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Journal Journal: a return which is long overdue (plus achievements!) 17

I've lurked at /. without posting for ages, mostly because I just don't have the time to interact like I used to.

But I've been clicking through the old RSS feed more and more lately, and when I saw the PAX Plague thread today, I came over to comment, since I'm kind of affected by the whole damn thing. I thought I'd take a look around since I haven't been here in awhile, and I saw that there are freaking ACHIEVEMENTS associated with our accounts. It's silly, and I'm sure it's been here forever, but I thought it was awesome and I was delighted when I read it.

I didn't realize how much I missed Slashdot until I spent some time here today, and I bet that anyone who joined in the last 2 years doesn't even give a shit about my stupid comments or anything, but it felt good to come back here, and feel safely among my people again.

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Journal Journal: Announcing the release of my new book 22

This feels like a mega-spam entry, and I'm very self conscious about posting it, but I'm excited about this and I wanted to share . . .

I just published my third book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives. I mention it here because it's all about growing up in the 70s, and coming of age in the 80s as part of the D&D/BBS/video game/Star Wars figures generation, and I think a lot of Slashdot readers will relate to the stories in it.

I published a few of the stories on my blog, including Blue Light Special. It's about the greatest challenge a ten year-old could face in 1982: save his allowance, or buy Star Wars figures?

After our corduroy pants and collared shirts and Trapper Keepers and economy packs of pencils and wide-ruled paper were piled up in our cart, our mom took our three year-old sister with her to the make-up department to get shampoo and whatever moms buy in the make-up department, and my brother and I were allowed to go to the toy department.

"Can I spend my allowance?" I said.

"If that's what you want to do," my mom said, another entry in a long string of unsuccessful passive/aggressive attempts to encourage me to save my money for . . . things you save money for, I guess. It was a concept that was entirely alien to me at nine years old.

"Keep an eye on Jeremy," she said.

"Okay," I said. As long as Jeremy stood right at my side and didn't bother me while I shopped, and as long as he didn't want to look at anything of his own, it wouldn't be a problem.

I held my brother's hand as we tried to walk, but ended up running, across the store, past a flashing blue light special, to the toy department. Once there, we wove our way past the bicycles and board games until we got to the best aisle in the world: the one with the Star Wars figures.

I'm really proud of this book, and the initial feedback on it has been overwhelmingly positive. I've been reluctant to mention it here, because of the spam issue, but I honestly do think my stories will appeal to Slashdotters.

After the disaster with O'Reilly on Just A Geek, I've decided to try this one entirely on my own, so I'm responsible for the publicity, the marketing, the shipping, and . . . well, everything. If this one fails, it will be because of me, not because a marketing department insisted on marketing it as something it's not.

Of course, I hope I can claim the same responsibility if (when?) it finds its audience . . . which would be awesome.


Journal Journal: i need a new computer - advice? 29

Simple tasks like switching between Firefox and Thunderbird are driving the load on my machine up over 4, and if I'm trying to run Amarok at the same time, it drives it up to 8. In fact, my machine frequently climbs up into the 7-9 range, bringing my apps to a crawl and frustrating the hell out of me.

So I've decided it's time to buy a new computer. I'm going to replace my aging Sony Vaio desktop machine (which runs Linux) with something newer that has more RAM, a faster processor, and a bigger hard drive.

The thing is, I'm not entirely sure where to start looking. A quick walk through Circuit City a month or so ago lead me to believe I can get a rather "big" computer for as low as five hundred bucks, which further leads me to believe that if I were to buy something online, I can get a huge pile of RAM, a fast processor, and a big honkin' hard drive for even less.

I run Kubuntu, and use KDE as my desktop (though I occasionally switch to Gnome when I get bored) and I mostly use Firefox, Thunderbird,, Amarok, and run PokerStars in wine. I'm looking for something that can do all of that without slowing my machine to a crawl.

Anyone have any suggestions on where to start looking?

Edit: I don't think I have the patience to build my own machine out of individual parts. I also don't have any real loyalty to any particular company or architecture. New Egg has lots of machines with AMD processors, and though I've always had Intel processors because more things seemed to run on x86, that's not as much of an issue as it once was, right?

User Journal

Journal Journal: MOTHERFUCKER. 2

So, a friend of mine is opening her business tomorrow at the upscale swanky Shops at Briargate (other businesses in the "mall" include Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Eddie Bauer, Coldwater Creek, Sharper Image, etc.) and I just finished uploading her website. No, you may not see it, as it is ... sigh. Let me set the stage.

First, she wants me to use iWeb, which my lappy nor Ben's mini came with, and we go through the whole order-deliver-install thing. I start using it, and want to shoot someone. I tear at my clothing, grit my teeth, and do a passable job using the damned thing, and voila (not wallah, people, really, omg, i'm going to strangle the next person who posts "wallah, my thing that I was knitting is done" ... but I digress) I've got a couple of pages of stuff to post.

I have no descriptions of what things are, but I have some idea of what SOME things are because we had them in our house and photographed them. I have NO clue what the model at her Denver photo shoot is wearing, nor how to describe them, and I got those LAST NIGHT, and the frickin' grand opening is TOMORROW.

So, I asked (sometime last week) for the user/pass to upload the *&(*$@#^&* that iWeb spits out, and got that, yes, LAST NIGHT. But not really. I got some sort of "Account Executive" privilages to the site, but can't figure out for the life of me how to actually PUT DATA to the frickin' thing. She gave me her credentials this morning (which have nothing to do with any sort of user/pass anywhere else), and we'll figure the damned thing out later.

Sigh. So, I put some of her 'model shoot' pix into the site while I tried to figure out what the hell was going on with the "account executive" shit and really, iWeb generates probably the worst code and worst data structure I've seen in a while... but then again, the last WYSIWYG HTML editor I used was FrontPage, EONS ago, so there's my comparison. Actually, I used DreamWeaver once, and remember it being somewhat awful, but this was before Y2k, and I've generally done everything by hand since.

I'm going to be using one of my weekend days rebuilding the site in GoLive, tagging the things that she should be able to change easily (products, featured products, front page photos, etc.), and giving her the "client version". This will let me do things like ... have VARIABLE length/width pages with variable block lengths. It will let me create a BLANK FUCKING PAGE WITHOUT HAVING TO HAVE A TEMPLATE. Even iWeb's "blank" pages have shit on them. It makes me want to scream.

I uploaded all eleventyhundred subdirectories this morning, and the site's up and more or less usable, but with iWeb's directory within a directory structure, its fixed size everythings, and pictures as backgrounds to its fixed-size blocks of text and crap. I understand wanting to have a fixed size whatever due to css concerns, but damnit if I don't want to shoot someone after trying to figure out why the fricking page won't scroll, and my data's being cut off. After finding the Inspector, I was more or less ok with it, but still am relishing being able to dump iWeb into the trash can, and hearing the paper-crinkle of its bits being "recycled".

Stupid iWeb. Stupid Hosting people. Stupid Fetch (which I thought I still had a few days of trial left, but had to buy so I could post). Stupid friend not giving me enough data to actually work with.

I'm going to work out now; my frustrat-o-meter's getting too high. I think an hour of walking nowhere, uphill, both ways, will let me go to work without wanting to kill my co-workers the second I see them.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Writing: Lyanissa and Lyriin

Context: I woke up from a dream on Monday morning and wrote this. Warning: Rough draft. Warning: minimally edited.

There is morre to the story that follows, I can feel it. I just need to get my fingers on the keyboard for an hour or two in a quiet time.


Her name was Lya, she came from the desert, as they all had, to find a trade to support herself.

Tall and lean, Lya had seen none of the years of plenty that herr elders had described; she knew only of the desert, the endless shifting sands, the small game that made its home there, and the relentless cacti willing to share their water with those clever enough to seek it.

She came into town that morning wearing sand goggles, a dusty shirt and pants, both almost worn to shreds by the wind and sand, and a thick blue leather duster that had almost certainly belonged to one of the more unfortunate travelers in a previous caravan. It hung on her small frame, and almost brushed the ground as she made her way through the town. The ensemble was completed by a pair of thick brown leather boots two sizes too large that had been stuffed with rags to fit her feet. She carried a small bag with her belongings: a canteen, a compass, and a small leather-bound book.

Many a traveler arrived in the same manner, from the desert, with little to eat, little money, and blinking in the sunlight from the almost cloudless sky. Travelers got used to the semi-dark that the blowing sands produced from here to the surrounding towns. Without a compass or a knowledgeable guide, it was easy to spend days walking in circles, as the wind covered your tracks almost as soon as you left them. The townsfolk were never surprised when another blinking figure appeared from the sandstorm and stared at CIVILIZATION.

Lya pushed her goggles on top of her head and peered around, gaining her bearings. She headed slowly toward the army offices as if being led there by a parent or older sibling. Again, she was like many of her fellow travelers. The territory's army was known for feeding, clothing, and housing anyone willing to serve. She ran a hand through her short brown hair, windblown and sand caked, and decided that she needed to be more presentable. Her course changed like that of a sailboat in the wind, tacking towards the bath house.

Argosy ran a clean joint; the bath house was for bathin', and nothin' else. No hanky-panky went on in his establishment, and he let people know that up front. "If you're lookin' for a WHOORE, you've got a short walk down the street. This here's my bath house, and I'll have nothin' of that kind of trade," he told potential customers, both male and female, several times a week. He wasn't a religious man, just a clean one, who didn't like to put his mind anywhere near what kind of mess he'd have to clean up if he allowed such impropriety to appear under his roof. It was hard enough cleaning the dust and grit from the drains, and disinfecting to kill the lice many travelers carried. When the small figure appeared in his doorway, he was about to give the normal speech about the propriety of his establishment, but he hesitated, and greeted her with a smile instead.
        "Miss Lya! What a pleasure to see you today. You here for a quick shower? How's your mum?"
        "Afternoon, Argosy. Mum died as she lived, the best caravan leader in these territories. Raiders took us from three sides on this last trip. I was asleep in the last wagon, and they took me for already dead."
        "I'm so sorry, Miss Lya. Come in, come in. I'll have Jeanette start the hot water. You'll want a shower before your soak, I'm sure." Argosy was shocked to hear of Cassandra's death -- she was truly as Lya said, the best caravan leader in the territories. Her loss would mean fewer shipments, or no shipments for quite a while. He bellowed for his wife, "JEANETTE! Get 'er ready for the Women's Bath!"
        "Argosy Evan Johnson, I know full well what my job is!" came the shout from an upstairs room. "You just give me a minute to stoke this stove!"
        "She's a bit temper'mental today, hon. I'm sorry if this is upsetting," the chubby man said sheepishly. "You know how she gets."
        "I know, Argosy," Lya replied. "She's MY sister, after all." There was a long silence between them, then Lya spoke in a soft voice. "She'll want to know what happened to Mum. I should be the one to tell her. I... I don't know how she'll react. She and Mum never got along much, but she was still our Mum."
        Just then, a brunette woman stuck her head out the door of the upstairs boiler room. Her face was covered in sweat and ashes, but the likeness to the smaller woman was certain. She wiped her face in vain with a small towel, and shouted "Your shower's ready, miss!" Her whole expression changed when she saw the bather. "LYA!"
        Jeanette bounded down the stairs, two at a time, to greet her younger sister. She was easily head and shoulders taller, and defnitely better fed, but she didn't seem to care about her sister's sharp features, or her bony arms as she wrapped them around the larger girl. "Lya, where's Mum? The two of you usually come in together from a trip." Lya's dust-covered face looked up, and tears began to flow, washing her face like a river in the springtime. Jeanette knew immediately what this meant, and ushered her little sister through the door marked "Ladies Only".

        Lya continued to weep as she undressed to take a shower, and then through the shower, and finally wept tearlessly in the bath. "Jeannie," she kept saying, "I shoulda been at her side to help her."
        "No, Lya, if Mum couldn't handle it on her own, there's nothing you could've done. You were sick, anyway, and I doubt you could've sat up to aim, much less fired a single shot," Jeanette reassured her. The rebels had killed before, but never like this. Her mother was a seasoned traveller of the sands, and had dispatched many men to meet their maker. There was no doubt the grizzled old woman could have defended herself in a fair fight. From Lya's descriptions, though, it wasn't a fair fight in any sense of the word. Fifty armed men versus a three-wagon caravan of goods coming from Charles Town. Ma had her men, six of 'em, but outnumbered at almost 10 to 1, they had little chance.
        Unless Lya had been well. Lya was a marksman, and better than that, she was a novice magician. Her skills were to hide things from sight, and had she been awake, the storm would've hidden them in its cloak as well as a traveller hides his purse. But she had been ill, contracted a sickness from the children in Charles Town. It was only Providence that had saved Lya's life, and only Providence that she had not brought the sickness with her. Jeanette prayed silently for thanks that her entire family had not died in the attack as Lya told her tale.

        Jeanette put the girl to bed in the guest room, and locked the door. She calmly came back to the bath house, and continued her work in silence. Argosy and her work was the comfort she needed in a time like this.
        At 20, Jeanette was the oldest child of her family. She had married at 16, like most girls, and settled down. Henrietta, her mother, didn't understand the allure of settling down, and with one man, to boot, and told her so every time the caravan rolled through. Heather, 18, and the middle child, was in charge of her own caravan, and spent her time divided among the outlying towns of the territory. Like her mom, Heather was flame-haired, hot-tempered, and full of wanderlust. She and Lyr, Lya's twin brother (both 14), travelled terrain that most goods-haulers wouldn't touch, but Lyr and Lya both had the knack for finding the easiest route, for calming the winds at the right time, and for keeping the caravans safe.
        Jeanette was sure that Lyr and Lya were the children of their father, a magician named Elder Gryffin, but her mother had never told her so. She had never spoken of anyone's paternity, at least not when sober.
        Jeannette had plied her mother with wine one night to learn her own parentage. Henrietta admitted that Jeannette was the daughter of a tavern owner that Henrietta had been working for -- a tavern owner, Henrietta insisted was married at the time, but was entranced with her so that he committed adultery every time she came to town, and was therefore a scoundrel and deserved no part of Jeanette's ilfe.
        When Jeanette was of age, she sent a letter to that tavern owner, Jacob Bandy, and let him know of her existance. They had a polite, if not warm, relationship, which is how she found out that her mother had promised to settle down for him, and never could commit to it, which is why he married another woman in her absence, although continuing to carry on with Henrietta when she came to town, as she was his first and brightest love. Jeanette had two half-brothers, Jonas and Jacob Junior, (who she visits monthly) and a half-sister named Arianne, with whom Jeannette has tea every Saturday morning.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A slight misunderstanding... 4

So Ben & I were out to dinner last night, and he asked the waitress "What three cheeses are in the three cheese lasagna?"

The waitress says "Um... Mozzarella, American, and ... ummm... I can't think of the third one."

She goes wandering off and asks another member of the waitstaff about 10 feet away, who says "Mozzarella and Parmesan on top, ricotta in the lasagna."

The waitress comes back to the table, and proudly says "Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Risotto cheese. It's like risotto, but creamier."

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Journal Journal: I am a major buzzkill 18

So, Denver got another medium-big snow yesterday. I'm covering for the guy who works the end of the week. I got in my car yesterday at 12:30pm and drove to work. I got to work at 3 pm. The office had already closed, and 'essential personnel' were all that was left -- one guy in customer support, most of us in the NOC. The company had provided food (frozen dinners, sandwich stuff, veggies and fruit, etc.) and a hotel for the night (and a case of what I assume is decent beer, and a bottle of tequila).

So the 'days' crew goes over to the hotel, with the nights sup, and begin to party. The nights sup calls over, says she and the (hourly) guy who comes in nights are going to be late, and she's made the arrangements, and would I mind bunking co-ed. Well, um.. wtf? Co-ed? I get the "we're all professionals" line. Yeah, but try explaining that to a spouse. I asked the guys I was with (all married) how their wife would react if they spent the night (no matter how chastely) with a woman they hardly knew, in a hotel room.

The swings sup gets on the phone with the manager, who says if we can't figure something out, there are other hotels in the area, and we can expense it. After he goes over to check things out and discuss the propriety of 'bunking' people of different sexes into rooms, it gets worked out that one of the days guys will sleep on the floor in another room, and I get a room to myself (?), and the nights sup will sleep in the room with her charge (male).

The 2 of them (nights sup and nights guy) show up reeking of alcohol, slurring their words, around 2 hours after they're supposed to show up. The days guy drove them over in his 4wd truck, and when asked when he's going to sleep, just laughs.

So, were we all wrong to think that co-ed hotel rooms are inappropriate, and that coming in at the very least rather buzzed (and slurring words) is just plain wrong (even if the company paid for alcohol)? Or am I just a major buzzkill?

Personally, I believe that you should come to work sober. Sure, party some, but drink responsibly, and don't get drunk off your ass if you know you're coming into work later. I also know that while Ben probably wouldn't have held it against me that I was in a hotel room with another guy, that I wouldn't be comfortable with it. Especially if it was one of the guys who had been drinking.

Oh well, off to edit some photos. One of my xmas presents was a 60gb hd for the ibook, and I finally got CS2 re-authenticated (via the phone and a nice lady at adobe support).

PS - what is this publicize-publish-post crap?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Knitting a Dargon.

So, the new Knitty mag is up... with this enchanting pattern: Norberta

I had to knit it. I have 2 models now, blue and grey and the Noro Kureyon version. For you non-knitters, Kureyon is a single ply yarn that changes color in long stretches along its length. I thought it would be pretty awesome for a dragon, so.. there it is.

It's a rather quick knit (well, for me, at least); I decided to knit one the day the new Knitty was up, and finished sewing the first one together before I went to bed that night. The seaming is what kills me. I've done some tweaking of the pattern for the 2nd dargon, and will further tweak it to be able to make it at a tighter gauge so that the stuffing doesn't show so much.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Stuff and things 2

Full track listing from the BNL concert:

Wind It Up
The Old Apartment
Adlib 1 (14th and...)
Sound Of Your Voice
Hello City
Life, In a Nutshell
I Live With It Every Day
Never is Enough
Adlib 2 (I Was Gonna Workout)
Go Home
Maybe Katie
Maybe You're Right
In The Drink (acoustic)
Upside Down (acoustic)
Too Little Too Late
Bank Job
Angry People
Pinch Me
It's All Been Done
One Week
Brian Wilson
If I Had $1000000
Feliz Thanksgiving
Call and Answer

You can get it at some url or another if you're up to that kind of thing. I bought it because I went, and it's a souvenir of the concert for me. The best quote? "It's beer! It's here! Get used to it!" (I guess that's what we get for having Coors here, huh?)

My house guest is gone. We had to pay her first month's rent, but it was worth it for our sanity. I had a huge post written out earlier and closed the tab (on purpose). I was thinking (on the way to work) that I should come up with a list of house rules. But the people who need a list of rules that essentially say "act like a human being, and don't be rude" are no longer allowed in my house. For example, rule 3 was about going out to dinner, and how you're supposed to use basic etiquette, like not licking your plate (yes, this actually happened), etc.

I shouldn't have to tell adults this kind of thing. So I won't.

As I told my mom this weekend, all of my brothers have jobs. The 2 who are in post-secondary school, the one in high school, and the youngest who is in a vocational training program. I would bet all of them know all of the rules I'd set out as a result of the bullshit we've gone through.

How people raised by the same mother and father can be so different... maybe it's that Ben takes after his dad, and doesn't believe that "God will provide, so I don't have to lift a finger". He believes in working for a living, although he also believes that our society should support artists more. And had houseguest actually produced anything while she stayed, and had she treated us and our house and our tools with a modicum of respect, she could probably have stayed.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Feliz Thanks-giv-ing...

OMG, that was the best concert I've seen in ... quite a while. It was my first BNL concert ever, but we'll have to keep an eye out for them when they come around again.

The set included 6 tracks from the new album:

Bank Job, Sound of your Voice, Maybe You're Right, Vanishing, Easy, and Wind It Up.

They played older stuff:

Maybe Katie, Upside Down, Hello City, Brian Wilson, In the Drink, Break Your Heart, The Old Apartment, Never is Enough, Call and Answer, and of course, If I Had $1000000.

The opening band's sound was "muddy", for lack of a better word. Their lights were simple, but annoying. The one camera focused on the entire stage, and the projection screens on either side of the stage showed an unfocused view of what were probably faces of the band (whose name is, according to the tour dates I could find online, "Mike Doughty", which we could only understand after the 'Ladies took the stage and told us). There was one song where all we could hear was "something something Starbucks", which itunes tells me is probably "Busting Up a Starbucks". There was one where the lead singer kept saying "get up on that" for like 100 repetitions. I don't even want to try to find that one. There was one song "Accidental... something".

Then the 'Ladies took the stage. The sound was MUCH better, the production value much better than the simple 'crossing and uncrossing lights' of the opening act. Amazing what a few more sound guys, lighting guys, and video guys will do. I'm not a music snob, so I can't tell you what equipment they had, but it's nice to be able to HEAR the band you paid to see. :D

Ed and Steven sang a couple of impromptu ... songs, I guess, about Denver (including one about "14th and Arapahoe"), and one of their ramblings ended with "It's Beer! It's Here! Get used to it!" which I thought was rather funny, as about 90% of the people around us had beer in hand. They were talking about Coors being in Golden, but we just snickered because of the abundance of beer. We figured it was the only thing concessions was selling, until a kid came back to his seat with a plate of fried chicken.

And something I noticed that I don't usually see a lot, probably because I don't hang out with college kids... the low-rise jeans + shirt that barely hits it when you stand up thing... there were about a dozen college-age girls sitting a couple rows in front of us, and every time they stood up (usually to get more beer), there was about 6" of back showing, and a serious hiking of the pants. Ben remarked about never having pants that he had to pull up all the damned time, and I told him that's because men don't have hips. :D

It was a great show, and they were insane. Steven jumped around the stage like a happy marionette (something I hadn't seen since I saw No Doubt forever ago). Ed and Jim spent some time doing the 'rock star poses' with their guitars. Kevin came out from behind the keyboards a couple of times.

The second encore started with "Feliz Thanks-giv-ing" (Prospero año y felici-ding) (with everyone on the "wrong" instruments -- Ed on the keyboards, Steven on the Drums, Kevin on the bass, Jim on the guitar, and Tyler singing) and ended with "If I had $1000000" (complete with interstitial speaking about their childhood in the gifted program, where the coolest guys in their classes were already the nerdiest guys in any school, and Ed's favorite t-shirt was the one from math camp).

All in all, four thumbs up (since 2 of us went to see them. :)).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Some people dream in color. 6

Some people dream in color, some in black and white. Some people dream in super-3d-pump-the-saturation-up-surround-sound-virtual reality. I have been the latter lately. And that's my normal dreaming state. I've been thinking about taking up the pencil again. Only time will tell if I'm really "back to normal".

I dreamed last night (this morning, technically, since I sleep from 3a-11a or so) that I was in some sort of VR LARP. Not that I LARP. But it got me thinking about RPG's again. My brain's been too ... unfocused, I guess, to do much of anything that's enjoyable. It's been too uncomfortable to be in my house, too uncomfortable to lounge. Too much stress, with work and home. I spent an hour playing Fire Emblem this morning after dusting off the 'cube, and putting new(ly charged) batteries into the wireless controller.

Tomorrow, Ben & I are going to see the Barenaked Ladies. I work on Wednesday, and then we have *3 full days* and one partial day off together. Insanity, to think of having that many days off IN A ROW and to be able to spend them with my husband, of all people! Thursday at dusk, we're going to try to get some good shots of the city lights. I know a place that has lovely views of Black Forest and Colorado Springs. Friday, it's turkey with the neighbors.

We're only getting 2 of my brothers at Christmas, because mom waited until the last minute to buy plane tickets for herself and all the kids... but I think after the year we've had, it's probably better to have fewer people to worry about finding sleeping places for, to feed, and to transport around the countryside.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Good news, everyone! 10

Well, good news for me, at least. We set a "you have to get out of our house" date for my sister-in-law. 5 months is a bit long to expect someone to feed & house you for free, and it will be 6 months by the time she leaves. It's probably 2 months too late for us to part amicably, but at this point, the goal is to get her the hell out of my house. It was this IM conversation that made me realize how annoyed Ben was with her, and he's her brother.

Ben: sigh, she burnt the pizza so bad that she has to push real hard to cut it.
Ben: fuck
Ben: now i have to listen to her chew
Me: :(
Me: well, 1 month, honey
Ben: could she eat any louder?
Me: yes. she could smack, too
Ben: she does
Me: :(
Me: i'm sorry, honeybunny
Ben: and goes "aocmp"
Me: sigh
Ben: or something like that

He sent her email that said "Come the beginning of December you will have been living here for 6 months, and you will (hopefully) have been gainfully employed for 1 month. Christy and I feel you have reached the extent of our hospitality. We will be asking you to find your own lodgings, and to pay for your own food by the end of November."

We're having my family for Christmas, and I wasn't looking forward to her trying to tell my family (especially Travis) what to do, and showing them around my house as if it were hers. As annoyed as we get when she tells the dog to move (the dog, who is part of our family) out of the chair she likes to sit in... I was forseeing her trying to deal with Travis, causing one of his screaming fits, and then telling us how badly she's being treated.

I'm looking forward to not having to worry about whether or not I'm 'properly dressed' when I go out into the living room. Not having to worry about her embarrassing us when we go out to eat, or about her ordering the most expensive thing on the menu and eating 1/3 of it. I won't have to listen to her say that she's been in the hospital for "running out of energy" when I ask her to do something around the house, and I won't have to go around the house and turn the goddamn lights off all the time. Oh, and I won't have to worry about her being pissy about us not giving her instruction on how to use our tools when we're busy doing other things, or about her using our tools without asking.

Things are looking up, people. Getting her out of our house is definitely a Good Thing.

On the fiber front, I rented a drum carder from my favorite LYS, and have been processing the other half of the shetland fleece I bought at Estes. A friend of ours bought the other half from me, and returned it to me on Wednesday, as she wouldn't have the time to process & spin it for quite a while. I carded it with some sparkly fibers, and am spinning a nice, somewhat thin single with it. The effect is subtle, and fabulous. (For the Fabulous Phoebe, who is the friend.)

We got one of our members back from "the dark side" last week, and she came again this week. MJ came back to us, and we finally found out what the *ENTIRE* brouhaha was about. It was about something that happened at one of the Puppy Parties. TOK's dog bit Lisa's dog, and Lisa said *TO HER DOG* "did that big bad dog scare you?" That's it. That's what broke up the group into 2, and caused TOK and F to blogstalk and leave nasty comments on the blogs of people who decided to continue to hang out together. MJ said that TOK *mailed* her house key to her, but MJ sent her husband over to give TOK her key back. MJ coming back to knit with us was more than that friendship could bear. Ben asked how his impression of TOK could not include "prone to go fucking nuts", and I said that none of us expected that.

Work-wise, the new schedule kicks ass. 4p-2a suits the way that my body wants to arrange its sleep-wake cycle. There's less stress. The guys I work with rock. Oh, and shift differential. ;)

There's my news update for a while; I've got tickets to see BNL on the 21st, and that will be fun, I'm sure. I've got a class to (maybe) teach next Friday on acid dyes, and that will be fun. I've got yarn to dye, yarn to spin, christmas gifts to make. And soon, the sister-in-law will be out of my house, so I can do them on my time.

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"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759