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Rainpocalypse: lots of flooding in the streets, some power loss, thanks to surprisingly warm rain. A notably undercrowded commute, both ways; the Wednesday evening commute was more crowded and delayed than either Thursday trip.

It was bad sequel season last week and this weekend: the two Star Trek reboots, and the middle Hobbit movie. It's no accident I opted out of watching the one with the spiders in the movie theater. I'm not terrifically impressed with the "fast forward through the spiders" version either; I miss Bilbo's lighthearted story. AS a fan of the novel, I find the movies don't capture the tone of the book, nor do they reflect many of the themes in Tolkein's mythology. As a movie viewer, I'm disappointed that the script doesn't remember that special effects age much faster than a good story. Somewhere in those nearly three hours of wandering though Mirkwood and Erebor there's a good story. I just don't care enough to try to find it.

By the way, a year of cool-off has not reduced my disgust with the Khan reveal, or Kirk's ridiculous death and resurrection, or Zoe Saldana's absolutely thankless role. In what alternate timeline is Uhura reduced to "the girlfriend"?! Ugh! The 2009 reboot is still watchable, but even with adjusted expectations I'm not feeling Into Darkness.

Through the power of Netflix I also finally watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which was charming, if very dated. Apparently I'm in a singing-dancing-hustling sort of mood.

Moving

Feb. 25th, 2010 08:35 pm
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Tonight's forecast calls for high winds and snow showers. I stood at the bus stop and watched two layers of clouds move across the moon (waxing bright), flurries illuminated in a streetlight, and thought about how I'm not going to see many winter sights like that again: when I left work, there was still an illusion of light in the west, after 6 PM, and I'm moving to San Francisco next month.
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Snowfall stopped around 4 PM Saturday, and the sun popped out for a short while, favoring photographers with amazing vistas: highways reduced to one mostly-plowed lane, trees bent and broken under thirty inches of snow, silly people floundering through snow nearly hip deep. Despite a lot of NOAA noise about blowing snow, there didn't seem to be really high winds or vicious drifting; the sheer quantity of frozen white stuff made up for that.

I'm about the only person having a really great weekend: I haven't lost power; I made snowpocalypse Superbowl friends with neighbors; I'm getting a relaxing long break, with lots of cooking, baking and reading time. Tomorrow I'm going to launch an expedition to the grocery store, then make and freeze a bunch of chili, and maybe have an experiment with lentil soup. If I am good I will review my class notes from last week. Incidentally, neonatal testing is fascinating, and I want a tandem mass spec of my own to cuddle and love. I am almost too happy to read Regenesis, especially since I haven't marked the Good Bits version. Somewhere in the 600 pages of the hardback lurks a really solid 300 page novel.

Tangentially, Jordan Warrick breaks my heart in Regenesis. Maman isn't part of my family vocabulary, but every time Justin calls out to his dad, and Jordan is a crazy ass, it hits close to home and breaks my heart. But why shouldn't Jordan be a bit nuts? Twenty years under suspicion for a murder he didn't commit, stewing under close confinement? A blowout and bad attitude is not surprising, however disappointing. On a completely different note, there is the 1989/2010 technology gap.

Today I made it out to the grocery store, which showed the depredations of citizens bracing for snowpocalypse wave two. I am in ferocious denial of the next wave, and am counting down to clear skies and San Francisco (five days), and by "denial" I mean "restocking the freezer and considering the purchase of a hand-crank radio, should there be one left in the greater DC area." It seems arrogant to assume that, since we avoided an outage last time, we're probably safe this time. On the contrary, I expect stressed systems to go down even harder this time, and my number may be up.

Two snowpocalypse Saturday evening shots. )
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I had forgotten how many snowy pictures I have taken in the last three weeks until I offloaded my camera. Snow last Saturday, snow on Wednesday, snow today - DC's entombment by snow has so far been more entertainment than burden. By five the nearest wunderground station was reporting no wind, presumably because the anemometer was buried, or clogged. By ten the snow was coming down like heavy rain. I took a ten minute walk, and by the time I came back in the first bootprints were already less than crispy.

The view from the traffic cams this morning shows nearly deserted highways and the occasional desperate soul on the streets. I have finished The Riddle-Master of Hed and am going to shovel out M.'s car before reading Regenesis: the Good Bits Version, before I go mad from lack of exercise. At some point I will make pancakes, and brownies, and pasta with sauce, and pray like mad the power doesn't go out.
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Every time I check the forecast, the snow totals have been revised upward. As long as the power stays on, I'm good:I have food, internet access and several novels. I'm trying to re-read The Riddle-Master of Hed, but I don't see what distinguishes the "riddles" from straightforward questions or investigation.

Snow has been falling since about ten this morning, but only in the last twenty minutes has it started to stick on the roads. I anticipate crazy bad weather tomorrow.
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I collected tales of woe yesterday: shoulder injuries, desperately delayed dinners, emergency furnace repairs, work overload, plaintive wishes it were Friday instead of Monday, etc. I baked pick-me-up cookies to bring to work today, because cookies always make everything better. (Except for the celicac crowd. I need to learn some flourless sweets for them.)

The forecast for tonight is snow, on top of this weekend's snow, on top of some very chilly temperatures. My incredibly ugly yet functional snow pants and I refuse to be daunted by this development.
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Today is it sixteen degrees Fahrenheit and snowing, which translates to -9 C and exactly one clothing option: my stepmother's hand-me-down winter field coat and snowpants. Armed with three layers, including water-resistant trousers, I was ready for anything, except DC drivers in wintery conditions. I thought I'd be sliding around the roads by my lonesome today, but I was wrong.

Usually, DC gets heavy, wet snow, since we usually see snow when it's in the high 20's or even closer to freezing, but this winter we're seeing a lot of powder. It's beautiful, and lots of fun to play with, and when it shakes off the pines I feel I'm a lot further west and north than a map would suggest. But the driving - I only saw one accident, but I also stayed way off the highways.
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Me versus the epic work stack; my short day was not. Dump the work stuff at home, get back out the door. Bring an umbrella. Definitely bring an umbrella. Sacrifice a scarf to the Metro Center gods. Drink mead. Who knew mead was delicious? Contribute alphabet soup hilarity to the federal contract lawyer stories. Watch a rhinestone light show. Chaos at the metro transfers: stay ahead of the fools dropping glass ex-Baccardi on the platform and busting open a six-pack. Doze through the crowds, walk through the night, fall in the bed. Happy 2010!




New Year's Day was unusually warm, but 2010 is making up for a gentle start with fierce cold. 20 F isn't that bad, as long as you're dressed for it, and as long as the wind doesn't kick up. However, the colder it gets, the less wind is necessary to feel you're getting chomped to the bone.




Looking back at the last year's goals, I didn't do a great job, but I made progress on most goals. I took my GREs; I took major trips to Chicago, Madison and San Francisco; I at least tried to exercise, though not consistently. I saved like a reasonable person and not a lunatic; I was good about culling things I wasn't using, but lousy about vacuuming. The social life was a mixed bag.

2010 Goals:

1.) Social life: expand this. Dating may be involved.
1a.) Be nicer to people.
2.) Better living through actual budgeting. Spreadsheets may be involved.
2a.) I can haz car? Please? Please please please please? (To be answered by upcoming annual reviews and end of fiscal year bonuses, if any.)
3.) Level up professionally: start hacking on Perl, coming to grips with bioinformatics, and positioning myself from there. Spend more time thinking career and less being annoyed with the problem of the day.

Broad strokes, but why think small?
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Thanks for the "what to do with shredded papers" suggestions: chucking in the garbage/recycling seems to be security-acceptable. (I would ask, "what would you do with my identity? I have nothing worth stealing," but I am certain someone would come up with an appropriately gruesome story. So let's skip storytelling hour and say thanks again for the advice.)

Tonight's attempt at ginger sugar cookies ended in a single, flat, burned "cookie" the size of the pan, that tasted like pure butter. Tentative guesses: overbeat ingredients, not enough flour (2cups flour to 1 cup butter seems...low). I may find another sugar cookie recipe and try adding ginger to it as a workaround.

Snowpocalypse has been a blast: the official snowfall was 22" - 24", but it felt more like 17" in my neighborhood. I had adventures in the snow on Saturday and Sunday, and took some lousy pictures that might eventually be photoshopped into decency. (Or cat macros. Is it still a cat macro if there isn't a cat?) Some of the drifts were hip-high, and I felt lucky I didn't have a car, at least until I volunteered to help dig out M's. Continuing what is becoming a tradition of practical gifts, someone is getting a snow shovel for Christmas. I have great hopes for January and February.

Drippy

Feb. 27th, 2009 12:52 pm
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The really amazing thing about rain is that it's not ice. The winter
may be thinking about ending after all!

Mulligan!

Jan. 29th, 2009 06:32 pm
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This week has seen: unresolved laptop issues, the email about my cousin's little girl's brain surgery on Monday (she's fine - okay, as fine as post-op gets), the latest cultural appropriation round (what's the escalation from trainwreck?), snow, Wednesday's icepocalypse, cancelled evening class, and continued laptop troubleshooting, and Thursday's impromptu 1.5 hour work meeting on What's Changed Since Our Last Meeting (Lots). Also, I left my mp3 player at home. It was sorely missed.

Tomorrow is payday, with 2008 bonus money, and it's also the WSFA Fifth Friday party, which I volunteered to host. By taking the low road (bedroom as storage room), most of the house is mostly presentable, which leaves only food prep and nervous collapse from pre-entertainment nerves. Next time I do something like this, I'm exploring the merits of semi-potluck.

Fortunately, tomorrow is payday, and I get to see people I like, and in a stroke of genius, I foresaw the brewing Steelers Fans Versus Everyone Else conflict and took Superbowl Monday off. I'm debating the value of 1.) going to the free afternoon at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2.) finding someone with TiVo to watch the ads with, 3.) investing some metro time and seeing college people on Sunday. Or combining all of the above, whatever. The point is, it will be a restful three day weekend, except for that part where I have to start studying for class.

If anyone needs directions to Fifth Friday and doesn't have them, comment or email. The ase at livejournal address is broken: use the yahoo address.
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I sort of regret not joining in An Historic Moment, but the way I look at it, if I work today, people I work with get to take the day off and be all historic. Also, the only person I have to share the inaugural crowds with is M., who is a great roommate, but whom I would kill if I were to spend an entire cold, crowded day her company. So my lunch break will weirdly coincide with the webcast and the company bandwidth exploding.

I look at a 19 F temp, and say, "sunny, no wind. Nice day!" Speaking of utter insanity.
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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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It is thirteen degrees out. Celsius people: -10 to you. This? This is not on.

[Poll #1319344]

Also, we're expecting a windy day. Wind chill advisory until 3 PM, brrr!
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Dear Mr. Bush, I hope health care providers refuse to treat you on moral grounds. If you don't believe in treating patients, don't go into medicine. Super headdesk FAIL!

This is probably a really harsh judgment, but it's the head-on collision of two people's rights to hold a moral position. Someone has to give; I'm inclined to force the doctor to make way, especially in regions or health care programs where there isn't a choice to see someone else. Who should enforce "morality"? What is morality? I'm inclined to sacrifice codes of should and should-not to compassion for the currently living.

I don't care what the pedants say, it's winter. Cold, dark winter. The day starts late with gray clouds. Sometimes they don't completely cover the sky. By lunch, they've thinned enough that the sun is only masked by gauzy clouds. After midday, the sun falls back into clouds; the difference between indoors and outdoors is temperature (sometimes) and how high the "ceiling" is. Tuesday night I hitched a ride home with two of my coworkers; we saw two accidents on the road, and then the drizzle tapping on the roof shifted to ice.

Took today and tomorrow off work to kill use-or-lose. Finished 90% of my holiday shopping last night. Today I have spoken less than five sentences to other people all day, finished The Fellowship of the Ring, and made dents in two other books. Fabulous, fabulous introvert paradise.

Monday I got to participate in cool bonus offsite training, and ultimately put in a ten hour day plus dinner after work. Call it twelve hours of coworker interaction. It was good, but a lot of face time. So I am super glad I'm not at work for the the rest of the week. Besides all that holiday stuff to do.

This will be my holiday present to me. There is a strong possibility I will scream like a little girl and take a day off work when Regenesis ships to me. I got bored and made a playlist for this book! Okay, so it's getting redone now that I have Dresden Dolls and Coin-Operated Boy in my life (and by the way, is it just me, or is the Dresden Dolls discography tend to the really creepy?). But the point is, I have inappropriate love for Cherryh's novels. If I finish the other books I'm in the middle of, I'm going to reread Cyteen before Regenesis. I haven't been this excited about a book in a while.
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California is burning, but DC saw flurries this afternoon. Reactions at work spanned the gamut from horror to gleeful organization of snowball fight teams. My moment of horror today was roommate M. revealing her lustful thoughts about Michael Weatherly. Apparently there's an entire fanbase among my age cohort who don't think he's an annoying frat boy? If only House weren't on opposite NCIS, M. and I could bond over TV!

Yesterday I did not buy film. I called my roommate at the mall and asked her to buy me film, because the grocery store I was standing in didn't have the ISO I wanted, unintentionally sending her to a loving interrogation by the sales clerk / photo hobbyist. I am torn between shame and bemusement that I own such a quasi-hipster item. It's, like, vintage. Vintage happens to other people. I just thrift it. (Except when I realize I haven't thought through the cost of film and development. On the other hand, now I have a camera that gives me manual control over depth of field, which I've been jonesing for since about 3 seconds after I discovered non-automatic settings. This is known as impulse shopping, and is bad and wrong. And yet. Am I ebaying this sucker? No. Instead, I'm buying film!)

My little Kodak film camera is a lot like an inkjet printer: the initial outlay is low, but the consumables will kill your budget. I bought this mostly as an exercise in exploring manual settings, which should keep me occupied until I snap and go digital. If I could control digitized f-stops, exposure times, and the rest on a cheap digital, I would so be there. Unfortunately I've either flunked Manual Focus 101, or it's really hard to get that sort of control on a cheap digital point and shoot. Until then, the arcane mysteries of loading film, setting the exposure, and trying to remember what settings I used when (notebook, here I come) should keep me distracted from the momentum-destroying cold and dark of November through January.
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[livejournal.com profile] norabombay has done a 13 song rap/hip-hop primer. I think this is awesome, since I have the sketchiest understanding of the genre, and as a member of the post-MTV generation, I really should be able to put names to Top 40 songs.

Found on YouTube: Kanye West's Katrina outburst, which amuses me way, way too much. YouTube is going to be my new evening timesink. Watch this space for wacky music videos.

Found elsewhere: Martian groundwater; praise is problematic, which will have every single person of my generation nodding along, because it's true, you only see criticism of the stuff worth trying to improve; a spellcheck poem (because affect is not effect, likewise GTP and GFP - take a close look at the most awesome plate ever); the Open WetWare wiki, which may become my new best friend.

Snow: stuck to grass, but not on the roads. I spent the day wavering between enjoying the spectacle and mild irritation at what it does to the spectacles perched on my nose. Today's snow also revealed my secret superpower: I called the college's early closing, to the hour, on request. Psychic powers? Intuitive understanding of how the school does business after four and a half years of experience? I need to get out of Dodge like now.

And now I am going to bed, because it's nearly midnight and I have to be up early tomorrow. Watch this space for "instant human: add caffeine" moments.

Snow Day!

Feb. 14th, 2007 08:29 pm
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Today I blew off work. I feel really bad about it, but I'm reluctant to scamper around ice storm debris when I'm lugging a laptop without a really compelling reason. I stayed home, finished the novel I've been reading, and ate pasta and oranges, not at the same time. I also started typing up my reaction to my novel, and realized I was a little disgusted with it. People who know me: tell me at least one reason why I do not like Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. "It's a romance" does not count. Discussion in comments.

At some point I realized it was Valentine's Day, and that I was trashing a romance novel, and that if I'd been on the ball I could have had chocolate today. I think this means I've failed to observe every major American holiday but Thanksgiving and Halloween in the last six months: Christmas, Hanukah, the Superbowl... anyway.

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