hannah: (Perry Cox - rullaroo)
Something strange is happening with my main MP3 player, beyond bad data on a small number of MP3 files from the giant hard drive recovery - that part doesn't bother me because I can replace everything from my main computer, the original CDs, or other digital downloads. The strange thing is sometimes it'll play half a song and then skip to the next one, even if the file itself is perfectly normal. It's a fairly old player as MP3 players go, so maybe that's where the strangeness is coming from. If that's the case, I can accept it. Not that I'll like it. Just that I'll accept it.

Other than that, and work being fairly slow and frustrating in ways that had nothing to do with each other, a few really nice things happened today. I finally ate at Lupe's East LA Kitchen, which was exactly like a tiny spot of California tucked away in New York City - the second such one I've found - whose California vibes were made even stranger and stronger when the staccato sunshowers finally ended, leaving the air clean and cool, exactly like it should be. My brothers and I ate by an open window, and I leaned my elbow out and drank a pineapple mojito and felt all right for a little while.

I also stumbled over a pair of houses up the street from Lupe's that, amazingly, had backyards. Old houses, National Registrar of Historic Places old, from the early 1800s, both with open space behind them visible from the adjacent driveway-alleyway. Left to their own devices, the grass was taken by weeds and the trees loom over the house. In one, foundations of something are still visible, the erected structure long since gone; in the other, an empty freestanding wooden trellis and a dry, tiered fountain. Basically, if Ganesh walked out of one of the houses into the backyards, I wouldn't have been surprised. (He only lives a few blocks north on Crosby, after all.) Even more amazingly, they had fireflies. Fireflies, tucked away in a little forgotten spot that shouldn't be there but is just right as it is.

After dinner my brothers and I went looking for the Ghostbusters firehouse, and on the way found Manhattan's smallest museum, similarly tucked away. It was closed, so all we could do was peer through the glass.

Because I had time in between work and dinner, I wandered a bit, which included a detour through Washington Square Park, where someone gave me a little bit of birdseed that I used to attract pigeons over and entice them to sit in my outstretched hands to eat. Then I stood still so they'd stay, and more would come. And maybe it's that I volunteer with birds and they sense that, or maybe it's because I've fed them before and they recognize me, or maybe I was nonthreatening enough that more did come. Lots more. My arms are still a little scratched up. They landed and sat up and down my arms, and a few even walked over my shoulders or my chest to get from one side of me to the other. And they were so nice, and warm, and didn't think I was anything to be afraid of, and I think it was nine or ten, all told, at the height of the madness.

Rain like today's in New York City doesn't happen where I grew up. It's not something I've really been able to get used to - rain at this time of year, warm summer rains, rain that stops and starts and stops and starts instead of happening or not. There's no season for rain. It just comes when it comes, even if I can see the sun shining on a building just a block away from me. Even if I can see the sun shining in the sky. It doesn't swallow the world, just breezes on through it. And during the in between moments, before it finally left, when it was a brief moment of light mist instead of genuine precipitation, the combination of the shimmer in the air and sky caught the light to soften it, just a little bit, just enough to let you know there's always something new to see.
hannah: (Travel - fooish_icons)
Today was one of those rare, gorgeous New York City days of a clear blue sky and gentle temperatures where nobody needed to turn on the heater or the air conditioner. There's about six weeks' worth of those days scattered throughout the year, and they're always lovely. Today was also a rare day I didn't have any work, classes, appointments, or obligations, so I spent a lot of time by myself. I went to the movies, and ate lunch at a little cafe, and walked back through the park, and spent the evening writing, and it was basically the dream life. For as long as it lasted. So now I know what my ideal is, pretty much. It'll be nice to remember for later.

I thought I might take some big adventures this August, and I do plan on having real key lime pie sometime this month, but if I can get a couple more days like today, I'll be happy. The adventures can come in September. Because I'm going to Denmark in September. Denmark, and London. It's not hitting me yet and I don't know if it'll take me being on the plane to sink in, so maybe if I keep saying it then I'll accept it.

This is something I've wanted to do for years now, and it's something everyone else in my immediate family's managed to do already. I'd been feeling left out for a good long while, and now it's like I can finally join in.

Also, does anyone want to see The Great Comet in the next week or so? I'm still thinking about it.
hannah: (Reference - fooish_icons)
If it all goes well, I've now achieved redundancy with my computer files. Everything I want to keep safe is now backed up on an external hard drive that will largely live alone on my desk unconnected to my main computer. Because of this particular arrangement, I've named this hard drive The Hinterlands. Let's hope everything stays as pristine as the name implies.

I'll see if I can turn it into a monthly routine - pay the credit card bill, back up the last month's worth of important data.

I also managed to solve another irksome issue, deleting a couple of troublesome files that defied the usual methods, by following some simple directions that still made me feel like I'd just solved an eight-part math equation.

Also, I held a giant fancy pigeon today, and had birds land on my head. So on and offline, it's been a good day all around.
hannah: (Laundry jam - fooish_icons)
I threw stuff out today. Trust me when I say that's kind of a big deal. I've been trying to divest myself of things and clutter lately, little objects I don't need or anticipate any use for.

There were a lot of twisty-ties tossed out today. Wrappers, tins, boxes, papers. Some minor reorganization and consolidation that shouldn't have needed to take place, strictly speaking, but it wasn't until now I had any feeling or motivation. I don't believe in a lot of the how-to philosophy behind this sort of thing - I tend to stand behind the relentlessly practical approach - but recognizing it wasn't doing anything for me to have the stuff around helped a lot. Looking at a jar and anticipating putting lemonade in it's different than looking at a rubber band and just wondering where to toss it. And now I've got a little breathing room on my table that I hope to expand upon, and might even tackle the rug in the next couple weeks.
hannah: (Laundry jam - fooish_icons)
Just about packed for the con tomorrow; what's not yet set aside is recorded on a checklist and waiting to be collected. The MP3 player gets loaded up last.

Today at work I learned all over again just how different I am from my coworkers: they never looked inside some of the filing cabinets in the office when they got there. They've been working there much longer than I have, and today was the first day those cabinets got a proper investigation and a full cleaning. They were stuffed with all sorts of office detritus: loose envelopes with office letterhead, computer cables, takeout leftovers like salt packets and napkins, delivery menus, pens, block of staples, post-it notes, lost clothes, medical records that can't yet be thrown out because of federal regulations, shower gel, candy, perfume samples, rubber bands, paper clips...stuff, mostly. Lots of stuff. That I would've cleaned out in days of arrival if I'd been able to, because I would've gone looking to see what's around and figured out what to do with it all. Like, for example, throwing away old delivery menus.

I recognize a fair amount of inertia behind a closed cabinet door in an office where things are always busy. I also wonder why they never raided those cabinets for pens, when pens are a valuable commodity in basically any office environment.

Next week, I'm taking the clothes back with me, washing them, and then dropping them off at an appropriate fabric recycling program. I figure it's the best option available.
hannah: (Fruit - truntles)
Waking up without any major responsibilities or outstanding obligations is a rare pleasure. I finished my classwork yesterday afternoon, and I don't have work today, so the most I should get done is to pack and prepare for the con this weekend. Which won't take long. I could've gone to the movies, but since I'm all done with classes for a good few weeks, I'll do that later - since Spider-Man will be playing for a while, but the cherries in the fridge won't last nearly that long.

Baking, cleaning, exercising, packing, and if time allows, writing. I wouldn't want to do this every day, but once in a while, it's nice to luxuriate.
hannah: (Breadmaking - fooish_icons)
Today I experimented with cake variations and wandered into a neo-pagan street fair. The cake came out as a success and I bought some jewelry I'd wanted for a while. First, eliminating the crumb topping, doubling the batter, and baking it in a larger pan. Second, a hamsa of reasonable heft and weight that I haven't yet been able to find at most other open-air street markets I've managed to wander into. I don't know if I'll wear it, but I like having it.

I might have to go again next year, if they get the same jewelry vendors. The hamsa vendor had some pretty amusing fandom-based charm bracelets. I know I basically inoculated myself in terms of fandom jewelery possession with this single purchase, so I doubt I'd wear them, but it'd still might be fun to have them. Or deliberately buy them to give them away.
hannah: (Jack Aubrey - katie8787)
Now that Photobucket's gone, and most available fandom icons with it, I've gone back to looking for new ones the old-fashioned way: through people's icon pages, grabbing and saving and hoping the metadata hasn't changed since they were uploaded. It's not even that I need more - I've got enough saved to pick one or two and be fine - so much as I want to know I've looked in as many places as are left for me to do so. I'm sure everyone reading this knows how that feeling goes.

I've got time yet because the fic's nowhere near done and it'll need heavy editing on top of that, but it'd be nice to be prepared.
hannah: (Zach and Claire - pickle_icons)
Yesterday was made of petty disappointments, and today about made up for it. Yesterday things were delivered that were technically correct but improperly aligned to what I'd wanted, nothing was as productive as I hoped, all those tiny things adding up to a day that wasn't wrong or bad in any big way, just lots of little ones.

But today I ran errands, fed pigeons at two different parks, looked at buildings and murals and got rained on and met a friend for dinner at Schiller's Liquor Bar before it closes next month. We talked about work, AIs, music and mattress shopping and non-tourist vacation spots, and the fine points of personal taste and what makes different alcohols good to drink. No personal work done - no classwork or writing - but filing myself up to give it a go tomorrow.
hannah: (Marilyn Monroe - mycrime)
So. The thing. Yes. The thing. Not a thing, the thing - and not The Thing. Just a thing.

Oh, to hell with it: the book I wrote.

A coming-of-age novel that needs other people's eyes on it. I've finished all the fiddly little bits that needed me to look up specific facts and dates, tweaked a couple of parts that were bothering me, and while there's more I can do, I want to leave it alone for at least a week before going back. And I'd also like to leave it alone until I get someone else's thoughts on it.

So, this is a call for beta-readers. My alpha readers did a fabulous job of putting their hands on my shoulders, telling me I was doing fine and that I should keep going, and letting me babble on at length in chat windows. Which was exactly what I needed for the intitial drafting phase. And now I need people to read this and tell me things about it.

I need to make this as good as it can be before I start pitching it out. Which I'll do. It'd be a shame to have finished this and not try to share it far and wide. So I need help. Not so much with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but with the story.

I need to know what's confusing about it, where things are unclear in prose or decision-making.

I need to know what throws you out of a story and back into just reading some words on a page.

I need to know what parts are boring and make you want to skip ahead.

I'd like to know what I did right, and made you enjoy yourself.

So I'm looking for seven to ten people to read just a hair over 60,000 words and tell me how well they all work together. I'd like it in five to eight weeks, to have a time limit on things and make it a bit simpler that way.

It's about a Mizrahi Jewish American boy from Saint Louis who discovers magic is real and runs away to Los Angeles in the summer of 1988. You can tell I went outside of my comfort zone because I've never been to Saint Louis. So if you know anything about life in Saint Louis, or Los Angeles, or the 1970s and 1980s, I'd be especially grateful if you could tell me what I need to change to get those bits as authentic to reality as I can. As for magic, it doesn't need to be authentic, but if there are any inconsistencies, I need to know about those too.

If this sounds fun, drop me a line and I'll send it your way.
hannah: (Interns at Meredith's - gosh_darn_icons)
Tonight I'm baking and watching TV. Tomorrow night I do laundry, and Monday night I cook. And Tuesday night, I begin proper research and editing to see to the end of the little bracketed notes - looking up suitable surnames, checking possible neighborhoods and the associated urban geography, stuff that would've bogged me down during the composition phase and the first major editorial pass. But now, it's time to gear up and get ready, because soon, very soon, it'll be as finished as I can reasonably get it myself. Well, to be fair, myself and the people I've flailed at in chat conversations. So, basically [personal profile] petra. Thanks, [personal profile] petra!

Hard cider will most likely be greatly enjoyed throughout the process.

Also, because I'm wearing one right now, I want to go on record saying that new t-shirt smell beats out new car smell. It's just better in every possible way.
hannah: (Marilyn Monroe - mycrime)
Oh my God on my God I don't know what it is that's been kicking my ass from letting me feel the actual joy of things but I hope tonight's a turning point away from that. Because tonight I realize just how much stuff I have to share, good stuff, all of it made for me, and here I am sitting on it for no good reason. It's not worth getting into bad ones, so here we go, two fics and a transformative work, three fandoms all told.

The Fifth Stage (5894 words) by Jayne L
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dawn Summers, Buffy Summers, Spike (BtVS), Willow Rosenberg, Tara Maclay, Rupert Giles, Xander Harris, Anya Jenkins
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Comes Back Wrong

cosmictuesdays said: "Is there a fic exploring the idea of how [Dawn and Spike] would take care of Buffy if she’d Come Back Wrong?"

A canon-divergent version of 'After Life'.

And this is generous, this is elegant, this itself is less a source of delight and more sorrow that resolves into melancholy - the promise that being here, just being here, can sometimes be enough.

That Mutual Dance of Mighty Heroism (6624 words) by Tassos
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Angel: the Series
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Faith Lehane/The Groosalugg
Characters: Faith Lehane, The Groosalugg (AtS)
Additional Tags: Male-Female Friendship, Romantic Friendship, Friends to Lovers, Friends With Benefits, Developing Friendships, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Casual Sex, Feelings Realization, Developing Relationship

In a slightly altered canon-world where Cordelia's visions do indeed pass to The Groosalugg, Groo finds himself in need of a warrior companion and he has been reliably informed that recently returned Faith would be most excellent.

Faith's not so sure this is going to work out. But he's pretty to look at.

She wasn't expecting feelings to happen.

Okay, now this is a delight, because you can't put these two in a room together and not get some entertainment value out of it. Because they both, in their own ways, give no fucks whatsoever, but in completely different ways that makes for an excellent read. Go ahead. You'll laugh, I promise.

Curl Up With Tinsnip: a reading of cosmictuesdays's "Stubborn Mouths: Humans in Translation" (10 words) by tinsnip
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Julian Bashir/Elim Garak
Characters: Julian Bashir, Elim Garak, Jadzia Dax, Odo, Kira Nerys
Additional Tags: Podfic, Vidfic

A live reading of Hannah's "Stubborn Mouths: Humans in Translation".

Exactly what it says on the tin, and you should see how Tinsnip reads this! Her little acting choices, the different voices - my toes were curling and I can't stop smiling. And I hope that the second part is also true for everyone that gives it a listen.
hannah: (Zach and Claire - pickle_icons)
My family's going to Denmark in a couple of months. For the first time, I'm included in the group. So I'll be going to Denmark in the first weekend of September.

It'd be easy to extend the trip for a few days, fly back to the US from Paris or London, see people I've never hugged or only met face-to-face once before. Or fly back to somewhere else! See someone in Canada, maybe, or Iowa or California, get a chance to...

But I don't think I could manage. I've got classes, for one, and dropping a full semester of them would push completion even further away and I don't want to be stuck in it longer than I need to be. My job's flexible enough I can take a good chunk of time off if I let them know months ahead of time and still be able to return without much disruption to my place there. So there's both of those things. One or the other could maybe be pushed aside for a little while. But not both.

It used to be I had all the possible time on my hands, but nobody to see and no way to visit them. Now I have people to see and the capacity to travel, but no time to see them. Seems fitting to my life, really.
hannah: (Travel - fooish_icons)
For once, it might not be geography itself getting in the way of fun.

My family’s going to Denmark for a long weekend in a few months, at the very beginning of September. Is there anyone in that country - on the European continent - in reasonable proximity to an international airport hub - who’d be interested in meeting up for an afternoon or possibly longer if schedules allow?
hannah: (steamy drink - fooish_icons)
I met a friend for coffee after work today. That's it, that's the big Solstice news. It's something new to me, and it turns out that even though it cut into my evening writing time, I really liked it, and I'll have to try it again sometime. Just not soon, given the aforementioned writing time. But definitely before August.
hannah: (steamy drink - fooish_icons)
Last Thursday, I brought some key lime cookies from Trader Joe's to work, because I didn't have much in the way of impulse control. The cookies were eaten up fast, with a lot of powdered sugar left over. So I took the key lime-infused sugar, poured it into a mug, mixed it with instant coffee, and made myself a key lime flavored latte.

Last Sunday, it was the last day of my long-standing part-time telecommuting job. It's not quite completed - I've still got one last paycheck coming - but all the work and responsibilities are now gone. Over and done with. At thirty-six months, it was the longest I've ever had a job in my life, and it'll be the new measurement for employment length. The work was sometimes annoying and petty, and I really only had to put a lot of effort into it during the first couple of months to make everything easy enough to sustain my responsibilities on an average of ten minutes a week for the rest of things. Still, I liked it well enough. On Sunday, as I've done about a dozen times in the past three years, I went to my boss' house in Jersey City, except this time it was to wrap everything up. I sent out a few emails, completely cleaned out the organization's email inbox and got it to zero, put every related file I had on a USB drive and handed it over, and that was pretty much it. She gave me tea, a mug with a giraffe on it, and the two of us and her husband went out to lunch together.

Today I would have liked to have gotten more stuff done, and I don't even have reasons for it, just excuses.
hannah: (Pruning shears - fooish_icons)
After I don't know how many years, my basil plant's crumbled up and died. It was a slow process over a couple of weeks, a gradual withering, but today I knew it was over. So I salvaged what was left of it - most of the leaves, some of the stems - and I'll be using it in my morning eggs for a while.

I say "I don't know how many years" because I can't remember when I got it. At least three years ago, possibly four or five. Another bunch of herbs from the farmers' market I put in water to make last a little longer that put out roots into the jar and had me buying a pot and dirt to put it in. I guess it'd reached the limits of what I could do. Nothing left but to aerate the soil, give it some time to rest, and see about trying again soon. It's always nice to have some green around.
hannah: (Perry Cox - rullaroo)
My new external hard drive is sitting comfortably on my desk, and it all looks good from here. I've named it Beverly Road.

Without playing every single file in every single format, I can't tell if or what's still not working. The problem with my last hard drive, Upper Terrace, was degraded reading heads, not a fault of the data itself - but if the heads had degraded further, even more data would've been lost. But like I said, it all looks good from here, and the one place where things stopped working seems to be going along fine now.

The one thing I can't find is my copy of "Scooby Road" which I swear I had somewhere, but it's not where I put my vids or my TV. So I guess I'll have to go email its creator again - which, while embarrassing, is something I can live with.

Also keep an eye out for future hard drive sales to prepare myself for double redundancy in the future.
hannah: (Across the Universe - windowsill_)
The vampires on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel don't have a culture. They've got traditions and customs, like not going out on Halloween, transmitted information and oral histories, like the Whirlwind's notoriety and the near-mythic Slayer, and the occasional prophecy or cult of personality, but no culture. No society as such. It reminds me a bit of childlore and other parts of children's culture, where it's only tangentially connected to the surrounding civilization. They're so bereft of anything - any connections whatsoever - that the moment someone says "I'm going this way" they've got people following them.

Usually vampire society is shown as something that's existed for thousands of years with all sorts of small details, elaborate hierarchies and aristocracies, and established protocols and rituals, like what to do if you make a new vampire. Sometimes it's completely absent and vampires are non- social solitary predators. Every so often, it's shown as something in flux and ongoing development, but I've never seen anything with vampires creating a society of their own.

It'd take an immense shift in the entire dimensional paradigm to get vampires to talk to each other long enough and consistently enough to make something which could be accurately called a culture.

And it was when I was discussing the parallels between Spike and Konstantin Bothari - two monstrous people that devote themselves to becoming heroes and take meaning in their lives from being a beloved woman's dog - that I realized the Vorkosigan Saga had the ideal framework I could hang these thoughts on.

As ever, would that I had world enough and time; instead, at a friend's request, a write-up it is.


Vampires are monotheists. They refer to their god in euphemism, by her title, because her current name isn't known and her old names aren't to be spoken aloud. They call her Slayer, as she was in life. )


It took throwing up the walls to bring every slithering and creeping thing out of the shadows and into the open for everyone to learn about them. Something suitably terrific and terrifying to push the magic and the dark creatures out into the world's eye forever. Something to get vampires to speak to each other. The realization that where you once had a huge, lush forest, you've got a botanical garden. Beautiful, but not wild. Never wild again.Never wild again. )


Spike met Taura when she was in her early 20s, on shore leave from the Dendarii. She was out with her friends, enjoying the night, and when Spike didn't hesitate at all when he saw her across the room, just came up and started talking. )
hannah: (steamy drink - fooish_icons)
I'd like to blame drinking most of a bottle of cider for why I slept until about nine o'clock this morning, which is ridiculously late by my standards, especially for a Saturday. Even if I just have one place to be, I like to be up early for it. I spent the time puttering around my apartment, but still.

The one place was NYC FanBrunch's annual park brunch, which happened to be on a tremendously beautiful day: early morning rain washing out the air, fluffy clouds in a deep blue sky, bright green leaves everywhere. I got there ahead of time, set up shop at the one free picnic table in the general area where everyone was going to meet, and ended up staying about four hours, just hanging out and talking to people. Not necessarily about fandom stuff, even - just stuff, in the intense, dedicated way that doesn't happen much outside of fandom spaces. We all knew we had something in common, we all wanted to be there, we all had shared reasons for being there, we could just share names and get on with it.

I brought blueberry muffins, vanilla cake with red, white, and blue sprinkles, sheet pan spanikopita, and coffee. Unsurprisingly, it was the coffee that made people happiest. They were curious about the other stuff, happy to eat something savory, but coffee, now that they were grateful and thankful for. Bottles of cold brew from a grocery store, not homemade or handmade but unquestionably caffeinated and cheerfully bitter. It's something I'm definitely going to have to bring along again next year, even if it won't be as much of a surprise the next time around.
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