The bit in the dream I just woke up from with the giant complex of underground, underexplored, possibly-alien tunnels, that was pretty great; I especially liked the reveal that they were inhabited, after all. The car chase, likewise. But listening to a live-action Steven Universe soundtrack with Lara Flynn Boyle as Pearl? Where the hell did you get that?
I thought work would get better after mid-September! And it did, briefly. And now I just shut down the work VPN, a little before midnight.

So some days I manage to read DW and more days I don't, but I'm going to try to reverse that ratio.

Let me tell you, very quickly, two stories about late-night interactions with public safety officials—all happy endings:

1) The CO/smoke detector in SteelyKid's room wouldn't stop beeping even after I changed the batteries, so the nice fire fighters came and ran their detectors all around and kindly told me that the units tend to have a lifespan of 7-10 years. (She's 7. We installed the monitor shortly before she was born.) I felt alternately foolish and vindicated for having called them out on a weekend night.

The good news there is that thanks to California, you can now buy CO/smoke detectors with 10-year batteries in them, so you never have to change them. We bought three the next day and I put replacing them in my reminder program.

2) It's 2:45 a.m. on Sunday night (Monday morning) and I haven't been to sleep yet because stress and wakeful Pip and a rotten headache. And I think I hear a quiet knocking, maybe on the front door? I bolt upright, and listen hard, and just as I'm deciding I was mistaken and am lying back down, I hear it again. It's definitely someone knocking on the front door.

I freak out and wake up Chad, which is unkind of me because he has a terrible time going back to sleep and because someone with ill intent isn't going to be knocking on the front door (we live in suburbia with two cars in the driveway, so it's not like a burglar checking for occupancy), but I was beyond rational thought by that point.

Turns out it was just the cops, who'd seen that the sliding doors in Chad's minivan were open and wanted him to check if there was anything missing/damaged. (There wasn't. It was almost certainly an unlucky bump of the remote, which can open the sliding doors, and which he keeps in a pocket.) I mean, I appreciate it, but couldn't they have shut the doors and left a note?!

And that's some slices of life in Chateau Steelypips.

I had a self-pitying post drafted in my head [*], but that's tedious, really, so:

Superpowers! Do you have one, and which one would you like?

My superpower appears to be recovering from major abdominal surgery. (I know some of you might be so kind as to think that it's being organized or getting things done, but actually I work rather hard at those and often do less well than I would like.) Which is rarely used but is very good to have when you need it (I hope I don't again).

I was going back and forth about whether I'd like teleportation or needing only one hour of sleep a night (which is an easier-to-manage version of being able to stop time, in my head), and decided that very-little-sleep would serve the same function as teleportation for my day-to-day needs, and is easier to hide generally.

What about you all?

[*] The Pip has a stomach bug.

Have some Internet things:

One: The guys on an ESPN football show apparently decided to work in as many Princess Bride quotes as they could into a half-hour. Hilarity ensues, by which I mean, I hurt myself laughing at this 1:38 clip video pulling out all the references.

embedded video )

Two: I've started re-reading The Hobbit chapter-by-chapter over on; here's the Chapter 1 post. Do stop by, it should be fun.

Three: SteelyKid has started sending email. No, I'm serious, she hunt-and-pecks the letters, sometimes asking us for spelling but not always, and then we click "send" together. She's visiting Chad's parents right now and behind the cut I have the very best email chain ever.

emails from SteelyKid )

I'd send her back a smiley-face but I'm not sure she's understand. Gosh I love that kid.

Four: [ profile] con_or_bust is now taking requests for assistance from non-white fans/fans of color to attend SFF cons in January, February, and March 2012—including Arisia, FOGCon, and EightSquaredCon (the 2013 Eastercon), which have all donated to support Con or Bust. See this post for information on how to request assistance.

Things I am grateful for (or that, depending on the phrasing), daily during November.

past days, for my own reference )

  1. Gotta go with the Internet today, for all kinds of things, not just the above.

(This was going to be "an idle query" and then I kept remembering stuff.)

One: does Avengers fandom have an unusually high number of de-aging fics?

Two: for reasons I am entirely unable to articulate even to myself, I am uncomfortable with being complimented on anonymous love memes. In the event anyone was thinking of nominating me for any that come along, please don't, thanks. (I already asked the host of the most recent one. Which, hey, if you would like such a thing, there it is.)

(Two point five: if I am being discussed in other anonymous contexts please don't tell me about it unless you think I should consider taking specific action to protect my wellbeing. As in, ages ago I ended up blocking ffa on all my machines because it was seriously fucking with my head. Thanks.)

Three: I finished a book (Possession)! And I really want to talk about it! Now I just have to find the time. And inspired by this success, I'm going to start reading Code Name Verity, which is only the most talked-about book on my reading list of the year. I just hope it holds up to being read in increments of about 20 minutes/day.

Four: the Pip would like you all to know that it's hard getting teeth but going down slides is awesome.

First, there's a new Where the Hell is Matt? video:

Ethan Zuckerman has useful context.

Second, I was admiring someone else's tattoo the other day and felt vaguely like it would be nice to have some excellent body art. But I can never think of anything that I would actually want permanently on me. So I will ask you all: is there anything that jumps to mind as "oh, this is absolutely what Kate should have as a tattoo"?

As said in non-public context elsewhere: "Kate isn't a scalable resource."

Too, too (sadly, amusingly) true.

This has been a less than stellar week, particularly today (Dad's birthday; very tired on many different levels; not nearly as productive as I need to be), so let me borrow something from [personal profile] rivka: ask me something that has nothing whatsoever to do with pregnancy or children. I may decline to answer, or may not have time (see: not nearly as productive as I need to be), but the very fact of the questions may well help.

A terrific story opening:

Once upon a time, when men and women hurtled through the air on metal wings, when they wore webbed feet and walked on the bottom of the sea, learning the speech of whales and the songs of the dolphins, when pearly-fleshed and jewelled apparitions of Texans herdsmen and houris shimmered in the dusk on Nicaraguan hillsides, when folk in Norway and Tasmania in dead of winter could dream of fresh strawberries, dates, guavas and passion fruits and find them spread next morning on their tables, there was a woman who was largely irrelevant, and therefore happy.

— A.S. Byatt, "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye"

(I don't recall the rest of the story living up to it, but hey, the first line justifies the existence of the whole story.)

Someone has stolen a house. Not robbed a house, stolen a house.

True, it's not a bank, but still.

This morning, I woke up from a dream about writing a brief and only gradually realized that the sentence I was repeatedly rewriting was about how much floor space was available on the spaceship.

Readercon program descriptions are up. Who's going?

Eleven Ladders in Ten Colors.

(Also an apt reference to the state of the adults in Chateau Steelypips lately, but that's another story.)

Those marks you use to count things on a piece of paper, four vertical next to each other and then a fifth crossing them to make a group.

What do you call them?

I always thought of them as "hash marks" (which might be a mishearing of "hatch marks"?), but apparently the more common term is "tally marks," which I'm pretty sure I've never heard before.

Here, have a poll:

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 73

Those counting marks described above, I call them

View Answers

tally marks
29 (40.3%)

hash marks
34 (47.2%)

hatch marks
4 (5.6%)

something else
5 (6.9%)

I have no idea what you're talking about
0 (0.0%)


View Answers

43 (65.2%)

7 (10.6%)

11 (16.7%)

9 (13.6%)

8 (12.1%)

12 (18.2%)

10 (15.2%)

16 (24.2%)

36 (54.5%)

I think folks using OpenID can vote if logged in, but if not, feel free to leave comments.

When I play the "if I had three wishes" game, first is always good health for my family and friends. Second is usually money. Third tends to vary, depending on whether my imaginary genie allows world-changing wishes.

But there are times like now when "no uninvited critters inside my house and other interior environs" is really, really high on the list.

"[Name] and the Fabulous Bedhead."

The odds that a society could have modern medicine [*] but not hot running water seem sufficiently small as to make the scenario not worth considering, even in idle which-would-you-rather-have musings.

[*] for values of modern consisting of "equal to or exceeding the care currently available to me."

Brought to you by this morning's massively restorative and indulgent piping-hot shower.

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