July 9, 2014
Home Sweet Home

I wish I could declare myself done with trips for the rest of the summer, but I know my mom wants me to help her move furniture to NC sometime in August, so I'm not quite done yet. But hopefully that's it between now and Dragon*Con, because I'm basically at the tail end of what is essentially four trips in a row.

First was going to NC for a week for my mom's family reunion and various relative-visiting. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't fabulous either - I'm just too different from most of them, and enforced socialization is so much nope. Then it was off to Heroescon in Charlotte, which was loads of fun - interesting panels, got to meet awesome artists and writers in person, bought a ton of art, got lots of pictures of my classic Phoenix costume taken. From Charlotte I headed to Portland for Open Source Bridge with a bunch of DW people. Portland was lovely, and the conference was great, but I was unfortunately a little bit burnt out on travel and being social at that point, so I didn't get quite as much out of the trip as I could have, I think. I had a few days of downtime after I got back, and then drove out to Wisconsin to spend the 4th of July long weekend with Andy, which was low-key enough that I enjoyed it thoroughly. We played a ton of boardgames, sat around watching anime, and went out and got some new photos of a few of our costumes (which I still need to process). Then I drove home Monday and... spent basically all of Tuesday asleep. Which I hadn't intended, but it happens.

Time to set about Getting Things Done.

February 13, 2014
Crafting + looking for podcast recs

E-mail subject from Knitpicks: 'Can you honestly resist a sock yarn sale?'

Yes KnitPicks, I actually can, as I don't knit socks and I have at least four unknit skeins of sock yarn (all bought as souvenir yarn, which is how I justified breaking 'no more yarn until I use some up'). I have similarly forbidden myself from starting new cosplay projects until I get some done, and from buying fabric for projects I do not immediately plan on starting. Doing piecing-sketches is okay, though.

We are, like half of the Eastern seaboard, snowed in. I didn't have to go anywhere today which is just as well because I woke up, looked outside, and decided the closest I was coming to leaving the house was getting the mail from the front porch. I've been sewing instead of any of a million other things that I should be doing, because I'm bad at being an adult and obligations are hard.

Lastly, as suggested by the subject, does anyone have podcast recs? I realized yesterday that I have like, a minimum of six hours a week of driving given my class schedule, and there is only so many times I can listen to the one techno-industrial mix CD that lives in my car. On the list so far - Welcome to Night Vale, Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed In History Class, and Radiolab. My main baseline criteria is 'won't make me angry' and 'has decent sound editing' - other than that, I'm open to considering both nonfiction and fiction.

October 10, 2013

The yearly 'new things I did this year' post!

-drove cross-country as the ‘person in charge’
-visited Yellowstone National Park!
-learned how to dye silk
-started buying weekly comics issues
-started using tumblr
-got my first pet who is 100% my responsibility

And looking back at my 2013 goals of 'floss more' and 'pick up more' I didn't quite make it to every day but I definitely got better at it. This year's goal? Stop picking at my skin.


Twelve years of records, which is six months away from being half of my life. Which is a little scary when I stop to think about it, just because being a teenager is... rocky. But for the moment it's all still out there.

October 1, 2013
Interlude: Vienna Teng

I had kind of a lousy 'morning' (aka early afternoon) - stayed up too late arguing pointless things on the internet, woke up to news that the Republicans were being even more of asshats than usual, and drove to an eye doctor appointment only to discover it had been canceled because the doctor went home sick. So when I got back home, I basically went 'FUCK IT, I'm going to go to that Vienna Teng concert in Boston tonight, brother will you come with me if I buy your ticket?' to which the answer was 'yes'. Drove and parked at Riverside, I forgot how long the Green Line takes to get into downtown but it was okay anyway. We went by Million Year Picnic, and then the new (to me) anime store in The Garage (which replaced a larger one that had been there for years but who's name is lost to me now) where I bought Gintama cellphone charms, and then to the Newbury Comics so bro could look at albums and I could check out merch. Mad forever that X-Men merch is so hard to find but oh well. We grabbed some food and then headed over to the concert.

The whole concert was sort of a cascade of serendipity - I was talking to Fey on IM Saturday and Sunday night, and she went 'Hey, you like Vienna Teng, right? She has a new album out and it's all up streaming on her website.' I went to look and oh, hey, concert dates! In North Hampton on Monday, and Boston Tuesday! Which is how I ended up buying tickets today (and paying $6 extra for it ugh). Then, in the process of trying to talk my brother into coming, he said 'Don't you have friends in Boston than you can go with?' and I replied 'Well, yeah, sort of, but not like... friends I can call right now and be all 'HEY do you want to come to a Vienna Teng concert with me tonight?'. Lo and behold, after the concert is over and people are milling around the merch table and the chairs... I spot some of aforementioned friends, of the DW variety. Which included one I had not met in meatspace yet! So that was a lovely little cap to a lovely concert.

It was mostly new-album stuff this time - which was lovely live, and I always like hearing the little stories behind each song, although I secretly wished for more early stuff. But I think some of that was that I've listened to those albums over and over and over so they've kind of engraved themselves in my soul, and the new one hasn't had time to do that to me yet. It was really interesting to see some of the effects done live, and learning little things like the percussion line in 'Copenhagen' being played on plastic cups. And there was a little signing line/meet and greet after and while I didn't have anything to sign, I went to tell Vienna how much I love her music and was glad to see her again because the last time had been at Club Passem in Cambridge, way back in 2005 (just under a year before I moved to Canada, so it feels sort of like a bookend). And I got an unprompted hug and then had a friend take a photo of us on my cellphone so I can sit and sigh dreamily at it.

(for the curious, the songs played, in order by album rather than by played, were Gravity, Green Island Serenade, Recessional, The Last Snowfall, Antebellum, Grandmother Song, and all of AIMS except 'Never Look Away')

September 9, 2013
Moving Moving Moving

So I am... theoretically moved back to the US and the East Coast, though I still have like two boxes to unpack. Basically my mom is even more of a packrat than I am so trying to find space for things - the room I moved back into is the smallest bedroom and already had stuff on the shelves and dresser and a closet full of things (99% of which needed to be tossed like five years ago minimum). It's a little frustrating and I know I'm going to have to work really hard not to start hoarding more that there's more storage space/tool space. I also have to resist the urge to just clear off huge swaths of bookcase and donate them somewhere because my mom would have a fit.

On the plus side, having my brother around means that we both end up getting out to do stuff (mostly errands but errands need doing), and have some sort of human interaction.

I have also discovered that podcasts and knitting go together quite well, which is how I've listened to all of Night Vale (and I have Thoughts about that but... another post), and am halfway through a sweater vest pattern I started months ago, ignored, discovered I'd done twenty rows mobius-strip'ed and had to take out on my giant week of crosscountry driving, and then started again. So that's a thing?

August 11, 2013
Cos & Effect 2013 + Thoughts On 'Mastery'

So, Cos & Effect is kind of a tiny con here in Vancouver (where we now have three summer cons because of... a lot of stupidity). It's technically a costuming/alternative fashion con rather than an anime con, and I feel like this year they really set out to prove that - three guests of honor who are well known cosplayers (one of whom does costuming as a business), and the costuming designer for the last three Stargate series; amazing prizes for the costume contest; and a ton of costuming panels of all levels. I went to ten different panels over the last three days and enjoyed all of them, where I'm usually lucky to find one or two that look even vaguely appealing at a con.

One of the themes that seemed to resonate through a lot of the panels (and that I've also seen in some of the costuming community here on tumblr) is the idea of cosplaying for you. That it should be about you feeling comfortable (okay, except maybe the deliberate sacrifices we sometimes make in suffering for our art *g*), and good about yourself, and happy in your costume - not about arbitrary standards of comparison, or tearing each other down.

And for myself, I ended up thinking a lot about the idea of mastery and growing in skill as a costumer. I've been doing this for... at least ten years now, which is a really goddamn long time, and I've definitely learned a lot over that time, but I'm not at the level I'd like to be at, or the level I think I could be at. It's a problem with seeing the details as I progress, or in patience, maybe, and it crops up other places too - my writing and coding in particular stand out as things that suffer from it. Writing doesn't get finished, or doesn't get explored as thoroughly as an idea deserves. Code either has bugs someone else has to catch, or I get frustrated and give up.

They had a Costuming Guest Q&A panel, so I took the opportunity to ask, basically, 'what general advice would you give for moving from intermediate level cosplay to mastery?' And I felt like the answers were good, and all very true:

-practice, practice, practice
-have patience
-give yourself enough time
-...but set some deadlines, because they force you to innovate
-accept that sometimes you're going to have to start over

Definitely things for me to think about as I start in planning for Teslacon and next year. My particular mix of brain chemistry is probably playing in to some of these problems, too, but that's a different dimension to work on

July 4, 2013
Transition States

I didn't get into grad school here in BC, so after a lot of hemming and hawing, I'm going to end up moving back in with my mom in MA. Also seeing about applying to do a second BSc from UMass, because my resume could use the boosto.

I've been trying to think about all the good things waiting for me back in MA (having a dishwasher, my mom's power tools, the comic book store I grew up with) instead of all the things I'm going to miss here (my friends, the weather, universal healthcare). It's mostly working, except I'm already getting antsy about packing and I've got a month and a half here still. I keep making mental lists of what is going to happen with all the furniture, what's going to happen if my first plan for all the furniture fails, what's getting packed where, all that.

It's kind of got my stress nightmares on the rise, which is less than exciting. But I'll survive. The current plan is to pack in mid-August, then leave here with my station-wagon and a UHaul trailer (and probably my dad) right before the end of the month, to drive the Trans-Canada back to MA.

June 13, 2013

As people who read dw_news (or who were with me) know, I spent last week in Austin for YAPC::NA and lots of crazy DW hacking. Overall the trip was great - the weather was kind of hellish, and the day I spent seeing the contents of my stomach way more than I wanted was not fun in the slightest, but Austin is a lovely, quirky city, and the other DW staff and volunteers are amazing, quirky people. There were some great talks at the conference, though I would have to dig through my notes for specifics because it was sort of a whirlwind of STUFF HAPPENING. But it was a good week, and I think at least some of that was being around people and a project that appreciates me for my intellect and skills. My last few jobs have appreciated me, but that's because I can competantly follow instructions, and suffice to say, that is not using my skills to their fullest.

I also had a bit of insight on what I'd like to learn more about, CS-wise - which is UI design. I love design in general, but I realized that usability is what makes me really love a design or hate it. Good UI is a thing I want to rub my brain all over (hello there, Ravelry). So I think I'm going to do some more reading into that little slice of things, and maybe actually finally try learning Javascript?

May 28, 2013
Hey, I still have a blog!

Microblogging has been the void that my thoughts have been funnelling into, because it's very easy to put running commentary on something I'm doing (or swearing I'm doing) there without having to sit and form my thoughts into a coherent whole, which I've been having some trouble with lately. I think it's my anti-depressant - it does in fact give me more motivation, but it also makes my brain try to go ten directions at once, and I haven't figured out the best way to temper that properly.

Creativity-wise, I'm doing lots of RP, got two new costumes done for Sakuracon in April (photos to come when I... get around to editting them properly), and doing some knitting. I got two sweaters done in rapid succession back in February/March, but my heart hasn't been in the projects since then. Also still doing DW work, as anyone reading the news posts has probably noticed.

In terms of media consumption, it's mostly been COMICS COMICS COMICS COMICS, though I'm still watching Dr Who, and J and I marathoned all of Last Exile a few weeks ago. But Marvel is a deep, dark abyss - I'm not sure I can recall everything I've read in the last few months offhand enough to list. The current titles I've been buying are All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men (despite Bendis not writing great X-titles), Young Avengers, X-Factor, and Cable & X-Force. Cable & X-Force is my favorite of the bunch, but my feelings about Nathan Summers, let me tell you about them (no, actually, you don't want to get me started).

Real life, as usual, is where the stress lays. I've been working odd temp shifts at a small food production plant, which is kind of frustrating because I never know if I'm going to have enough hours for all my rent and bills, and the work is hard on my body. But I like a lot of my coworkers, so it could be a lot worse. I'm still not sure what the future holds, though it's narrowed down to two major possibilities - either grad school, or probably moving back to MA unless something really unexpected happens. I've more or less made my peace with either option, but the uncertainty is a little nerve-wracking.