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Friday, December 11th, 2015 10:35 pm

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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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, April 7th, 2015 09:57 pm

Over the last few days, I have been voraciously combing the internet, reading anything and everything I can find on the nominees for the Hugo awards and wrestling with my own conscience. I think I have finally come to a conclusion as to what I am going to do.

I will read all the Hugo nominees as if this were a normal year. I cannot betray my own sense of professionalism and well, I’ve read Glenn Beck and the entire Left Behind series without throwing the books through the window or across the room. I am, as I said in my earlier post, not looking forward to this. I am not reading these because the Sad Puppies demand that I must — I am because I feel an obligation to my own conscience to do so, just as I would any other year.

That said, I will rank all the nominees on either the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slates below No Award.

There are some things on the ballot for which it pains me to have to do this. I have loved the Dresden Files ever since my good friend Eileen introduced them to me by giving me the books for Christmas — but Jim Butcher is on the slate. Guardians of the Galaxy was my favorite movie of the year and a work I might have actually nominated if I’d felt well enough to turn in nominations. Nope. The Lego Movie is right behind it in terms of movies I loved last year, and would have been a very close #2 to Guardians. Sorry.

I am especially grieved to make this decision in cases like Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Black Gate, and Annie Bellet. It grieves me because Jen Brozek, a person I know and respect, is on the short form editor ballot and I would love to see her win a Hugo.

But I can’t vote any of these folks above No Award. I am sorry, but this is what my conscience demands of me. I will read your work in my packet. I will consider you for my own nominations in 2016 — and I plan to participate in the nomination round next year. But any ranking you may earn by the quality of your work will go after No Award this year.

I have decided this because I care about the Hugo. I have cared about the Hugo ever since I found out about it in an introduction in one of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, and I dream of winning it someday. But in order to keep that dream alive, I have to make sure the Hugos survive. If it comes to a slate vs. slate situation, I would have even less chance of ending up on the Hugo ballot than I already did. So the only thing I can do is express my horror and displeasure at slate voting, and use what few tools I have to express that displeasure.

For those who are saying that I am only doing this because I disagree with the political stances of Sad/Rabid Puppies, I would be doing this if it were the John Scalzi/Making Light Slate of Rainbow Joy Kittens.

My mind is my own, and I make my own decisions.

It doesn’t really matter. I am just one person, and my blog is so minuscule that it won’t register. My vote is but a drop in an ocean, but it is mine. My mind, my thoughts, my opinions — they are my own.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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Sunday, April 5th, 2015 03:23 am

The 2015 Hugo nominations have come out.

Normally this is a great moment of satisfaction for me. I usually have not read all the nominees on the slate, so it’s like getting a Christmas present from my fellow science fiction geeks. Hugo nominations are generally so broad that what percolates up from the mass hive mind are usually stories that I don’t mind giving a bit of time to read and compare against each other. Most of the time, I find something interesting in this.

This process only works if it’s a true random percolation, though. The last few years, though, there has been a campaign called the Sad Puppies that suggests that the Hugo award is too liberal and too invested in identity politics, thus choosing works that are turgid and uninteresting instead of stories full of spaceships and laser guns and manly men, I suppose.

Now the first year of this slate, it fell under the radar. The second year, they managed to get a few works on the ballot — works I read, and in some cases, enjoyed. Were they truly Hugo-worthy? No, not as much as other things on the ballot, but with one exception, I didn’t mind reading them.

This wasn’t enough, I suppose. This year, the Sad Puppies managed to put together a slate. Not just one or two works in a category — that wasn’t enough. This was enough to disrupt the random percolation of works to the point where whole categories of the Hugo awards are dominated by this slate — and I wonder what I’m missing that would have risen to the level of a Hugo nomination in any other year. (I suppose I’ll find out when the long list comes out — it’ll be harder to dig up the works, but I might have to read them.)

I’ll read the works. I take my duty as a Hugo voter seriously, and I will rate the works as I see fit. I may end up ranking No Award above them all if I don’t feel any of the works nominated rises to the level of a Hugo in my opinion. It’s the best I can do in a situation I am obviously not happy about.

But I feel as if something I enjoyed has become a grim, thankless task. Politics is never far from any human endeavor, but this year, it feels like it’s all politics. Because here’s the part I elided around: part of the reason for this slate is that certain folks thought the Hugo wasn’t conservative enough.

Now I’ll freely admit, I’m not exactly conservative in my politics. I went to Berkeley, after all. But everything I was taught both in my deeply conservative home town and in liberal Berkeley is that you treat people with courtesy and respect, no matter where they’re from or what they look like. Do I always live up to this? I’m a human being, I’d be lying if I said I did. But it’s a good yardstick to work from.

There are people nominated this year that seem, from my vantage point, to go against this yardstick. Their words are, at best, ill-conceived, and at worst, vile hatred of anybody not like themselves. Bigotry and misogyny are rampant. Is this truly the best science fiction has to offer? I don’t think so, but apparently I’m wrong.

There’s a saying that when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. And while I’m not going to just toss every work on the Sad Puppies slate out without actually looking at them first — see the above about treating my duty seriously — I can understand why others would be tempted to do just that.

But it means this year’s reading will be done grimly and without joy.

I’ll probably have more to say about this in the future, as I start to read, but this will do for now.

Mirrored from katster's closet.

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Thursday, January 5th, 2012 07:57 am

State Capital

So, I’ve promised a friend I would start taking pictures of Sactown to show her. It gets me out of the office at lunch — most of these will be walking distance from work — and it lets me see a bit more of the city I live in. I’ll start the series with this shot, from last Friday, of the State Capitol building here in Sacramento.

I joke Sacramento is a company town. People look at me strange until I point out that the company is the State of California, and when the state hurts, everybody hurts. And it’s been really bad times for the State of California for years. We papered over a lot of it with the housing bubble, but eventually those things come back to haunt you.

That said, I love our state capitol building, and I especially love it this time of year with the Christmas tree in front.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

katster: (Default)
Thursday, January 5th, 2012 07:57 am

So, I’ve promised a friend I would start taking pictures of Sactown to show her. It gets me out of the office at lunch — most of these will be walking distance from work — and it lets me see a bit more of the city I live in. I’ll start the series with this shot, from last Friday, of the State Capitol building here in Sacramento.

I joke Sacramento is a company town. People look at me strange until I point out that the company is the State of California, and when the state hurts, everybody hurts. And it’s been really bad times for the State of California for years. We papered over a lot of it with the housing bubble, but eventually those things come back to haunt you.

That said, I love our state capitol building, and I especially love it this time of year with the Christmas tree in front.

Mirrored from retstak.org.

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)
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.

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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.