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Quotation Mania

On the blog itself, I keep in the sidebar, in prominent position above the fold, a random quotes file. Tonight I was adding one of my favorite quotes from Canadian politician Jack Layton (rest in peace).

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

I’m always looking for new quotes to add to the sidebar. I’ve got whimsical — I’ve got one from Legend of Zelda: Windwaker in there — and I’ve got serious. But I’m always looking for more.

So what’s your favorite quotation?

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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Help fix Jill’s car!

My sister has the worst luck.

She’s been ill and has been told by her doctors to minimize the time working and try to focus on getting better. But in October, something happened that has made her really upset. In the span of a few short weeks, the brakes went, the ball bearing decided to be on the verge of failing, the battery died and had to be replaced, the starter stopped, and then worst of all…the timing belt broke.

And when the timing belt broke, the car broke too.

My sister has next to no money. The cost to replace an engine is prohibitive, but the whole family needs that car running again. So we figured we’d see if the Internet wanted to help us out.

I know it’s a tight season, but anything you can donate will be a help.

You can find the donation widget in the sidebar (third down) or by going to https://www.youcaring.com/jillscar.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give. And even if you can’t help, maybe you could pass it on.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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Public Service Announcement for my LJ friends.

I've been basically posting on my blog lately, but I see that the featured image that is on all my posts over there is getting lost in translation to here. So if you want to see the post in all its proper glory, you'll need to go to the site via the handy link. I don't completely want to close off comments here, but that's a big problem.

Or maybe there's a better LJ crossposter.

Anyway. Just wanted to give you the PSA
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A bit of excitement.

Not the recommended kind, though.

I’ve been getting a lot of headaches, sometimes very migraine-like, lately. I’ve got a consult in with the neurologist for a week and a half from now, but for the moment, I’ve been taking Aleve at the first signs of a headache and resorting to the heavy guns (sumatriptan) if it doesn’t go away. If the headache wasn’t making me feel useless, the sumatriptan puts me out, or at least makes me very groggy. Hence, heavy guns.

So, I’m sitting there, scanning documents, when my head starts to hurt. Ah, I say, I have a headache, and reach for my backpack where I keep a bottle of naproxen sodium, which is generic Aleve. I count out two pills, put them in my mouth, and take a swig of my soda in order to swallow them.

First pill goes down fine. Second pill? Not so much. I immediately cough badly (I think it tried to go down the windpipe), but after a moment, I speak, so I’m obviously not choking on a stupid pill. Hell of a way to end a life, eh? “Here lies katster, choked on a pill.”

Unfortunately, it felt like it was still lodged in my throat in a rather uncomfortable way. Some water, some tea, and some food seemed to make the pain die down, but it reappears randomly, sometimes feeling like it’s moved and is touching where my gag reflex is, or that it’s in the tube where my ear connects to my throat, or just stuck.

Everything I’ve read on the Internet says that it’s probably not actually a pill stuck there, but that my throat is mighty irritated because it left a scratch or a bruise in the throat when it did momentarily get stuck. I guess the nerves in your throat are particularly sensitive. I’ll keep an eye on it, and if it gets worse, I’ll go see a doctor. If it stays the same, I have an appointment with my primary care doctor on Tuesday.

But trust me, it’s not much fun to feel like there’s something lodged in your throat that you can’t get out.

…yeah, that was my day. How was yours?

(PS: Tombstone courtesy of Tombstone Builder and my own demented mind. If you can’t laugh at things…)

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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What’s in a name?

So…I ponder weird things in the shower.

Today’s thoughts started with the saw I like to use about whether people from Roseville were Rosevillains. (It’s actually Rosevillians, with the i and a transposed, but that got me thinking.

Why is what we call people from a place so weird? For example, I’m a Californian. People that live in the biggest city in the metro area are Sacramentans, and over in the Bay Area, we have San Franciscans and Oaklanders and Berkelians/Berkeleyites. (And also whatever people from San Jose call themselves, which I haven’t figured out.)

People from New York are New Yorkers, people from LA…well, that’s one of the weird ones, as they’re Angelenos. Philadelphians and Washingtonians. Bostonians and Torontonians. Ohioans and Michiganders. (I think the later’s right…)

Expand out a bit more, and it gets really weird if you think about Europe. Europeans, yes, but you have French and Germans and English and Spaniards, Dutch and Danes and Norse and Swedes and Finns and Poles and Greeks. But you also have Italians and Russians and Hungarians and Romanians.

And Asia. Chinese and Japanese and Vietnamese, but also Indians and Laotians and Indonesians and Cambodians. Afghans and Filipinos, Mongolians and Koreans. Then you have Pakistanis and Iraqis and Israelis, but also Syrians and Lebanese and Egyptians, Kurds and Turks and Turkmen.

Even out a bit farther — Earthlings and Martians. Although I admit, I’m fond of Terran as an alternative to Earthlings.

I think we can work out a few rules from this.

Places that end in -ia, like California and Colombia and Russia get an n shoved on the end, thus Californians and Colombians and Russians.

Places that end in -o tend to end -an, and sometimes, but not always get the o chopped off. Sacramento and San Francisco are Sacramentans and San Franciscans, but Idaho and Ohio are Idahoans and Ohioans.

-ing will sometimes get -er tacked on the end. Same with k.

Places ending with the letter n often, but not always, have an -ian tacked on. (Berlin/Berliner is a notable exception, as is Japan/Japanese.)

And some places are just irregular. I’m looking at you, Europe.

Yeah. All this from a stupid thought in the shower.

What do they call people from where you’re from?

(Sign from this wonderful article celebrating Boring, Oregon’s sister city matchup with Dull, Scotland.)

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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I’m watching television

For those who know me, this is a rather shocking move. But it’s something my mom likes to do, and I’ve been enjoying watching shows with her. I’m usually busy, so I got sidetracked into watching a couple shows with her tonight, and I’m slightly late by the clock for this post. But let me tell you what we’re watching.

Scorpion: My mom discovered this show, about a bunch of supergeniuses solving crimes and hard problems. She drug me into watching it with her because…wow, this is hard to write in a blog post, particularly when I’m not feeling it. But I’m pretty smart, probably a genius, and my mother is endeared by the show because, well, it’s pretty much me. I’m not a human calculator or an excellent hacker or somebody who knows everything there is to know about psychology and behavior or a mechanical genius, but I enjoy watching them use their skills to solve the problems. (And heck, even sometimes I manage to guess what the problem is, and understand their technobabble.) That’s why it’s fun, and I’ve rather come to care about these characters.

Supergirl: I said to Ben (he’s the guy that runs the comic book shop I frequent) the other day that I tend to enjoy superheros more on the screen than in the books. Part of this is simply because there’s so much frickin backstory in comics, and yes, I know comics go through retcons and reboots, but I’m one of those people who gets annoyed about not being able to start at the beginning. I remember my mom watching Lois and Clarke when I was a teenager, and I think she enjoys watching this. Besides, it’s about a girl kicking ass and taking names. There are three very strong woman characters, and each of them kicks ass in their own way. Besides, the owner of the big media company goes by Cat. How cool is that? (Okay, I spell my nick with a K, but it’s still cool.)

Limitless: What if you can take a pill and become the smartest person on the planet? What would you do with that power? What if it comes with bad side effects? I know it’s a spinoff of the movie with the same name, which I’ve not seen, but man, the science fiction in this one is awesome. Also, the main character is an unreliable narrator, but his narration is pretty witty. And well, I sorta feel like Brian Finch sometimes. Creative as hell, but floundering in a world that’s not made for that.

Blindspot: Also a crazy SFnal idea wrapped in an FBI procedural, although this show couldn’t be any less like Limited if it wanted to be. This is a very serious show, about a girl who has her memory wiped and tattoos all over her body, giving clues to crimes that haven’t been committed yet. I haven’t figured out how they did this yet, but it should be interesting. And it’s a very nifty well-crafted use of a simple SFnal idea placed in the modern world — what if we have drugs that can completely wipe a person’s memory?

Quincy, ME: Yeah, I know, the old timers are going to go, wow that show, and the folks my age and younger are going to go WTF, but Mom and I have been on an interesting kick. We’ve been watching cop shows — all of Dragnet, all of Adam 12 (RIP Martin Milner!), and all of CHiPs. Now we’ve started in on Quincy. It’s a fun show to watch simply because you have to remember they didn’t have DNA to help them identify victims and murderers, and the way they go about doing it involves some pretty neat scientific trickery. It’s also neat to see a snapshot in time of the 70s, and Jack Klugman is always a joy to watch act.

A couple other shows that I’ve been watching on and off as interest (and time) waxes and wanes:

Walking Dead (No spoilers, please, I’ve only gotten through the season that ends with them locked in a boxcar): It’s not about the zombies. It’s about the human will to survive even when everything has changed overnight. And it’s about the monsters we become as we try to do that. Yeah, I’ll say it. The monsters in this show aren’t the zombies — it’s the living. And yet I love it. (I also love the comic book series it’s based on, for much the same reason.)

Agents of SHIELD: I am about halfway through the first season — I got diverted because there was an episode involving characters from the Thor movies, which I hadn’t seen at the time, and I haven’t managed to go back to it yet.

Clone Wars: My friends introduced me and it looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Murdoch Mysteries: A Canadian show about a detective in the Toronto Police Department at the turn of the century. No, the earlier one, the 19th to the 20th. It’s fun because mysteries are fun and the main character, William Murdoch, is smart, but a bit oblivious. And I <3 Constable Crabtree. Hard to find in the States, some of the early seasons are on Netflix. I may have to make a trip to Canukistan particularly for the point of buying this show.

Geez, I’ve prattled on. Anyway, that’s what I’m watching.

Tomorrow: bacon soda!

EDITED: Changed name of Blindsight to the correct name of Blindspot. There’s a Peter Watts novel with the former name that was intriguing, and I’m constantly calling the show that. Pardon the error.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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I don’t feel like blogging…

First of all, it doesn’t matter what the clock says. It’s not the next day until you go to bed. (There are reasons I fail at adulting sometimes…)

Anyway, I’ve had a pretty bad case of the eff it alls lately.

I’ve got some things I want to talk about, but it takes more mental space than I’ve really got at the moment to process them. Instead, I spent the evening showing Hobbit all the photos, including Dr. Penis. Okay, it’s an ad I saw in the SF subway at the Castro Street Station when I was in grad school. It’s not horribly expensive to go to San Francisco when you’re a student at Berkeley, and I was taking photos for a school project. Besides, the ad was to raise public awareness that the SF Department of Public Health had free treatment for syphilis, so it was a PSA. It was still hilarious.

Ahem.

So, i was reading an recent article on why you should buy soundcloud plays, fake vs real and much more. You can find it here or on the popusocial website.

Anyway, I’d like to start on the Bible Project, which is something I’ve been threatening for years, and this month seems as good of a time as any. Plus, I stumbled across a book at the used bookstore that’s given me another idea about books. I’d like to talk a bit about what’s going on in this country, but I’m not quite sure I’d like to go there. Between relatives and former schoolmates who have rather opposite opinions of mine and a tendency to express this with some — what’s a nice word — choice words and because I’m job hunting and I don’t know who is going to read my blog, it seems rather unsafe.

I might do it anyway. Safe is relative.

But tonight I don’t want to blog.

Maybe tomorrow (today?) will be better.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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Kicking the dust off the old blog…

So a couple very dear friends of mine, Richard and Jennifer Crawford, do this thing in December where they proceed to blog every day. (They already commit to writing a novel in November — and Richard is my co-herder of Wrimos in the Sacramento area.) They’ve done it the past few years, and I’ve always thought of trying, but December is hard — especially after November. It’s this little thing called Holidailies, and this year they got put in charge of the whole shebang.

Anyway. I signed up this year, and I’m damned well going to do it, even if I’ve been pretty sick this last week and I’m still fighting a three-day old headache, the residuals of a cold, and the shiny new CPAP machine. I’m late to the party, yes, but I’m going to make it up. I missed the first six days of December (and it turns out even if I had been sick, I wouldn’t have been able to blog, thanks to a minor configuration error), so…I figure I need to have six days where I write more than one post.

This is completely doable.

Anyway, to those who don’t know me, my name is Katrina and I live in the Sacramento metro region. For the longest time, I’ve had a signature line that, over the years, has included such things as “writer, dreamer, information herder, part-time philosopher, first baseman, wrangler of computers, Cal Bears fan, gamer, bookworm, science fiction junkie.” I’m currently an out of work system administrator/tech support/systems analyst. I am a diehard fan of the California Golden Bears, the sports teams of my alma mater (twice over), the University of California, Berkeley. My undergrad degree is in history and my master’s degree is in Information Management.

Oh, and I have always existed in a Heisenbergian state somewhere in Northern California — native of Redding, graduate of Berkeley, resident of Sactown. I’ve thought of moving, but I suspect that’s not a possibility now.

People say I’m nice, and I like to think so. My general philosophy in regards to retail employees is that their job is hard enough and they don’t need me to make it harder — so always ask nicely and say please and thank you, and if you’re angry, do your best not to take it out on the poor employee. That’s my general way of handling most things, which seems to surprise folks. I have a very long fuse, but I can get angry. I like the Unitarian Universalist philosophy of ‘the inherent worth and dignity of every person’ — even the bad ones, although that’s hard.

To wrap this up, this blog might gyrate wildly between deadly serious topics and frivolous light-hearted ones. I’m always thinking, and sometimes the thoughts are a bit weird.

If there’s anything you’re curious about, feel free to ask in comments. And sorry about the dust. One of my goals for 2016 is to use the blog more.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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Why I Voted the Way I Did…

So the Hugo Award ceremony has come and gone, and the results were a Puppy rout, including five separate invocations of No Award in the five categories Pups had locked the ballot. At this point, I’m not interested in replaying the cultural war mishmash of the last seven months, to be honest. I just wanted to do a quick examination of why I voted the way I did.

First of all, I should state that I’m not a puppy. If you didn’t know that by now, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been dreaming of winning one since I was in high school and read Asimov’s pontificating about them, and I’ve been honored to be a participant in the process of choosing one since 2007, more or less. Some years are harder than others — the last couple have been eaten by personal problems. But I managed to vote this year.

This was my process:

1) Elimination of anybody who advocated that the Hugo Award should be destroyed. This affected only a small amount of people on the ballot, one of which was, of course the leader of one of the two slate campaigns. My reasoning for this was simple. If you express an interest in blowing the award up, then it’s fairly obvious that YOU DON’T WANT IT. This only affected three people, but eight nominations.

2) Reading all the stories. (And yes, despite my immediate elimination of the people above, I still read their stories, confirming that my decision as above was sane and rational — the works didn’t deserve the award anyway.)

3) Weighing all the stories in a complex matrix which did include, I admit, some bias against those folk who were going out of their way to accuse me, somebody who takes their Hugo voting rather seriously, of not bothering to read the nominated works. I read them — as I said, I take this *seriously*. In fact, there was a familiar name on the Puppy ballot this year — I voted for his novel to win best novel several years back. I don’t just go blindly in for the sake of diversity. This is important, Pups, as you will see in a moment.

I read and I read, and I read some more. And in the end, I backed away from my complete anti-Puppy pledge, voting for a couple of people here and there. Sadly, most of the works I did read were not worthy of a Hugo award, and I voted as such. However, I did end up giving votes to folks in both the short and long form editor campaigns — Jen Brozek is an awesome editor, and I expect she’ll win some legitimately soon enough, and I was impressed by the work Sheila Gilbert has edited.

There’s one editor I did place below no award that has the puppies screaming. That would be Toni Weisskopf, and this is my reason for doing so: I depend on the voting packet to help me with the editors. All I was given in regards to Weisskopf’s editing was a link to Baen Books. Weisskopf was not even the only Baen editor on this year’s ballot, and surfing over to that website gave me no clue as to who had edited what. If I cannot determine what you have edited, then I cannot fairly judge your work, and I must sadly concede that it is perhaps better to have no award be given than give an award which I cannot determine if the nominee is worthy.

If Ms. Weisskopf and Baen would like to prevent this in the future, perhaps either including a list of the works you have worked on in the packet or, if Baen is truly a tag-team sort of environment, mentioning what value you add to the process. I’m not all that familiar with Baen, partly because it’s not my particular cup of tea and partly because I get this feeling that I, even as a lifelong science fiction fan, am not particularly welcome in that particular publishing house.

But that’s the long and short of it. I voted based on what I read. It was a slog this year, instead of the joy it normally is.

I don’t think 2016 is going to be much better.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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It’s OK if You’re a Puppy

Let me begin by stating that I speak only for myself. I speak not for past employers, present employers, potential future employers, friends, Romans, countrymen, other science fiction fanatics, people who are not myself, and most definitely not for George R. R. Martin.

After that, let me add that I think Irene Gallo used words that were ill-chosen, and that she painted with way too broad a brush. As Eric Flint has said, “Words matter.” I think neo-nazi to describe anybody was probably a bridge too far, although I know of a couple of people that I might, in a spew of frustration and hyperbole, have chosen those words myself to describe them. This is why I try very hard not to blog when I’m angry.

However, with all that said, I don’t think Gallo is completely at fault here. We’ve all made bad choices of words, and the time she posted that statement (May 11), tempers were still a bit high. As we’ve dug through May, things seemed to be calming down and people were settling down to read and get through this. The most appropriate time to have brought this up would have been in the days after the comment was posted, but no, that wouldn’t have caused maximum damage.

Enter Theodore Beale. I absolutely despise the man. He reminds me of nothing less than the smarmy jerk in high school who believed he was smarter than everybody and therefore, the rules didn’t apply to him. This applies to his absolutely ridiculous pen name (Vox Day, “voice of god”, isn’t it funny?), the way he blogs, and generally most interactions I’ve observed from him. He’s cruel, he’s petty, and he enjoys every second of it. Indeed, Beale is probably the soundest evidence that karma doesn’t exist.

Why does Beale matter? Well, he stumbled across Gallo’s words two hours after she posted them. (Note that “stumbled” is the nice words here — I’m certain he’s been reading the facebooks, twitters, and blogs of various high up people in search of ammunition. In other contexts, we would call him a stalker.) Instead of saying anything when he found them, he took a screen shot of the exchange and put it away for a more advantageous weekend. Perhaps one when the outrage seemed to be dying down, and when people were starting to feel for a way to bridge the gap. Maybe also a weekend in which the SFWA, an organization that Beale has placed on his enemy list, was holding their awards ceremony.

And sure enough, guess what appeared on the Internet on Saturday?

I’ll grudgingly give Beale credit for this — he knows his army of sycophants, suck-ups, wannabes, and fellow travelers very well, and knew dropping that screenshot on the Internet would be like throwing raw meat to hungry dogs. All the outrage that had been dying down is back, kicked up yet another notch. And I’m certain this amuses him very much.

It strikes me that Beale doesn’t want dialogue. He doesn’t want us to understand each other, because if we can understand — if we can glimpse that the other side of the screen sits another human being not all that much different from us — then his culture war is dead. He cannot afford to lose that — it is his driving force and his motivator.

I’m a science fiction fan because I like to read, Beale. I’m not here for your bullshit culture wars, and I really wish you’d take them somewhere else.

Mirrored from katster's closet.