keeping vigil for a phone call from DWS. As of today, I (as well as various other ASCers) have not received an email/phone call/snail mail. I'm pretty sure DWS has already programmed my phone numbers into his speed dial -- he just hasn't been able to reach me because I'm always at work. He doesn't want to leave messages, you see, simply because he wants to hear my voice.

I never said I wasn't delusional.

I'm already convinced that I'm not getting in this year. My fics have too much walking in them. According to this thread, DWS abhors walking. I say it's a natural part of every day life, even in the 24th century, but to each his own.

For those curious, I wrote one new story this year for the contest. The story is about everyone's favorite Texan (and Chakotay abuser), Riley Frazier, and the battle of Wolf 359 (see Unity). Riley walks a lot and vaccilliates between being a super hero and a wet blanket. She annoyed even me. No wonder she gave Chakotay a headache.

The other two stories I sent in are old stories from 2001. One is a slimmer, less mean version of A Season in Between. Picard is less evil -- or rather, clueless -- in this version and it's also lost about 6,000 words from the original. And oh yes, less of the ensign (Christy Barrows), whom Christine found freaky in the original.

The second story was merely cleaned up for typos etc and edited for sentence structure etc, but it's basically the original of The Absinthe Heart (I'm still amazed no one has noticed the pun in the title). This is my second person Quark fic, set seventh season, where he muses on Jadzia and Ezri.

If I had to pick, I'd go with the Quark story. There's no walking, though there's some gratuitious Hemingway bashing. It's second person, focuses on a character most don't write about, and it tackles the issue of having to deal with two different women who, well, are different reincarnations of each other (or rather Dax, but I don't have time to go into it). But there's no violence or real action in the Quark story.

All of the action goes in the Riley story, which has a battle and Borg! How can you not love a story with Borg in it? The Crusher story has very little action and is more cerebral/subtle, mho -- the punch comes at the end, so that could be the downfall for that story. But then again, last year's submission Blink made the second read pile and I'd consider that in the same vein as "A Season in Between"; a conflict between two characters, one canon and one OC, with verbal sparring and the ultimate resolution decided in the last two paragraphs. My one saving grace is that none of the stories I submitted this year are quite as boring as last year's Sand and Water (which received a "didn't hold my attention" from DWS).

So it's been 20 minutes. DWS still hasn't called. I will keep you posted on this nail-biting, seat-squirming process. Surely the genius of various ASCers will be recognized this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Whee!

I love FedEx tracking. On Saturday, I ordered a Christmas gift for a friend of mine in Longmeadow online. It was from Casual Corner (and yes, Liz, I got them in red, because that's such a nice, festive color) and the site said that if I hadn't ordered it by noon on Friday, there was no guarantee it'd get to Longmeadow by Christmas Eve. So of course I worried. See, every year, I'm notoriously late with Sarah's gift (this Sarah is not to be confused with Sarah in the Big City to the Northwest). Sarah, on the other hand, is not only early, but really thoughtful.

One year, she sent me a French day-by-day calendar because I was, y'know, going to France, another time it was crossword puzzles because the two of us used to do puzzles together at UMASS, and once a t-shirt from our favorite eatery, Bueno y Sano. Anyway, Sarah is thoughtful and I'm the heel that y'all always thought I am.

Anyway, why I'm feeling the FedEx love. Casual Corner is headquartered near Longmeadow (Enfield, CT, for those of you really curious) so I was like, "I could fly to Hartford, pick it up and drive it to Sarah's house quicker than the FedEx will ship it." I mean, they're telling me eight days! To get from Enfield to Longmeadow! That's less than an hour distance, iirc.

But today, my faith in FedEx is restored. Casual Corner delivered the package to FedEx in Hartford at midnight on Sunday and then the gift hung out until that evening, waiting to be scanned. Twenty-four hours after it arrived, the gift departed for beautiful Springfield (I'm being sarcastic, jemima and Bjorn!). The FedEx truck left to deliver the package to Sarah's house at 5:28 am this morning. So she will have it when she gets home from work (I really, really hope FedEx didn't wake her up at 6 am).

So whew! For once, I came in under the wire and I have FedEx to thank for it. I would have, however, been very disappointed if it had taken eight days to get from Enfield to Longmeadow, because, yo, that's just wrong.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Hmmm...

Word on the internet news media is that we've got Saddam. It'd be nice, y'know, if you could nab someone who is, y'know, actually the person behind 9/11. But then again, 75 percent of Americans think Iraq is behind 9/11, never mind that 15 of the highjackers were actually Saudi Arabian. Never doubt the value of American propaganda; we do it just as well as other countries, despite the claims of unbias and free speech.

I still don't understand how people miss the whole Saudi connection. In my mind, Saudi Arabia is a bigger terrorist threat than Iraq ever was. Yeah, Saddam is not a nice guy. I'm glad he's out of power so he can no longer torture his citizens relentlessly as he has in the last two decades. But even so, the act of preemptively attacking without provocation is so incredibly disturbing to me. Why doesn't it bother anyone else? Why doesn't it bother people that many of the alliances with long-time allies have been strained due to the Iraq issue? Is what we've gained in Iraq really worth the lives of the 500+ soldiers, American and coalition (who, other than Britain, is actually a full-force in the coalition?) both, really worth it? And that's not even counting the tremendous cost to the Iraqi civillians.

Gotta say, as a smoke tactic, Mr. Bush stumbled on a great one. He beat up on two Middle Eastern countries, one with reason, one without, and in the meantime, ignored problems here at home and pissed off everyone overseas. But even with Saddam captured, there's still the Al-Qaeda problem, because Saddam does not control Al-Qaeda, never has. So that leaves the million-dollar question -- where is Osama?

Friday, December 12, 2003

The more you know

"I think what we're seeing is a natural response to concerns about a serious flu season," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Julie Gerberding said Friday on NBC-TV's "Today" show. "But we also need to remember that for almost everyone, flu is not such a serious disease.

It's that last part of the sentence that's important; the flu is the flu. It comes around every year; it's like taxes -- a debilitating fact o' life. It's 5 days of misery at the minimum, but unless you're a small child or elderly, it's probably nothing more than severe, painful, awful discomfort. Sending/persuading your coworkers to go home when sick, washing hands regularly, using Kleenex, etc, these are all things you can do to avoid the flu. So as usual, I'll be avoiding the long lines for flu vaccinations and rely on a handy bar of Dove soap to keep me healthy.

Complete article here.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Wanted: A new job

That is all.

And oh yes. I'm back from Florida.

Now how much did you miss me? Show me the love!

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Gone to Florida. I don't anticipate emailing or AIMing. See you on Wednesday when I get back.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Crabby, crabby, crabby.

That is all.
Happy Birthday, Lori!

May your day be blessed with poolboys picking up quarters and handing you margaritas... and oh yes, you're not allowed to do homework on your birthday either. And no writing papers either! Or reading! Or anything school-related!
The rush to wrap things up before vacation is always crazy. I haven't gotten to either editing project yet and it's after midnight. Instead, I spent the evening cleaning the apartment because I have this "thing" about coming home to a dirty place. And then I wrote holiday cards, which are mostly all done. I just need to track down two people's addresses and I'll be done, done, done.

I don't even want to think about my writing projects -- all of which have various deadlines of December 21, December 31 and January 31.

It's hard work being a writer. It's pretty much a full-time, all-consuming passion. If I'm not writing, I'm editing. I do it at home, I do it at work. Don't get me wrong -- I do enjoy it and occasionally, I can even say I love it. But it's still a job, and it's still a chore. It requires discipline and motivation and with very little reward coming back at you.

At any rate, I didn't mean to get all morose, mostly just contemplative. My goal is to finish the two edits currently in my inbox before I leave on Saturday.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Deeper and deeper goes the fan girl

I'm seriously contemplating splurging and keeping my current channel line-up just because of the "X-Files." The maternal unit suggested buying episodes of "The X-Files" but they cost $80/season on DVD. Which is two problems: a) $80 and b) I don't own a DVD player.

Dang Sci Fi for showing "X-Files."

I'm such a pathetic little fan girl.

Also, DS9 season 7 is apparently available on DVD now. Also lots and lots of money. Season 7 isn't my favorite though, but I think I fell in love with Kira during season 7. Now season 5, now that was kick-ass Trek. Poor Gene Roddenberry. If only he'd seen what had happened to his beloved franchise, just how good it could be with friction, continuity, war and angst. Yes, we all hunger for world peace, but every now and then, you gotta stir it up. Without conflict, there is no story. DS9 had lots of conflict, lots of stories and terrific characters. And it's underappreciated.

So for that reason, December is International DS9 Month. Do something to celebrate. Watch the show, read the fic, talk about your favorite episodes, write fic, make icons, send FB for your favorite DS9 fic, just do something to celebrate the darkest chapter of Trek.
Nostalgia

I've been watching "The X-Files" on Tuesday nights on Sci-Fi and I realize just how much I loved that show. It's a pure case of not knowing how much you miss something until it's gone. Admittedly, I didn't see most of season 9 -- season 9 doesn't really exist for me except for the season finale, which I just now finally understand thanks to an XF ep I saw last night dealing with the shooting death of Scully's sister, Melissa.

The acting, the intelligence, the wit, the imagination, the creativity -- this is what made XF so good and on occasion, soooo scary. There are a few episodes that have completely scarred me for life, including one that took place in Mumbai, with a amputee pushing himself on a little cart; I've never quite gotten over the creaking noise since then. And then there was an ep with a freaky dog and I remember my mom pointing out a dog to me and saying, "Isn't that the XF dog?" And yes, I practically hyperventilate now at the sight of a dog I don't know, so having the XF on top of that, well, not entirely good for the psyche.

Yesterday was mytharc -- Krycek and the black oil. I've never quite understood the mytharc, but I don't think the viewer is supposed to. For me, the mytharcs tend to be more 'shippy than the regular Weirdness of the Week episode, and so I just watch for Mulder and Scully. I have a serious straight girl crush on Scully and Mulder, well, don't even get me started on just how very cool he is. Very few television shows have characters whom I'm fallen for so completely.

Yes, I like individual characters on various shows -- Kira on DS9, Lindsey on The Practice, Tom Paris on Voyager, Mac on JAG -- but very rarely do I like all of the leading characters. With Scully and Mulder, I needed them both. This is why season 9 didn't work for me. There was no Mulder. Yes, I like Scully a lot, but I like Scully with Mulder. It's like "JAG" -- I prefer Mac and Harm together, if not romantically, then at least socially and professionally. It's the dynamic between the characters that I enjoy as much as the writing etc.

I did like Monica Reyes to an extent, and John Doggett more, but it wasn't the same. To me, the XF were about Mulder and Scully and without Mulder, it wasn't the XF (not to mention, Weepy!Scully in Season 9 was really, really annoying). Watching these old eps have made me realize this much -- it is possible to write intelligent, likeable characters with a sizzling chemistry and sometimes, have them carry the show even when the show itself makes absolutely no sense.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Math A Go Go

I passed the math test. With flying colors. And apparently, was the first person to pass the darn thing in weeks. Types of questions included finding surface area of a cube (easy!), figuring out how much money Joe spent on a watch and camera if he had $50 left over (more Algebra and fractions than I've done in years), and a few other "huh?" type questions that involved drawing three-dimensional pictures and using lots of Xs and Ys. Also included was a question on what years did the Civil War take place, how many traffic lights are there in this city and what are the five most populous states in the Union, listed in order.

There were 17 questions all together -- I got 14 correct. I'm amazed that I only got 3 wrong -- my former teammate had taken the test last week and he was the financial brains on my highly dysfunctional second semester first year team (well, none of us were number people really, compared to other classmates, but he and I took the lead there and he was better than I was) and he didn't pass the test. So of course I freaked out. If an engineer can't do it, what hope is there for a marketing person?

Due to the public nature of the blog, I'm just putting the test results here -- those of you who know why I took it understand what came next :-)