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Scribblings by Lizbeth
A lie on the throne is a lie still, and truth in a dungeon is truth still.
16th-Jul-2012 09:09 am - When Fans Collide Over the Phone
Awesome_August J. Pollak
I just had the most awesome chat over-the-phone with one of the IT Guys:

Me: Ummm, you know that program you pushed to my computer via the [Jolly Green Giant's] network? It did not install.

Donnie the IT Guy: *sigh* Yes. I see. Did you...

Me: Yes! Yes! I did turn it off and on again before I called you!

Donnie the IT Guy: *pause* You've seen the IT Crowd?

Me: How I answer that depends on whether you're a Roy or a Moss...

This led to the Best. Ever. Service. From. IT. Evar!

Sometimes it just pays to have Netflix Streaming. Just sayin'...

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13th-Jul-2012 03:23 pm - Odd Fandom Realizations for the Day
Odd Fandom Realization of the Day 1

Known Fact About Moi: Necrophilia squicks me out. Especially since I once wrote a story about a court case about a guy who...yeeeeaaaaaah. Not gonna finish that sentence. Use your imagination.

Pointed Out to Me: You realize that you haaaaaaaate all Vampire/Human ships, right? Like, Dude, you're the only person I know who hates Buffy/Angel and Buffy/Spike equally. In fact, you still do. When was the last time you even watched BtVS or AtS again?

Recently Realized Fandom Evolution: I have lost all interest in shows that feature vampires. I've only watched the first episode of "True Blood" and gave "The Vampire Diaries" a complete pass. I've steered clear of any and all vampire-related stories. Why? Because inevitably the human female lead winds up screwing one or more male vampires, even if she's all, "Ewwwwww!" at the thought at the start of the series. And when this inevitably happens, I get annoyed and lose patience, because I am not, not, not going to hang in there in the hopeless hope that the human female will come to her senses and drop the blood sucker, preferably into a vat of holy water.

Odd Recent Fandom Realization: My severe dislike of all human/vampire pairings going back to when I was still in college can be traced to my necrophilia squick. I can't get it out of my head that, no matter what, a VAMPIRE IS A FUCKING CORPSE!

Odd Fandom Realization of the Day 2

Known Fact About Moi: The shortest guy I ever dated was 5'11". I am 5'1" in my stocking feet.

Recently Realized Fandom Evolution: While I'm not a 'shipper by nature (and certainly never a rabid one) I've recently realized that I tend to be fond of fictional relationships involving really, really tall men and really, really short women.

Odd Recent Fandom Realization: It appears I have a fetish. Dear God.

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Behold! The Great White Shark Tribe has once again descended upon Cape Cod (it appears we are a gourmet destination for the big buggers thanks to our over-abundance of seals).

The weekend yielded what is, in my opinion, the most awesome picture of the Great White Shark Tribe summering down on the Cape.


—Shelly Negrotti/AP

Just for the record, this was taking place 150 feet off-shore in 8 feet of water. So we're talking really, really shallow water that's really, really close to shore.

And by the way, both the dudes in the picture did not expect to cross paths with what is believed to be a 12- to 14-foot long Great White. (All the shark did was sniff around to see if the kayaker was a seal and then took off when it was determined that plastic and seal flesh are not the same thing. Still. Yikes!)

In any case, the Cape Cod Times has the obligatory "And then I wet my pants..." interview.

For more of a nation-wide overview of the Great White Sharks' rekindled love of all things Cape Cod, MSNBC has more here.

In any case, it appears the Great White Shark Tribe are here to stay as permanent summer tourists, much to the delight of the locals who are sucking up the yummy money from human shark-spotters.

Although it appears that kayakers and paddleboarders may want to pay attention to the local Shark Spotters before taking to the seas.

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29th-Jun-2012 11:20 am - Yay! A Vid to Brighten Your Day
And once again, RL is kicking my ass.

So it is with great happiness that I find out that there's a new "Dancing Matt" video out for this year.

Okay. I know. Just a little cheesy at this point, but if you need a cheer-up there really isn't any better.

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24th-May-2012 04:13 pm - Things that Make You Head-Desk
I've decided: Harmonian fans are far, far scarier than Whedonites. For real.

The sustained temper-tantrum going on in Community online fandom is awesome to behold. Look, I'm sorry Sony decided to replace Dan Harmon since he was basically the show-runner auteur, but the fact of the matter is that most of the writing staff, production crew, and all of the cast is staying on.

While no doubt Community is going to change, after the sometimes-indulgent second half of Season 3, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing if Community starts being a little less up its own meta-ass.

And I say this as someone who has fallen head-over-heels with this show.

Besides, there's no way you can convince me that Harmon didn't know this was coming, considering he shares agents with the new show runners (Can you say LAWSUIT if Harmon's telling the truth, boys and girls?), and Comedy Central announced that he was working on a pilot for them even before Sony's announcement that Harmon was being being replaced.

You wanna feel bad for someone?

Feel bad for the reporters of the New Orleans Times-Picayune who found out today that one-third of them will be losing their jobs.

How did they find out?

By reading The New York Times.

Yeah. Now that's classy right there.

I'm saving my sympathy for the poorly paid newspaper personnel who are now shit out of luck. Given the way the newspaper industry is going, chances are most of those people — reporters and editors included — are going to not only have to switch careers, but leave the industry all together if they ever want to work for a living again.

Shit like this puts things in perspective, no?

Note to self: Stop nosing around the edges of online Community until Season 4 starts because biting my tongue hard enough to make it bleed is causing anemia.

Also: File this shit under how fandom can be fucking funny.

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6th-Apr-2012 10:45 am - Out Burns-ing Ken Burns
Annie_Community_Bad Good Wolf
Someone explain to me how it's even possible that a comedy that clocks in at 21+ minutes (minus commercials) can actually out-Ken Burns Ken Burns?

How is this possible?

I pretty much spent the entirety of Community howling with laughter, right from the PBS-like cold open to the close of the PBS-like pledge drive.

And, and, AND!

They parodied Burns's The Civil War to absolute perfection! Right from the liberal use of still photographs with voice-overs, Britta's attempts at dramatic war photography, the dramatic readings of the text messages between Jeff and Annie (I was howling people...HOWLING!), to the musical signature that sounded suspiciously like "Ashokan Farewell".

And finally, KEITH DAVID as the narrator. He actually worked with Burns!

It's like Ken Burns threw up all over Community. No, wait. That's exactly what happened!

This episode has rocketed to the number two spot in my heart ("Remedial Chaos Theory" will never be dislodged because it's the first episode I ever watched) just for the Burns-ian/PBS-ian conceit alone.

You can watch the whole episode at NBC.com, and it is soooooo worth watch if you've seen even one Burns doc and even if you've never seen Community before. Beware, though. I believe the video is geo-locked, but I'm not sure which regions have access and which don't.

Wheeee! My week is now officially lighter.

And I have the overwhelming urge to watch Ken Burns's The Civil War again.

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5th-Apr-2012 08:51 am - SERENITY NOW!
Annie_Community_Bad Good Wolf
Wow, it's been...

*counts on fingers*

Almost 6 months before I posted anything at all at any journal.

So, the short answer? Not dead.

The long answer? Real life, work, school, parental units? Kinda kicking my ass.

Thank god the Daleks have put out a relaxation vid. I don't know how I would've survived without it.

Seriously. Best. Thing. Ever.

Between this and Inspector Spacetime, I think I'm set.

What? Don't look at me like that. Yes, I've finally discovered Community (see icon). Thank you "Remedial Chaos Theory" (literally the first episode of Community I've ever seen and I was hooked like a hooked thing) and Hulu and Netflix and now DVDs from Amazon.

With the way my life is going these days, 21+ minutes per episode is kind of like the perfect size.


How is it possible that Bio 101 has so much writing involved? I seriously have to write a 1–2 page lab paper per week. And I swear I have a test every second Monday of the month (I have one this Monday in fact). Plus the reading. The reading. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I keep asking myself how I managed to go to school full time and work full time when I was getting my bachelors because I sure as hell couldn't do that now!

Anyway, this rambling message brought to you by...by...exhaustion? Yes. Exhaustion.

I'll try to be better about keeping in touch. I swear.

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7th-Nov-2011 11:19 am - Over on NPR: R.E.M. Listening Party
Pride and Prejudice_Darcy_Excited
NPR is hosting a first listen for R.E.M.'s farewell greatest hits double-CD Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011.

Yes, 'tis streaming now!

While it's great to listen to some great R.E.M. songs from really, really early in their career that never, ever get air play (like "Radio Free Europe", "Driver 8", and "Fall On Me"), if you already own a boatload of R.E.M. CDs it seems that this release is not worth getting. There is nothing rare or unusual to be found on the two-disc set. It is what it says on the tin: a greatest hits release that collects music from across R.E.M.'s career.

I will admit this much: listening to the R.E.M. stream has inspired me to dig out my bootleg R.E.M. CDs when I get home. I have the "Bingo Hand Job Live at the Borderline" (from 1991) and "Poets of the Wheat" (bootleg compilation of various live performances recorded across 1989-90).

Also, I apologize for not responding to my "Ask the Person Who Grew Up in a Haunted House" post yet. Things have been a bit nuts in RL at my end, between preparing to go back to school, work, and some life-change type things with the parental units.

It doesn't help that on weekends I collapse into a whimpering heap, barely able to complete even the most basic chores.

*sigh* It'll slow down soon. Maybe. I hope.

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27th-Oct-2011 10:24 am - Facts and figures on income iniquity
Some interesting points in favor of supporting the Occupy Movement (as I do).

First up, Matt Taibbi lays it out for people who keep insisting on "not getting" what the Occupy Movement is about, which is amazing considering there are freakin' signs explaining it. Read, Wall Street Isn't Winning — It's Cheating for the best (and best-resourced) explanation why a good chunk of us 99% are pissed off.

The import nut graphs from Taibbi's article:

The point being: we have a massive police force in America that outside of lower Manhattan prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history's more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don't live in that heavily-policed country. There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park.

These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don't want handouts. It's not a class uprising and they don't want civil war -- they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It's amazing that some people think that that's asking a lot.

Yes. This. Exactly. Go read the whole thing.

Also, from LiveScience, an infographic on the spread of income/power iniquity in the U.S.

Warning: Large embedded infographic under the cut!Collapse )

No, your eyes are not deceiving you when you see the cycle of the wealth gap in this country.

No wonder why many school districts have cut back on teaching post-Civil War U.S. history in schools. If more people realized that we were making the exact same damn mistakes over, and over, and over again, things would get real ugly hereabouts.

Why yes, history is a weapon, provided you educate yourself and use what you've learned. You can start with buying Howard Zinn's book to see how the shit hit the fan before. And by seeing what happened before, you can definitely see how the shit hit the fan again.

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I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now, and have held off for various reasons.

But I've decided: 'Tis the season! And what's the season without a little old ghost story?

In this case, a ghost story that's roughly 40 years old and still going strong.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Liz! What's with the woo? You're all about the science!"

To which I must answer, "Indeed. I'm a hard-core skeptic, especially when it comes to claims that some place is haunted."

The irony is this: If I didn't grow up in a house that was haunted, I'm pretty sure I'd be much less of a skeptic about these things. And honestly? That's not at all unusual for people who've grown up in for-reals haunted spaces. They tend to be the biggest skeptics of all when it comes to claims about hauntings (and by extension, all things woo — like UFOs and pyramid power).

It's because we know, man. We know.

So, I offer myself up for questions about growing up in a haunted house.

But first, I'll try to get some of your questions out of the way with a FAQ of the ghosts that still (un)live in the house in which I grew up.

We've never been scared. Startled at times, but not scared.Collapse )

Wow. That went on longer than I thought. And I'm sure there are lots of questions out there.

So have at it. I will answer questions as they come in between now and November 1, 2011.

I will answer all of them (it just may take me awhile).

I'll tackle them in the evening, when I actually have time to respond.

And no, this isn't a joke. I'm not making anything up. I'm being deadly serious.

But it's okay if you laugh.

I'd laugh, too.

If, y'know, I didn't grow up in the house that I did.

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Sorry to post and run, but I have to share this:

The new Ken Burns documentary, Prohibition, on PBS has been running for the past three nights.

Guess which company decided to pitch in for local co-sponsorship of the series on WGBH Channel 2 — Boston?

The Boston Brewing Company, makers of Samuel Adams Beer.

What? It amused me! It even made me laugh out loud!

By the way, if you missed Prohibition, you can watch it, and access the additional material, at PBS.org.

Highly recommended for its in-depth look on how Prohibition happened (Hint: It wasn't exactly overnight, and the prohibitionists actually kind of had a point.)

Was it my imagination, or was there a subtle parallel being drawn between Prohibition and our current War on Drugs?

I mean, the reasons for it happening, active lawbreaking by otherwise law-abiding citizens, tactics for enforcement, problems with enforcement, and ever-escalating violence sounded and looked awfully similar.

I'm just sayin'.

(And yes, I'm for full legalation. For all of it. Or, should I say, let's legalize and then tax the shit out of it. Marijuana legalization alone would get us as a nation lots of yummy tax money — not to mention the savings we'd realize when the police stop chasing pot heads for anything other than DUIs.)

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4th-Oct-2011 09:53 am - *facepalm*
Why, oh why do I bother with FB? The knee-jerking, stupid, selfishness is strong there.

Dear former high school classmates living by the credo, "Fuck you, I got mine":

  • To the guy who was a straight-D student in high school actively rooting for the Wall Street Occupation protestors to get beaten and tear gassed because "college students are only protesting the banks because the banks gave them loans to go to college" (say what?) — shut up. You didn't go to college because 1) you were too stupid to go, and 2) you stated that college was a waste of money.

  • To the gal who was the straight-C student in high school who is now a middle school teacher and calling the Wall Street Occupation protestors a bunch of spoiled little kids who don't want to pay their bills (really? have you seen the unemployment rate?) — shut up. I know for a fact your mommy and daddy paid 100% for your college education. You fucking bragged about it when you walked into a restaurant where I was waitressing during my senior year in college and snotted how you couldn't believe that my parents weren't paying 100% for my college because I was sooooooo smart (the "so smart" was said with a smirk). Bragging that you're not going to pay shit towards your own kids' college educations is really fucking rich, coming from you. And where the fuck did you learn how to spell? Because that's some seriously bad spelling there. Plus, your grammar sucks, Teach.

  • To my former classmates, most of whom I recognize as not being honor rolls students liking the above two comments: You've got some mighty convenient memories, sports. I remember your entitled, lazy assess in high school. That entitlement is quite a trick, since only one classmate could be classified as rich and the rest of us were most definitely from blue collar families. Weirdly enough, the rich kid who was kind of a prick in high school, is not a prick and seems like a pretty straight-up kind of guy who isn't actively rooting for violence. You, however, are exactly the same spoiled brats I knew in high school whose first instinct was to smash shit if you didn't like it at first glance.

Plus, my "dear" former classmates, your reading comprehension sucks. Far as I can tell, the protest on Wall Street has fuck-all to do with college loans. None. Nada. Zip. Zippero.

What it's about is pointing out that no one — as in not one — person from Wall Street and/or the banks has seen the inside of a courtroom over crashing the economy. Furthermore, no one on Wall Street has taken responsibility. Worse, our cowardly politicians refuse to reinstate the regulations that were put in place during and immediately after the Great Depression, which were designed to prevent shit like this happening. (Much as I would like to blame Reagan 100% for this clusterfuck, Clinton gets to share the blame here as well.)

But most of all, the protests are happening because the 99% are paying for the top 1%, because God forbid the top 1% pay their fair share in taxes.

Seriously. It's really not that hard to figure out why people are protesting.

And actively rooting for the protestors to be subjected to violence is really too much, especially since you were the same people actively rooting for Teabaggers to cause violence during the whole healthcare debate.

Christ, what a bunch of hypocrites.

Pee. Ess. — I'm not saying you have to agree with the Wall Street Protestors, or even like that it's happening. Your prerogative, right? But actively rooting for violence to fall on people you disagree with politically? What the ever-loving fuck is wrong with you?

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28th-Sep-2011 09:41 am - Yay! Free eBooks!
Pride and Prejudice_Darcy_Excited
Huuuuge hat-tip to janedavitt for this one:

eBook site chock full of public domain goodness at Feedbooks (Feedbooks also has a commercial eBook side, as well). It's also easier to navigate than Project Gutenberg can sometimes be, although I see that some books to link back to Project Gutenberg.

I know, I know. I'm supposed to be working, but I've already downloaded Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here (which I've been dying to read for awhile) and Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.

I must back away from the site now, before someone realizes that I'm not reading the documents I'm supposed to be reading...

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27th-Sep-2011 02:38 pm - You Are All So Fired!
How could you forget to tell me that Penn & Teller are going to be on Discovery in a back-to-back block with Mythbusters on Wednesday nights?

How, I ask you?

Anyway, here's the link to a discovery promo showing that the back-to-back thing will be starting October 5.

That's an awful lot of awesome going down on the Discovery channel on Wednesday nights. I'm getting giddy.

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20th-Sep-2011 10:07 am - Sick of Feeling Science-Ignorant
The thing about working at the Jolly Green Giant (now a subsidiary of the French Baguette) is that:

1) I am surrounded by scientists
2) I am surrounded by statisticians

It's at this point that I feel like I should state that really, really fucking love science. Advanced math, however — defined here as something greater than balance-the-checkbook math — and I are still not on speaking terms.

The great tragedy in my life is that my high school science and math teachers sucked. Majorly sucked. Massively sucked.

Sucked to the point of incoherence.

Sucked to the point that I got so frustrated that I literally said to my mother: "Who needs this shit? I'm never gonna use any of it."

*spreads arm wide*

Consider me a walking object lesson on "Just 'cause you're 17 and heading off to college, it doesn't mean you know shit."

For reals.

I've managed to spend half my career now playing with science and, to a lesser extent, math. (Ooooo, the latest American Medical Writers Associate Journal has a tutoring article on how to interpreting statistics in medical studies. SWEET!)

Now, I've managed to pick up a lot by osmosis. I mean, a lot. But here's the problem: no matter how many books you read and how many questions you ask, without some formal training you're going to miss a shit-ton of the basics.

Hence my decision to go back.

Okay, it's only for an Associate's, and it's only community college, and I'm only going back really part time (like one or two classes a semester), but still! It's for science! Which is hard! (Okay, hard-ish!)

In looking at the in-state tuition rates...oy! One class is going to cost roughly $800 after assorted fees are thrown in, and that doesn't include books. Thankfully, the Jolly Green Giant has a very generous continuing education policy for classes that are specifically tied in to your job. (It's science! And some math! Yes! It applies!)

And before you say, "Then apply for financial aid" let me laugh at you. The salary I make? I should be paying full-freight (and that's even without the corporate reimbursement) and to think otherwise is just fucking immoral, yo.

Now that I've made up my mind, I'm scared out of shoes. Okay, not scared enough to have second thoughts, but scared.

The last time I was in a formal classroom was literally half-a-lifetime ago.

And here I am, planning to go back. For science no less!

Okay, it's only for an Associate's Degree and it's only community college, but still!

It's for science! (And a little math...)

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For those of you who have a weakness for classic crooners, NPR is running free streaming for Tony Bennet's new CD "Duets II", feature not just the man himself, but also Amy Winehouse (her last recording), Queen Latifa, Willie Nelson, Andrea Bocelli, a reunion with previous duet partner k.d. lang (squeeeee!), and many more.

Hey, the streaming is free (which means not just computer, but smartphones and tablets can play it while you go through your day) and the music has a laid-back cool that's totally worth the listen.

And this is why I love NPR. *huggles*

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Right. So, let's try something new.

In an effort to get back into the habit of posting something more often, I'm gonna post a song of the day. Or, y'know, a song I happen to be listening to at the time.

*deep breath*

So, today we have the following:


Reverand's Son by Barnaby Bright. Not only is the entire track available for free from Amazon, but the entire 8-song sampler is as well. If you like Americana, the sampler (and a second one going by the same name, which is also available free of charge), then this is well worth the download.

Note to self: I really need to post my reviews of music storage locker services sometime soon.

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So, the only debate about Hurricane Irene at this point is whether it's going to be a Category 2, Category 1, or a "mere" Tropical Storm when it hits us in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

Then there's the whole, "Will it hit the west end of the state? Or the east end of the state?"

If it hits to the west, then we're going to have higher winds across the state, i.e., flying cows. And yes, there are plenty of cows in the People's Republic. (I know because I've been happily eating them, and the local pigs all summer. Yum.) If it hits to the east, we're going to a metric fuckton of rain, as opposed to just the fuckload you'd expect to get.

So, which poison should I hope for?

Decisions, decisions.

In either case, it occurs to me that hopping in the pool after work is probably not the best use of time. I should probably hit up the grocery store for some staples rather than counting on the Farmer's Market being open tomorrow morning.


Plus there's gas. And laundry I've studiously not done all week.

Truly, I have screwed myself here.

Well, yes and no. It's not like I'm going to starve, but it might behoove me to pick up a few odds-n-sods.

Also, note to self, I must make sure the cell phone and the NookColor are fully charged, since I may be hunting for things to do when the power goes out.

Yeah. The to-do list is a wee bit longer than I thought.

I expect I'll be falling into bed at about...oh...3 a.m. by the time all's said and done.

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25th-Aug-2011 04:17 pm - This Makes Me Weirdly Happy
Jeff_Annie_Remedial Chaos Theory
First, check out my new icon! Yes, I took the picture. Yes the puffin was that close. Yes, it's shareable. And yes, you must credit moi.

At some point, I really need to upload my "Puffin Safari" pictures online so you can see them.

As for the other reason why I'm posting, for those of you of a certain *kaff kaff* age this video will bring back some really interesting memories.

Some of those memories will make you ask yourself one or all of the following:

• You mean I didn't hallucinate/imagine/dream that?

• Wait. Are you sure you can do that on television? You can't do that on television now.

• How much shit can you get away with because someone, somewhere stuck their hands up the ass of a Muppet?


Anyway, the "Muppet Show Theme Song" by OK Go...with Muppet help.

(Sweetums! They have Sweetums at the beginning! Sweetums is my favorite Muppet monster!)

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17th-Aug-2011 01:04 pm - Jaws Redux
I know, it's been almost a month since I posted, well, anywhere.

I've been a bit tied up on the after-work activities, so not a lot of time to actually participate in the greater journaling world.

But this is too good to pass up.

For all you shark fans on my FList, the Boston Globe has a story about how the now annual invasion of great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod (or if you want to get specific, off the coast of Chatham, MA) has once again shut down the beaches in the area.

Now, you'd think that the people of Chatham (and the Cape in general) might be hopping mad about this due to loss of tourist dollars.

You'd also be wrong.

As it turns out, since the great white sharks have decided to make the coast of Massachusetts a regular stop on its "Annual Eating Our Way Across the Atlantic Tour", tourism has increased. The locals are raking in the dough in a way they never did when the town was a quiet little beach community. And scientists are living in heaven.

The harbor seals, however...


Behold this awesome picture from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries that ran in today's Globe for some visual proof:

A great white shark stalks harbor seals off the coast of Lighthouse Beach in Chatham, MA — Photo from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

I'm sorry. But that picture? Made me giggle. Okay, I feel sorry for the seals, but that shark, man.

In any case, there are now Shark Watching Tours starting up on the Cape (now that we know that the great whites are pretty much here to stay after several years' worth of visits). They're kind of like the local Whale Watching Tours, only with the promise of actual blood 'n guts as the sharks snap the seals out of the air like the seals are nothing more than popcorn kernels.

I may have to do one next summer, just to say I did...

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21st-Jul-2011 03:05 pm - Urge to Leave Work Fading...

It's a "mere" 94° F/34° C outside.

But the heat index (air temp plus humidity) puts it at 100° F/38° C.

What the frilly frell?

I know I had a plan to hide in my housing development's pool until Hell on Earth moves on from Massachusetts, but now I'm wondering if the better option isn't just to hide in the office where the centralized air conditioning lives.

I'm pretty sure My Fellow Americans down south, and more than a few Australians, are probably calling us New Englanders whimps but — seriously now.


Not only is that an inhuman level heat, we can actually see the air because the quality is so bad.


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20th-Jul-2011 03:30 pm - I'm Not Ignoring You, I Swear...


This is kinda embarrassing.

But the truth is that I honestly don't have oodles of time to write these days, mostly because I'm either swimming or kayaking after work and on weekends. What this translates to is that for 1-and-half hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, I'm outside and doing some kind of water-based sport.

(I can hear you say "EW!" You all have dirty, dirty, dirty minds!)

I'm actually letting myself tan *a little bit* this year. Of course, I'm going through so many ounces of lotion to counteract the sun exposure that I look like I'm suffering from some kind of lotion-based compulsion.

So, yeah...

I swear I'm not ignoring anyone. It's just that I'd much rather be outside and enjoying the sunshine while the summer weather lasts.

In fact, I'm already plotting to escape the heatwave (the next 5 days are promising to be Hell on Earth in Massachusetts) by hiding in a swimming pool for 2 hours after work today, tomorrow, and Friday. I'm thinking of just moving into the pull for the day on Saturday.

I will try to get on the Journals more often, especially now that work has fallen back to a livable 40-hours a week (down from the 50 to 60 hours-a-week I was working through April, May, June, and the beginning of this month).

It should be doable.

Also on the to-do list: Taking a a flame-thrower to my apartment to clean up months of clutter and general *yuck* as work took over my life.

Despite the work-based crazy that ate almost all of Spring and the first half of summer, this is turning out to be the most relaxing summer I've had.

I credit easy (if expensive) access to both pool and kayaks, and always having a choice between which one I want to do on any given day.

It's nice to finally have a life where kayaking-or-swimming is the most taxing decision I have to make, as opposed to the stressful groceries-or-health insurance decision, which I've had to make twice in my life and had to live with for multiple years (a grand total of 4 to be precise).

It took *years* to get here, so I plan to enjoy the low stress time for however long it lasts.

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Jeff_Annie_Remedial Chaos Theory
Yes, I'm going to start with the easy one to write commentary for:  Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet)

Let me start off with this admission:  I've been dying to write a remix for Eurydice by [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose  since I first read it a couple of years ago.  Not because I think it's a bad story (it's really not), but because it hits all of my kinks:  prickly and not necessarily nice Faith and Xander, a tentative offer of friendship despite a problematic history, and allusions to mythology (in this case, the mythology around Orpheus descending to Hades to rescue his dead wife Eurydice.

Needless to say, I've always been disappointed that I never got [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose in the Remix, so when the Mods decided to throw open Remix Madness for the first time this year, and I saw that [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose had volunteered, I was on this story like a shot.

More discussion under the cutCollapse )

So, there you have it. It's a pretty straight-forward process Orpheus in the Underground, and not terribly interesting to boot.

Feel free to throw any questions you might have in the comments. (Assuming anyone is still reading this journal. Since it's been awhile since I posted, that part is somewhat in doubt.)

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Title:  Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet)
Author:  [personal profile] liz_marcs 
Remix of:  Eurydice by [archiveofourown.org profile] thistlerose 
Fandom:  Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Summary:  Xander knows way too much about how those lines blur between wide-scale destruction and personal loss than is entirely healthy

Rating:  PG-13 for language; vague imagery for a large-scale disaster.
Pairing:  None.

Author's Note:  Takes place post-"Never Fade Away" on Angel.  Spoilers for Angel.  Comics are cheerfully ignored.

Disclaimer:  Xander Harris, Faith Lehane, and all associated characters and organizations are the property of FOX and Mutant Enemy.  Any mention of real life events and real people is not meant to imply that the people or incidents in question as they are used in the story have any relationship to reality. All original characters and the plot are mine. No payment was asked for or received in the writing of this story and no profit was earned. No copyright infringement on FOX or Mutant Enemy.

The thing about the 24-hour news cycle is...Collapse )
Jeff_Annie_Remedial Chaos Theory
Now that life is somewhat settling down after a month of work crazy-ness and sick parent-ness and sick me-ness (that would be me this weekend, and I'm still not feeling great)...

I'm finally able to write about Remix. A month late, it's true.

In any case, I will get the stories and my behind-the-scenes exposition up later this week for what I wrote (if anyone still cares).

In the meantime, here's the links:

Traditional Remix:

First off:

Where the Boys Are (The Barbie Dream House Remix) was written by elemntalv

This one remixed Cuckoo in the Nest by focusing specifically on Jessica Harris and what happened the night she went to the frat house.

As I said in my original review, I've always left Cuckoo in the Nest unprotected for the Remix with mixed feelings. I've always wanted someone to at least take a crack at it, but have always been afraid that I'd get something that was...disappointing (to put it diplomatically). The original story was tricky as hell to write, so I figured the remix would be, too.

Elemntalv does an excellent job of bringing a key element of Cuckoo in the Nest to life in what I left as nothing more than a horrific implication. Be warned: the story focuses on Jessica's rape (I'm not calling it non-con) and the long-term effects on her psyche. It also dovetails nicely with Cuckoo in that it goes a long way to explaining why Jessica was willing to deny Xander's existence when it looked like he was out of their lives for good.

I wrote Waiting for My Real Life to Begin (Old Photographs Waltz), which I wrote as a compare-and-contrast mirror-image story to the original Watcher by Zulu.

I will be the first to admit that the genesis of this story was...odd to say the least. It's the first story where I can honestly say that I wrote it completely by accident. So much by accident that I write half of it before I even realized what I was doing. Good thing too, because my original choice never gelled.

I'll explain when I have more time to write a behind the scenes account of how this story came together.

Remix Madness:

After Action Report (The No Complaints At All Remix) was written by Nothorse, a remix of my Complaint in Three Voices. If you're looking for an antidote to the angst and horror stories in this post, this one is it. It's hard to explain, but it's sure to give anyone who reads it a good giggle.

Also, I'd like to add a very public apology to Nothorse. I didn't even realize that this remix existed until today. *winces* I never got notification that it existed, and given my life has been a tad crazy for the past month, I never really got a chance to go through the Remix Madness archive. As a result, no feedback from me until today.

And finally, I wrote Orpheus in the Underground (Dark Minuet), a remix of Eurydice by Thistlerose.

This story is one I've been wanting to remix for a couple of years (yes, the story is that old) using a Xander POV to contrast against the Faith POV in the original. Unfortunately, I've never gotten Thistlerose in the remix, so when I saw she had signed up for Remix Madness, I figured, "Why not do it now?"

In any case, stories and behind-the-scenes discussion of what I did will be up later this week. Promise.

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Thanks everyone for your good thoughts for Dad!Marcs.

As it turns out, the whole thing was caused by medication. The funny thing is: it's medication he's been on for years.

Or, maybe not so funny. As the body gets older, it's not unheard of for the body to become less effective at metabolizing drugs. So, what we've been watching has been a veeeeerrrryyyyyy sloooooooowwwwww car crash. Which finally crashed into a wall.

The upside to this is: medical science has caught up enough that a little hour-long laser-light surgery can now fix the condition the medication had been controlling. Which my dad signed on board for before he was discharged on Saturday.

The bad news? He's got to schedule the thing first, and it could be a wait. Yuck.

In any case, I'm still catching up on sleep due to my hellish last week, and I'm still strung out like a junkie at work. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping, hoping that I'll be able to at least get one of my remix stories up here today (I did one for the regular remix and one for the remix madness) along with some kind of meta.

This year's remix was a strange one for me. Definitely the lowest response I've ever gotten for a remix (even before the reveal), and I'm kind of mystified as to why. I wonder if the stories I did this year just missed some kind of sweet spot (I'm pretty sure I turned in the only non-shippy stories for Buffy fandom), or if Buffy fanfiction fandom is simply drying up to the point where it's going to be a low-response kind of fanfiction from now on.

Of course, there's always the possibility that the stories I wrote this year just weren't all that inspiring, too. *shrug*

In any case, I better get back to work, before someone wonders why I'm typing so quickly...

This entry was originally posted at http://liz-marcs.dreamwidth.org/424028.html and has comments. Please comment there using OpenID.

Approximately 2/3 of my work team is down and out with various unexpected health/legal/personal issues, which means that 2/3 of my work team is basically out of the office for the entire month of May.

Which means that those of us who are left are riding the nervous breakdown train because the level of work hasn't decreased, just the number of people who can actually do it. Which means that those of us who are left are working 12-hour days to make up for it.

Of course, in the middle of this whole, "It doesn't rain, it pours" scenario today I get a midday call from my brother telling me that Dad!Marcs was rushed to the hospital from the doctor's office.


The problem, which has been on-going for the year (or more), are dizzy spells. Now, these dizzy spells have been getting increasingly more frequent.

We've tried everything: changing glasses, tests for low blood pressure, high blood pressure, diabetes, low blood sugar, anemia, potassium levels, and on, and on, and on.

Nothing seems to be working.

Finally, today in the doctor's office Dad!Marcs had one of his violent dizzy spells in front of an actual medical professional.

The good news? My parents had an actual medical professional finally witness one of these things.

The bad news? Dad!Marcs was sent directly to the hospital. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. All praise be to Blue Cross Blue Shield, retired federal employees plan.

In any case, he got sent to one of the best hospitals in Central Mass for the battery of tests they've run him through today, will run him through tomorrow, and probably Saturday, too. When I asked how he was feeling, Dad!Marcs answer was, "Like a pincushion."

As for Mom!Marcs, she's sounding mighty relieved because, she figures that someone, somewhere will finally find something wrong after more than a year of putting up with the mystery.


Looks like I *will* be having a nervous breakdown sometime this month.

But it would be nice if, at long last, the mystery of Dad!Marcs's dizzy spells were finally resolved.

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1st-May-2011 11:10 pm - Remix Madness Story!
Go me!

I managed to at least get one of my Remix Madness stories posted, despite the weirdness of my weekend.

I wanted to do three, but the one I did took longer than I thought.

*iz giddy*
1st-May-2011 06:40 pm - Remix is Live and I am Truly Humbled
The Remix is live!

And I am truly humbled by the remix I got.

Where the Boys Are (The Barbie Dream House Remix) is...

*waves hands*

I don't have words.

WARNING before you go read. A brutal rape plays very heavily in this story.

The remixer took on Cuckoo in the Nest, or rather, a portion of it. The subject is "what happened to Jessica in the frathouse while Tony was on his camping trip".

The remixer doesn't mince words about just how awful it was, nor does he or she mince words that it was brutal, ugly, and left Jessica with life-time trauma. While I've never been able to get my arms around Jessica in Cuckoo in the Nest, the remixer adds depth to what is admittedly a paper-thin characterization. What's in the remix makes whole lot of emotional sense to me, and even convinced me that I was wrong about a point in my own damn story.

I've waiting for years for someone to remix Cuckoo in the Nest, but I've always been someone terrified that the remixer would manage to turn in something...not good. I've more than once thought about putting on "safe story" as a result, but have always backed away from doing so.

This year was no different, and this year I'm very glad I didn't.

It's a tremendously well-written and unblinking piece about Jessica's own private hell, and I would recommend reading it. (Or avoiding it if rape is a trigger.)

So, thank you anonymous remixer, for a really great companion piece.
29th-Apr-2011 01:53 pm - Testing the New Droid App for LJ

It does have a few things over using the phone browser: it's easier to insert links and pictures.

Just for the heck of it, here's a picture of my parent's conure hiding in my hair:

Well, let's see how this test goes.


Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

28th-Apr-2011 01:10 pm - Remix Madness (in addition to Remix)
Jeff_Annie_Remedial Chaos Theory
I know, I know.

I've been under the radar, what with me writing this year's Remix (which turned out to be a challenge for both obvious and not-obvious reasons) and with RL kind of settling down into a constant medium roar.

So, yeah, lots of updates to be had. Eventually.

In any case, I feel like I need to break out of my writing rut, so yes! I have indeed signed up for Remix Madness, which appears to be a short-term, two-day free-for-all, anything-goes remix challenge.

I'm going to try to ping one or two, to see if that'll help loosen the fic muscles that I seem to be having trouble flexing these days.

It's not writer's block, exactly. It's more like: "Everything I write sucks."

So, yeah. I'm in on the Remix Madness. I just figured I'd boost the signal.
It's help wanted ads, like this one for an investigative reporter from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida, that sometimes re-awakens that old ache for my former life.

And then I look at my current paycheck (like the one I got today in fact), and the pain is a little less (I can afford rent! And food! And heat/electricity! And I no longer have to hide the fact my car ain't registered until I get the money together from spare change!).

But only a little less.

The choice bit that made me laugh out loud:

For those unaware of Florida’s reputation, it’s arguably the best news state in the country and not just because of the great public records laws. We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery. The 9/11 terrorists trained here. Bush read My Pet Goat here. Our elections are colossal clusterfucks. Our new governor once ran a health care company that got hit with a record fine because of rampant Medicare fraud. We have hurricanes, wildfires, tar balls, bedbugs, diseased citrus trees and an entire town overrun by giant roaches (only one of those things is made up). And we have Disney World and beaches, so bring the whole family.

Go forth and read the whole thing.

And yes. It is a real help-wanted ad.

Please forward it to an insanely talented journalist that you love who's still hanging tough and 10 in the newsroom.
20th-Mar-2011 11:30 pm - Remix: Letter to My Remixer
Scariest Story_Hyperbole and Half
First, a small something I want to say about my assignment:

*falls over and dies laughing*

This? Is perfect. It's precisely the very assignment I needed.

I think I set a landspeed record on choosing my story to remix.

And now, on to my annual apology to whoever gets me:

Dear Remixer,

As you can see, I suck at transferring stories from Point A to Point B (or namely, creating copies of them on AO3). You can, however, find every little thing on my handy fic list by clicking this link.

Heck, I even updated it. *beams*

But that's not why I want to apologize.

See, Remixer, it's like this. I'm primarily someone who writes Xander. Faith comes in a distant second. There's also some ensemble stories as well. You'll also notice — at least writing-wise — I favor the gen side of the equation, with a smattering of het. That's not because I don't like slash (hey, I read it) or don't like romance. It's just that I suck at ships.

Just ask people who read my stuff. They'll tell you right out how much I suck at them. Truly. It's like I have this block in my brain that stops me from writing anything that resembles romance. Every time I try, it turns into a adventure/mystery story that's a multi-part epic.

I joke not.

It's kind of sad, really.

In any case, I apologize in advance if you hate Xander or Faith as characters. Or were really hoping for a slash writer to remix. If any of these things are true, I know your pickings are kind of slim because you got me.

But on the upside, there's plenty of ensemble pieces you can choose from. I, ummmm, hope that helps if you'd really prefer to write about someone else.

In any case, I hope you go to town. Bend it. Break it. Mix it up. Change the timeline. Change the setting. Go to town. Do whatever it takes to make the remix work for you.

I'm all about cool stories, especially if they're stories that would've never occurred to me if left to my own devices.

So, I hope you have fun, Remixer (or at least can find a little fun) as you put your creativity to work.

Because the icon I'm showing with this post? I totally all about that.


19th-Mar-2011 12:27 pm - Remix Sign-Ups and Bombs Away!
I know this is very, very late, but Remix 9 is open, but beware sign-ups close today.

I meant to post that earlier this week (the timeline is tight for remix this year), but other things got in the way.


Light at the end of the tunnel in my war against the Former Evil Employer. The rebel group (now reduced by one due to fuckery on the part of the one person we dropped) has issued its declaration of legal war via our Knight in Shining Lawbooks.

Said declaration of legal war will land on Former Evil Employer's desk early next week, if it hasn't already.

Have I mentioned that I've already read the declaration of legal war and it makes me *giddy* every time I just think about it.

Okay, the money is small change (chump change almost, considering the sweat, heartbreak, and amount of work that has sucked up all of the oxygen in my life that this involved), but it's the principle of the thing. I don't care if means I'm getting pennies an hour for all my work.

The fact is, it'll be in my pocket, and not theirs. (Yes, our evidence is that good. Going to actual court would be stupid on their part.)

*rubs hands with glee*

It's almost over. I can't wait to get my divorce papers from that place.
13th-Mar-2011 11:35 am - HonorH is Okay
For those of you who've been looking for information about the whereabouts of honorh (I have via Android) or worried have been about her safety, she is okay.

She made it to a shelter on time and is no longer among the missing. (roxyk630, who has been in touch with her family, broke the news).

Thank heavens.

For those of you who haven't yet, lindenharp has made a nice suggestion to purchase a help Japan icon and put it on honorh's page.
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