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Following up on the previous post, Misattribution of Arousal. Aron and Dutton showed when you feel aroused, you naturally look for context, an explanation as to why you feel so alive. This search for meaning happens automatically and unconsciously, and whatever answer you come up with is rarely questioned because you don’t realize you are asking. . . [t]he source of your coursing blood is more ambiguous if you just drank a Red Bull before heading into a darkened theater to watch an action movie. You can’t know for sure it if it is the explosions or the caffeinated taurine water, but damn if this movie doesn’t rock.

Sometimes it's the raging feminist, sometimes it's the rage. Either way, approach with courtesy and respect.




Yesterday the San Francisco Symphony performed in Golden Gate Park. Set list:

Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain"
Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, with pianist Valentina Lisitsa
Beethoven Symphony No. 5
Encore: Tchaikovsky, Overture from the "Nutcracker Suite"

I was not particularly interested in "Night on Bald Mountain" or the Beethoven, both of which suffer from overexposure. The Rachmaninoff was stunningly beautiful, and broke me a bit. However, who does the Nutcracker in July? Every red-blooded American knows that the 1812 Overture is summer music, fog or no fog.




Over Independence Day weekend, I caught up on the fourth, fifth, and sixth Harry Potter movies, which I'd missed in theaters. I thought I hadn't seen any of them, but Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gave me deja vu in several spots, so perhaps I caught part of it on cable at some point. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is waiting at the library. I might pick it up tomorrow, but with Inception waiting as well, it's unlikely I'll pop it in the DVD drive before Friday.




Essays on San Francisco radicals of bygone years are no good for me; my first reaction to protesters disrupting public transit should be "and what train did you get to the BART station, anyway?" not, "and why am I not down there?"
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Amazon has the new Lady Gaga album for 99 cents. If that's an accident, I'm not asking too closely.

Yesterday I made it to Maker Faire, an inspired conflagration of "look what I made!": computer hackers, crafters, robots, steampunk, etc. I made it three hours before overload set in.

Friday night I watched Sleepless and Seattle. My conflicting yet keenly felt feelings on rom-com and romantic dramas were quickly set aside for angst over my reinvention of early '90s hair. Oops?

Thanks to Roommate #3, I've also subjected myself to parts of two episodes of Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline. When he got bored with that he switched to Stargate. My roommates, they are geeks too.




My LJ paid account expired last week. I'm not sure I'm going to re-up; I'm using LJ very differently from how I used it in 2002 (!). Some of that, I'd like to think, is a reflection of growing maturity, and learning from other people's experiences.

What's the next big thing? We've done usenet, chat rooms, mailing lists, instant messaging, myspace, LJ, and other blogging services. Facebook is an establishment. LinkedIn is on an upswing. Everywhere I turn someone's updating their Twitter feed. Some communication platforms have found a niche; some are on the long tail. A few are... further along. Different platforms have had different strengths and weaknesses: mailing lists are a great way to blast lots of people at once, LJ encouraged mixing the significant and the minutia, facebook had critical mass. Where are the fannish zeitgeists going next? For a while, everyone was on LJ, or had a blog with an LJ feed. The diaspora seems to be going to Dreamwidth and AO3 for the fangirls, with some FB for the sci-fi club scene.

So. Where are people hanging out online, and where are you all going next?
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Friday night I finished Tales of the City. Whoever suggested I was Mary Ann Singleton: good call!

If you're ever looking up lyrics, "Karma Killer" is Robbie Williams. "Karma Police" is Radiohead. Don't mix these up.

I have a verbal offer for a temp job with a commute that makes me question my sanity. I'm waiting for a written offer before emailing the hiring manager about where I can put the bicycle I don't own yet. Which will be coming with me to and from Caltrain. Seriously, sanity: where did you go?

(I have an excuse to buy the bike I've wanted since moving to San Francisco, that's where it went!)

With classes done, and being between FT work, I have entirely too much time on my hands.

For reasons likely related to all the above, I have been rereading MZB's Darkover novels. They're one of the candy bars of fiction: cheaply available and not high art. But sometimes, you need a Three Musketeers bar and The Forbidden Tower. (Cursory google suggests a fangirl generation imprinted on Regis and Danilo, who win the woobie award, but I fell hard for the OT4.) There's an entire separate post to be written about MZB's interactions with the fan community, and which books are best / worst / most historically interesting, but wow, I'm picking up currents and rivers and entire oceans of MZB's personal politics I didn't notice as a teen.

...now I really want a Three Musketeers bar. Drat.

*Wicked*

Aug. 13th, 2010 12:30 am
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I have seen Wicked at the Orpheum. My room looks like the victim of a fashion tornado. I'm dealing with the clothes tomorrow; right now I'm going to crash.
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My father has never heard of Celine Dion.

"Celine Dion?", I said, over blueberry pancakes and all natural pomegranate juice. "Celine 'My Heart Will Go On' Dion? 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now'? Queen of the '80s and '90s power ballad?"

Now dad's accusing me of making him look like a blithering idiot on the internet. He is pulling up a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young documentary on the HD as an example of "real music". Apparently, liking CSNY is proof you are not an idiot. This would be a lot more convincing if he weren't reminiscing about what he got up to when he saw CSNY in '74; also if I hadn't seen people try to use Coldplay and the Decemberists as evidence against the same charges. Bless you, dad: 30 years is the only thing separating you from the hipsters.

Next up: double-chocolate cookies in the oven. Dad and I agree the recipe is suspect, but that's okay: I know where to find a triple-ginger cookie recipe for backup desert.
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In affirmation that I know a thing or two about Photoshop, I rock.

Blah blah blah GRE angst. )

It's time to turn over my work playlists, but I'm running into problems: I already have half of Pink's "Stupid Girls" album in different mixes. So I'll have to branch out a bit. My life is so hard (not really): there is too much awesome music in the world.

I complained about a laundry list of worried well concerns to my doctor at my last appointment, and got a suggestion to exercise more and snack for the blood sugar shakes. So basically, what I was doing my last year of college? Sweet. Except for the part where I was about three times more active in college than I am now: I'm going to have to integrate running or swimming or cycling into every day. This could be hard.

I finally bought my San Francisco plane tickets: in town the evening of the 16th, heading home on a redeye on the 21st. I have guide books, no idea what I'm going to do there, and no idea where I'm staying, other than "not in a high crime area like the Tenderloin." Yay vacation!
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I'm going through another spate of playlist creation in my search for the Perfect Work Mix (120 - 180 minutes of rocking awesome that will cut through the background noise without blowing my eardrums). I started out hating Rob Thomas and now I am strangely addicted to "Fire on the Mountain", even though I also want to steal the instrumentals for mashups. (From about 1998 - 2003 I hated everything on every rock or alt rock radio station. Everything. So I was not particularly keen on Matchbox 20, mostly because I didn't know I was looking for pop with a dance beat.) It's a slightly guilty pleasure, like reading trashy fantasy novels.

Speaking of trashy fantasy novels - yes, please disagree with me - I am rereading His Majesty's Dragon. There is a touching scene early in the novel where outside forces tell Laurence it's his duty to leave Temeraire in other people's care - forever - and Temeraire disagrees. Emphatically. Laurence gives up and admits that Temeraire is awesome and he'd never leave him. Somehow I am reminded of Lyra and Pan in the intercision chamber, and incidentally I'm a little disturbed by this comparison of two novels which have nothing to do with each other. I mean, Novik is Neopoleonic wars with dragons, occasionally using some thematic conflict about duty and justice to make the reader say, "no! You can't do that to Temeraire!" while making very sad faces, and The Golden Compass is the first in a trilogy taking on God and religion. Temeraire is not Laurence's daemon (much), but apparently it's that hard to break up the set.

To bring these two together: if at any point I wind up with a set list that doubles for His Majesty's Dragon and rocking awesome music for work, I will be deeply disturbed.
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I cannot deny it: I love the power ballad.

Possibly I created a Pandora station by the power of typing "Holding Out for a Hero" and clicking, "thumbs up, thumbs up, oh hit me!" in quick succession to celebrate this.

Confession time: I think I like ABBA a little bit. Also I like Lady GaGa, because 1.) we listened to the same Queen songs, and 2.) she's about performance for the sake of glittery performance. (And, okay, I like Boys Boys Boys a little too much.) It probably helps I listen to The Fame and mostly ignore the music videos, because she cannot, alas, gyrate like Britney Spears or demonstrate Rihanna's dancing chops. And maybe I have a thing for Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield", for which I totally blame Pat Benatar, which brings me full circle: if I could make a 2 hour mix of power ballads from the '70's to today, I totally would.
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I dreamed.

I dreamed I was in a desert called Cyberland - okay, not really. It was only nearly that bad.

I dreamed I was transported to a high school or college chorus. In performance. I wasn't supposed to be there: I had to read off another alto's music, and I know I was sometimes singing in a key not known to the rest of humanity. But I was getting it: I wound up in the wrong place for the comedy number (something Christmasy, from the combination of green and red chorus dresses), but I pratfalled my way into the right place and turned it into a good time.

At the end of the concert, I was expecting a "who are you?" dressing-down, and instead the director said, "that was great, next semester you're going to have to dedicate all your time -"

" - but I graduated in 2006," I said. "I'm not even in school."

And then I woke up.

So I guess I really do miss chorus.
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Dear Pandora: I wish there was a way to tell you I hate Brandon Flowers's voice. I would be willing to try covers of Killers songs some time, if there's any on your servers.

Also I made the saddest mix ever, featuring the "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" from the Master & Commander soundtrack, and the Virginia Gentlemen a capella cover of "Mercy Street". I'd also have Tallis's "Spem in Alium" on there, but then I would be useless at work, and that's no good.
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I am five years too young for Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson's death to really hit me, but the US versus Spain upset? Something froze over last weekend.

Eventually I will get out the door and get my errands done: library books, groceries, and oh, go put in OT. The awesome thing about lab work is that there's no questions about bringing your work home, but that also means you can't do your work in your PJs while culling the 3 hours 45 minutes of music that's accumulated in the NEW - LISTEN TO THIS folder. (The caps are authentic. Because seriously: nearly four hours of mostly single songs. Wow.) Plus the folders [personal profile] sgsguru gave me, which are awesome, but named in iTunes horror format. BRPM.m4a is only useful in WinAmp, with metadata. Incidentally, if anyone has an extension that lets XP read m4a metadata? Please cough up.
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Since Pandora took Muse and Bon Jovi and gave me Kevin Rudolf, it is my new best friend. For the five minute increments I'm at my work computer.

When I am organizing my days, I feel very relaxed, despite the extra cat- and plant-feeding I am doing. Then I remember that the last time I did this, I signed a lease, packed and moved in less than three weeks, while feeding the cats and without taking time off work. So perhaps it's not surprising I am so laid-back this time I'm sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Or perhaps I'm filling it with other activities. Last weekend I had a double share of socializing Friday evening, gave blood Saturday morning, attended a Fever/Dream at Woolly Mammoth Saturday night with [personal profile] twistedchick, and had dinner Sunday with dad. That would also explain why I am curiously sleepless; also, I do badly with sleep when I'm not getting enough exercise. This leads to short-term attention memory deficit, why didn't I remember to load any music on my mp3 player, why am I wiped out at 4 PM, why I haven't the sense to stretch out and nap on the couch, today's movie double feature (The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home - stop looking at me like that, what did I just say about sleep deprivation?) and a curious inability to do anything constructive without external motivation.

Thanks to [personal profile] sgsguru's kind birthday gift, I am feeling the need to make an I Love the '70s (and '60's, and '80s, and country, and classical, and conscious hip-hop, and - okay, I just like music) mp3 mix, but I think I've finally been up long enough to fall over and sleep.

"Reunion Hill" is and isn't summer music; this is one of the cooler summers I remember, which is okay by me, but breaking out the DMB classics like "Ants Marching" when it's less than 80 F seems just wrong, however long the days may be. I'm sure August will fix this to and beyond my satisfaction, but for the moment the weather is keeping my attention.

Another reason my eye is on the weather is Friday's company picnic. If it rains this year, that will make three picnics in a row that have been rained out, and the forecast is calling for thundershowers.
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Okay, it all makes sense now: Teardrops on My Guitar was written by Taylor Swift when she was seventeen. Love Story has no excuse. But the arrangement stands up in piano and cello mashup.

(It turns out I like my country a little bloodcurdling, like the Dixie Chick's Goodbye Earl and SHeDAISY's A Night to Remember.)

Also known to show up on my music playlists: Lonestar ("borrowed" from my sister several years ago), Big & Rich, LeeAnn Womack. It turns out I really like country-pop crossover.

I left my mp3 player at my desk when I broke for the door today, which is probably for the best, since I'd just load it with ridiculous quantities of guitar.

I went looking for a topically appropriate picture and found nothing. I need to go to more concerts. In the meantime, can I break for an ode to macro settings? I use mine to fake depth of field all the time when I'm taking small-scale pictures. Macro is my favorite setting on my camera. So have a pretty flowering plant of known species. If I just killed your bandwidth dead, tell me and I will stop posting 640x480 pics unless they're behind a cut.

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It's official: I am banned from making triple chocolate cookies (with all of one serving instant coffee spread across just under 50 cookies) without the following controls:

1.) Finish baking before 1 PM
2.) All cookies in the freezer or out of the house before 3 PM

I am two for two on making these cookies, eating 3 - 5, and being hyper until one in the morning. Everyone at work is right: these are dynamite cookies. They're dynamite because you're wired while metabolizing that much sugar.

I realized today that I need to learn the polite way to tell people their music is artistically questionable and disruptive to my concentration. Whoever thought up smooth jazz and the soprano saxophone has much to answer for.

Less than a week until I'm on vacation! I need to call dad and arrange to steal his dSLR. Maybe by telling him it's an excuse to return his DS9 DVDs. Yep.
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This week is going on forever, kind of like winter did. I am beaten down. I am happy to see the forsythia, and usually I'm not a fan of that much yellow in one place. Yet this year I look at it and think it's a pretty sight, especially at sunset, when it looks like so much congealed sunlight. Only without the negative connotations. See what I mean about tired? Also, today's rain is not welcome to stay the weekend. I want to be outside.

My roommates are driving me less crazy, and I've decided to take their outbreak of madness as an inspiration: look! I am not going to pieces and driving the people around me up a wall! I have pulled my act together more than I thought I had! Also, it's obviously time to take up an exercise regimen as an alternative to being in the house and available for roommate upset. I. Don't. Care. The well of empathy is dry until I get seven hours of sleep in a row and talk to people whose opinions I value on topics I find interesting.

Barring that, I will take the "worst of MTV" Youtube challenge. Team K&L were the most interesting thing I saw at WSFA last week when they showed me Tainted Love (unwanted touching from starpeople) and I brought Total Eclipse of the Heart (with inexplicable dancing ninjas) to the table. K&L tried to top this with a video that made Eurovision look like the height of good taste, and I have, thank you, blotted that one from my memory. What's your favorite "how did anyone think this was a good idea?" music video? Bad special effects are not an instant win: utter tastelessness must be on display.
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How can you tell it's nearly spring in DC? Three to twelve inches of
snow on Monday melt away in Friday's 65 F sun. It's a pleasure to see
little blades of grass at your toes, however sere and winter-seared
the hills look.

There are hymns sung in a style worthy of Christmas mall music playing
less than 50 feet from me. Am saving myself from premature diabetes by
way of my favorite-this-week mix:

The Moving mix. R. E. M., P!nk, Talib Kwaeli, the JBT, the Whitlams, K-OS., et al. )

And back to paperwork. Grr.
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The best thing about Wednesdays is that they end.

This week I finally got new headphones. My Koss KSC75's bit the dust after about nine months of heavy use. I killed the uncomfortable backup earbuds in ten days while angsting over replacement headphones. I ultimately blew an Amazon giftcard on Sennheiser HD201's and bought new KSC75's as backups. The HD201's are big fat DJ headphones, with enough padding to cut background noise, but they don't play nicely with earrings, and are driving me subtly nuts because I can't hear stuff.

However, my Sansa Clip fits snugly in the HD201's headphone cups, which is nearly worth the price of admission right there.

I've had the 4 GB Clip since October, and I have mixed feelings about upgrading from the 2 GB for really petty reasons: it's easier to find the playlist of interest when there's less to pick from, and the sports case is too small for the slightly wider 4 gig clip. Actually, the second reason isn't that petty: the pressure from the fabric cover at the headphone jack keeps sliding the headphones just a bit out of contact, cutting out one ear in the processes. It makes me wonder if the old headphones really died, or just needed to be plugged in more firmly.
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Ha ha ha, guess what? Computer people say I broke the baby laptop's software but good! As in, won't get to the command prompt or autoboot from the CD drive good. I foresee time and money spent to fix this.

Note to self: no, no one wants you to chapter-by-chapter blog Regenesis. It would not be entertaining. Half of your comments would be, "Jesus God, Ari. You are not now and never will be the Holy Ghost!" and an \o/ + /o\ tally for Justin and Jordan fights. The other half would be canon-tracking against the rest of the canon and bad ideas in the margins.

I am not a happy music camper. The last playlist I made had issues: one, it was backwards. After I flipped the order, it sucked only a little. I'm fixing it. Two, I need more music in the vein of Are You Out There and The Mountain. Any recs?

Today I made french toast, and wow, was it ever soggy. Here's what I did:

Recipe for the curious )

I think I've got the heat too low, but I'm not ruling out other options.
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Icepocalypse has failed to materialize again. Instead I worked 8.5 hours, attended a lunch presentation on supplemental insurance, joined the community chorus, walked something like six miles between all locations, and killed my cell phone battery. In the event of the improbable, I have purchased Regenesis (two miles!), and have hot chocolate on tap. (At 10:20 PM. When your 40% off coupon expires today, you buy the long-anticipated hardcover today.) Apparently, walking six miles with an umbrella - plus the 50 feet (yards?) between lab and my desk, times why can't I remember everything on the first try?! - is about what it takes to tire me out. (People keep asking me for my work number. I keep giving out my cell because I'm never at my desk, unless I'm getting ready to leave it. It's a thing.)

Roads stayed clear, but at one point the little spotlights on residential signage were steaming. The trees are icing up, super-shiny under sodium lights, and doubtless will lose branches before the sun comes up and turns mini-tree-icicles into microscopic prisms. Very picturesque, like most situations waiting to slide out from under you.

Full work week, here I come! I would be relieved at the chance to catch up on work backlog, if I weren't also up at one in the morning.
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Saturday I lost my mind at church bazaars and thrift shops, returning home with, among other items:

One dry clean only vest
The obligatory black desk lamp (note to [livejournal.com profile] ashcomp: it does work!)
One folding side table turned laptop stand
A Kodak Retina 1b (little b)
The tchotchke change-bank, Mr. Soccerhead, which would be more appropriate in a soccer-mad eight year old's room.

The desk lamp was on purpose. Everything else sort of happened. The Kodak was a classic example of why I shouldn't be allowed to impulse shop; however, I now have a working camera. And in a worst case scenario, I can ebay it without loss.

I also ate an open-faced sandwich, a danish, and half of an apple dish topped with whipped cream, and had to stop when the dairy vs lactase GI battle started. It's getting to the point that I want to spit out anything that tastes like dairy, even when I'm not on antibiotics, and I'm thinking that's not a bad reflex.

Friday evening I saw Amy Ray perform at the 9:30 Club. I mentioned my plans to my roommate Friday morning and she elected to come with me. We met up at Busboys and Poets, and grabbed dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl, which wins for adding the Obamas to the list of people who eat free at the restaurant (previously: Bill Cosby and.... Bill Cosby) and delivered to us M.'s burger and french fries just out of the deep fryer, still crispy on the outside and hot on the soft inside. They needed salt, which I added along with pepper, but were awesome otherwise. I had gotten out of work later than expected, so we missed the opening act, but got there in time for the main act sound check and milling around. M. had no clue who Amy Ray is, or who Indigo Girls are, so the small but enthusiastic crowd of obviously non-straight people was a bit of a surprise. However, she really enjoyed the set list; as M. remarked, Amy Ray sounds a lot like protest songs, of which M. would be an excellent judge.

Herself and the band came on to cheers. This is not a woman given to intraset chatter: it's pretty much, "thanks, y'all", a stab at retuning the guitar, and on to the next song. Ray played a bunch of her solo songs, including Let It Ring and Johnny Rottentale, which caught my attention for being performed on mandolin.

This was totally my crowd: doors were at 6 PM, and we were kicked out at nine; wearing Office Chic (no-heels boots and skirt, plummy button-up shirt) I was overdressed. So M. and I had plenty of time to walk back to the red line by way of Busboys and Poets and Adams Morgan. B&P was packed with humanity, and is so left-leaning it's about to fall into self-parody, but it seems to welcome browsers. Adams Morgan was just packed: fun to visit, but I'd probably snap if I lived in any proximity to that many night owls. I tend to forget that DC is tiny, so walking "off" the green line and back to red is not only possible but more fun than messing with transfers.

Also, about 10,000 bills hit last week, so I'm really looking forward to payday. A lot.

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