anotheranon: (adventure)
It's been a silly weekend.

Friday I flew out to Sacramento for D.'s 1920s-themed holiday party. He was already out there for work; his company was graciously flying me in for the party itself, and I was looking forward to a break from the cold weather and the opportunity to costume, followed by a visit with D.'s mom.

Yeah, it didn't quite work that way.

I don't think anyone could have predicted that a winter storm would close Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.

Snow and ice. In Dallas. Not incredibly likely, which is why they weren't prepared and hence, the shutdown.

Then the trip got interesting.

I could type out a boring blow by blow: the numerous times I cycled through the main airline desk try and get any flight to the west coast, the inconvenience of losing my bag in luggage limbo for the entire weekend (complete with our costumes, all my clothes, and most of my cosmetics), or the obvious fact that I missed the fun party and definitely got cheated out of warm weather.

But I won't, because that's not the interesting part. )

The oddest of all was how little the chaos got to me. Normally I am a creature of habit, OCD enough that fret over every little thing, but when a situation arose that was beyond control or reckoning I just went with the flow and it turned out ok. And I remembered what it was like to trust people right off the bat.

So what should have sucked, didn't.

As I type my bag is in transit to my door from a local airport - in theory. It was supposed to be here 2 hours ago, but whatever - I'll make do.
anotheranon: (90lb)

  • Even though I work alone at a desk, I never realized how much I rely on work to get me out of the house on a daily basis. I wasn't a total hermit during the shutdown, but if I don't get out of the house occasionally and have to talk to people other than D. I start to forget how to socialize.

  • I waste tons - I mean METRIC TONS OF TIME - goofing off online. Facebook, fanfic, stupid cat pix, you name it - even though I think I was fairly productive during my time off, it could have been so much BETTER.

  • Jogging to wake up is a good thing. I shall miss it.

  • I am seriously in need of a career change, but I don't know to what. Even if the writing thing pans out and I eventually publish something I'll always need a day job for the insurance. This is food for thought.

anotheranon: (eggman)
Today I went to the local SCA University.

It was the first time I've been to an SCA event in... I'm not sure how long. I always make time for local universities though, because the training and conversation is always the best.

And I was not disappointed. I attended interesting classes on Hispano-Flemish clothing (the bit on headwear was VERY helpful) fencing psychology (remarkably informative for my sport game as well), Elizabethan bags (more evidence I should learn to work with leather) and German tailor's books (elegant, logical patterns with Eastern European twists).

But... as a social event I was disappointed with myself.

I didn't plan adequately: I didn't get enough sleep, I got there late with no feast gear and hence, no water, so by the end of the day I was almost nodding off.

I did make the effort to talk to all 3 of the people I knew there, and chat a bit with the one person I was introduced to, but... goddamn, I still find talking to new people to be difficult! One of the main reasons I love the internet is that communicating with people online first provides me with context about them and pretext to approach them, so it's less intimidating. However, I'm not involved enough in my local SCA email lists so I didn't have this background to work with.

I also feel like I have nothing to contribute. The SCA community thrives on participation, and I don't have anything new to say, nothing I know well enough to teach, and am not "embedded" enough to help out logistically.

As such, I feel like I had no impact on anyone, and am again the one who made no impression, for good or ill.

The one thing I can do is fence: it's a pretext for being social and I can be of use by being an opponent. I didn't today because I was just too wiped by the time pick-ups started.

An interesting observation I'm not attaching any judgment to is that while I was excited about all the garb ideas I got today, I don't have an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy for not having ALL THE THINGS nor have the painful urge to make up for it RIGHT NOW.

For next SCA event: have enough rest and water so I can fence, and make sure it's an event with fencing because my enjoyment socially hinges on my ability to do something. I'm a fighter, not a talker (at least not with new people), so I should play to that.
anotheranon: (cool)
From lo these many weeks past:

  • The Star Trek: Into Darkness Spoiler FAQ: Explains the plot holes you can drive a semi through in a very amusing way. Warning: sweary language (the FAQ answerer is clearly of strong opinions). Spoilerage abounds, so I'm declaring comments to this post to be a SPOILER FRIENDLY ZONE for ST:ID.

  • First clip from "Only Lovers Left Alive" features Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton hot un-kissing/making out [YouTube]. VampireLoki + VampireTildaSwinton = how do I get an invite to this party?? 'Cos I need one. For... research.

  • Why do men keep putting me in the girlfriend zone? (Hat tip [ profile] glitter_femme). I've only been in this situation once and the guy got verbally abusive when I told him I wasn't interested. Full disclosure: when I was a stupid teenager I "boyfriend-zoned" a good bit. Then I grew up and learned that the 'verse doesn't owe me boy/girlfriends.

  • Club veteran Princess Julia's piece on the attractions of club life and the role of the DJ. This quote especially resonated with me:

    Mark Moore dj, music producer and frontman of seminal band S-Express began his career as a dj and continues to involve himself in the spirit of it, 'My experience of djing is similar to when friends come round your house and you play music to them. Every record that brings joy to them and blows their mind also brings joy to you so it's really a way of bonding and sharing - communion! The DJ experience is just a bigger version of this with more people and more energy.

    I was the kid ever making mixtapes for my friends to evangelize my taste in music, and that urge to share is part of what got me into radio in college. Even when I was trying to learn to mix, I don't think I ever really wanted to be a club dj - I always wanted to be John Peel, introducing people to sounds they've never heard before.

  • And 'cos the quote is from Mark Moore: Enjoy this trip. And it is a trip. Countdown is progressing... [YouTube]. Oldie but goodie.

  • Remittance Girl's blog post on feeling like an exile stuck in my head: "There have been times in my life, I’ve masqueraded inclusion. I’ve pretended to join, I’ve faked communion, I’ve partaken of the flesh, without swallowing. There is almost always a thin membrane, a wrap of impenetrable film that keeps me in exile." For good or ill, I kinda get that. Even when I've tried I've always felt a bit "off-center", and with age I'm (slowly, oh so very slowly) starting to accept that. (FYI this entry is worksafe but the rest of Remittance Girl's site emphatically is not; having said this if you're looking for quality erotica of all sorts go here).


Jul. 2nd, 2012 03:33 pm
anotheranon: (eggman)
I cannot be accused of being an optimist. I don't let go of cynicism easily because it feels like a buffer between the slings and arrows of life, but I let my guard down and got smacked around a bit this weekend.

First, the storm: despite forecasts of 80 mph winds and rain, I didn't really believe it would get THAT bad. The winds couldn't get that strong without a tropical storm behind them, I rationalized, and went to bed.

The joke was on me - we woke up Saturday morning to no power, broken trees, and shingles torn from roofs littering the grass (don't know if they're from us or neighbors). In normal circumstances this is survivable but add 100F+ heat indices to the equation and no air conditioning and things get miserable pretty quick.

Also, its *just* long enough to destroy everything in the fridge. Note to self: frozen yoghurt will refreeze, but it just isn't very good.

We survived by closing the blinds to keep it from getting hotter and staying very, very still (read: napped until 4). We went to the movies and were happy to be cool, even if we had to share the theater with the half of the county who had the same idea :P

When we came back the lights were on, so I was able to go about resetting clocks, restocking the fridge, etc.

I WILL channel my inner Pollyanna and be glad we're not one of the many, many people who may be without all week.

I also lost a fencing friend. She had been sick for over a year, but she was trying a new drug regimen, had bounced back before, fenced her just a few weeks ago... it blindsided me because I told myself that surely her doctors would find something that worked. I don't think I appreciated how serious it really was; maybe I chose not to see it. I still haven't fully digested that I'll never see her again. She was a sharp and funny, a fierce fencer and all around good person. At the very least, she was able to be active and do what she wanted to do almost until the end.


Jun. 11th, 2012 10:12 pm
anotheranon: (house)
I've been trying to stay unemotional about the whole house buying process, and while I've convinced my forebrain, my nervous system isn't on board yet.

Yesterday we made our first house tours with the realtor. We're finding that in order to find something we like but stay in our price range, we're having to look a little further from the town center than we'd hoped.

Which isn't awful, as we told the agent we wanted to stay close to major roads and metro stops, and her selections do that, but there's still something about inner residential roads that pinches like a cross between claustrophobia and cabin fever.

I know where this is coming from: my teenage years in the exurbs with no nearby parks, shops, or public space of any kind, no sidewalks, and no car has left me determined to never live anywhere that makes me feel so isolated and helpless EVER EVER AGAIN.

I know it's illogical. I have a car so my childhood hinderance is moot. I have been a bit spoiled by living the past 10+ years within walking distance of a grocery store and a bus stop. But I still get tetchy if I can't see sidewalks and at least a 7-Eleven.

D. and I have both agreed we don't want to move to East Jesus for a McMansion-style "dream house", but I'm surprised at how short a distance it takes to trigger all my old anxieties.
anotheranon: (neat)
anotheranon: (eggman)
This whole Palmer/Pletsch fitting thing has reminded me yet again that bodies aren't perfect and off the rack doesn't (and probably can't) accommodate every deviation from the (fictional) "norm". I've not done a body map yet, but it's kind of a relief to know that someone has come up with a plan that acknowledges and addresses uneven shoulders, long torsos, short legs, and the like. As Already Pretty so succinctly puts it, it's not you, it's the clothes.

I don't know what the solution is. Not everyone can make their own clothes and I certainly don't make all of mine. I'm trying to resign myself to the fact that nothing I purchase is going to fit perfectly and so not get bent out of shape about it. Tailoring is an option, if you can do it yourself or have a good dry cleaner - evidently this is the trick celebs use to look effortlessly fabulous - yes, they even have t shirts fitted(!) So they're not perfect either - they just have better resources than us ordinary mortals :P

At the end of the day, I guess aim for best fit and keep it clean and in good repair. After all there's more to life than clothes.
anotheranon: (eggman)
Given the proliferation of media coverage and FB/LJ "where were you?" posts, I suppose it's inevitable that I'd write about the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

snipped, 'cos this got long )

I'm posting this publicly and leaving comments unscreened. Discussion and vigorous debate is encouraged, but flames will be vigorously put out.
anotheranon: (costume)
I was just reading a thread in one of my costume email lists about the lack of posting, and wondering if people are no longer making things or simply too busy doing so to discuss it.

This is an email list I've been on since college, and it's still fairly active though I've been reading instead of writing for several years. Part of it is my busy schedule and desire to actually make things instead of writing about it, but it's also that I've not been doing anything particularly NEW.

Been working with predictable easy (for me) patterns and styles, and concentrating more on getting a wearable piece than on doing something new. As such, nothing groundbreaking to say and no questions to ask.

Clearly I need to challenge myself more. Maybe it's time to finally make a Victorian-style corset that I've been mulling for n years.
anotheranon: (eggman)
D. and I have been re-watching Angel. It originally aired in 1999-2003, which is not all that long ago, and I still find myself marveling at the everyday technological advancements over the past 10 years: cell phones didn't have touch screens or internet connectivity. Monitors used to be these huge cubes, not the slick flat screens we have now. High definition tv was new and rare.

Then [ profile] idragosani links to 10 Ways the World has Changed Since "Firefly" First Aired and it further enforces my sense that either change is speeding up or becoming more widely distributed.

I used to think my grandfather had seen a lot in his life, having been born the year before the airplane and having lived to see the space shuttle, but it's not as if he ever flew either. I was born with land lines and no home computers and now have a tidy combination of both that can fit in my pocket.

I'm further convinced that I need to watch after my health to make sure I live a long enough life to see all the cool stuff to come.

"Cool stuff to come" - that sounds almost optimistic :)
anotheranon: (790)
[ profile] rm's posting of a stark reminder that no one will ever be able to read EVERYTHING, ever is a refreshing but harsh reminder that if I plan to get anything long-term done, I need to start picking and choosing.

I'm chronically indecisive because selecting one thing inevitably locks out another due to limited time/brain space. I still kid myself that if I flit from one short-term project to another I'll get to everything but it's simply not the case and also hinders going in depth on anything.

Case in point: sewing and costume research. I dutifully finish one project or book before starting another but the long narrative eludes me. I could possibly make some really interesting discoveries/experiments WRT Fortuny gown construction but it's hard to resist the allure of Regency, cool Japanese-style French patterns, etc.

I manage to acknowledge that my fencing due to the endless improvement is a long-term project of sorts, and after much fighting the inevitable I've resigned myself to only being able to grok one weapon system at a time. It's not one that lends itself to long-term goals - it seems that the standard measures of accomplishment like medals and ratings will be due to luck or a simple good day and can't happen on a timetable.

No real solutions here, just musing aloud that if I ever want to "make my mark" with anything I'm going to have to exclude some related but equally tempting possibilities. I'm not even sure why I want to make a mark of any kind. Maybe it's that I'm closing in on 40, maybe it's that I'd like prove to myself that I can adopt a course of study and see it through to an obvious end.

two things

Apr. 3rd, 2011 10:50 pm
anotheranon: (fencing)
1) It's embarrassing how crap my stamina is even after 10 years of fencing. Not sure how I got away with it this long but it may have something to do with resisting despair and setting things up just requires more deliberation, more time. Today I watched myself start a couple of bouts really intelligently and then tank them by rushing into actions because I just COULDN'T keep dancing for 3 solid minutes.

Working on it, but the learning curve is steep and the air feels a lot thinner [pant pant]

2) I "watched myself" because I still find it incredibly difficult to get into the intuitive "flow" where my forebrain isn't getting in my muscle memory's way. This isn't just a problem in fencing - letting go of my ingrained hypervigilance/overthinking makes me feel uncomfortably not in control so it's hard for me to just enjoy the moment. Yeah, meditation, I know.
anotheranon: (exercise)
I'm almost 3 months into 2011 and I'm at least partly on track:

  • Eating more fruit: we got a blender and I've been having a fruit smoothie for breakfast at least twice a week. So far I prefer blueberry and strawberry, but as most of the flavor comes from vanilla whey powder (lactose free!), I think I could eat almost any fruit blended regardless of whether I enjoy the whole version.

    Also still eating apples at least twice a week, or if I'm craving something salty, nuts. I'm successfully avoiding the snack machine :)

    I'm aware that these are far below the recommended daily allowance, but I figure "some" is better than my previous "none".

  • Trying new things: in the past 6 months I've been 3 places I've never been before (Las Vegas, Gatlinburg, Detroit) and at least partially rolled with it instead of letting the "out of my cave" feeling scrape on me. Tried a new spa this weekend (ahhhhhhhhhhh), tried some new recipes. These are small things but I think they count. What other new things should I try?

  • Meditate more: er.....not so much :( Counting my breaths while trying to fall asleep doesn't exactly count; neither does focusing on the target while fencing because I'm still thinking. I'm still trying to wrap my head around scheduling time to do nothing.

I am at least doing fewer things. I finally realized the reason I couldn't get organized was because I had too much on my plate - or rather, D. pointed out that I was so busy I was never home, and usually harried when I was. Much as it chafes, I simply don't have time for SCA/historical "unpractice" anymore.

It was hard to drop because I was afraid of disappointing others, reluctant to give up something so interesting, and unwilling to admit that I was trying to do too much, but it was slicing both my week and Wednesday nights so perfectly in half that I felt like most of my time spent at home was either getting ready to go back out or getting ready for bed after coming in. I'll still fence rapier at events (and with more at home time I might feel more inspired to get out and about on weekends), but just can't do a regular practice right now.

I am doing cardio crosstraining at home - it's repetitive, makes me gulp for air and sweat even without wearing 10 pounds of cotton canvas. But I gotta if I want to outlast those freakishly fit young things on the other side of the strip.
anotheranon: (eggman)
Despite my busy-ness, I have been keeping up with the news in a limited way. What with Libya, Japan, Bahrain and elsewhere it's all a bit much too much to take in effectively.

I've had to back off following all of the news about the Japanese nuclear reactor. Fortunately or no, that hit the news not long after I watched The Battle of Chernobyl, which while an excellent documentary about the unsung heroes and heroics involved with the 1986 explosion cleanup, it's also high-octane nightmare fuel even if (like me) you didn't grow up under constant terror of nuclear holocaust*. No matter how complete and quick the cleanup of the Fukushima plant, it seems like a recurring theme with nuclear accidents is that the damage goes on and on, even when it disappears from the news cycle - the environment is essentially poisoned for centuries and those who don't die outright from exposure are burdened with ill health for the rest of their lives.

As such, I just can't watch that coverage anymore. Unlike the rebellions in the Middle East, it just reads as so hopeless to me.

*Tangentially, it's not that I didn't grow up on this planet in the 20th century, but I gather that I'm unusual in that I didn't have nuclear fear drilled into me by parents, teachers, etc. It's not that the adults around me weren't cognizant of the news, it just wasn't mentioned. I don't even remember doing "duck and cover" drills at school.

I was 13 when Chernobyl hit the news, and while everyone understood it was a terrible tragedy, there was no handwringing about it happening HERE, ANY MINUTE NOW.

Is it just me, or did I get off really lucky in not being pre-emptively traumatized by the Cold War? Or were my parents/teachers really shamelessly naive?
anotheranon: (Default)

  • 23:42:27: RT @Kevin_Church: Football is a game, people. It's not worth killing yourself slowly so team owners can enrich themselves. ...
  • 23:43:52: RT @SarahSloane: The people I'm attracted to all share one quality in common: they are passionate about something in the world & communi ...
  • 23:47:11: RT @danphilpott: Very cool, Montgomery County, MD has an interactive map for tracking snow removal progress:
  • 23:52:39: Just catching up on Twitter, news, Libya, NZ. Turns out I can miss a lot by having my head buried in fabric for 3 days.

Tweets copied by

anotheranon: (exercisegonebad)
Sundays at fencing club have been intimidating of late.

This is because a group of the Big Scary People - high-rated fencers who move like greased lightning and are six moves ahead of things Ordinary Mortals (meaning me) haven't even thought of yet - have been coming for the past few weeks. There are about 4-6 of them and they show up early, and if I'm there before noon it's either grit my teeth and cycle in or repetitive footwork/target practice until other Mortals show up.

The Big Scary People (BSP) aren't scary socially - as near as I can tell they are all friendly chaps and don't have superiority complexes over their considerable abilities. When I get the nerve to approach they don't refuse to fence with me, even though I don't pose much of a challenge.

It's just that my lizard brain still remembers humiliating high school phys ed, in which "natural athletes" bullied or simply bulldozed over apathetic bookworms like me. The teachers/coaches didn't seem to notice, or if they did, they didn't mind, which in retrospect makes sense, I suppose - what teacher wouldn't rather teach kids who are clearly enthusiastic about and good at the subject matter? The administration was another matter - school athletes got a pass for some of their less savory behavior, perhaps because team sports brought in money, and they were perceived as team players in a way that solitary bookworms were not :P

I need to remember that we are not children at club and I'm not just a bookworm anymore. I did cycle in yesterday and took my knocks and delivered a precious few of my own. There are still a couple who I think we'd be wasting each others time (I'd be little better than a moving target to them, and I can't even see what they're doing), but one of the ways I can improve is to play with the big kids.
anotheranon: (eggman)
I can sometimes have a grim view of humanity. Not of individual people, mind - I maintain that many if not most people are basically good, or at least content to live and let live.

No, it's groups of people that I have little hope for. Reading this account and analysis of bullying only gives fuel to the suspicion I entertain on my worst days that given the slightest peer pressure, most people will bully or put up with the bullying of others. They do it because they can, because it's an easy way to feel good about themselves, and bystanders will do nothing out of fear of backlash. Which I get, kind of - standing up and standing alone is difficult and scary.

It's not even exclusively a "high school pressure cooker" thing either, though that's where I learned the damn hard lesson that when it mattered, no one would get my back. I think the link makes an excellent point that people never outgrow that need to take the easy and ugly way, and this is reflected in political discourse and lingering discrimination against the out-group du jour.

As an adult I can be more pragmatic, almost to the point of acceptance that This Is How Things Are, whether I like it or not. Not everyone is cut out to be a rebel or hero, they have their own problems, and expecting different is just banging my head against the wall.

Then... I see something like this (HT [ profile] attack_laurel) and it reminds me that there is generosity, and compassion, and bravery in masses. It heartens me, makes me expect and demand more of people and of myself, as much as it angers me that this seems like such a rare thing.

Despite the gloom/doom lead-in, I'm trying to write a happy post here! Got any examples of human selflessness, bravery, joy? Leave 'em in the comments.
anotheranon: (goodstory)
It occurs to me that with the visits for Christmas and Nationals, I've probably spent more time inside Atlanta city limits in the past year than...a long time, at least. Maybe ever.

See, as often as I've said I'm "from Atlanta", it's not true, not really. I lived there until I was about 18 months old, but I did most of my growing up in the exurbs. I got into the city occasionally through my teen years, but it was mostly for record shopping or clubbing/concerts. I told everyone I was from Atlanta because 1) no one's ever heard of Duluth, and 2) my self-conscious teen self was anxious about being perceived as an awful suburbanite mallrat or [insert cliche here].

This is why I can't answer many questions about what are the best restaurants, nicest neighborhoods, etc.: I really didn't experience Atlanta at that level. Much of what I remember from my teen years has changed dramatically, if it's still there at all - indeed, on both of my recent visits I stayed in the Olympic Centennial Park area which wasn't even built until I after I moved away (1995). I couldn't even tell you how to drive from point A to B because I wasn't allowed to drive :P

As such my recent visits have been an interesting mix of nostalgia and discovery, i.e. "so THAT's how I get to x", "this looks like nowhere I've ever been - because it wasn't here when I was", etc.

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