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Sunday, May 29th, 2016 01:39 pm

So my friends Zibb and Mal, and I have started a new blog where we’re talk science fiction and fantasy and mastering Ahri from league of legends, in all corners of the media world from books to movies to games. You can find us over at Conceptual Neighborhood and while we’re still ramping up, there’s some good stuff there. (PS: thanks [info]lirazel for the name suggestion.)

I will probably still post here occasionally about things I’m thinking of that don’t necessarily fit the baliwick of Conceptual Neighborhood.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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Sunday, December 13th, 2015 12:26 am

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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Thursday, December 10th, 2015 01:52 am

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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Monday, December 7th, 2015 10:14 pm

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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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 10:49 am

image

See the humble banana.
Bright yellow, with a bit of green at the tip.
As a kid, I would put the sticker on my forehead
And wear it there all day.

I am an adult now;
I must put up my childish ways.
My sticker will go with the peel.

But a banana
Handy fruit in a carrying case
Is good for a mid-morning snack.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 10:49 am

image

See the humble banana.
Bright yellow, with a bit of green at the tip.
As a kid, I would put the sticker on my forehead
And wear it there all day.

I am an adult now;
I must put up my childish ways.
My sticker will go with the peel.

But a banana
Handy fruit in a carrying case
Is good for a mid-morning snack.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Monday, November 22nd, 2010 02:41 pm

image

In this case, it’s a shiny new pair of shoes to replace the beat up pair that has suffered catastrophic loss of sole integrity just in time for the rainy season.

I’m going to do my best not to trash the aglets on this pair.

Yes, I’m aware that I get stupidly happy about strange things.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Monday, November 22nd, 2010 02:41 pm

image

In this case, it’s a shiny new pair of shoes to replace the beat up pair that has suffered catastrophic loss of sole integrity just in time for the rainy season.

I’m going to do my best not to trash the aglets on this pair.

Yes, I’m aware that I get stupidly happy about strange things.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, November 21st, 2010 11:16 pm

Today, I turned:

100000 (in binary)
200 (in base 4)
40 (in octal)
But only 20 in hexadecimal.

Or, in regular numbers normal people use, today I turned 32.

I’ll have more to say when I’m not typing the post on the phone.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Sunday, November 21st, 2010 11:16 pm

Today, I turned:

100000 (in binary)
200 (in base 4)
40 (in octal)
But only 20 in hexadecimal.

Or, in regular numbers normal people use, today I turned 32.

I’ll have more to say when I’m not typing the post on the phone.

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.

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 11:29 pm

So yeah, this weekend went really well. If I had to ring in the start of another lap around the sun, this is about the way I want to do it. Bear with me, for long kat is long.

It started at work Friday, where there was cake. We do this for birthdays at work recently, but one of my co-workers made sure there was cake for me. It was supremely good cake, too.

Saturday started out a bit meh, as I had to go do schoolwork in the morning, but once I was done with that, I headed out to Folsom, stopping along the way to treat myself to In-and-Out for a hamburger as my celebratory birthday weekend. Yum.

Then, at Folsom, we had a party. It was supposedly for those not going to SF the following night to have fun, but they decided to let me come and celebrate my birthday. One of our Wrimos even baked me a cake. This was sweet.

And then to top it off, Saturday was also the 112th Big Game, which I was fairly certain Stanford was going to win. But my Bears somehow came out of nowhere, had the score close at halftime, and then proceeded to first pull away, and then let Stanford back into it before sealing the deal with an interception. It was Cal Cardiac Football at its finest, and so I got a nice surprise gift — an Axe. It was pretty funny because I was so not writing at the party, but listening to my game, and towards the end, the feed started cutting in and out, which made it hard to follow. The feed cut out just as Toby Gerhart tried to win the game for Stanford, and didn’t come back up until I heard the word “INTERCEPTION!” in my headphones and was trying to figure out what had just happened and whether that meant my Bears had won the game.

And then there was Sunday. Oh god, what can I say about Sunday? Besides the fact that San Francisco is probably my most favorite city on the planet and I love any chance I get to visit, the Night of Writing Dangerously was way more fun than I was expecting. It started simply:

It’s about 5:40 in the evening. The scene, a round table in a ballroom high above California Street in San Francisco. Seated there are seven people from Sacramento: myself, Richard, his wife Jennifer, Jenny, Candace, Temperance, and Stephanie. There’s some idle chitchatting about where people are and stuff like that. In front of the room, the bell is introduced — you come ring the bell when you’ve become a winner at NaNoWriMo (that is, hit the 50k mark). And that’s when the following happened:

Temperance: “So, Kat, you going to hit 50k tonight?”
me: “You’re kidding, right? I’m nowhere close.”
Temperance: “You’re in the forties, no?”
me: “Well, yeah, a bit over 43k.”
Temperance: “There you go. You can hit 50k tonight.”
me: “I’m not so sure about this idea.”
Temperance: “Look, how many words do you have?”
me: “About forty-three five.”
Temperance: “That’s about 6500 words. We’ll not count this hour. But six — we’ll not count seven — eight, nine, ten. That’s four hours. You only have to write about 1500 words an hour.”
Rest of table: “Yeah, c’mon, Kat, you can do it.”
me: “Okay, fine, you all. I’ll try.”
me (thought): This is going to be impossible and I’m going to fail and feel rotten at the end of it. Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Table: *cheering*

So I spend most of the evening sitting and writing frantically, although there were several breaks to take advantage of the candy pile and the hosted bar (too bad I don’t drink, but there was plenty of ginger ale and soda) and eat something resembling dinner. Oh yeah, and there were the most crazy donuts I’ve ever had with toppings like Cocoa Puffs and Nilla Wafers and Oreo cookies and Butterfingers and …the list goes on and on. Also, I went and took my author photo.

But most of the time I was writing. It was a write-a-thon after all. And after frantically typing all evening, writing a grand total of 6,481 words — a personal NaNo daily best — this happened.

Later that evening, about 10:15 PM:
Jason (peering over my shoulder): “So did you make it?”
me: “Give me a second, I just put it in the wordcounter.”
NaNo website: *loading*
Everybody: *waits*
NaNo website: katster has 50,182 words.
me: “Wait, what, I made it? I made it!”
Table (and Jason): “Go ring that bell!”
me: “Give me a second to recover and bask in my glory.”
*moment*
me: “Alright, now I’m going to go find Sarah [the coordinator of this glorious event] and let her know that I made it before I ring the bell so she doesn’t have to come frantically running.” [Backstory: People had been ringing the bell all evening, leaving poor Sarah frantically running to the stage. I felt bad, so I wanted to make sure she didn't have to run.]
*By sheer random coincidence, Sarah walks by at just that moment*
me: “Hey Sarah! Just to warn you, I hit 50k!”

…and so I nicely followed Sarah to the podium where I grasped that bell and rung it just about as hard as anybody had that evening.

And the rest of the night I wore a crown on top of my Cal hat and a manic grin. Kinda like this:

50k!me, after it’s all said and done. Photo by my friend Richard

All in all, the best birthday weekend ever. Thanks to everybody who helped me make it to the Night of Writing Dangerously — cards should go out next week.

And no, I don’t know how I’m going to top this next year.

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

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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.

Beautiful day!
photo by Jessica N. Diamond on flickr

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

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Thursday, November 19th, 2009 11:50 am

Cal football
The Bears last week against Arizona. Photo credit Monica’s Dad on flickr // CC BY 2.0

There was a point in time where Tedford seriously considered bolting for another job. Those opportunities came early during the Tedford era, fresh off of Cal’s most impressive season to date in 2004. However, one of the main reasons why a lot of Old and Young Blues alike have an adoring respect for Tedford has been because of the coach’s loyalty to the program and his desire to not only win, but win at Cal.

So it turns out that Saturday will be Coach Tedford’s 100th game. This is a nice article about the change Tedford’s made at Cal — not only in terms of making the football program a winner, but for his part in turning boys into men.

My undergraduate career at Cal was the football seasons from 1996 to 1999. In those four seasons, Cal went a depressing 18-27. We made it to one bowl my freshman year (which we lost to Navy), we never won the Big Game, and we were pretty much the conference doormat. We also cheated, and rightfully got slapped for it, but it’s not like we could even cheat right — the point of cheating is to win, no?

Anyway, the highlights, which were few, were beating Oklahoma twice (although those OK teams weren’t very good) and taking three of four from USC — but they weren’t very good at the time either. Then, it culminated in the disaster of 2001, where my beloved Bears went 1-10. Okay, I admit, by the end of it, I was idly rooting for a “perfect” season, but we managed a win in the last game of the season, a postponed-by-9/11 game with Rutgers in New Jersey. I still maintain that if we’d played Rutgers when scheduled, we’d have won that game and gained the confidence to take a couple over the course of the year, but I can’t prove it, and if it had worked out that way, then it might not have lead to something good.

The good, in this case, was the fact that we managed to convince the offensive coordinator from an Oregon Ducks team that really should have played in the National Championship that year to come to Cal and be our head coach — a dude named Jeff Tedford.

Tedford said that from the beginning, he wanted to change the football culture at Cal. And when, that first season, my first year as a grad student at Cal, I was in the stadium to watch Cal completely blow the Baylor Bears out of the water 70-22, and when the first Cal play from scrimmage went for a touchdown, I began to believe again. When we went 7-5 with the same players that had gone 1-10 the year before, and would have gone to a bowl if it wasn’t for the aforementioned cheating, things got a bit better. Of course, the greatest thing was finally seeing a Big Game victory — the first Big Game victory for Cal since I was a junior in high school.

Being a Cal fan’s a hard thing. My Bears are pretty much the Chicago Cubs of college football. The last time we went to a Rose Bowl was in 1959, and Cal fans start every year with the high hopes that this will be the year in which we go to the fabled promised land of Pasadena, California for New Year’s Day. And year after year, the hopes turn frail and bitter as the Bears inevitably find ways to lose games they shouldn’t, or have the unfortunate luck to get good just as USC is putting together a dynasty for the ages.

This season’s been a really disappointing one — we thought we finally had all the tools into place to beat USC and take the Rose Bowl. Well, USC won’t be going this year, but Cal isn’t in position to take advantage of it. About the best we can do is play spoiler to Stanford’s Rose Bowl dreams, and, well, that ain’t looking overly good. (Did you see what Stanford did to Oregon and USC? Wow!)

But get rid of Tedford? Are you kidding me? He’s 66-33 overall. That’s a pretty good winning percentage — and he’s done it at Cal, where the institutional support is always going to be somewhat lacking. Sure, we haven’t made it to the Rose Bowl yet, but on the other hand, I actually believe that we will go someday. And we’ll go with Tedford as our coach.

I mean, I finally actually got to touch the Axe, right? I gotta believe.

Rally members who graduated from Cal without seeing a Big Game win finally get to hold the Axe for the first time. Note the huge smile on my face — I’m the one in the blue and gold rugby and Cal hat

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

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Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 11:45 pm

I’m sitting here at the computer trying to figure out something to tell you all. I figure I ought to post in the middle of the day because it might get more comments, but that’ll be for another time. Tonight, it nears midnight, and I have a deadline.

The biggest thing I want to talk about, I’ve promised somebody I would wait until the right time, and the right time is not now. It will take patience, and some waiting. Waiting is.

Got my H1N1 flu shot today. One less worry. Also dropped a class. Also, one less worry.

Things have gotten a bit better since the implosion that was earlier this month, but I still get shaky every time I look at my precarious financial situation. I guess I ought to be happy I have a job, even if it’s only part-time and doesn’t pay overly well. But it’s hard to reconcile that with sitting down with budget numbers and wondering just where you’re going to come up with spare money for things like regular maintenance of the car and clothing and replacing the laptop and saving to move out. Add in the really stupid mistake, and yeah…it’s no wonder I end up in a minor panic when I look at my finances.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that I have enough of a job to mostly afford my bills and wonderful and outstanding parents, but … as the clock ticks down to the thirty-first rotation around the sun, I can’t help but think that it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

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Thursday, November 12th, 2009 02:16 pm

So, y’know how I’ve been asking y’all for money? I’m down to needing to come up with ~$20. This is because I have a set of awesome friends.

I’m going to write (by hand, mind you) thank you cards to everybody that’s supported me once things have calmed down a bit and I know who I need to write them for. And yeah, given the ugly mood I started November in, this is just that more awesome.

So yeah, after the rocky start, November’s gotten a lot better, if for no other reason than I’m reminded I ain’t alone out here. Not that they needed to say it, but sometimes my head gets strange. :) And so this is just a shoutout to all my awesome friends. :)

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

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Monday, November 9th, 2009 11:21 pm

I swear, Mondays account for 53 and three-quarters percent of all my extensional crises. This was another bad Monday.

Anyway, to explain my topic, it comes from the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, in which the main character contemplates several times about moving to Australia. I’ve thought about it too, and so really shaky days are Alexander days. And today was just one of those days.

Part of it was triggered by getting money out of my bank account to pay for gas, and realizing I have ten dollars to get me through a week and a half after the gas was accounted for. That wasn’t happymaking at all. Of course, this is a common lament these days not just for me but for everybody. It means, at least for me, that once NaNoWriMo is over, I need to just start throwing resumes at anything that comes up that might even remotely have anything to do with what I do, even if it means relocating to a far away city. I’ve given up hope that the company I currently work for will offer me a full time job at all, and I’m just barely making it on what they pay me.

Of course, the long term cure for some of my big issues is to move out from my parents’ house, so I don’t have to justify half the stuff I do them. But that’s neither here nor there, and frankly, I’m just barely scraping by with the bills I have, and if I save anything, Social Security will crack down — they already have, which makes a tenuous situation that much worse. (It also makes it impossible for me to take on other part-time work to try and get a bit of spare change — health care. But I’ve been over that rant before.)

And then to top it off, Monday night is the night of my SQL class. Now, generally, computer classes don’t bug me, but this one for some reason does. And I think I figured it out. Not only do I shut down when faced with instructors I can’t stand, this guy’s teaching style and I don’t match well. He provides notes, but the notes aren’t helpful if you have trouble paying attention in lectures. And that’s how I learn — by seeing, and by doing. And well, really, we haven’t done much. So it puts me in a jam about studying for quizzes and tests. I think I’ve studied well enough and I get blown out of the water.

On today’s quiz, I guessed like heck and then spent the rest of the time doodling xkcd-esque stick figures all over my exam. When I handed it in, I offered a strange smile to the prof. Dunno what he’ll make of it.

Anyway, tomorrow’s gonna be a working day, so I’m trying to get some rest.

NaNo count holding steady at a bit over 18.5, but Monday and Tuesday != good writing days.

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

katster: (Default)
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 03:46 pm

This entry exists merely to meet the letter of the challenge. It probably doesn’t meet the spirit, but since the last three days’ entries have seemed to be on the negative side and nobody wants to read that crap. So, I’m going to spare you all another rendition.

It’s November. It’s supposed to be my best month. And it isn’t. And nobody cares.

Why am I doing this again?

…yeah, shutting up now.

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

katster: (Default)
Monday, November 2nd, 2009 11:13 pm

Mondays are hard days. Not only are they the start of the work week, but they seem to serve as a reminder of just what kind of failure I am. I mean, I get up, I go to work, and I work. But I know deep inside that I’m only working three days and not five, and that it’ll be another month of struggling to pay my bills, another month of living in my parents house, another month that I’m stuck with what appears to be no way out.

And then after work, I slog my way through the commute traffic to school. Let me get one thing straight. I hate my Monday night class. The only time I was happy tonight in that class was when I thought I might have a chance to slag the instructor in an evaluation. (Turns out, it was an eval for a different prof. When asked if we were doing it, he said something along the lines of ‘I’ve got tenure; I don’t have to do it.’) I’m seriously thinking of taking a withdraw in that class because (a) I don’t think I’m going to pass and (b) I really don’t want to take that class over. The teacher is disorganized and sometimes you’re lucky if you can find a hint to solving some of the labs in the notes. Today’s boiling point moment was when he decided that today we were going to have a quiz — on stuff he was introducing today. Somehow we talked him off that idea, but still. (And yes, for those who have been following my journal, this is my SQL class.)

But this adds into my feelings of inadequacy because I’m mainly taking classes as a way to keep from paying my student loans, because God knows I don’t have the money to cover that bill too. I’d really rather have a full time job where I’m paying down the loans and thus gain the ability to take a semester off. I could have really used it this year — my stress levels have been through the roof this fall. (And now it’s November and I must be completely frakking insane.)

Anyway, yeah, there’s this complete feeling of inadequacy that’s been eating at me and Mondays are just the night when it comes most to the forefront. I just keep slipping deeper and deeper into the hole, and I don’t know how to get out. This is not a happy feeling to deal with.

I mean, objectively, I know I’m not a failure. Emotionally, though, it’s hard to see beyond what appears to be crumbling ruins. There’s a bit of ‘I was supposed to be someone!’ in my head that plays into nights like this; Mondays just bring it a bit closer to the surface.

***

In happier news, the NaNo wordcount stands at 5564, and I wrote this paragraph, which I’m sorta proud of. It comes in the middle of a reporter’s puff-piece on my book’s major villain:

After some pleasantries, we sat down to business. The Congressman was pleasant but undeniably brusque about some parts of his life, such as the much-publicized divorce from his wife of thirty years during his first term in Congress. The mention of her brings an immediate frown to his face. “Rosalie and I had a difference of opinion,” he said. “That and the strains of my freshman year in the House led to an amicable split. There is no story here.” When pressed about comments his wife made about him ‘not being the man I married’, Breen just shrugs and says, “Well, isn’t that what most women say when they want a divorce? He’s not the man I married? What does that mean, anyway?”

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.

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

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

Commute friend

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.

Originally published at retstak.org. You can comment here or there.