If anyone is interested in getting involved in this, I can get you in touch with Priscilla. She's especially hoping to get Featured Filkers from previous years.
(Edited, when I realized that "getting past" Featured Filkers could be misread. :)
Thursday morning's Morse practice was a bit more of a struggle than usual, partly because I wasn't particularly awake, and partly because of the odd HF propagation. The rest of the day mostly followed a similar pattern. I managed to get a little preparation done, but not much else.
Friday followed the same sort of muddled path, mostly, and I got less done than I'd have liked. On Friday evening I went over to Gravesend for gaming, and we spent the evening chatting.
There was the first day of a Foundation radio licence course on Sunday, so I had some preparation to do on Saturday. I managed to get it done, well enough, but other things I might have done fell by the wayside.
The course day on Sunday seemed to go well enough. The clubhouse we use is no longer being used by a pre-school, which meant we didn't have to work around piles of stuff. Just as well, as the course was full. Also just as well we didn't need my laptop, as I managed to take it but leave its mains adapter behind, so it would only have run for about half the day. I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day.
This morning's been another slow one. I've spent some of it trying to get FC preparation done. It's yet another day of sunshine and random heavy showers.
I still havn't managed to get out to that geocache or the nearby SOTA summit. I have, somehow, managed to keep Duolingo and Ingress streaks alive, but yesterday was a close call...
Rough week. Especially yesterday, when N and I took a very sick Bronx to the emergency vet in Seattle. He had a fever of 106; apparently I can't tell at all from his nose and ears. He was also throwing up and not eating, and wasn't anywhere near his usual rambunctious self.
Note: apparently a virus. He's recovering well, and we'll be taking him home tomorrow.
The house seems very quiet and lonely without our Bronx boy. Brooklyn and even Ticia are rambuncting as best they can, but it isn't the same. Meanwhile, apparently cats really are liquids. Or should I say that cat is a liquid?
Thursday, one of our neighbor's cows got loose in our yard. One of those things that's very funny in retrospect. We've also been having a hard time finding a caregiver for Colleen.
As I said, rough week.
Two public service announcements:
- Breach at Equifax May Impact 143M Americans; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Security Freeze
- If you happen to be on Whidbey Island next Sunday (the 24th, a week from today), drop by our house for music and food. "The usual potluck bash", as we used to say of the Starport.
I'm trying to establish a schedule, so that I actually get things done, have some time for Colleen, and don't spend all my spare time online. 9-11 on Tuesdays and Thursdays are earmarked for "Unpleasant Chores" - unpacking, cleaning litter boxes, finishing up the taxes, taking out the garbage, and so on. Tag "UC:"
BOO! Sammy has developed a taste for cables. Every cable. He has eaten 3? 4? headphones and one mouse and one 3DS charger. I have a bluetooth mouse now, which is a little weird, but at least will not be displayed proudly covered in saliva on my pillow I ASSUME. Fortunately I had an extra DS charger because I keep accidentally stealing them from Seanan. (Sorry!)
HOORAY! I'm at work and it makes me feel so good. I'm an expert and I'm ON and I'm really good at my job and I have energy and a bounce in my step and I can forget for a while about being my headache. On Sundays I'm euphoric and even feel like I'm faking my disability. Mondays are harder, I'm still enjoying the heck out of work but feeling the strain and counting the hours and am relieved to close up shop.
BOO! ...and Tuesdays any feeling of being a faker are gone, as I spend the whole day at minimum being flat-out exhausted, having headache exacerbation, blah blah blah, alternating sleepy pain and painful sleep. It's all one headache now, it gets better or worse, but never goes away.
YAY! My pain control is a little better this month! I got switched from *drug that is rendered less potent by other drugs I'm on* to *drug that doesn't have an interaction*.
BOO! ...which is probably only a temporary improvement, though. This is a drug that you grow tolerant to, and I flat out can't follow it up in dose and keep working. So I'm using it now until it stops helping and then... it's me and advil, I guess. And waiting for new migraine drugs to hit the market. My neurologist has me in her jar of patients she can't wait to spring the new stuff on once it gets through regulatory approval.
Well that was a depressing little streak of points. Today is Sunday at work and I'm at euphoric still, I can do better!
YAY! Today is a particularly good day for patients coming in at the perfect time for long uninterrupted chats. I found a way to make two broken insulin pens in to one working pen so my patient would be covered until the replacement pens arrive. Someone coming in with a question about a drug selected at random from the shelf - they actually wanted to chat about their feelings as they await the birth of their second child after the first died of cancer, with someone outside the house. Talking a patient with dementia down from a panic attack over the phone. Their medication stopped six months ago but they don't remember that part, and we have this chat from time to time, on days when they remember that I'm their pharmacist. Giving some pneumonia shots. Flu shot season is coming, just one more month to wait!!! Other than that last stabby part, none of this really has anything to do with what I learned in pharmacy school. But I'm so happy my pharmacy ticket puts me in a place where people trust me with all these little confidences and burdens and services. I feel like a shrine maiden, like the work moves through me. If that makes sense.
I mean, and sometimes I'm just disposing of gross expired vitamins and cashing out my till and losing count when I'm counting 500 prednisone tablets and it's work and it's sure good they pay me. It's not all epiphanies and florence nightingale all up in here.
YAY! Employee. Discount. Hallowe'en. Candy.
BOO! I forgot a rain jacket!
YAY! But whatever RAIN I MISSED YOOOOOOU
YAY! DID I MENTION I GET A FIDDLER TONIGHT BECAUSE DANG YO
YAY! Greg. We've been reading the Oz books - we're nearly done book 9 - and he's been asking for me to "do the voices" when I read and he is SO CRACKED UP by my silly voices. The way he begs for extra chapters. The way he reads other books on his own, ravenously. The way he runs in to my room to share random facts with me. The way he mournfully affects instant great tiredness when he doesn't want to clean up a mess / leave Gramma's house / whatever. On Friday my dad said no to making a whole separate dinner for him from the one that was already on offer, and Greg said in a sorry lamenting pout: "Go on your merry way, thennnnn." I just about died laughing. The way he sometimes sneaks out of bed after I've tucked him in, and then I find him passed out by the window where he was looking at the moon, or asleep at the foot of my bed, cuddled up to my feet. <3 <3 <3 <3
YAY! I have stopped the cats from going outside the litter box!
BOO! By putting an extra litter pan in the front hall, because apparently what PLEASES THEM BEST IN THE WORLD is to pee and shit where everyone can watch. Like, they both look around to MAKE SURE I'M WATCHING and proudly do their thing. Uhhhh. Thanks? Dear visitors: I'm very sorry that you must cross the poobicon as you enter my apartment. But it beats finding cat presents in my shoes.
YAY! But at least they're cute. And so, so cuddly. Sammy wiggles up through my blankets to my face like a... blanket sandworm? I'm not sure what the right analogy is here. It's adorable anyway and he doesn't have... lamprey teeth?
I'M GOING TO QUIT BEFORE I OUTDO LAMPREY TEETH
At the moment, Catherine and Dawn are with him. Transport for today is being provided by a family friend, who is also looking after the two younger children.
Brian is expected to be in intensive care for a few days at least, and visiting will be very limited. Please contact Dawn to arrange it, but not today - tomorrow at the earliest. Please do NOT just show up at either house or hospital, that stresses Dawn out, as we know, and she has more than enough stress at the moment.
Dawn may be able to post more detail tonight, but no promises.
. . .bearing in mind, as always, that, in my accent, "ketchup" rhymes with "catch-up".
So, let's see. . .
I finished the story I was working on, in first draft; it's resting at the moment, titleless, and with a page of notes. I'll get back to it, oh, early or mid-October; plenty of time for a mid-November hand-in. I'm anticipating that the finished story will be about 10,000 words. Including, yanno, the title.
On the mundane side of life, Steve came home from Maryland; I celebrated my 65th birthday quietly, and managed to miss yoga two weeks in a row because Reasons. I shall endeavor to do better this week.
Fifth of Five is moving along. . .slowly. Clean-up books are hard.
I've gotten in a couple more fountain pens -- demonstrator pens, so called, which take ink in right from the bottle via a piston mechanism -- and some fun colored ink: Noodler's Borealis Black; Noodler's Wampum Purple; Diamine Ancient Copper; Diamine Sherwood Green. The company I bought the demonstrators from, included a bonus eyedropper pen -- no piston, you fill the barrel via an eyedropper.
One of my new pens has a bold nib, which I'm tentatively preferring over what has been my go-to, the medium-nib Pilot Metropolitan. The ink flow seems smoother -- granted, this may be the difference in the inks; the Metropolitan uses a cartridge.
While I was ordering things in, I also committed a new coloring book: The Art of Cursive, which looks like a lot of fun.
Let's see. . .my new glasses arrived, so, yay! new glasses!
On Thursday, Steve and I drove three hours one way to the Burlington Mall in -- surprise! -- Burlington, Massachusetts, there to sign books at the BN (which is technically across from the Mall), and also to test drive a pair of Bose Hearphones. Frequent auditors of this journal will recall that I'm starting to lose my hearing, as one apparently does, especially if one spent a Large-ish Chunk of one's life, earphones in, typing copy from a Dictaphone. Anyway. . .hearing aids not required at this point, says the last person who evaluated my hearing, right before the insurance companies decided they weren't in the ear bidness. However! More than a few studies now have indicated that people who have uncorrected hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia; and! that for the best results from hearing aids, one ought to start using an assist before the loss is so significant as to be disabling.
Thus, the Hearphones, which Bose is very careful to say are not hearing aids; they merely assist in direction hearing, and in blocking out background noise.
I did a test drive at the store with the trainer. He asked me what I would be using them for, and we briefly discussed the fact that writers spend a lot of their time in bars, and I can no longer hear my tablemates in that setting. So we did that scenario first -- he pulled up a recording of a 250-people restaurant, and had me adjust the gain on the Hearphones, until I could hear him speaking directly to me. I could still hear the background noise, if I concentrated, but it was a whole lot easier just to listen to him.
One of the weird things is that you also hear yourself, sorta like using a microphone. . . which, actually, I guess you are.
The trainer then asked if there was anything else, and I said, yes -- movies, television. I can't hear dialog any more.
So, he pulled up a clip of The Theory of Everything, where Eddie Redmayne is explaining Life, the Universe, and Everything to the nice young lady, and I heard every word, clean and clear.
When the clip ended, the trainer asked how that had worked for me, and my answer was, "I watched Fantastic Beasts and I did not understand one word that man said during the whole movie! This -- I got everything."
So, I brought the Hearphones home. They are not cheap, and they are getting a rigorous field testing, because they can be taken back to a Bose with no penalty within 30 days. And the Extra Good News Is? We don't have to drive 6 hours round trip to take them back, if that proves necessary. They can be returned to the Bose store in Kittery (which doesn't sell the item, sigh), a mere hour-and-a-half down the road.
Today's test was to be Fantastic Beasts, but, when I put on the Hearphones, I was told that the charge was dangerously low; which is a little scary because I charged them yesterday. It's certainly possible that I forgot to turn them off after my tutorial session yesterday, but a device with a two hour charge isn't going to be as useful as it might be.
In any case, after the Hearphones are charged -- Fantastic Beasts. If we pass Mr. Redmayne, then Steve and I will take ourselves out to a noisy bar, and I'll see if I can hear him through the din.
. . .I think that about catches us up -- Oh. No. I am remiss in reporting that I purchased a blue Totoro at the BN. Yes, I am weak.
Everybody have a good weekend.
It pretty much kills any real social media time, especially longer-form stuff like DW. I could probably do more if I turned the computer on at night but I really try never to do that when I'm on a project. There's no reason to.
Maybe things will even out a little. I'd made a commitment to myself to write here regularly, and I haven't quite been able to do it for the past few weeks.
On the bright side, Baltimore is a nice town so far. I'm sure there are parts that aren't nice, but that's true of every city, isn't it?
- I’ll be drawing a winner of an autographed ARC of Terminal Alliance tomorrow! See http://www.jimchines.com/2017/09/
disaster-aid-and-terminal-alliance- giveaway/ for details and to enter. (And HUGE thanks to everyone who’s already donated.)
- The wonderful Book Smugglers are celebrating their 10th anniversary next year, and are doing a Kickstarter to help them to buy and publish more fiction, as well as to bring in new blog contributors. Contributors can receive anthologies, art prints, autographed books, and more awesome stuff!
- ICON and Continuum will be here in the coming weeks. I’m Toastmastering the former and Guest of Honoring the latter. Anyone else planning to be at one or both?
- Apropos of nothing, this remains one of my favorite xkcd comics ever.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
My introduction to The Tick came in the late 90s, with the animated series. A few of my grad school friends and I would get together each week, eat Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, and watch The Tick (and a few other shows.)
I loved it. I loved the humor, the silliness, the undermining of superhero tropes, and the overall sense of fun.
This was my background as I logged onto Amazon Prime to watch their live-action take on The Tick.
It felt like the entire show was filmed using the same Gritty Angst Filter they used on Batman v Superman. They managed to make The Tick almost entirely joyless.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I've not slept that well the last few nights, for a variety of reasons including lack of sufficient exercise during the day, and the weather. Last night's sleep suffered from both of those. It was another blustery night, sufficiently so that I felt the need (around 03:30) to get up and go around the house making sure all the windows were firmly closed, and then making sure there were no gaps in the bedroom curtains through which the neighbours' wretched motion-triggered lights could shine. In windy weather they turn themselves on and off frequently and erratically. (I have spoken to the neighbours concerned, but they've not done anything useful as a result.)
I had planned a local outing for this morning, primarily to attend to a geocache of mine, but also, possibly, to activate my nearest SOTA summit. However, the late slow start to my day and a deterioration of the day's weather forecast have put paid to that. I should get to walk as far as the shops, and I have to go out this evening on radio club business, but that's about all I have energy for. If I can, I'll find the energy to sweep up all the conkers the wind has brought down, but I'll do that after the afternoon schools exodus, as there's a fair chance I'll end up with quite a bit less to sweep up...
Somewhat eventful week, and I see that I didn't get it posted yesterday. Grumph. And today is a busy one, so this will be worked on only in the interstices.
This was our first week of school for both of N's kids, and in particular of homeschooling for j. N and I are taking turns, with N on Tuesday and Thursday, and me on Monday and Wednesday (when C has a caregiver in, although it's a little more hectic right now because we're between caregivers). Friday is for catch-up and projects. J also got the first weekly call from his teacher, where we were able to determine that we have a lot more freedom to choose which activities (e.g. science experiments) we actually do. It's still a bit of a scramble.
This weekend (ok, last weekend -- I'm finishing this up on Tuesday at this point) one of our neighbors, Dean, threw a huge party. He apparently does this every year for his birthday. He's 67, and has been building his house and "landscaping" his property since sometime in the '70s. It's awesome. "Landscaping" in quotes because landscaping doesn't normally include secret tunnels, grottos, and water slides. I only found out about it because I was standing behind him in line at the grocery store. Fairly large amount of music. He's a fiddler! We have a lot of songs that could use fiddle. He also repairs pianos.
The hash I made of "Wheelin'" on Saturday afternoon prompted me to finally reprint the LgF songbook -- two-sided, using my new style definitions. Worked great. There are still a few glitches, but on the whole it's a big improvement.
I made fudgies for the party. Recipe in the notes.
We hired a new caregiver for Colleen. As soon as we saw her purple hair we knew she was going to be a good fit. She'll start on the 25th, after giving two weeks' notice at her previous job.
On Sunday morning after the radio club Net I took a look at the weather forecast and lowered the mast. Then I headed for Epping for an NMC rehearsal. I chose the Blackwall Tunnel route because traffic reports indicated sever problems on the M25. I arrived a little later than planned, but it could have been worse. The rehearsal was quite hard work, but usefully so. By the time I headed home the weather had turned wet, but the M25 (or at least the part of it I needed to use) was in better shape, so the drive, though somewhat longer, was also somewhat quicker. It seems there had been another fairly large X-class flare from the Sun early in the afternoon. The HF bands were not exactly humming in the evening. That and the wet weather made me doubly glad I'd lowered the mast in the morning.
On Monday I tried to fit a walk to the shops in between the rain, and mostly succeeded. Most of the rest of the day went into preparing a radio club newsletter. In the evening I managed to catch the Morse practice broadcast from Essex. Unusually, it was a mostly good clear signal, and I didn't do too badly.
I was awake in the middle of the night, and ended up spending awhile kicking my weather system back into action. Sometimes problems seem to be because the computer's USB has got itself into a strange state. Other times it's because the weather system's console is in a muddle. On this occasion it seems both problems were evident. Power down and reboot computer? No change. Reset weather system console? No apparent difference. Power down and reboot computer again. Communication re-established. Go back to bed.
I was awake a little later than planned this morning. The weather's fine but windy. There's laundry on the line outside getting dry. I, however, don't have much energy...