katster: (Default)
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 07:16 pm

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.

katster: (logo)
Monday, December 13th, 2010 10:22 am

So I’ve been trying to be more interested in nutrition labels to get a better idea of what calorie counts and other stuff are in my food. This has now become a game, in which I attempt to find the most egregious and/or crazy entries on the nutritional label.

Today brings us two entries in the WTF serving size competition:

1) Apparently, a serving size of Tic Tacs is one Tic Tac, with the extremely precise value of 1.9 calories per serving. (Sorry the picture’s kinda blurry, was trying to take it fast.)

Tic tac nutrition

2) I’d like you to try and eat just one-third of a muffin at once. (The whole muffin is 600 calories. OMG.)
Muffin nutrition

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Monday, December 13th, 2010 10:22 am

So I’ve been trying to be more interested in nutrition labels to get a better idea of what calorie counts and other stuff are in my food. This has now become a game, in which I attempt to find the most egregious and/or crazy entries on the nutritional label.

Today brings us two entries in the WTF serving size competition:

1) Apparently, a serving size of Tic Tacs is one Tic Tac, with the extremely precise value of 1.9 calories per serving. (Sorry the picture’s kinda blurry, was trying to take it fast.)

2) I’d like you to try and eat just one-third of a muffin at once. (The whole muffin is 600 calories. OMG.)
Muffin nutritionPhoto by retstak

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 02:15 pm

image

A display in the Walmart near the house.

My sister said, “I don’t remember the first one.”

I said, “I’m sorry, Mario, but our princess is in another castle.”

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 02:15 pm

image

A display in the Walmart near the house.

My sister said, “I don’t remember the first one.”

I said, “I’m sorry, Mario, but our princess is in another castle.”

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (logo)
Sunday, November 7th, 2010 09:26 pm

On cold rainy days like today, I make soup or stew. My favorite to make is chicken noodle, mostly because it’s dead simple. It goes like this — cut carrots, celery, and chicken into bite sized pieces. Add a bit of thyme, some garlic powder, and a bit of lemon pepper. Cover in chicken broth, boil approximately an hour to an hour and a half (until chicken is tender), dump egg noodles in, cook until egg noodles are soft.

Yummy, filling, and good. It’s one of my favorites.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, November 7th, 2010 09:26 pm

On cold rainy days like today, I make soup or stew. My favorite to make is chicken noodle, mostly because it’s dead simple. It goes like this — cut carrots, celery, and chicken into bite sized pieces. Add a bit of thyme, some garlic powder, and a bit of lemon pepper. Cover in chicken broth, boil approximately an hour to an hour and a half (until chicken is tender), dump egg noodles in, cook until egg noodles are soft.

Yummy, filling, and good. It’s one of my favorites.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Friday, December 25th, 2009 12:23 pm

Candles at church, by me

I’ve been doing a lot of wheelspinning lately as I try to figure out something. I haven’t figured out much in the way of conclusions because I haven’t had the time to pursue threads all the way out, but there is one thing that comes to mind.

Ignore all that ‘must co-opt pagan holiday’ stuff that caused the birth of Jesus to be moved to the bleak midwinter as opposed to the more logical late spring that all the trappings of the story hint at, and look at it from a different perspective. As a storyteller, there is no better time of the year. The world is at its darkest in the days around the solstice, so much so that we light our homes with blazing electric lights to chase the darkness away. And metaphorically, isn’t that what the Christchild story is? Bringing light to a dark world?

The story demands the change.

Anyway, that’s one of the threads I’m still trying to follow to its conclusion; I may or may not continue to blog about it.

But for those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas! And if you don’t, may you have a good day today as well.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Monday, November 30th, 2009 03:18 pm

Success, by Kevin Thoule as found on Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

So I got whacked between the eyes with an epiphany today.

It started yesterday, actually, but it didn’t quite completely come clear until today. I was reading a book on probability and how people are notoriously bad at it (The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow) and his last chapter is a bit about taking risks and why it’s sometimes important to do so — and one of the things he said was, yeah, random chance means you’re going to end up with a lot of failure, but just as streaks happen when you flip a coin, there’s always the random chance you’re going to succeed. If you don’t take the risks, you minimize your chance of failure, but you minimize your chance to succeed as well.

But it didn’t really hit me between the eyes until I was writing an email that I’ll send out to the region tomorrow. And in it, I was talking about the point of NaNoWriMo — it’s not so much about writing a novel as it is about throwing caution to the wind and doing something crazy. It’s about allowing yourself the right to suck and the right to fail, because both are hard. But if we fear failure, how can we find success? If we don’t do something because we’ll suck, how can we transcend to awesomeness?

It is that simple: in failure, we find success. In sucking, we lay the ground for becoming awesome.

I got a piece of this last Sunday when I went to the Night of Writing Dangerously. I said it myself in the post I wrote: I thought to myself that I was going to fail at reaching fifty thousand words that night. And I was going to feel miserable. But then I embraced the fear, embraced the suck, shoved the worry to the back of my mind. And what happened? I got my 50k and I rang that bell and it WAS AWESOME.

So, I’m going to stick my neck out a bit more. I have a final and a project due a week from Tuesday, and I’m going to use the time beyond that to (a) update my resume and start throwing it at jobs, (b) pick up a bit of C# with the goal of being able to contribute (even minimally) to projects at work by 1 Feb, and (c) get that fanzine together that I’ve been talking about.

Now it’s your turn: Tell me what you plan to do to embrace the suck and do something scary.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 12:19 pm

The Big Money, photo taken by David D. Muir // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I’m pretty angry over what went down at my bank today. You see, I got a WaMu account back about four years ago, and I was pretty happy with them. They weren’t perfect, but there was something friendly about them and they made a point of mostly staying out of the way between me and my money, which I really appreciated.

But of course, WaMu was stupid during the whole real estate bubble, and when things got ugly, it collapsed and was bought up by JP Morgan Chase. And over the past year I’ve been watching the transition, and every bit of it has just seemed like the bank’s gotten colder and unfriendlier. To begin with, today was the first time I’d walked into my branch since the transition. WaMu used to have this open floorplan — the tellers had podiums in the middle of the room, and the banking operations were scattered around the edges. When I first walked into the bank today, they’d placed the tellers in a more traditional counter and gave the banking operations what appeared to be cubicles. Granted, I was already predisposed to disliking them, but the sterile feel just really bugged me. But okay, I can deal with it.

So I bring my checks up to the counter. Now every other time I’ve done this, they said “Sure, no problem, we can cash those.” Today, I get informed that they can cash the Chase check, but the Wells Fargo one? Nope, it’s going to have to take a day to clear; if I’d had the amount of the check in the account, they’d be able to give me the money, but it’s just not possible. Of course, with today being the day before Thanksgiving, what they really mean is that I won’t have that money until Friday. When did this change? I asked. Last month, I was told. Nnnnnnn. You might try Wells Fargo, they said, but they might charge you a fee.

Okay, I said, just out of curiosity, what happens if I close the account with you and then bring in a Chase check to be cashed? “Oh, we charge a $6 fee for that privilege.” Double you tee effing eff? SIX BUCKS? To cash a check written on your bank?

There’s a reason there’s a nasty mood involving bankers in this country, and it’s right there in the nickle and dime fees they throw at you. If I bring in a check written on your bank, WHETHER I HAVE AN ACCOUNT THERE OR NOT, you should cash it cheerfully and promptly, without demanding money from me for the privilege. If you have a problem, it’s your account holder that wrote the check, generally I’d assume you know where to find them.

If I have a working relationship with your bank, and I bring in a check from another bank, again, one would think you should cash that cheerfully and promptly too, although I can understand that a bit better. (Although I don’t understand why WaMu didn’t care and Chase is nasty about the policy.) But still, in this day and age of electronic funds transfer, I don’t know why things can’t go faster. :P

But seriously, it’s the tickytack fees and the appearance of living high on the hog when the rest of the country suffers from something you caused — yeah, it’s no fragging wonder bankers aren’t exactly the most popular of people right about now. And God help them if the lid gets blown of the pot of simmering resentment.

But no, consider this a straight recommendation that, if you have a choice, AVOID CHASE. They’re just….nnnnnnrgh. (Actually, at this point, I’d be avoiding any of the monolithic chains — Chase, BofA, Wells Fargo, Citi — as it just seems there’s too much of a potential for them to be assholes in the name of greed.)

Anyway, that ends this rant.

[EDIT: So at lunch, I walked the other check over to the Wells Fargo across the street, and they not only happily cashed it for me despite my not having an account (and they only asked me twice if I wanted to open an account there), but they didn't charge me anything. So yeah, maybe Wells Fargo isn't quite as evil. I still hate Chase, though.]

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Saturday, November 21st, 2009 04:44 am

Today will be the 112th replaying of the Big Game. I’m hoping for an Axe for my birthday, but Cal has a 4-7-1 record against Stanford on November 21, and Stanford’s won the last three on that day. Also, Stanford’s in the Rose Bowl hunt, and all Cal can do is play spoiler. I can only hope it’s enough.

The last time I wanted an Axe for my birthday, Stanford won 10-3 when I was sure Cal would win that game. I’ve cried at very few football games, but I distinctly remember crying at that one. I’m attempting to temper my expectations this time — Stanford will probably win, but that won’t stop me from rooting for my Bears and hoping for the upset.

Anyway, for those of you who made it through my Big Game neepery, today is indeed the completion of my thirty-first rotation around the sun. In the common parlance, we call this a “birthday” and this year, it shall be prime. (Remember, we number completions when they’ve finished!)

There was cake at the office yesterday, there will be cake at a party tonight, and then Sunday is the Night of Writing Dangerously, which is what I wanted to do for my birthday when I realized Big Game was out.

And if I’ve worked it out right, this will post at precisely the time I was born.

Have an excellent day, everybody.

photo by Jessica N. Diamond on flickr

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, November 1st, 2009 09:26 pm

So it’s November. November means it’s NaNoWriMo month, which means that I’m running around like a crazy person. Then I stupidly said, “Ah why not, I’ll update my blog every day this month. It’s not like I don’t have enough to do.” Since I’m sure there’s folks out there that want to keep me honest, guess I’d better get the month started.

Anyway, it was a good day. The kickoff was nicely attended, and I got a good chunk of writing done. I added another six hundred words at the write-in we did for TV. I haven’t watched the clip yet, so I don’t know how much of me made it in, but my highly awesome co-ML, [info]underpope, got interviewed and didn’t do so bad. (Ah, here’s the clip. I’m in the background a lot.)

But the combination of staying up way late for write-in, and then getting up way early for the morning write-in, alongside the timechange, is just making my brain go *splat*. And since that means I’m not coherent, that means it should be bedtime.

But I have nearly four thousand words, and I saw a nice sunset. It was a good day.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Monday, October 19th, 2009 10:46 am

Third in an occasional series I call “Tales from the Commute”:

So yeah, even a Monday morning commute is always made happier by having one of these always in sight pretty much your whole way across Interstate 80. There was a couple moments when I could bring myself to believe that the pot of gold was just over the next rise.

On the other hand, the idiots who didn’t have headlights on even though (a) the sun was just rising and (b) it was starting to rain really annoy me.

Now to focus on work.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 12:11 pm

At work, trying to get things done. There’s an interesting concept.

Anyway, let’s begin with a picture:

I am absolutely sure that isn’t what they meant, but I got a pretty good chuckle out of it.

So, I went to the Bay Area. Things I did:

  • Went to the Office of Letters and Light (the folks who run NaNoWriMo) to sign my ML form for the coming year. I may be the only ML who will do it that way.
  • Drove to [info]mactavish‘s place; got smothered in kisses by Zoe, who is my second most favorite dog in the world after my own. Also, forgot to take the greenies wrapper out of my pocket after I opened them to give to doggies, which led Zoe to keep sniffing my pocket hopefully that there would be a second treat. Also, saw chickens and got a slice of awesome bread that [info]deyo made.
  • Got back on the freeway, drove back to 680 and made the loop around into the South Bay, as 880′s traffic can get really bad. Stopped in Milpitas to kill time; found disgusting bathrooms and that picture in the Borders there.
  • Went to the BASFA meeting because (a) I’ve been wanting to go and (b) the UK TAFF delegate was supposed to be there. Alas, [info]stevegreen ran afoul of the air travel gods and failed to get out of Seattle until 5:30, which meant that he was too exhausted when he got here to make the trip down to the meeting. So sad! But other than that, I had a good time, even if the meeting went way longer than I expected.
  • Got back in the car, and drove home mostly without incident, although I got slightly lost in Concord/Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill looking for caffeinated goodness, which probably cost me a half hour. Paid my bridge toll in dollar coins, which I think weirded out the attendant a little. (Why did I have dollar coins? Well, see, I give TAFF delegates shiny gold coins.)
  • Got home at 1:30 AM; got back up and went to work this morning

I think that’s about it. I don’t know when the next time I’ll make a trip over — finances are kinda tight. Folks are trying to talk me into showing up at Silicon, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m hoping for a Big Game trip, myself, but again, money’s tight, and getting a ticket to Big Game at Stanford’s breadbox is difficult.

That’s about it. Guess it’s time to go back to work, now that I figured out why I was critfailing my HTML roll.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Friday, August 7th, 2009 07:34 pm

God, has it been nearly two weeks since I bothered to update my blog?

Ah, here, have a picture:

I took this at the Rivercats game last night. It’s the first time I’ve been out to Raley Field, and, while the Cats sucked rocks through a bendy straw last night, it was a perfect night for baseball, especially as the sun started to set. For those of you who don’t know, the Rivercats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, and the stadium is just across the river from downtown Sacramento. (That gold bridge on the left? That’s the Tower Bridge, which crosses the Sacramento River, and is generally one of the two things used to as icons to identify Sacramento. The other is, of course, the State Capitol building.

Anyway, just letting folks know I live. I’ll have more to say later.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Thursday, June 4th, 2009 01:47 pm

Yesterday, on my walk between the parking garage and work, I found the following juxtaposition of signage:

The chalked message up close, so you can read it:
What the chalked message said...Photo by retstak

It was one of those moments where I just had to pause for a moment and laugh (and of course, take a picture). Somebody has a sense of humor in this town, and it’s those sort of wonderful serendipitous moments that I love very dearly. So yesterday, I walked past the message, head held high, as I obviously was a superhero. Only superheroes may pass. The sign said so. Thus, by passing it, I must have been a superhero, no?

I wasn’t a superhero today. We had a spectacular light show and plenty of rain last night, and the chalk was washed away. Mundanity returns. So sad.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Monday, June 1st, 2009 12:00 pm

It was very strange this morning after I dropped my mom off at her work in Rancho Cordova. Instead of doubling back to Folsom Blvd and following it all the way back down to the office at the corner of Watt and Folsom, I instead got on Highway 50 and headed for downtown. Yeah, the office moved downtown, very close to the corner of 5th and Capitol here in downtown Sacramento. Today’s the first day for the company at the new office. It’s going to take some getting used to.

I’ve already had to move cubes once today as the first cube I chose was driving me absolutely crazy — I’ve found out that I really don’t like sitting exposed with my back to the rest of the office. I’m not sure if it’s involuntary reactions to the times my mother sat quietly behind me watching me do things when I didn’t know she was there or if it’s just the occassional bout of paranoia that I’m prone to. Anyway, I’m much happier in my new cube, where I can see most of the office and don’t feel like everybody’s staring at me when I’m not looking.

Another thing that keeps striking my brain as wrong is the cubicals. Instead of the old full-high cubes, our new cubes are half-height, so if I lift my head, I can see across the office. (This also may have played into the involuntary twitch reaction.) They’re also beige instead of the blue-grey our prior cubicals are. For the most part I like it, as it’s nice to have line of sight to the far end of the office, but I miss the storage space up above the desk that our old cubes had.

But anyway, some normality is returning to my world as Luigi and the bad dudes are now adorning the top of my cube again, the binders with my ESX guides are sitting on my desk, and the only thing I’m waiting on to make my cube fully my own again is to hang up some important papers on the walls. It’s still a bit bare, though. I should find a good Cal picture (or maybe a pennant) to hang in the corner and make this cube even more my own.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Friday, May 15th, 2009 05:52 pm

Sorry I’ve not been around to update the blog. Life just has eaten me alive, and it’s been easier to keep the twitter feed up to date. At some point, I’ll sit down and try to catch y’all up, but this post is because Baycon is next weekend, so I went and picked up my ribbon order today.

This is the collection of this year’s ribbons:

  1. Yes, that’s my feet.
  2. A couple of these are special: the green one is for gophers, the one that reads “Ascended Master” is for those who catch me in the right place.
  3. The Gopher Local #42 is a joke from last year’s hoax newsletter about the gophers (convention volunteers) going on strike. So I figured, the gophers need a union. And of course, it’s science fiction, so the Local # had to be 42.
  4. My streak of bad Baycon/bacon puns continues.
  5. I can’t *wait* to see the reactions to “this ribbon intentionally left blank”
  6. White and silver are hard to tell apart. (For the record, Gopher and winning move are printed with white, left blank in silver
  7. Is it Baycon yet?

As I said, if you’re at Baycon and you want one of these ribbons, just hunt me down and I’ll give it to you. In fact, just like last year, I’ll be indiscrimately handing out the katster ones.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 11:45 pm

Yeah, my plaque for Best New Fanzine Fan showed up in the mail today, and that’s me proudly holding it. And yes, that’s a shirt from the Denver Worldcon I’m wearing. For those who want a closer view, here’s a picture of the plaque I took.

Anyway, gotta get back to writing. The end of the month fast approaches…

Mirrored from retstak.org.