The Livejournal of zdashamber
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25th October 2011
13th October 2011
My schedule, ACNW 2011
V. pleased. Have had some interesting emails with co-GMs so far, and looking forward to more enjoyable chatter. Giving my GMs a chance to email before leaping on them from my lair of iniquity, though that might just be that I'm busy yesternight and tonight. Drew has sent mail already, so I need to think up a character in magical monarchical 1947. Whole world at my fingertips! :
So looking forward to seeing what is up in Aurellis. About time someone deposed Graeme. The spelling of his name alone. Someday I will figure out how to join up with the online version of the game. Should I do that in these next few weeks?
For so many years I would rewatch "Tombstone" in this month to get in the swing of playing Doc Holliday in Jeremy Z's games... Perhaps I could rewatch it in preparation for _Enoch is Burning_?
Slot 1: Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 7pm to midnight
Enoch Is Burning -- (GMs) Madeline F, Mike S
Slot 2: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 9am to 1pm
Aurellis - The First One -- (GMs) Tim H
Slot 3: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 2pm to 6:30pm
Game of Spies: Tibet '57 -- (GMs) Madeline F
Slot 4: Friday, November 4, 2011 - 8pm to midnight
OMENOUS -- (GMs) Drew W
Slot 5: Saturday, November 5, 2011 - 9am to 4:30pm
Homecoming -- (GMs) Jen Z
Slot 6: Saturday, November 5, 2011 - 7pm to midnight
Sons of Ambarchy -- (GMs) Ogre W
Slot 7: Sunday, November 6, 2011 - 10am to 4:30pm
The Low Road -- (GMs) Simone C, Nathan B, Madeline F, Mike S
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/126878.h
8th October 2011
Ada Lovelace Day: Sydney Kustu
: Ada Lovelace Day! When you blog about a woman in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics who has inspired you. Technically yesterday.
I took some neat classes at Berkeley, since the MCB (Molecular and Cell Biology) path allowed for two free slots every semester. One class that I took for both entertainment and actual MCB credit was a tiny elective about plant genetic engineering; turned out to be two professors and about 18 students in a classroom the size of a normal room. The professors were Sydney Kustu and Mike Freeling; I get the impression they were both kinda having fun. That was the class where I found a lot of my science stories: the guest speaker who is the Most Bitter Scientist I ever met, a guy who worked on the ice minus bacteria; the class where Freeling talked about the interaction between the Novartis money deal and research; the independent study projects where I looked in to terraforming Mars with skunk cabbage (the professors: "...Huh...") and, I believe, pointed out to them the fascinating circumstance that one of our most recent super-useful science techniques, RNA interference, was discovered because the Dutch (through scientists in Oakland!) were trying to genetically engineer petunias of a richer purple.
Kustu was inspiring because she was aware of the social undercurrents in science, and she was willing to speak about them. She talked about how she was one of the few women in the National Academy of Sciences (in 2000, only 6%, according to this post). When she joined science in the early 70s it was still a very macho field. They had to mouth-pipette radioactive things, and people kept an eye out to be sure she was cool enough to join the boy's club.
It's nice to think that, although things aren't super in science these days, they are better. And it makes for a friendlier environment to know that there are scientific trailbreakers who are aware of the politics of gender.
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/126713.h
17th June 2011
Reviews of a lot of movies and books!
I've been meaning to write about the books and movies I've come across lately, some for their own sakes, some because it seems fair to toss a bit more info out there into the world. Inspired just now by having just watched "Fast Five", and mentally comparing it to "X-Men: First Class". Upshot: Fast Five was a good movie, while X-Men: First Class was just an alright movie. (Sorry, : ebonlock.)
( Some race stuff, Fast FiveCollapse )
( Hold on a second, this gets really spoilery about X-Men, and it wasn't that bad a movie, so here's a chance to skip the spoilersCollapse )
( So right, on to books: a couple civil war fiction books, Harry Connolly, Sherwood SmithCollapse )
( Also, a really good movieCollapse )
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/126246.h
28th February 2011
Browser Tab Meme
Originated by : anatsuno:
I'm going to list, and tell you briefly about, ALL THE TABS I HAVE OPEN at this moment in time, without editing (except for work-related or privacy-related reasons, if I had them, but I don't. I just mean, if you do it, obviously, feel free to edit the really crucial stuff - just, it's not in the spirit if the game to edit for guilty pleasure reasons and the like).From Send Tab URLs (21 links)
I really enjoy Send Tab, the Firefox extension, BTW. It lets me copy this list of tabs and paste it into a mail to myself so I can close them and turn off the computer.
So here's a snapshot of where I was Friday evening, I think, when I encountered this meme and decided to just pass on without dealing with all these:
Boeing’s Multi-Billion Outsourcing Fiasco « naked capitalismI was meaning to bounce this off prince_corwin, who has been having trouble with contractors not being able to create a widget where tab A fits into slot B.
( Read more...Collapse )
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/126028.h
10th November 2010
Ambercon Northwest 2010, so how'd that work out for me?
Pretty well. Awww, who am I kidding, it was great! Like usual. :
( Anyway, this is how it went down. Covers through slot 1.Collapse )
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/125637.h
1st November 2010
Ambercon Northwest schedule 2010
Soon I will be leaving for : Ambercon Northwest for a week! People who might think about coming next year: the Summer Solstice 2011 is the time you need to decide.
( Here is my schedule so far:Collapse )
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/125253.h
24th July 2010
Portland next weekend
I'll be up in Portland next weekend for Irene and Edwin's wedding. I have not yet figured out where I'll be staying (may fall back on the Edgefield hostel just from familiarity) so if you have desire for a roommate or know someone who might, sing out! :
I decided to take the train up, since this is about the only chance I'll get to try a mode of travel where it doesn't matter if I'm 12-18 hours late. And I'm curious. It can't possibly be worse than the bus, but how much better will it be? On the face of it, it's super convenient: I can leave my car right next to where I work, walk across the street, catch the train from the snazzy Emeryville station Wednesday at 10 PM, and ostensibly take that very train (with the lovely name Coastal Starlight) through pretty territory all the way to Portland arriving 3 PMish Thursday. We Shall See.
And then flying back Monday on Southwest which will be fine as usual. Dear PDX: I really appreciate the free wireless in your airport, and the excellent transit access to aforementioned airport.
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/124992.h
22nd June 2010
Help with a Mary Gentle book: A Sundial in a Grave: 1610
Alright, so this weekend I started reading a book that I picked up in the supercheap bin at Borders because I thought Mary Stewart's Merlin books were great and I was curious what she was up to lately. And it turns out that Mary Gentle is a totally different person, but you know, historical fantasy romance written by people named Mary... ...right? :
Anyway, I need to know if there's someone out there who has read Mary Gentle's book _A Sundial in a Grave: 1610_, because it was humming along very well (musketeers! tormented romance! samurai!) until a point about 60% of the way through, when the protagonist makes a decision that is just so fantastically idiotic that I put the book down and spent the rest of the weekend cleaning my house, occasionally shaking my fists at the ceiling and crying AARRGH!!
The question is, is this idiotic decision something I'd have to suffer through reading about for a couple hundred pages if I continued, or does the protagonist come to his senses within a chapter or so?
( You want more details? I can only spoil the first 400 pages...Collapse )
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/124922.h
Current Mood: AARRGH!
8th June 2010
Primary Election, June 8 2010
So, you should go vote just so that you can vote No on Prop 16, the "Have the Government Enforce PG&E's Monopoly" statute. In case you'd like to see my thoughts on the rest: :
( Read more...Collapse )
'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts', he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited this post from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/124491.h
20th May 2010
First lines, 20 songs
For me, this meme, enduring entertainment. The rules: I put all my music on shuffle, write out the first lines of the first 20 songs that play. You guess them. If the actual title is in the first line, I replace it with "blah blah blah"... NB, the number of blahs does not necessarily correlate to the number of words replaced. Yeah, sorry for song 3 (she says while snickering). :
Of course, "first line," I wavered back and forth on whether that was first rhyming couplet or not. So maybe I'll flesh some of these out if they're not obvious. (ETA: Ok, added a bit to 3 and 20.) (ETA: and more to 3, and 5 and 12.)
3. Well blah blah blah, no blah blah blah, you can stand me up at the gates of hell
5. Laa laa laaa (Blah blah blah) Well high school, seemed like such a blur; I didn't have much interest in sports or school elections
12. Blah blah blah, love can level ranks and therefore, though his lordship's station's mighty
19. Blah blah blah, sing my song, be it right, be it wrong
ETA: struckthrough songs have been gotten by one or more of the terribly clever people inhabiting my comments section!
22nd April 2010
Drugs! Legal ones!
Head cold today. I broke down and gave DayQuil another shot and it doesn't enormously suck, but man. Well... It might not be a fair shot, since this is the same DayQuil that I tried more than 7 years ago (and decided at the time, "meh"). See, I checked the expiration date, which is in 2003. And then I thought about it for a bit, and decided that having real Pseudoephrine was better than having whatever damn decongestant the War on Drugs has foisted on us the last few years... And so far, no ill effects, so whee! :
BTW: Better Living Through Chemistry: what over the counter drugs work for you? I had picked up from my family a protestant "walk it off" attitude of righteous self denial, and all I ever took up until college was Advil (Tylenol didn't do crap for me, aspirin wasn't as good as Advil). Then at some point with a head cold I tried NyQuil, thanks to Denis Leary, and it was a revelation: it sucked the snot out of my nose! I could breathe! And sleep!
Of course, that was before it got nerfed by the DEA. Anyway.
So what else have I been missing all these years? What seemingly obvious drugs really help you out?
Feel free to comment anonymously if you like. Like, gas... Is it something I experience? Who knows? When I discuss medical stuff with people, the metaphors I've come up with in my head to describe what I'm feeling make other people look at me funny. Like, for a long time I tried to describe "eyeaches", where it felt like someone had fit a platic knife through my eye socket into my brain, and was leaning on my eye a bit... Plastic, specifically, because there wasn't the bright conductivity a metal knife would bring. And then eventually I learned to just say "migrane". So when it feels like the connective tissue in my intestines are twisted around wrong, is that cramps? Gas? Who the hell knows? What I'm saying is that even fixes for potentially embarassing medical stuff would be useful to know about.
And, er, I originally stated this post to mention that I will be joining with Anneke to have a garage sale at her place in Albany this Saturday, 9-2. In case you want to come by? Or maybe join in and sell your own stuff?
17th April 2010
Dreamwidth, pretty easy to post both there and here
Livejournal is : back at their link-redirecting ways, apparently, and I see one comment that the fix from 6 weeks ago still works. Also, I have Dreamwidth invites! Come on over, the water's much more sane. :)
16th March 2010
Mostly a gratuitous meme post thx windrose
Now that just tickles me. Damn right!
Though my obvious delight in this is a setback in my campaign to convince vito_excalibur that I am not unswervingly devious.
And to further update, I'm in Colorado until evening tomorrow to see my sister, and I really got buried by stuff since Friday but I'm working on ACUS emails, and my dear hope is that when I come back to Oakland I will no longer have to ask, "Is that reappearing mystery puddle on the floor of my bathroom flavored with sewage?"
13th March 2010
Bake sale for someone's life
Look, I don't know, this whole thing where people are about to run out of health care and die, and there is an auction to help them, it leaves me so pissed off and sad. The latest, : denelian, has health care through college, and is still out $300/mo for meds; and because of the pain and inability to sit or stand for more than a half-hour or so, she hasn't been able to finish her degree quick enough and so she's going to lose her scholarship and health care and be unable to pay for meds. She can get a 3-month extension on the health care for $600, if she can get that money (plus a month of meds money) by Friday. And after that? I guess the hope is that the SSDI will come through for her despite having turned her down, aforementioned "turning a person down several times" I believe being the way of the SSDI. I mean seriously has anyone ever needed SSDI and just gotten it. I have not heard of such a thing. And unlike every other government program where you get automatically turned down for the first few attempts and crash on the couch of the creepy guy you don't like, or feed your kids out of dumpsters, or go live in a nursing home and pay so very much more, when you get turned down for SSDI you run out of money and die. So, yeah.
Anyway, I saw denelian around during racefail and have a good impression of her... And there are crocheted ponies and nice wool yarn and other interesting things at the auction community for her. save_liz Might want to check it out.
19th February 2010
Quick note on rooming at ACUS
I'm curious if there's some potential roommates at ACUS, for Thurs-Mon, floating around... I have a line in on a group of 5 that was willing to fit in one room, but with 6 would mitose into two, and so it seems worthwhile to see if I can spare them that. I have a pretty small stuff footprint and I don't snore and I find the couch a comfy sleeping place. :
24th January 2010
Gaming news update
An email just went out that ACUS game submissions were due at the end of the week and my thoughts were, "Wait, what, really? You're high." Seems a bit soon after registration opened at all, eh? But oy, I suppose I should put some serious thought into that, since I'm quite likely going. :
What do you guys want? Something Firefly? I have an idea that I'd like to run an incredibly depressing game about being part of the failed army of Chaos during the occupation of Thelbane, probably using "Don't Rest Your Head" which already has the axises of Honor vs Fatigue... After ACNW I decided that I should do more "build characters at the start of the slot" games, so maybe another go at the Pit of Vipers auction? With the Volatile uppity steampunk Rebma setting? Eh.
I'm open to broad suggestions a la "I would like to play more two-fisted stuff! I would like stuff with the Elders as antagonists!"
In other gaming/Amber news, Fred Hicks still wants the license to make the RPG. I'm ambivalent. Would it be better to have a well-marketed, potentially inelegant, diced, version of Amber that was a complete break from everything that has happened for the past 20 years? Or would the current wheezing critical illness of the entire sub-subculture be better?
( In personal Amber/gaming newsCollapse )
ETA: (Copied over from my Facebook) Have another $20 to give to Doctors Without Borders's Haiti efforts? Want a crapton of gaming PDFs with some really good stuff thrown in--like the Serenity RPG? Drivethrurpg has a donation bundle available until Jan. 31. They've raised $120K with it so far.
30th November 2009
Saga of the bus trip
Various people have asked that I write out how it was to take the bus from Albuquerque (hereafter ABQ, because of all the damn names) to Oakland. Some of you may first be interested in Why someone would do such a thing. Answer: I waited to get plane tickets for Thanksgiving until 6-7 weeks before, and the trip was going to be uber expensive. So I flew in a day before, stayed in a Super 8 for $40, and then joined up with my parents and went to my sister's house for the last year she'll be there teaching on the rez in southern New Mexico. It was a fun damn time... We wandered around and hunted rocks, which is one of my family's great joys. :
Anyway, to get back to the Bay Area, the choice was either $300 for a plane ticket, or $90 on Greyhound. I needed to leave ABQ Saturday evening to coordinate with my parents, but I didn't really need to get to the Bay Area until Sunday evening, so I decided to give the bus another try.
( This is really longCollapse )
1st November 2009
Ambercon Northwest 2009
I never got around to posting up what games I'll be in, and now as I consider figuring out what clothes to bring, seems like a decent time... Oh, and right now I'm going to pause to put my swimsuit in my bag, and I advise you do the same. :
( There. Hot tub tragedy avoided.Collapse )
I'm looking forward to seeing all of you guys.
15th August 2009
Urban gleaning opportunity identification
Seriously, dumpster diving is a lot of fun. You get to apply all sorts of body skills that don't come in handy all that often, there's the thrill of the hunt, the chance of doing good work and getting filthy (come on, you miss that in today's world, right?), the recycling, the imagining other people's lives... :
( Read more...Collapse )
15th July 2009
Know anything about Chinese names?
I'm creating a Deadlands character who is a guy whose family was associated with a Taoist temple in Guangzhou (Canton), who came to America during the Second Opium War. : ( Research, I haz itCollapse )
Anyway. I'd like to come up with a harmonious Chinese name, and I'm curious if anyone has appropriate knowledge. For a family name, I'm thinking Yan, since it's one of the few that seems neither cliche (like Chang or Wong) nor liable to run into idiot cowboy punsters (like Chou or Wong). Does Yan fit for a Cantonese guy? (In searching, I find that "Guangzhou is the mandarin pronounciation for kwongchow." Huh! I hadn't thought that they wouldn't use the local pronunciation.)
Personal name is harder. My understanding is that the aesthetic in China is to come up with a name that means something good, and which is unlike everyone else's name. In English, I'm figuring on calling him China Jack. But that could easily be something someone stuck on him because they couldn't pronounce his Chinese name... Or perhaps it was something vaguely like his Chinese name. I like the sounds ng, j-, and ts-, in general... Jixu? There is at least one Chinese guy with that name, but I can't find what it means. Is the "xu" the same xu as in Lin Zexu, the opium-destroying badass bureaucrat who I figure Jack's family idolized? Ah Lung is cliche, but I still like it, but I hear both that it means "big dragon" and that the Ah is something added to names to make diminutives. Is "ah" = "big" a nickname thing like "Big Tony"?
Originally posted on Dreamwidth, http://zdashamber.dreamwidth.org/12
31st May 2009
Looming Rose Festival trip
Oh my friends in Portland: I will be up there from Tuesday evening until veeery early Monday morning (the 8th). Most of it will be cruising around with my family and hanging out at the Edgefield, but from Saturday evening until aforementioned very early Monday I will be at liberty and I would love to see you. If someone happens to have crash space, that would also be fine, but is not required... This time I will have a car, and I can go anywhere! Muahaaha! :
To my friends from TV night: Er. I am sorry that I did not realize that this was coming up so soon. If you want to finish Scrubs and watch Leverage without me, that is ok. I can pick up the Leverage, here or there, somehow. I haf my vays.
To all friends not covered by above pronouncements (and those covered who would like another): Yay you are all great thanks!
(Originally posted on Dreamwidth, if it comes through twice I will correct at some point, sorry)
4th May 2009
1 hour left to register to vote
Californians: today is the last day to register to vote for the special election to be held May 19th re: the budget. And the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, at least, isn't planning to stay open late, so probably all over the state, if you moved, or if you suddenly want to be civic, you probably have one hour to physically get to your county's Registrar of Voters office to fill out a form. Godspeed! :
28th April 2009
A baby that's just like LJ - only better
For those following this on Dreamwidth: :
(fancypants html stolen from elf who also has a good basics-of-Dreamwidth post here)
Perhaps you'd vaguely heard about Dreamwidth? ( Here's the dealCollapse )
In other news, I finally signed up last night for the Southwest Airlines frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards. I was going to see if the rental car prices they offered were in fact cheaper. I was diverted from this goal, however, by the link "Get credit for past flights." No shit? I thought, and plugged in a past flight. And got credit. OOOOOOOoooo, I thought, and plugged in all of the flights I took on Southwest in the last two years (I save the notifications in a folder in my email so I can find them before a flight, and don't delete them just in case), and got a free flight out of it. OMG YAY. I can't believe how much better Southwest is than every other airline. I mean, that's just decent. Woo!
8th March 2009
This is what has been going on with race and SF/F
Racefail 09 has been in my head a lot, and I happened to start collecting actual words to post while reading : Jim Hines's post which seems to have a cross-section of the whole debate in the comments. Oh, and by the way, in case you didn't know, there are two useful LJ tricks which may help you out as you go from journal to journal: to see the comments listed in order of time, so you can catch them all, at the end of a LJ URL type ?view=flat ; to switch a journal from some horrible viewscheme like teal text on purple background in a 3 inch wide column, at the end of a LJ URL type ?style=mine.
( Some words from defensive white people lead to my version of a history of Racefail09Collapse )
I'm interested to see that the call for shunning has gone out. Six months or so ago, when I was still following the Nielsen Hayden's blog Making Light, PNH posted related to how a couple white SF/F guys got caught chortling about ragheads, and I commented about how screwed-up it was that the attitude was "oh those guys! la they are jerks"... It was like how Harlan Ellison's assholishness was tolerated for so many years, letting him hurt scores of people before Connie Willis. Why, I asked, weren't we shunning unapologetic bigots? You can see in that comment thread the result: a few people saying Wooo! and a few people saying OMG STAR CHAMBER and most people ignoring the issue entirely until they could divert it into another thread on how to apologize. So that! to the people who are like "well if we were just talking nicely among people of our own type in a controlled environment surely this would get solved".
Anyway, do I still feel like unapologetic fucks should not be invited to take part in cons, anthologies, all that professional-ish stuff? Yes. And I'm glad to see that author/bloggers like Jo Walton have come to the same conclusion.
Some other author-type people who have done well (many found from the list at sheafrotherdon's): Justine Larbalestier, Naomi Novik, Ann Leckie, Sherwood Smith, Kate Elliott, Liz Williams, Martha Wells, Claudia Gray, Alistair Reynolds, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Eleanor Arnason, Stacia Kane, Tim Pratt... I'm missing some, please fill in, I heard Pamela Dean but I don't have links? Editor-type people who have done well: Susan Marie Groppi, Debbie Notkin, Christopher Barzak, Niall Harrison, L. Timmel Duchamp. Oh! And of course there's the authors who have been great all along: K. Tempest Bradford, N.K. Jemisin, Moondancer Drake, Helen Keeble...
And here are some other brilliant posts about this whole schlmiel: ciderpress points out that it's not like POC feel all happy with these continual blowups even if white people learn stuff; bossymarmalade writes a lovely response to Bear's fail; asim peacefully fills in some historical MLK Jr perspective; thingswithwings notes how the antiracists are the ones with posts jampacked with links and attributions because they've learned about being blown off. rydra_wong links everything said by everybody if you want to know more. I rarely recommend videos, but this one on how to tell people they sound racist is awesome.