hopefulnebula: Snoopy playing DDR (Snoopy Dance Revolution)
QotD, while in a grocery store trying to find something sweet that one of my cousins (who's severely allergic to nuts) can eat:

Me: OMG, what did people with allergies do before allergen labels on food?
Mother: Mostly, they died.

...seriously, we found ONE THING that was acceptable in the entire baked goods section. Fruit pies? Almonds in the crust. Cakes and cookies? The ones that aren't nut-flavored are "processed on equipment that also handles" blah blah blah.
hopefulnebula: Claudia from Warehouse 13 putting on her best WTF face (Claudia WTF)
With two days until Christmas, the phone gods gave to me:

Four calls to tech support
Three Tier 2 agents
Two factory resets
And a brick that my phone used to be.


...and I really really really like this phone too.

QotD

Dec. 17th, 2012 06:40 pm
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
9-year-old cousin: When are you going to be on Jeopardy?
Me:: I haven't gotten a call back from them. They could call me tomorrow, or next year, or the year after that. Or not at all.
Cousin: Or they could call you to say they don't want you because you're too smart for your own good!
Me: *snrk*
hopefulnebula: Calvin & Hobbes/Calvin's flipbook of a tiger eating a man (Hobbes Flipbook)
So. My sister took her dog out for a walk a little while ago. Nothing untoward happened; they left and came back as normal.

A couple minutes later, we hear scratching at the door, and somebody jiggling the doorknob. And the doorbell rings.

I open the door, thinking it's a political canvasser who doesn't know what time it is. The boycat runs in, an "ohshitohshitohshit" expression on his face.

The little bastard had snuck out, but was thankfully too chicken to go far in the Big Bad Outside. And he was tall enough to ding the doorbell when he was doing his little trick with the doorknobs.

He's absolutely fine now. But he deserves ALL THE LAUGHS IN THE WORLD.
hopefulnebula: An orange lizard walking on glass. Text: Defy Gravity (Defy Gravity)
The scene: Orion wants in to the other room so he can pounce on Athena. He wants this VERY LOUDLY.

Orion: MRRROW.
Me: No.
Orion: MAIOOOOW.
Me: No!
Orion: MEROWOWOW?
Me: Because SHUT UP, that's why.
hopefulnebula: (Yuletide)
(Because the letter collection post has gone up early this year...)

Dear Yuletide Writer:

You are awesome. I don't even care who you are; it's true. And odds are I'm going to love whatever you write for me, because you're awesome. Now that that's out of the way, to business. ("To business!" *clink*)

So, the last two years I've done themes for my Yuletide requests. I'm breaking from that tradition this year, though technically Niven's fourteenth law could still count as the theme. "The only universal message in science fiction: There exist minds that think as well as you do, but differently," it says, and that's just good advice for life in general.

The general part of my letter, plus two of my prompts, are more or less copied from my letter last year. I've made some rather extensive edits, though, so be forewarned.

Cut for length and spoilers for Alphas, Ink, His Dark Materials, and Quantum Leap )

So yeah, that's pretty much it. Feel free to ask me any questions via the admins (I don't bite and neither do they), and do continue to be awesome.

<3,

[personal profile] hopefulnebula
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
So, the Jeopardy audition I mentioned in my previous post was today. I feel it went pretty well, and though the odds are against me (about 1 in 10 people who audition in person make it onto the show), I had a lot of fun.

Ramblings about Friday )

The next morning, after breakfast and the world's fastest Walgreens run, I checked out of the hotel and went to try my luck.

There were about 20 of us in a hotel meeting room, where the hosts chatted with us and had us fill out some forms. They took Polaroid photos of us too (first of those I've seen in years!). We went over some of the rules and regulations, took a written test (the questions were read aloud and projected on a screen), and took a quick bathroom/water/"omg what was the answer to the question about $SUBJECT? ...DAMMIT!" break, and the real fun began.

I'm not allowed to talk about the specific questions -- and it wouldn't be in my best interests if I did, since they use the same question sets in all the audition cities -- but I can talk about the process. They split us into groups of three, stood us in front of the group, and played mock games. These were less about the answers (though answering correctly is good!) and more about stage presence, ability to project, general aplomb in the face of "I buzzed in and now my brain isn't letting me access the answer," and ability to follow directions re: how (and when!) to work the signaling devices. A lot of the time they didn't call on the first person to buzz in, because they want to give everyone equal time.

Then they asked questions like Trebek does. One of the paperwork things was a "5 interesting things about yourself" sheet, and they took a question off of that. They also asked everybody's jobs, and what they'd do if they won a huge sum of money on the show.

(My favorite one of those is the teacher who spent a full minute waxing poetic on teaching and his preferred teaching methods, and how wonderful it is when kids finally Get It. They asked what he'd do if he won lots of money, and his answer? "Retire from teaching!")

There was also the auditioner with the same name as my mother. That made me laugh a bit.

I was impressed, too, at how well they handled the auditioner who had limited mobility. The man didn't have to ask for a single accomodation; they offered him everything he needed. They let him sit for the mock game/Q&A, and they made sure that his spot for the game was the one closest to his seat.

Oh, also, I won a baseball hat. :D

Some interesting take-aways about the show/audition process:

-About 100,000 people take the online Jeopardy test each year. About 4000 of those get to audition in person. About 400 people appear on the show each year. (Here, one of the hosts made an "occupy Jeopardy" joke.)

-A lot more people than you think are sitting behind the podiums instead of standing. They're on electric risers so everybody's approximately the same height.

-You know when they zoom in to someone who's signaling and you see them pressing the button a whole lot of times in a row? That's actually how they work. Though I think in the real show they track the timing of the first button pressed as well. For this they were lenient (partly for ease of setup, and partly because this is more a test of concept for us auditioners).


Some amusing observations not related to the show:

-I don't remember if this was the case last year or not, but they've finally taken "Due to the increased level of security..." out from the standard airport announcements in both DEN and ORD. If it's been this way for ten years, it's not "increased" anymore; it's the norm. (Said announcements are still hideously misplaced. What use is an announcement about acceptable carry-on bags in a place where everybody's already passed security?)

-A boy, about age 7, to his younger brother at a crosswalk: "No, see, you can only step on the white bits. Because the black ones are made of lava." (It's amusing how just about every kid ever comes up with this game, and how it's nearly always lava.)

-Tough adjustment: crosswalks. In Chicago it seems everybody starts crossing 5 seconds early. Out here, you generally wait at least three seconds before crossing because otherwise you're rather likely to get hit by some assface red light runner.

-If you're in a room full of sports fans in Chicago, and mention being an Avs fan, you're gonna have a bad time. (All right, so it wasn't really a bad time. There was some good-natured booing from the Detroit and Chicago contingent when I told the panel I'd see an NHL game in every city with my imaginary millions of dollars, and that the Avs are my favorite team.)

EDIT 9/10 with a couple things I forgot:

- Great view of the Big Dipper from the plane on the way back. Also there was a thundercloud in the very far distance, making this the second time I've seen lightning from such a far distance. (The last one was more spectacular but I love it no matter what.)
hopefulnebula: Lyra Silvertongue looking at the alethiometer (Lyra)
So, yeah. Once again I'm planning to post more often.

I'm not going to do a long infodump because that'd just add to the pressure for me, but the short version, since my last post, I have been: unemployed, re-employed and unemployed by the same company; gotten a second cat (whose name is Orion and who's an adorable gigantic bastard); and moved closer to town.

The big news: I'm going to be auditioning to be a Jeopardy contestant next month. While there's no guarantee I'll make it onto the show, I get to fly out to Chicago and put on my best face for them.

I'll leave you with a picture of a rare peaceful moment of cat coexistence:

hopefulnebula: (Yuletide)
Dear Yuletide Writer:

Thank you for writing for me! I (probably) don't know who you are, but I'm glad we share at least one fandom in common.

My theme this year (with one beloved exception) is Larry Niven's fourteenth law: "The only universal message in science fiction: There exist minds that think as well as you do, but differently."

I'm going to copy the non-fandom-specific part of my letter from last year's, with a few edits.

Cut for length and spoilers for Alphas, His Dark Materials, Ink and Warehouse 13 )

Thank you again for writing for me! I hope you have as much fun writing as I will reading. :)

<3,
[personal profile] hopefulnebula
hopefulnebula: HG Wells from Warehouse 13 wearing her Imperceptor Vest and looking up at the camera (HG Vest)
The last couple months, in bullet points:

-Athena is now officially a mini-me. She got ear-tipped on Thursday because of a mole that had been growing on the very tip of her ear. The biopsy showed that it was indeed precancerous. She wore the Cone of Shame for a while, but she's been a good girl about not touching the ear, and she's absolutely miserable with it on, so she's free of it now.

The more worrisome thing at this point is her weight loss. She's lost a disturbing amount of weight in the last year or so, and the vet and I are going to figure out why as soon as she's healed from this.

-A week ago Friday, a school bus T-boned a sedan 500 feet from my bedroom window. All I know outside of the news reports is that the bus driver is at fault, the driver was in serious condition and expected to recover, and the kids were fine (though some of them went to the hospital for minor injuries). Not pleasant.

-OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG Warehouse 13 OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. I love the first two episodes of season 3 with a passion. Spoilers for Warehouse 13 season 3 within. )

Serioiusly, I have so much to say that I'm kind of incoherent so I'm just going to shut up rather than risk hitting the character limit on this post.

- Speaking of incoherence, remember that rant I posted last year about Eureka's erasure of its autistic character? I've since broken up with the show over that, but I have found an antidote to its fail (as well as to the longing I feel during those last couple minutes of Eureka I see before Warehouse 13 comes on). Anti-autism fail, thy name is Alphas. The basic premise of the show (ordinary people with super powers) has been done before, but is approached in an original way that actually pays attention to the laws of physics and the logistical problems having superpowers would cause.

One of the characters (named Gary -- I wonder if he's named after Gary McKinnon, the NASA hacker?) is autistic. And the showrunners have obviously done their research. He's treated well as a character, he's treated realistically as a character, and his autism is part of who he is, rather than the sum of it. It isn't the downside (nor the cause) of his power, and the downside of his power ties in with his autism. Sometimes his autism is an asset, sometimes it's a liability. Sometimes it rules, sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it helps out the people he works with, sometimes it annoys them. Just like real life. And it's wonderful and refreshing and desperately needed to see people like me portrayed accurately.

-I finished the mate of that first sock I made (though it's a little smaller -- not bad for a first pair, though) and have made another. Working on its mate now.
hopefulnebula: Black cat silhouette on a rainbow background (Rainbowkitty)
By population, 11.4% of the US now has marriage equality. Add California (soon!) and it becomes 23.4%. (Source: http://bit.ly/mJTOxo)
hopefulnebula: Gromit knitting (Gromit)
OK, so I learned to knit... um... in December or January. I think January. Anybody who knows me well probably won't be surprised that the first "intermediate" pattern I chose to tackle is a pair of socks.

I just finished sock #1. Yes, it's 1:30 in the morning. Deal with it.

So, keeping in mind that a) I literally just finished it and haven't blocked it or sewn the ends in yet, b) It's slightly large for my foot because my feet are shaped weirdly and the next size down (either in the pattern or in the needles) would be too small, c) it's my first sock so there are naturally a couple of small cosmetic oopses, and d) it turns out to be really damn hard to get a decent picture of my foot from this angle, especially with my knee acting up, I bring you photographic evidence.

Sock! )
hopefulnebula: Mandelbrot Set with text "You can change the world in a tiny way" (Default)
Two fannish items, one hockey item.

Fannish Item Number 1: Warehouse 13's Christmas episode. Awesome. Go watch it. Now. Seriously.

Fannish Item Number 2: This week's Oglaf. (As usual for Oglaf, extremely NSFW link.)

The comic itself is awesome and you should go read it and bask in its awesomeness as I am doing. But I'm posting because OMG I CALLED THIS ASPECT OF THE SNOW QUEEN'S NATURE IN AUGUST.

Behind the cut is an IRC log from August 24, 2010. $PERSON is the same person throughout, I just don't (yet) have permission to use names.

Proof! With spoilers! )

So, uh, yeah. I called it. And this idea inspired my Yuletide request for Oglaf.

(I did this six years ago with One Hundred Years of Solitude too. The teacher asked what we thought would happen [we had about 100 pages left to go, iirc], and I pulled a "wouldn't it be cool if." I thought the look the teacher gave me was a "that's the stupidest idea ever" look when it was really "you read ahead when I told you not to, didn't you?".)

Semi-Fannish Item 1: I'm going with Tianna to the Avs/Canadiens game tonight. Eeee!
hopefulnebula: (Yuletide)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Thank you for writing for me! I love it that you're doing it. Hopefully you'll enjoy writing it as much as I'll enjoy reading what you write.

Cut for length and spoilers, sorry if you saw it uncut )

Thank you once again for writing for me! I <3 you already.

<3,

[personal profile] hopefulnebula
hopefulnebula: (Not For Kitty)
"Andrew" and "Wakefield" the kidney stones got smashed into teeny tiny bits yesterday. They got one with the lithotripsy but the other little bastard settled back into my ureter while I wasn't looking so they had to get that one with a laser.

There's a nice paddle-shaped bruise on my right flank, and I feel like I've been punched in the kidney 2500 times (because essentially, I have been). I spent most of yesterday afternoon totally exhausted and feeling like yuck, but today was mostly better. I think I'll be spending a lot of time lying down for the next few days, though.

The next step: collecting samples of the stone fragments I pass (ick, but not really any more gross than scooping the cat box) for analysis (though the odds are like 90% that they were calcium oxalate stones, so a future 24-hour urine test will probably provide better answers as to why I'm a "stone former").

The good news: The surgeon who did this says that unless it's an uncommon type of stone I probably won't have to change my diet much (unless my diet was really unbalanced anyway). There are so many high-oxalate foods that to cut them all out would mean I'd likely end up with more than one severe deficiency. Though when I eat spinach, it should nearly always be with something acidic, which I usually do anyway, so no problems there. (My grandmother the dietician knew this and passed the knowledge on, but she never said exactly why.) (NTS: see if you can buy a bottle of lemon curry vinaigrette from Mad Greens.)

My mom's been pampering me today (yesterday too) and generally keeping an eye on me. She's even made me smoothies!

Also, there's new yarn. Yarn is always good.
hopefulnebula: (Pale Blue Dot)
So, I've been having an adventure this week.

Wednesday morning, I woke up to find spots of blood on my bedsheet by my pillow. After the intitial WTFness I noticed several smallish puncture wounds on my left forearm and realized that overnight, I'd probably rolled over and whacked the cat, and she didn't take kindly to it. I don't remember waking up because of it or anything, though.

I point this out because it was the high point of my day.

cut for length and TMI )

I've been referred to another nearby hospital that has a dedicated kidney stone center. After they have their people look at my charts and scans and other info, they'll call me (should be sometime between tomorrow and Wednesday). Provided I'm a good candidate (and I should be), the next step is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, where they use sound waves to break the stones up. (It works better while they're in or near the kidneys, thus the stent.) That's an outpatient procedure. After that, I can get the stent taken out (which is fairly simple, I've heard). After that, I get to do follow-ups with a bunch of different doctors.

Incidentally, I've named my kidney stones Andrew and Wakefield. The real Wakefield was in Boulder Wednesday night and I'd wanted to protest (though this obviously didn't happen). Other reasons for the naming, copied from a comment I made in [community profile] fucking_meds:

-Neither the stones nor the person are doctors.
-They both cause more pain than they alleviate.
-They both want my money.
-And on a less funny note, a tenth baby died of pertussis in California while I was in the ER.
hopefulnebula: Claudia Donovan from Warehouse 13, up close (Claudia)
Yes, I finally did it. I succumbed to the dark side and created [community profile] endless_wonder, a DW comm for all things Warehouse 13. Just a heads-up for those of you who might be interested.
hopefulnebula: (Prufrock - Footman)
So there's this guy named Neli Latson. He's 18 years old, and he was arrested recently for being black and autistic.

According to the post about Mr. Latson at Shakesville (all emphasis mine):

This call set in motion a cascading series of events in which police ordered eight schools locked down; Neli, who did not know police had been called, tired of his wait and moved on toward the nearby high school; he was confronted by a County Sheriff's deputy who also worked for the school district; and a physical struggle ensued between Neli and the deputy.

Neli says the officer threatened him; he tried to walk away, and the officer grabbed him from behind, choked him, and sprayed him with pepper spray. Neli took the pepper spray from the deputy and, according to the police report, sprayed him in return and fled. The deputy sustained a broken ankle which required surgery.

The police say Neli "attacked and assaulted the deputy for no apparent reason." That seems rather against the odds, given that Neli was not expecting any trouble, while the deputy was actively looking for a suspicious, possibly armed, person meeting Neli's description. Of the two, the one primed for aggression was the deputy. But perhaps, purely by coincidence, Neli "attacked and assaulted" the deputy "for no apparent reason."

The story gets worse from there. Neli was charged with malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, and knowingly disarming a police officer in performance of his official duties. When Neli's mother, Lisa Alexander, reported him missing several hours later, she learned he was in custody and being questioned.

Police would not tell her why, would not allow her to see her son, and seemed uninterested when told Neli is autistic. They held the young man in isolation for 11 days without bail, allowing his mother to visit him only once.

His condition has deteriorated considerably during his incarceration, according to his mother. He has been transferred to a state mental hospital for a 30-day evaluation period. Ms. Alexander has set up a web site, A Voice for Neli. There, his mother tells a bit of the story of Neli's life and of her and her husband's struggle to secure for him the services and educational support he needed.


Stories like this -- and this is, unfortunately, not the first such story -- always terrify me, for more reasons than I can name. This is why I react with fear every time I read about police/security officers learning ways to spot evildoers through "subtle behavioral cues." I walk funny. I avoid eye contact as much as humanly possible (because it can physically hurt). I act agitated in crowds, because I am agitated in crowds. This could be me -- there but for my skin color and gender go I.

More information about Neli's case, his story, and a page where you can donate to his legal defense, are at A Voice For Neli. Even if you can't donate, please sign the petition to raise awareness of his case. So far the only mainstream news stories have been one-sided -- they quote the police report and nothing else. Neli's mother plans to send the petition to news agencies in hopes that they decide his story is worth covering.

This young man was arrested for sitting under a tree in front of a library. There are so many levels of racism, ableism, and general fuckery at play here that I could puke.

October 2016

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