jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
A Tribute to Carrie Fisher: I grew up on Star Wars: the original was one of the first movies we had on VHS and got watched over and over again, Jedi was one of the first movies I saw in the theatre. And I still hadn't realised how much of an impact it'd had on me until I got unexpectedly sniffly at this video. Gonna have to look up Wishful Drinking and The Princess Diaries, I think.

Frodo Didn't Fail: "Again and again in The Lord of the Rings, we see that strategically pursuing the greater good fails, while remaining true to moral principles succeeds even when it looked foolish."

Love in the Time of Cryptography: "Having your friends and community testifying to your love beats all the selfies in the world."

The Ballad of Maui Hair: "Friend 1: I'm going in for surgery on the 18th. Friend 2: Oh, dear-- Maui Hair: I didn't see the hospital in Maui. *thunderstruck silence* Friend 3: Of course you didn't. Bless your heart."

So A Nazi Walks Into An Iron Bar: the Meyer Lansky Story: "I'm picturing a lot of newsboy caps and comments like 'no no not like that, my bubbe (ofblessedmemory) punches better than that, you grip the brass knuckles like this.'"

Also, hey, it's been awhile since I checked in with my 101 in 1001 list. I've not been ignoring it, just not talking much about it.

101 in 1001 update )


Nov. 4th, 2016 06:45 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Whee, been a week. Among other excitement: Taranis's wifi card has decided that intermittent faults are the hip new accessory, so I broke down and got an old new laptop. Same model as the one I experimented with last spring. Still not entirely convinced of the need for a new machine but a) I'll need one in the next couple of years for certain, and b) Macbook design is getting worse all the time. (Latest models removed the extraneous Eject/Power button. This wouldn't matter except that now I have nothing to map a proper Delete to, and I require both Backspace and Delete.)

ETA: The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin: "She had been mildly cheered up, she added, by following a Twitter feed with the hashtag #BundyEroticFanFic."

Litany, by Billy Collins. There are poems like "After the Pyre" that leave me ripped open and bleeding, and I understand why. Then there's this one. I don't understand in the slightest what it is that it does to me. (I also don't expect it to do that to anyone else; like Among Others, whatever it is feels too intensely personal to possibly affect the rest of the world.)

The Arches of The Little Prince: "Can you build an arch from a pole to the equator? Can you build an arch from the north pole to the south pole?" Which is all fascinating, but the thing that really caught me is the simple and obvious realisation that you can model arches upside-down with hanging chains.

Hipsterism and Cultural Appropriation: "So to make explicit what lies implicit: when hipsters 'ironically' don clothing associated with working class people, when hipsters 'ironically' profess tastes for products associated with working class people, they are communicating 'we all know I couldn't possibly actually like this, because we all know that this is unworthy and beneath us.'"

The Yale Record Does Not Endorse Hillary Clinton: "Because of unambiguous tax law, we do not encourage you to support the most qualified presidential candidate in modern American history, nor do we encourage all citizens to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all by electing Secretary Clinton on November 8."

Also, it's been ages since I paid any attention to my 101 in 1001 list.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
Let's see. Still writing (mostly just on Wednesdays with Steph), still playing the viola and starting to sometimes feel like I'm beginning to get the hang of it. Still less than thrilled by job but hey, they pay me. Still looking for a better (closer to downtown, less frustrating) apartment. Settling into getting used to the idea of having a stable living situation, and being able to think and plan about what happens next.

Finally got the cats on all wet food all the time. They've been on dry food for long enough that wet food has been "okay this is a nice treat but where is my REAL dinner?" It's taken a couple of brands to get to some that they'll consistently eat most of. I say "some" because we had one that we thought would work but after a week that turned into "aww, the humans bought a case of our favorite food, now we can't like that kind anymore." Mixing it up seems to be sufficient.

Apple has deigned to offer new normal-sized phones, so we'd intended to go pick those up this weekend. In addition they now give you some amount of credit for your old phones, which seems like a win-win proposition. Unfortunately the local stores are sold out of new normal-sized phones for the next couple of weeks. And the easiest way to get credit from the old phones is to exchange them at the time of purchase, which precludes ordering online. So, new phones once I get back from Niagara.

I did go ahead and pull the trigger on a new laptop, though. I may go to my grave defending the hardware setup of Taranis, my current laptop, as The Best Ever. It's got a CD drive, a Magsafe power connector that detaches safely when you accidentally kick the cord rather than yanking the laptop off the table, and it's got a software Eject key that is intensely stupid but can be remapped to be a proper Delete. Sadly newer models of Macbook have removed the optical drive and replaced the useless Eject key with what I think is a Power key that I can't remap. And all indications are that Apple is getting serious about moving to USB3 for power ports with the new models that ought to be out this fall. I figured, I may as well get while the getting is no worse, and if the new laptop lasts me five years like this one did then it's a fine investment.

And this Friday I fly out to Niagara for a week of gaming. I'm not really feeling the get-up-and-go urge, which seems ... odd. I suspect I'm pulling in on myself again. Eh. Will sort that out once I'm back from Niagara.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
A couple of months ago, ex-coworkers N-- and S-- quit the still-imploding ex-workplace and moved to Seattle. They came up for a couple of days around Xmas, which was nice; we did a bit of the touristy thing on the 25th, including dim sum at that one place in Chinatown that's open on Xmas Day.

They also came by for Orphan's Boxing Day, along with a few other folks. (We even got a James, which I regard as a minor victory given that he spent over a decade in retail and has a strict policy of not leaving the house on Boxing Day.) Much food was cooked and eaten, including another turkey; many games were played; a great deal of Good Times were had.

I worked two days last week, which was kind of fantastic: quiet office, little pressing that Needed Doing, and a chance to sink my teeth into restyling the online documentation. Didn't finish it but it's better than it was. I remain baffled by the styling on the numbered lists, and not sure whether I'm going to be able to fix it. Stupid Flare.

Advancing the Year Marker (party name shamelessly stolen from Bob A-- in Virginia) went off quieter than in the past, which I'm also okay with. By the time the new year actually rolled around we were down to semilocal J-- and [livejournal.com profile] ckd, who'd come up from Seattle for the occasion. CKD stayed over until yesterday. I fed him pancakes and did *not* go do the touristy thing, on account of being slightly overpeopled and overtired.

Today has been a day of Not Much. I've missed those. I've a year-in-review begun but not finished; will endeavor to post it tomorrow.

101 in 1001 update )

oof time

Oct. 31st, 2015 10:41 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I am still struggling through, and have yet to achieve work/life balance. Have a couple of weeks worth of update.

Cats: Kai is perfectly fine, if a little rounder than she ought to be.

Chaos has been revealed as vampire-cat. Or possibly vampire-victim-cat. Part of managing a diabetic cat involves glucose testing, which requires a bit of blood. THIS CAT HAS NO BLOOD. We spent half an hour last weekend repeatedly sticking him in the ear or toebean, getting a tiny drop of blood, wiping it away (because you can't use the first drop), and then getting about half as much as the glucometer needs before the stick-hole seals up.

E took him to the vet on Thursday, where they used their magic powers to extract blood from him and determined that we probably ought to double his insulin dose.

He's more mobile and more talkative since he's been on the insulin, which are both good. He doesn't seem to be gaining any strength back in his legs, which isn't, but supposedly that'll take awhile.

The discovery that I *can* juggle book + tea + Skytrain pole has improved my commute immeasurably.

Finally read all three of Ann Leckie's Ancillary books last week, which are fantastic. The first is, mm, probably the best-plotted and best-structured, but the second and third have more interesting things to say. Also, "We aren't related, Cousin" is the best line on the best page of anything I've read in quite awhile.

Also (re)read Bear & Mole's Iskryne books. I read A Companion To Wolves (AKA "the book that tackles the Green Dragonrider Problem") when it came out and thought it was great: a *very* interesting exploration of gendered roles in a warrior society, as well as just being a good read. I read the second one, The Tempering Of Men, when *it* came out, and was mostly frustrated. Rereading it now I'm even more frustrated. NOTHING HAPPENS IN THAT BOOK. There is *no* reason for it to exist, plot-wise. It is entirely build-up for the third book. What payoff there is comes in the form of an inevitable romance plot.

The third book, An Apprentice To Elves, came out last month, and I dutifully picked it up and plowed through. And... despite ToM being made of setup, the first hundred pages or so of A2E are mostly backstory, because it takes place fifteen years later and a decent bit has happened in the meantime.

The book goes on to ramble in ways that remind me unpleasantly of Neal Stephenson: too much Cool Stuff, not enough resolution. Fascinating gender politicking but that's not enough to hang a book on, not for me. Your mileage may vary.

Currently reading: Dracula Unredacted, by Bram Stoker with assists from Kenneth Hite and Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. The conceit is that Dracula was a thinly-fictionalised after-action report of a British Intelligence attempt to recruit their own personal vampire and all the ways it went wrong, and the original novel had to be heavily redacted before it could see print. This is the "original" version, annotated by three generations of British Intelligence agents who are not entirely sure that the ongoing attempts to recruit a vampire are a good idea at all. It's really a giant prop for the Dracula Dossier campaign frame, in which the players are secret agents fighting vampires... the idea being that the players read Drac Unredacted and follow up on some of the annotations, making for a neat, complex campaign. I'll never get to run it of course but it's still excellent reading.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: book and quill and keyboard and mouse (Media Log)
16) See ten movies at the Vancouver International Film Festival. (10/10) 2015-10-04

I did not expect to knock that off the list this year, but this was a decent year for VIFF movies. And I've still got at least two more coming this week.

Very good: A Tale of Three Cities, High-Rise, Ayanda
Good: 600 Miles, 808
Not bad: Beeba Boys, The Anarchists, The Classified File, A Perfect Day
Not my thing: The Assassin

many many films )
jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
1) Write up a postmortem on the previous 101 in 1001.

First off: $382.61. That is the end result of 100) Donate $10 to Planned Parenthood for each incomplete item on this list.

$382.61. Over a third of the items on the list unfinished.

Partial credit for items listed as X/Y, and I gave myself half credit for several more, so it's arguably even worse than that.


To the left: over sixty percent of the list finished. So, yay.

What have I learned?

1) Items in the style of "Do this until the end of the 1001 days" are terrible. They give me zero sense of accomplishment and feel like an obligation hanging over my head. I've gotten rid of all of those for this round.

2) Items in the style of "Do this for a specified period of time" are frustrating. Did a thing for five months and then stumbled in the home stretch? Too bad, no checkmark for you. I've gotten rid of all of those too.

3) Items in the style of "Do this X times" work well, because there's incremental progress.

4) It's good to have a mix of things that are easy and short-term, easy and long-term, and hard in various aspects. I won't get all the hard things but I'll get some of them, which is more than I'd get otherwise.

5) Some individual notes:
  • Organizing is easy, as is money.
  • People are hard, but not as hard as I'd expected.
  • Writing is hard. No shock there.
  • Gaming is hard. That does surprise me; a lot of factors went into it. (Also, did I really not play any video games at all? I guess not. Huh.)
6) Overall, an interesting experiment, and worth repeating at least once more.
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
Hard to believe it's been a thousand days since I started the previous one of these. Expect a post-mort analysis... mm, probably over the weekend.

I can't really improve on my blurb from then: The idea is that a) a concrete and wide-ranging list of 101 items, b) a not terribly restrictive but still somewhat limiting timeframe of 1001 days, and c) public accountability can all combine to form a sort of Voltron of extrinsic motivating factors, since I'm not doing so hot with intrinsic motivation lately (or ever, really).

Note that 101 tasks in 1001 days works out to roughly three tasks per month, on average.

101 in 1001: 2015/09/23-2018/06/20
Completed: 37
(Abandoned: 3)
A large list )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
As of today I've been unemployed for a year.

I'm less unhappy than I was when I was employed. That... I think that's the only thing I have to show for it, that and one completed story and the beginnings of a novel. And the beginnings of what might eventually be "music" on the viola.

It's not about accomplishing anything. It's about rebuilding reserves. It's about no longer feeling crushed. It's about being able to find joy in more than just rare flashes.

Still hard to shake the sense that I've wasted the year.

It doesn't help that I'm less than a month away from the end of my 101 in 1001 project. I have thoughts on that as well but they can wait until late September.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
No motivation this morning. Up til midnight trying to fix my stupid computer. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me it has forgotten how to tell the phone where to sync photos (clicking the [Sync] Photos tab results in endless spinning, and syncing gets a complaint that it can't find the folder to sync photos and then an endless "Waiting for sync to finish" message), on top of its couple-months-old tendency to crash the System Preferences when I try to open either Desktop/Screensaver or Spotlight prefs.

Been needing to get a new battery anyway; this one only holds about two hours of charge. Maybe I can get the genuises to take a look at the system when I bring it in.

I suspect the answer is gonna be "full system restore to old Time Machine backup" again, at best. Don't wanna.

Meanwhile I sit here with a stuffed-up nose and no interest in doing much of anything.

Today I will:
  • Stop beating myself up for not managing to fix my stupid computer
  • Get up off this couch WIKTORY
  • Exercise while rewatching two episodes of Better Off Ted
  • Practice the viola for at least an hour (two sessions)
  • Knock at least one thing off the "things to revise in story" list, either by doing or by saying "nope not gonna do that"
  • Email Jenn, cripes how did it get to be Friday already, I blame the stupid not-quite-sick
  • Meet [personal profile] uilos downtown for fishes and Holst

Looks like a full day for no motivation.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
The In-Laws are here. Well, not right at this moment, today they've taken themselves downtown to be touristy for the day. (Which I expect means "from ten 'til about three," but you take what you can get.)

They're not bad people, and they're not related to me by blood so there's not the decades of history. They're just ... people, in my space, requiring my attention, all the time.

We watched Totoro last night, which thrilled Mrs F no end. I am kind of surprised we'd never gotten around to showing it to her before.

As of today I am officially officially unemployed. I mean, they stopped letting me go to work a month ago, but as of today the four weeks' pay-in-lieu-of-notice is up. I have one more paycheck coming at the end of the month, and then I am free from the tyranny of regular and sufficient income.

I am of course displeased with how I've spent my sabbatical so far. This speaks less to how I've spent my sabbatical and more to my need to rejigger my expectations of myself so they line up better with what I actually want to do.

Also, as of today I have less than a year to go on my 101-in-1001 list. Several of these items are not going to happen; others are merely staggeringly unlikely. Ah well. I plow ahead regardless.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Meh. Not up for a real post. Have some links and progress, instead.

Velvet Underground star John Cale to showcase new work in London with drones hovering over audience: "The project will see the drones carrying speakers to project the sound, as well as making mechanical noises as they hover over the audience. ... He has rearranged songs from his extensive back catalogue using different tunings to fit the new format."

Turkmenistan hopes 'Door to Hell' will boost tourism: "Our main task is to create an attractive image of Turkmenistan as a tourism destination."

Why people hate art: "[A]ny pseudo-intellectual can translate for a piece of art that says something. It takes an artist or a poet or a real writer to talk about why looking at a given thing is a pleasurable experience. So the artists that dealers selected as fit to get past the critics in order to enter the arena of Contemporary Art, rather predictably, became easier and easier to describe and harder and harder to look at."

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
As noted elseweb, Happy The Internet Gets Stupid day! If you're still planning an April Fools gag, first consult this handy reference guide.

... cripes, it's been six months since I last poked at my 101 in 1001 list. Partly that's because I slowed down something fierce after about mid-October. Partly it's because I've plucked most of the low-hanging fruit. I dunno. It's still a useful referent / reinforcement, long as I remember to check in with it every so often.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Currently sitting in YUL waiting to go home from the last Farthing Party. Many excellent people and good conversations. A++ WOULD CON AGAIN. (Oh. Right.)

I like Montreal an awful lot, at least the bits that we got to see. The tiny urban parks and the row houses around Sherbrooke with their sweeping iron staircases make me happy, and there's just something about the architecture and the design (?) that give it a sense of permanence and place that Vancouver lacks. I think if I couldn't live in Vancouver I'd be happy in Montreal. I have no particular opinion about YUL: it's smallish and some amount of it seems to be under construction, but on the other hand it has very comfy seats and a dedicated NEXUS line which doesn't use Rapiscans.

The con itself... I stayed up late talking about books and indie RPGs and more books, I met several cool people, I ate a lot of good food. I only had to bash the social brainweasels[1] a few times before they shut up. I missed Sherwood, but I got to spend at least a little time with just about everyone else I'd known I'd wanted to see, and with several that I hadn't.

[1] "You don't know anybody, nobody wants to talk to you, nobody remembers you, you don't belong here." You know. THOSE brainweasels.

Also got a bit of email written, and a bit of story bashed into place. Good times.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The thing about running is that I can see improvement on a week-to-week basis. I mean, what I mostly see is how I'm not there yet and taking forever to get there, but that's why I keep a log. I can look back and say that yeah, I'm getting somewhere. Where 'somewhere' is defined as 'running 5k [three miles plus a bit] in 37 minutes, including a two-minute walk at about the 25-minute mark, after four months of getting out at least twice a week.'

According to the couch-to-5k plan I ought to have been running the full 5k in thirty minutes by last month sometime. I blame my factory-second lungs.

On the other hand, where I'm at now would have been completely impossible four months ago, or even one month ago.

It's trite and cliche to say 'everybody's got their own pace for improvement' and 'keep going you'll get there.' Those never meant anything to me. Anything I couldn't do right the first time was a source of scorn: come on, you're smarter than that, etc.

It's nice to have something that I'm a) awful at, b) allowed to be awful at, and c) less awful at than I used to be.

Wisdom from Twitter, original sources sadly misplaced:
  • Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window. Because God doesn't really understand how doors work.
  • Ten years ago we had Steve Jobs, Johnny Cash, and Bob Hope. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.
  • It never gets any easier. You just get more data points for how well you can stick with it.

101 in 1001 update )


Jun. 21st, 2013 11:39 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I dunno. It's been a couple of weeks, more or less, and I'm not feeling particularly inspired. Work, gaming, counselor appointments, running. Life, you know? I still feel ... not stuck, but stalled.

Way back in spring I threw money at Con Or Bust in exchange for custom-printed business cards. I finally got around to providing a design for those last week, and will be picking them up at Readercon I hope. Since I included a URL on the cards I went ahead and registered wordsareinadequate.com and pointed it to my Dreamwidth profile page. I'll do something more real with it eventually. Possibly once I start writing again.

Around Father's Day I realised that it's now been as long since Pop Shackelford's death (11/2005) as it was from Gram's (04/1998) to Pop's. It felt like a lifetime between Gram & Pop, and it still feels like Pop only died maybe a couple of years ago. Course, from 1998 to 2005 I was in kind of a state of flux, and with notably rare exceptions 2005-present have been remarkably stable. Time is weird, is all I'm saying.

O yes, Readercon. I found a flight for sufficiently cheap that I'm willing to pay for it, so I'll be in Boston (well, Burlington) come mid-July. I think it'll be good for me. I'm looking forward to seeing people, and being immersed in genre, and traveling in general.

101 in 1001 update )


Apr. 17th, 2013 08:47 am
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
The real problem with being sick is that it's entirely thrown me off my running. I was doing alright for the first week of April. Now I can't even take a deep breath without coughing, or even stand at my desk for several hours without getting light-headed and needing to sit down for a bit. Makes it hard to keep up any kind of pace.

It's been pretty bright out lately, which is nice even if I'm still coming to terms with the sun being up at seven PM. I just got used to it being dark at four-thirty and now they have to go and change it on me. Stupid seasons.

Media... dug into The Cloud Roads a couple of days ago. Even in my somewhat muzzy-headed state it's quite enjoyable. On advice/praise from a wide variety of people including [livejournal.com profile] daghain, [personal profile] silmaril, everyone at LG&M, and my friend Kosh from junior high, we watched the first episode of The Wire a couple of weeks ago. I immediately ordered the complete series DVDs. This looks like exactly the kind of in-depth storytelling I'm looking for.

The last of the immigration paperwork is off to the immigration lawyer, so there's that. Now we just wait for some amount of time which will probably be less than a year, and we're permanent residents and can start the much more involved citizenship process.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Pomodoro works wonders when I use it; the lethargy and reluctance formerly associated with staying on task have magically transferred to hitting the start button on the timer. Whoops. Still, it's been good for a couple of hours a day of focused effort. I'm looking forward to trying it out on real writing instead of work-writing.

Spring (well, post-winter) is good for me, I think. I mean, this week was awful, but overall I'm feeling a little more alert and alive. More willing to try to contact people, more interested in putting effort into things. Hoping the weather will be warm enough (and I'll be rested enough) to start running again next week, and hoping that will have a positive feedback effect on life and energy level in general.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
So we're going out of town this afternoon, off to San Jose del Cabo at the tip of Baja California. The theory was that having some sun in the middle of the grey winter would do us some good. I think the week-long Vacation has turned out to be more important, though.

Hoping to get some actual writing in, as well as wading through my backlog of email. And, you know, wandering around the town or whatever it is that people do on vacations.

(If you're interested in a literal reenactment of a Girlyman song, email your address to this account name at warpmail dot net and I'll see what I can do.)

101 )
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Up 'til after 2 AM last night, doing workstuff I couldn't get myself motivated to do until I started thinking of it like a paper or a class project so I drank a bunch of tea. Oops. At least the work got done. Today I feel more zombielike than I have in ages.

Which is not to say I've been all here the last couple of weeks. The weather has been deeply foggy, like "can't see two apartment buildings over" foggy. Lots of foghorns coming in off the inlet. This is an acceptable metaphor for my state of being as well. I think it's fair to class this as "depression" even though it's got some obvious and some not-so-obvious external causes. That is, it's not, or at least not solely, chemical. (Causes include workstress, lifestress, and other fun things.) I mean, you can tell I'm depressed because I'm not writing here, for one thing. Contrariwise, that I'm writing this is a sign that I'm doing better. I think.

We went down to B'ham over the weekend for a US grocery run, which was mostly unremarkable except that I picked up a nice wool coat from the thrift store. Not having a car has made me acutely aware of the difference between "comfortable" and "a little too chilly" in my green jacket, and my hunting parka is warm but too bulky to be a good city coat.

101 )


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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