Burning

Oct. 11th, 2017 11:27 pm
owlmoose: A photo of a Highway 1 roadsign, with the California Coast in the background (california - sign)
Although I was born in the Midwest, spent much of my childhood in Iowa, and have lived in San Francisco for nearly 18 years now, I consider my hometown to be Santa Rosa, California, where my family moved when I was 13. It's where I went to junior high and high school, the city where my parents still live, and the place both my brothers went back to when it was time to go home.

And I've spent the last three days watching it burn.

This got a little long. )
owlmoose: (critical role - vex)
For more about the Something on Sunday project, see [twitter.com profile] readingtheend's post explaining her vision.

First of all, the main thing for this week is that T is home after almost two weeks away. I think I've taken a couple of nine-day trips without him since we've been together, but it's not common, and it's rare for him to travel without me at all, much less for this long. So that makes me happy: both having him around again, and not having to hold down the fort by myself.

Secondly, this week's episode of Critical Role, which I was able to watch live, was huge, and amazing, and heart-breaking, and stand-up-and-cheer awesome. Vox Machina took on their final boss, and I almost could not have hoped for more. Cut for major spoilers. )
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
My latest TBR book review for [community profile] ladybusiness went up last night, for Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling. I enjoyed it, although I also feel like the last thing I need is another series to read. Why don't people write good standalone books anymore?

Also, sick. :P Just in time for the holidays, yay!
owlmoose: (BMC - juno)
The busy holiday weekend is now over, and I expect a somewhat rude re-entry into real life thanks to a dentist appointment first thing tomorrow morning (getting a cavity filled; not my favorite thing ever but not too terrifying either). And December is booking up quickly, what with social events and cultural events and a trip to Hawaii for a wedding the week after Christmas. So I want to settle in to something that feels like a normal life, but it's difficult to contemplate given the state of national events.

I had really been looking forward to the 2016 election being over. Turns out it will never really be over, but I still feel the need to draw a line under the election, accept that its happened, and move on to the work of fighting the president elect and his cronies. Reportedly, on a call with Democratic party volunteers a week or so ago, President Obama informed them that they had until Thanksgiving to mourn, and then he expected everyone to get back to work. Seems reasonable to me. So despite the specter of recounts and audits and the (extremely slim) possibility that Electoral College will pull something unexpected, I want to make some effort to get back to some semblance of normal. Not complacency, not ignoring what's going on, but finding the balance of paying attention to what's happening, and pushing back where necessary, without letting it consume my whole life. In the words of wise Tumblr poster:

We’re in this for the long haul. It’s a marathon not a sprint. It’s also a relay race not a singles event.


We need to pace ourselves and work together. And if you're ever in a place where you need to hand me the baton, just let me know.
owlmoose: (california - freeway)
A vacation that's just for fun, sightseeing, and relaxation, not tied to an event (such as a con, wedding, or reunion) or someone else's travel plans or visiting family or a staycation. A vacation with a completely open itinerary. I'm trying to remember the last time I did that, and I literally can't. Going back through my travel tag, I think it was when T and I went to New York in 2011. Five years. Wow.

I don't know when, or to where, or with whom. I can't really think about it until after WorldCon, anyway, but I want to put the thought out there, for myself as much as anything.

Lexi

Jun. 30th, 2016 03:35 pm
owlmoose: (cats - black kitty)
I haven't really talked about Lexi's illness since he was diagnosed in January, and I'm not up for going into a lot of details right now, but after a month-long slide with no good outcomes in sight, we decided to say goodbye this morning.

We're all doing about as well as can be expected. I'll do a memorial post with pictures when I'm up for it.
owlmoose: Picture of a beanie moose and a small brown owl (owlmoose)
With [community profile] ladybusiness being named a Hugo finalist, a potential change -- one I'd been thinking about anyway -- comes to the forefront of my mind: is it time to take down the wall around my fandom identity?

Not long after I started writing and posting fic, I decided to decouple my fandom activities from my legal name. I wasn't super paranoid about it; there are plenty of people who follow my fandom accounts and know my "real" name, and I've always talked about work and other real life issues in my journals (although I've always taken care not to name my employers or the people in my life). My pseudonym is based on my legal name, and not in a subtle way. I've never minded my offline friends knowing that I write fic and am active in fandom. I've left enough breadcrumbs over the years that a really determined person could probably follow the trail. My goal was to keep the name "owlmoose" and my fandom accounts out of a casual Google search for my legal name, and in that I was successful. (It helps that my name is so common that I'm essentially unfindable on Google unless you know my middle initial, and even then I'm pretty buried.)

In practice, what this means is that I've never shared my writing or anything connected to it on Facebook. That's the space demarcated by the online wall: Facebook and LinkedIn on one side; DW/LJ, Tumblr, and Twitter on the other. I had originally meant Twitter to be on the open side (that's why my Twitter handle isn't owlmoose), but I found that many more fandom people were active there, and I decided to give up that pretense. There are a number of people on both sides of the wall -- although very few non-fandom friends read my LJ anymore -- and I have always been open to inviting individual people to cross the boundary. But the thought of throwing the floodgates open and allowing anyone through, including family, former coworkers, and potential professional connections, is a bit daunting.

On the other hand, the Internet landscape is very different from when I first started doing fandom over ten years ago. Fanfic has become more acceptable as a mainstream hobby. (If I'm being honest, the fact that I don't write much porn, and almost no slash, probably helps here. Still, I have some porny stuff out there. And I don't think I want my mother to read it.) I'm not as serious about building a librarian career as I was then. I no longer work with students, and even if I did, I doubt most of them would bat an eye. And "editor for a Hugo-award finalist website" is a pretty nice thing to put on a resume, especially if I'm serious about getting into freelance writing. This news is exciting, and I'd like to share it with people. And as I mentioned above, I've been thinking about lowering the wall for awhile now. It's more work to keep things separate, and as fannish writing becomes a bigger part of my life, it starts feeling kind of weird to hide it from people.

So that's where I am right now. This is not a small decision -- if I decide to do it, there's no unringing the bell -- so I'm thinking it through pretty seriously before I make any moves. If anyone has thoughts, or experience with making this same choice for themselves, I'd be interested to hear it.

Big news!

Feb. 11th, 2016 10:57 am
owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
So now it can be told: after many years of being a semi-regular contributor and helper behind the scenes, I have officially joined the team at [community profile] ladybusiness as a contributing editor!

Here's the official announcement.

I am really excited about this -- as I've mentioned often, I've long wanted to get back into writing more meta and criticism, and [community profile] ladybusiness is the perfect venue for me to do so. It's a commitment and a larger audience, both of which I find inspiring, but not such a huge commitment or audience that I expect it to be daunting.

Of course, I will continue to keep posting here, too -- personal stuff, fanfiction, politics and other non-fandom content, quick thoughts that don't make for a full essay, etc. And I'll link everything I post there, but if you like the posts I write on fandom and feminism, and you don't follow [community profile] ladybusiness already, I definitely recommend you check it out.

Many many thanks to [personal profile] renay and [personal profile] bookgazing, along with the rest of the team, for allowing me to join them! :D I look forward to working with you all.

Cat news

Jan. 28th, 2016 03:04 pm
owlmoose: (cats - black kitty)
Something I have been dealing with for the last month, but not posting about: we have a sick kitty. Cut for length and details of pet illness. )

It's a little odd for Lexi to be sick. Tori was always the cat with the chronic health problems, and it's weird to think of her as the healthy, stable one. (But she is -- the vet has been very happy with her status at her last two check-ups, and we're cutting back to every six months instead of every three. So that's good news, anyway.) I'll keep you all posted, of course. He's a good boy, and I hope it all comes out for the best.
owlmoose: (ffx - tidus)
...is that I feel like each entry should have one and only one topic. I've never done ramble-y general life posts over on Tumblr, because if I want to talk about more than one thing, it makes more sense to make a different post for each. And these kinds of posts are more suited to a venue with comment threads anyway.

There's also the fact that I've gotten out of the habit of talking about my life generally. The work situation continues to be temporary but with no particular end in sight. I've also picked up some freelance writing work from a friend who works in advertising, which I'm really enjoying, and I've been contemplating on whether I should try to expand into that area. But, in theory anyway, I still haven't given up on finding a full-time library job. I'm just not sure I'm motivated enough to put in all the work that it will take to make that a reality.

Everything else is about the same, really. Same husband, same house, same cats, same group of friends. I like stability, so I don't mind. It's what I want out of life most of the time, really. But it does make it harder to make my life sound interesting. As I say, though, maybe it's just because I'm out of practice. Maybe daily posting will make it a habit again, and make it feel more comfortable. I guess we'll see.
owlmoose: (quote - B5 avalanche)
I can't quite believe that it's upon me so quickly. My next two weeks look something like this...

Tomorrow: Work, dinner with friends.
Friday: Write (two stories -- one final, one draft -- due before I leave), last-minute travel shopping, pack.
Saturday morning: Fly to Las Vegas.
Sunday night: Fly home from Las Vegas.
Monday afternoon: Fly to Nice.
Tuesday afternoon - Sunday 6/28: Cruise!
Sunday afternoon: Fly from Barcelona to Amsterdam.
Wednesday morning: Fly home from Amsterdam.
Wednesday night: Sleep forever.
Thursday-Friday: Continue sleeping forever.
July 4th weekend: Family stuff, probably.
Monday, July 6th: Back to work.

And I thought May was busy!

I expect to have extremely limited Internet access in Europe, since I don't have an international data plan on my phone, and we only get 100 minutes of free wi-fi on the cruise (you read that right: 100 minutes total, for five days, for both of us, which is purely terrifying). I'm sure we'll be able to find cafes and such with wireless from time to time, but for the most part I'm steeling myself to be offline, particularly before we get to Amsterdam. I do want to do at least a bit of travel blogging; most likely I'll post to Tumblr, because it's so much easier to post pictures there. I'll let you all know what the tag is, in case you want to follow along. :)
owlmoose: (let go)
Suddenly, you look up and realize that you haven't updated in far too long.

It turns out that June hasn't been much less busy than May -- work, birthday party, travel prep, Flight Rising profit push, two stories due this week, shopping trips (I got a couple of fabulous new dresses for the cruise), interview for a freelance thing (still haven't heard back though), and now the month is half over and I leave for Vegas in five days, Europe in a week.

I'm really excited about my upcoming trips, but when it's all over, I hope I can spend some more quality time with my couch.
owlmoose: (da - flemeth)
I am actually home for the weekend and have no plans at all for today. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. (Except laundry, which as you might expect piles up when you have travel and/or events literally every weekend day for a month.)

The whirlwind starts again in two weeks, so I suppose the most important answer is to enjoy it while it lasts.
owlmoose: (BMC - cloisters)
Had a fantastic weekend at the mothership, reconnecting with old dear friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in a very long time, as well as with people who I didn't know that well in school. One of the things about being a Mawrter, for me, is that we share a bond that goes beyond who we hung out with for the four (or however many years) we spent there. A kinship with the place, and each other, that affects us all and brings us close together. At every reunion, I spend hours chatting with at least one person I barely knew before, and come out of the experience with a new old friend. And even if we only friend each other on Facebook and see each other every five years, the connection is there, and it's important. There's a reason I make a point of going back every time.

Somehow I ended up agreeing to be class co-president for the next five years. I've been thinking about getting back into volunteering, might as well jump back into the pool with both feet. Right? Also yikes.

Now, to work on catching up with my life and taking a few weeks to breathe before the whirlwind begins again...
owlmoose: (athena)
Like most San Franciscans, I get a summons for jury service once every couple of years or so. (I don't know why the SF Bay Area counties are more efficient about this than most other regions, but they do seem to be.) This week was my week, and I was called in on Monday morning, pulled in with a few other groups, and told to return for jury selection on Tuesday afternoon.

I guess someone has to be Juror #1, and this time around it was me. I've sat through voir dire once before (a first degree murder trial, back in 2010), but I never made it into the box. At least this time there was no suspense as to when or if I would be called up. So I listened to the questions, I answered the questions, I had a conversation with the judge and another with the prosecuting attorney. At the end of the session, I was among four people to be dismissed and thanked for my service, thereby ending a very weird couple of days where I could say almost nothing to anyone about what was going on. (T was a juror for a murder trial a couple of years ago, and that was a strange enough experience for me, knowing that he was dealing with this major thing that he could tell me nothing about.)

I don't really want to get into the case details here (it's a sensitive topic, possibly triggery for some -- maybe in comments), but I was interested in the wide variety of reactions the people on the jury had. One thing I found a little bit disturbing, particularly in the wake of current events relating to police, was just how much trust people were willing to have in law enforcement. A few people flat-out said that they couldn't presume innocence: if a defendant is sitting in the courtroom, they must be guilty. Meanwhile, here I am, with my faith in the system eroding a little more every day. I can envision a thousand scenarios that would bring an innocent, or at least not guilty, person into a courtroom, and I'm surprised that no one -- in San Francisco! home of free love and social justice -- said anything along those lines. Most of the people who expressed their inability to apply the fundamental principle of our justice system were dismissed in an earlier round, not surprisingly. At least they were honest about it; I wonder how many other people in the box agree, deep down?

Some interesting aspects of presumption of innocence came up in the judge's questioning. One that I'd never thought of is in the role of the defense attorney, who legally doesn't have to do anything to prove their case. They don't have to answer the prosecutor's evidence, they don't have to call witnesses, they don't have to ask any questions. All they have to do is sit and watch, and then make a closing statement. In practice, of course, I can't imagine this would ever happen, except for a case so weak that a prosecutor would never take it to court, but it was interesting to consider a situation where that might happen, and how it might affect a jury if it did. Some people said that it would make them wonder why the defense didn't fight harder for their client, and I agree with that, although I would also look harder at the prosecution's case -- is it so thin that the defense feels no need to attack it? It makes me wonder how often something like that actually happens.

I always appreciate getting to look at our criminal justice system, such as it is, from a new angle. I would like to serve on a jury someday -- I think it would be a valuable life experience, and I do believe in it as a civic duty. But all in all, I'm pretty relieved that it's not this case. Next time, maybe.
owlmoose: (ff13 - vanille)
I took the splint off today. Typing is still awkward, in part because I keep forgetting that I can use it (amazing how completely you can learn a new habit in only four weeks), and in part because it's quite stiff and a little bit numb and tires easily.

The tip is definitely not 100% straight (har har), but range of motion is returning, and I don't care if it's a little unsightly as long as I can use it. I'll see how it goes.
owlmoose: (ffx2 - rikku)
I worked all day, which pretty much used up my typing points (it wears out my other fingers, my ring finger especially because it takes the bulk of the extra load. Try touch-typing without your middle finger; you'll see). Darn you, paying work! (I'll probably feel better about it when my first paycheck comes in.) I also went out to tasty dinner and split a nice bottle of prosecco with a couple of friends, so overall I'll call it a win.

I see all your great comments on my election post and I will endeavor to reply to all of them tomorrow. :)
owlmoose: A photo of a Highway 1 roadsign, with the California Coast in the background (california - sign)
A 6.0 earthquake hit the Napa Valley early this morning, about 40 miles north. It didn't do any damage here, but I did wake up at 3:20 am, alert and ready for the emergency. Then I went back to sleep.

Folks in Napa were not so lucky -- almost 90 people injured (no deaths reported, thankfully), significant damage to buildings, minor damage to roads, power outages and water main breaks, and possibly a whole lot of spilled wine. That sounds like a joke, but it's not. If wineries and restaurants lost too much of their stock, it could have a serious economic impact on the region and the state. It'll be awhile before we'll know the extent of the damage.

This is the second largest earthquake I've ever felt (the largest being the Loma Prieta, back in 1989), and without question the scariest in the moment, in part because it woke me up and in part because it was so long. They're saying the shaking (more of a rolling) lasted 20 to 30 seconds, which is forever in earthquake time. Long enough to know what's going on, but not enough time to really do anything about it.

Fun times. I still wouldn't live anywhere else, but the reminder of the dangers is always useful. We really need to update our emergency supplies. Maybe in a few days, when the initial reaction has died down.
owlmoose: (cats)
Tori is home! And eating, and walking around, and much more alert. She's a little wobbly on her feet still, but already better today than she was yesterday. I hope the road to recovery continues to be smooth.

Thank you, again, for the kind and supportive comments and hugs and good thoughts and vibes and such. Sorry I wasn't up for replying to everyone individually, but I really really do appreciate all of it. And I'm sure if she knew, Tori would appreciate it too. :)
owlmoose: (cats - tori sun)
I'm going to get her after lunch. She's still going to be recovering for awhile, but she's strong enough to finish her recovery at home. Yay!

Medical details. )

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