Links for January 27 2016

* What the Meyers-Briggs Types do during the zombie apocalypse.

* Kelly Sue DeConnick has added two Bitch Planet scripts to the script archive.

* Watching Downton Abbey With a Historian: The Case of the Missing Vicar.

* Scientists prove time travel is theoretically possible.

* Suggestions for using Trello to keep track of fabric (or yarn) stashes.

* Lead content in drinking water is problem all over the U.S.


Spending those skill points to level up

I may be embarking on a sweater project.

During the coldest week so far of this winter, I kept daydreaming about a huge warm woolen sweater. So I’ve started looking at what I want to knit.

I dislike colorwork, so far. But I like knitting textures and patterns. So I borrowed a ton of books from knitting friends, and think I may have some elements to work with.

Elsebeth Lavold has written some books reconstructing classic Viking knotwork in knit. Now, as far as anyone can tell, actual Vikings never put their knotwork designs in knitting. For one thing, we have no evidence that they knit. Weaving, yes. Knitting, no proof. For another, it’s not clear that these patterns were for use in cloth. We have them in metal and wood, but cloth rots away. So these are not “authentic Viking patterns.”

But Lavold has painstakingly recreated the patterns in knitting, through creative use of increases, cable stitches, and decreases. It’s fascinating.

And I intend to knit some of these patterns into a sweater.

I’ve also looked at some classic Guernsey texture work, and plan to include that. And then I just flat-out made up a detail for shoulder and sleeve decor.

I spent the weekend knitting swatches. In different yarns, on different needle sizes, in patterns, plain, flat, in the round — and trying to work out the math. So many stitches per inch, so many inches across the front of the sweater, so many stitches required for this pattern or that one, will they all fit?

Fascinating stuff!

Wish me luck —


Conventions in 2016

As I advance in seniority at work, I get to bid better and better vacation days, right?

Well, not so much. See, it doesn’t help my seniority if people retire above me, but there is no-one to replace them below me.

This is most evident to me when I bid my annual vacation for the year. I work weekends, Friday-through-Tuesday. I simply cannot bid off all the conventions I want to go to each year.

Definitely will attend:

CONvergence, June 30-July 4, Bloomington, MN

Will very probably attend for at least part of the convention:

Wiscon, May 26-May 30, Madison, WI

Might possibly attend, maybe:

Minicon, March 25-March 28, Bloomington, MN
Furry Migration, September 9-11, Minneapolis, MN

Cannot attend:

MidAmericon II aka Worldcon. I thought I could bid this off this year, I really did, but we just don’t have enough people at work for me to get August off. Not yet. My apologies to all those I was plotting Worldcon things with, alas.
Geek Girl Con. October, for some reason (hunting) is a really hard month to get vacation in for my workplace.
HeroesCon. It’s in June. I already used up my summer leave spots on CONvergence and Wiscon.
Emerald City Comic Con. This takes place three weeks after my finances and I get back from London, and I am just not flying across the country so soon after an international trip. My bank account would not forgive me.
Diversicon. July, again, I can’t get any more vacation in the summer prime annual leave slots. Dammit.


Leeks and Sops

Find some stale bread, or, failing that, toast a couple of pieces of bread. Use whatever is at hand. Butter the slices, then put them in a bowl or plate that will contain some liquid. Eventually, there will be sauce on this toast.

These, by the way, are the “sops” in the recipe title. Leeks and sops.

Find some cheese, something with a good flavor. A really sharp cheddar, or some sort of stinky cheese if that’s the way you role. Or you could use some leftover meat you have around — the last bit of roast chicken, or the bit of brisket that isn’t quite enough to make into a meal. Leftovers, is what I am talking, here. I mean, we’re starting with stale bread. This is a leftovers meal.

Put some cheese of meat or whatever on your toast slices in the bowl.

Slice a leek. One leek per person eating this. Now, when I say “slice a leek,” I mean cut off the root end, then thinly slice the white and yellow parts. Now, make a decision. You can use a great deal of the light green portion of the leek. It sort of depends on how much leek you have and how much you want. If you do use the green, peel the outside layer and wash what’s left. Keep an eye out for dirt.

Put about a half TBSP of butter (per leek used) in a frying pan. Dump the leeks in. Cook on a medium heat. You don’t want to burn the butter! When the leek are just starting to get stringy and brown, add s bit of salt and pepper. Cook another couple of minutes.

Turn the heat to the very lowest setting. Wait a minute. Pour in about a TBSP of milk, or cream, or half-and-half, whatever you have, per leek used. Let that heat up. Stir the leeks and the cream together. Don’t let it boil, but make sure it gets hot. It should be steaming somewhat but not actually boiling.

Pour the leeks and cream over the toast.

Eat quickly, because the toast and cheese has cooled by now, and you want to eat it while the leeks are still hot.


January 20 2016 Links

* “Who Tells Your Story?”: Historical Fiction as Resistance

Spittin’ bars harder than Joan of Arc’s armour,
Driving Rosa Parks’ car, bustin’ out Frances Farmer,
Airborne with Amelia Earhart, walkin’ tightropes –
Being Pocahontas, giving smallpox to white folks

Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton Cypher

* Jaden Smith Isn’t Encroaching on “Transgender Territory”, But Isn’t A “Nonbinary Icon” Either

* White Feminism & The School To Prison Pipeline

* Reasons I Would Make An Excellent Fisher King And You Should Consider Me For The Position

* The Best Gear for Travel

Follow-up from last week’s links:

I finished the slippers!

Currently working on another pair of socks, similar to these.


What I’m into: January 19 2016

* I just finished watching all of the ITV Miss Marple series. All of them. It’s like a cavalcade of “actors who now have iconic roles in something else.” I find Miss Marple very soothing. The people she meets are very, very human. They are petty and great, miserable and joyous, evil and good. Sometimes in the same person. I love that everything comes down to secrets. That is the uniting theme of Agatha Christie, in my observation — everyone has secrets, and secrets kill. This thinking fits well with a lot of modern mental health talk about secrets — that the secrets we keep twist us into unhealthy shapes. Miss Marple would agree.

* I discovered the HAPPY circumstance that I had some lingering Audible credits on my account. I immediately got Daryl Gregory’s We Are All Completely Fine. I could only listen to it in my car when no-one else was with me, but I finally finished it! I really liked this story. But, see, I am a person who was profoundly happy with both the Avengers: Disassembled story and the House of M story. Because actions have consequences, goddammit. Actions. Have. Consequences.

* J and I are planning out our trip to London in March. We have plane tickets, and a place to stay, and some rough ideas of things we want to do. Last week we got tickets to see Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noel Coward Theater.


I’m gonna see a critically-acclaimed new play opening in the West End. [bucket list checkmark]

How’re y’all doing? How’s your Tuesday treating you?



The things I don’t tell you

* The older my kids get, the less I talk about them in public. Their lives, while intertwined with mine, are not my story to tell. I make sure to ask them before I post an instagram or a tweet, or share a funny story. They always say yes. They are growing up digital natives, and don’t see any problem with sharing their lives with the world.

It means, though, that it’s my job to guard their privacy where and when their actions become part of my life.

Health concerns, difficulties with school subjects, the normal ups and downs of adolescent kids — all of that I don’t tell you, dear internets.

* I also don’t tell you all most of how work goes. I’m an air traffic controller, and I raised my hand and swore an oath to uphold the faith and confidence of the public in aviation. I can’t just randomly bitch about workplace irritations to y’all. I would be literally breaking my oath.

And when I’m training folks at work? It compounds that whole “oath” thing with the “reasonable expectation of privacy” thing. It’s not my place to tell you how well or poorly someone is doing in the three-year-long hellscape that is ATC training.

* I don’t talk about my health much. Because, well, it’s holding. There is no news on what’s wrong with my throat. I am on 20 mg of Prednisone every day, indefinitely. This enables me to talk, and eat, and mostly sleep.

My snoring has gotten a lot worse, and I might have a touch of sleep apnea. I, of course, think this is all my fault because I have gotten fatter since the onset of the throat thing. Other people have pointed out that 1) Prednisone makes people put on weight in ways that CANNOT be gotten rid of by exercise and eating less, and that 2) having a mysterious swelling throat MIGHT POSSIBLY contribute to snoring and sleep apnea and there’s nothing in my control about that. I still plod through my days secure in the knowledge that if I was a better person, more motivated, more committed, tougher, I would go back to jogging and running and just take a lot of painkillers. Tough it out. Other people have pointed out that I *clearly and manifestly* have some sort of bizarre auto-immune disorder, and that the daily chronic relentless joint pain that is not arthritis is probably related to that, and Not My Fault. But I keep thinking I just need to suck it up, do the work, lose the weight, stop snoring. And then the part of my brain that would tell anyone else this is a STUPID plan kicks in, and I do … nothing. Except wake each morning knowing that my snoring is my fault because I am fat because I don’t try hard enough to exercise through the pain. And then I have my first cup of tea and wake up all the way and remind myself that this is a STUPID line of thinking, and it can go fuck itself.

And I take my prednisone, and I hope that it continues as an effective treatment long enough that I can keep working, and I hope that my kidneys and liver hold out for seven more years until I can retire.

So, it’s holding. There’s not really anything to report.

* Editing projects, writing projects, publishing projects — can’t really tell you about those, either. It’s part of my duty, my responsibility, to protect the foibles of those folks making the art. (Not to hide anything criminal or malicious, obviously. But the normal, day-to-day problems of making deadlines, coordinating projects, making or not making changes? Those I protect.)

Those things aren’t mine to tell.


So, if I don’t natter on about those things, well, they are all still there, trucking along in the background. But they’re not really things I am going to chatter on about, here, in public.

I’m sure you all have things like that, too! Relationships, jobs, projects, hopes, fears. Worries. Things you are afraid to say in the light of day, because what if that makes the scary things real?

Tell you what, internets. If you want, you can tell me. Email me the stupid, scary thing you are trying to not say out loud, if you like. Or the thing you feel is too petty, or too self-indulgent, or too common.


What’s up with you, internets?



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,582 other followers