Well, either you're closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of a Spuffy shipper in your community.
Ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in Buffy fandom.
Why sure I'm a multishipper,
Certainly mighty proud to say
I'm always mighty proud to say it.
I consider that the hours I spend
With a fic on my screen are golden.
Helps you rack up the kudos
With a cool head and a keen pen.
Ever take and try to write
An IC Kenny/Dawn smutfic
For a three-word Yuletide prompt?
But just as I say,
It takes judgement, brains, and maturity to ship
Any pairing I like,
I say that any noob can take
And shove a vamp at a Slayer.
And I call that fluff
The first big step on the road
To the depths of curtainfic--
I say, first prophecy fic about soulbonds,
Then miracle babies!
An' the next thing ya know,
Those shippers are pinin' for bad boys in a leather coat.
Writing letters to some jailed serial killer...

(That's where I ran out of ideas, alas)

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Turns out my sister is violently allergic to the chemo drug they wanted to start her on. So yeah. That's not good.

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They make more room inside themselves!

Somehow our projects always end up... expanding. Our house has two bedrooms, one of which we use as a computer room. It's got one very tiny closet, which had a lot of stuff just kind of stacked inside it. For years I've wanted to take out the clothes-bar thingy and put shelves in there. This weekend we finally did it: pulled all the junk out, ripped out the old carpet, scraped up the old linoleum under the old carpet, removed the bar, patched the hole in the drywall which has been there since we moved in twenty-mumble years ago, repainted the closet walls and ceiling, put up those metal runner things, cut and painted plywood shelves to fit, and voila.

Since I'd slept badly Friday night, I was completely wiped by the time we were done, but I'm happy with the way it all turned out. As a clothes closet it's pitifully small; as a storage/linen closet, it borders upon the spacious. It's made a huge difference in how much we can fit in there and how orderly it all is.

I've been looking at used sewing cabinets, despite having no place to put one.

I want to write. I just can't seem to get up the oomph. :/ I think the problem is I want to write iddy comfort fic, because I could use the comforting, dammit, but every time Writer Barb makes a tentative suggestion, Editor Barb regards her with a withering stare and replies, "You've done that one already." I went back and looked at the last few prompt posts I'd made, hoping that some of the unused ones would spark something, but no such luck. I also owe two Haiyan fics, only one of which I've started, and which is resolutely not going anywhere.

Argh, she says, argh.

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Ok, Ok, jeez, I'll post already!

Work: They still haven't formally announced our new department structure. I know that I and the other reporter in our division were hired as analysts, and my old boss was hired for one of the manager positions, which is cool. We won't be reporting directly to him, but it's nice to be back on the same team, as it were. Two weeks from now, we're all going to get a week of SQL training, which is really great - I've picked up bits and pieces of SQL here and there, but I am painfully aware of how much I don't know. There are also plans afoot to re-do the Business Objects universe for the database we normally work with, and some of us may get to sit in on that. I volunteered, as one of my frustrations with BOB as opposed to Access is that in BOB I don't have universe-level permissions, and I can't really see how the damned tables are joined. Apparently not that many other people were interested, so I may get a spot.

Home: We're trying to find out about home care options for Mom. We went through the whole rigamarole of visiting assisted living facilities, until she finally admitted she didn't really want to move at all. Financially speaking, moving would be difficult; she has a very small fixed income from Social Security and her and my father's pensions, which would just about cover the rent for the smallest room at the cheapest of the local assisted living places. If prices went up we'd have to dig into her savings, which worries me. Whereas her mortgage is long paid off, and aside from property taxes and utilities, she's basically living for free in her current house.

On the other hand, her house is very old and needs some major repairs, and the issue of her being too frail and her eyesight being too bad to handle housework is still there. We come over every week and do her laundry, change her linens, clean the cat boxes, and do all her shopping for her, and she's got a housekeeping service that comes in once a month to vacuum and mop the floors, but she really needs someone to do it more often. I suppose I should start vacuuming when I come over to do the laundry, but... I can barely keep up with my own housework. I know, I suck.

In any case, Kathy works with someone who does home care as a sideline, and may know someone who knows someone who works in Mom's area of town. So we'll see what happens there.

Family: My sister's not responding to her current chemo regimen as well as they'd hoped. Not many options left. She doesn't want to talk about it. I don't know what to say about it, other than that I hate this. They're gearing up for Relay season at work and in theory that's fine, but in practice I hate every minute of the rah-rah-let's-raise-money-for-cancer-research enthusiasm, because even if the money we raise now funds a breakthough in ten years (and I sincerely hope it does) it will be too late for the one person I care about getting a breakthrough for.

Health: I'm feeling OKish on the super-low Synthroid dose, but kind of semi-tired all the time, mentally and physically. So I rather hope that they bump it up a little come my next blood test. I'm wondering if it's not a coincidence that the period during the last year when I was actually able to write was the period when I was on the higher dose.

Miscellaneous: Now that I know for sure that I have a job, I have ten days of vacation time I have to burn or lose by the end of June. So we are going to go to Washington and visit my sister, and anyone else in the Portland or Seattle area who wants to see us. Fen, is that offer of a guest room still open? We're probably looking at the second or third week in June, depending on what's good for my sister and her family.

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I've been officially rehired. Woohoo!

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Just so you know

If you are drying grapes in the oven to make raisins, and happen to forget about them overnight, they turn into raisin-shaped pieces of grape-flavored charcoal.

So don't do that, unless you like grape-flavored charcoal.

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Argh redux

Had my interview today - thankfully, for those of us who applied for more than one position, they mushed it all into one interview. I think it went reasonably well. But it may be another four weeks before I find out whether I got a position, and if so, which one it is.

I am so sick of being in limbo, I can't tell you. This has been going on for almost a year and a half now.

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Stories in the dark

My sister's latest cancer blog got me thinking. It's funny - I have pretty much the exact opposite reaction. I would far rather believe that the universe is indifferent and things happen because they happen - because a random electron knocked a molecule out of alignment - than to believe that some greater power is out there with some plan that it won't explain which involves deliberately letting people suffer.

I'm not even sure exactly when I came to that conclusion. In Sunday School I was always the smartass, asking my teachers questions about all that problematic-by-modern-standards stuff in the Old Testament. How could an omnipotent and loving God be A-Ok with all the killing, burning, pillaging, and looting? Much less order it done, and get pissed off when someone was too merciful and took the women home to rape instead of putting them all to the sword? I got more and more disillusioned by the whole God thing as I got older. I suppose maybe you could say it was watching my Dad die of the same cancer that's after my sister now. But I honestly don't think that was it. I think the main reason I stopped believing in God was listening to all the people with very firm ideas about what God was and what he/she/it/they wanted. All of which contradicted each other, and all of which required you to accept blindly that they were right. At some point, I decided that humanity was making up stories because we were scared of the dark. Everything made so much more sense that way. And I can't blame us for doing so; the dark is fucking scary. It's just too bad that the stories we make up so often feature a God that's as petty, scared and vindictive as we are.

I can't remember ever praying for Dad. Even when I kinda-sorta believed in God, I was of the opinion that s/he/it was more of the "set the universe in motion and then sit back and watch" sort. Human prayers, I reasoned, would be of supreme unimportance to such a being; anything which was so unevolved as to demand worship wasn't worth worshipping. I did, late one night, go out and climb up to the top of the monkey bars in the back yard, and rage at the stars for awhile. But even as I was doing it, I was aware that I was only talking to myself and the sky. The weird thing was, looking up at the stars was... not comforting, really, but it... calmed me down? Resigned me? I'm not sure. Brought me to some strange kind of acceptance that there was no one up there, but the stars were beautiful.

They still are. But I hope the day I look up at them and rage about my sister is still a long way away.

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Crawls out of hole

Um. Well, I didn't mean to drop off the face of the earth, it just sort of happened. I'll try to get caught up on everything I was supposed to post in January, but it may take awhile.

A short recap: As you know, Bob, for well over a year my employers have been going through a long drawn-out reorganization, of the sort where everyone has to reapply for a job, and of course while no one's calling it a layoff or a downsizing, the inevitable consequence of the streamlining and redundancy-elimination is that there are fewer jobs in the new corporate structure than there were in the old one. It's been enormously stressful and difficult. My department is one of the last ones to go through the process, but it's happening now - I turned my resume in for the positions I think I have a chance in hell of getting, and a couple that I don't, yesterday. The one good piece of news is that there are more reporting positions in the new structure than we'd been anticipating, but it's still more than there are people to fill them. As of March 31, I'll either be let go or re-hired.

As Bob may also know, I got diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis awhile ago. The first endocrinologist I saw put me on Synthroid. The initial dose was too high, and he kept lowering it, and it kept being too high, and then he went on vacation and I saw another endocrinologist at the same practice who freaked out at the too-high-ness and took me off it entirely, but that put me back at borderline too low, so endocrinologist number 2 is grudgingly allowing that he might put me back on an even lower dose when I come in the next time, and I'm just like, MAKE UP YOUR MINDS, GUYS. It probably doesn't help that my response to "Do you have [long list of vague symptoms]?" is "Uh... maybe, sometimes, depending?"

So anyway, I was poking vaguely around and had the frustrating experience of finding a new-to-me author who (technically speaking) writes characters you like very well... and then discovering that they're one of those writers who like the characters so much that their stories consist of:

POWERFUL AUTHORITY FIGURE: X, you are the specialest special to ever special! There's a prophecy and everything! You have POWERZ!

X: I don't believe in prophecies! I'm a hard-working man of the people, I am!

PAF: That's why you're so awesome, unlike Y, who thinks he's so great BUT HE'S TOTALLY NOT! Also, every other character who ever looked crosseyed at you is a certified poopyhead, too, and I don't like them.

X: Well, when you put it that way...

PAF: Totes truth. And remember your unrequited crush Z? They're actually desperately in love with you.


Z: OMG, X! I thought you'd been eaten by lava weasels! MY LIFE WAS MEANINGLESS WITHOUT YOU! [flings themselves on X]


Y: X! I thought you were eaten by lava weasels! How dare you be macking on Z?



X: [to PAF] So about this prophecy, then?

I know how frustrating it is when canon doesn't treat your favorite character with the deference due their awesomeness, but maybe this is just a teeeeny bit of over-correction?

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January Talking Meme, Day 21 & 22

For Day 21 Curiouswolf asked me to talk about Spike's IDW supporting cast, but it's been years since I read those comics and I've got to do a thorough re-read to do the subject justice. So I'll try to do that this weekend and get to it ASAP thereafter.

For Day 22, tanaqui - I'd love to hear more about your dog and cats!

We've got two cats at the moment, Cairo and Churro, whom my mom insists on calling Cheerio. (In case you are unfamiliar with the term, a churro is a type of fried bread rolled in cinnamon and sugar.) Cairo is a blue-point Siamese mix, who was found as a kitten in the parking lot of the place Kathy and I both worked at the time. That was in late 1999, and he got called Y2Cat a lot. :) He stayed at the office for a week or two, until I heard that one of the other guys who worked there was thinking about taking him home. We knew that Other Guy had had previous cats who'd come to... well, let's say ambiguous ends (he was not malicious, but he was a flake, and really shouldn't have had pets) so I quietly spirited Cairo away one day and we've had him ever since. He's a sweetheart, but very high-strung, and can be neurotic.

Churro I got a couple of years ago. He's a flame-point Siamese mix I found at the local Petsmart adoption center. We had recently lost a previous cat, Cuervo, to FIV (Cuervo was a stray we took in, and he was FIV+ when we found him.) I hadn't figured on getting another cat so soon, because we still had Cairo and Silhouette at that point. But Churro was just so darn personable (catable?) that I kept looking at his cage every time we came back to the store, and a week later I had a day off and said to hell with it. I love flame-point Siamese - my very first cat of my own, Magnus, was a flame-point, and he was My Cat, and he died far too young of liver problems, and I'd always been wary of getting another for fear that it wouldn't live up to Magnus's memory. Churro is not much like Magnus save in coloring (Magnus was the Mafia Cat for good reason) but he is also My Cat, and he always comes to sit on me any time he find me even remotely horizontal.

The two of them get along all right, but Churro is much younger and more energetic than Cairo, and he often wants to play rough, and Cairo doesn't. So there are Spats on occasion.

We also have Bo the Wonder Dog. He's a Lab mix according to the shelter I got him from, but what he's mixed with is anyone's guess. Personally, I think some kind of herding dog is likely. Again, I hadn't intended to get another dog after Sam died. Sam had sort of been thrust upon us, and while I was fond of him, he wasn't, you know, a wonder dog. But after a month or two I found myself missing having a dog, and I started looking at local shelters. I did a lot of really intensive searching for the perfect dog (liked cats, already housetrained). We actually saw Bo once and passed him up - he is not a dog who takes to strangers quickly, and the first time we met him, the shelter worker put us all in a big exercise area, and Bo ignored us completely in favor of exploring it. But a couple of weeks later he'd been transferred to another shelter, and I went back by myself to look at him and a couple of other dogs who were supposed to be good with cats, and this time they put us in a smaller enclosure. And this time he said hello and seemed to like me, so I took him home and have never regretted it. He's smart, even-tempered, wonderful with the cats - he never bothers Cairo, who does not want to be bothered, but he and Churro will chase each other and he'll wrestle and play bitey face with Churro the way he would with another dog. (Which looks really alarming, because Churro's entire head would fit in Bo's mouth, but Churro initiates these play sessions as often as Bo does, so he's into it.)

Someone who's a more diligent trainer than I am could probably have done fantastic things with him, but even with my lackadaisical efforts, he knows sit, down, off (the couch or bed), comes to a whistle, heel, give me your paw, give me your other paw, sit to come inside, down and stay to be fed, get in your box (crate), get in the back seat (for car rides), and round back (cross behind whoever's holding the leash to untangle it, on the rare occasions he gets crossed up on walks. My first intimation that Bo was smarter than the average dog was the first time I took him for a walk, when we came up to a bus stop sign, and I went on one side and Bo went on the other, and the minute the leash hit the pole, Bo stopped, backed up, and went around on my side. I'd never had a dog do that before.) We also taught him early on not to jump on people no matter how excited he is, because he was a big jumper when we got him and at 60 lbs it was like being hit by a guided missile. The only thing I've never been able to teach him is loose leash walking, mainly because I'm too impatient to be consistent with him. His only real fault is that he's an inveterate counter surfer. No carbs are safe from him.

I look at people with far better trained dogs and sigh enviously, but every time we have someone over they gush over how well-mannered and obedient he is, so I guess we haven't done too badly!

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Dear Pixel Pal,

This is my journal, which I use to rant about fandom, complain about life in general, and occasionally post fanfic. If you want to friend me, feel free. If you don't, just back quietly out the door and we'll pretend like this never happened, 'kay?

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April 2014



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